The ‘proper’ paintball name for a paintball gun.

Guns. Machine guns. Pistols, Shotguns. Assault rifles… not terms you’ll really see or use in the paintball world. Ok, so Paintball gun will always be banded around because it’s a knee-jerk term for the uninitiated, but once you know you’ll notice that all paintball guns are actually called, and commonly referred to, as MARKERS. And there are a number of reasons for this. In fact, there’s only one REAL reason for this, but, as paintball has evolved globally and certain legal issues have arisen, as well as sensitivities towards so-called war games, it’s very important for people to maintain the term marker. But where did this term originate?

Back in the day (meaning we’re not entirely sure when, but some time ago) paintball ‘markers’ were designed and made for foresters to use to shoot and ‘mark’ trees. These were also used on farms to ‘mark’ cattle in a herd. We’re not 100% sure which came first, but the simple fact to take away is that they’re called markers because they were made to… mark things. Simple.

It would be incredibly easy for this term to have been abandoned in favour of gun, to add some danger and excitement to the world of paintball but this in itself raises a number of issues. Firstly, war games and guns have a very negative effect on society and people will always draw comparisons with anything bad that happens due to gun crime and war. This impacts paintball and essentially hurts its existence. Which is a crime in itself, but, we understand how quickly this could escalate. Certain countries have struggled for years to navigate the laws around paintball with specific types of paintball, such as MilSim and MagFed being banned due to their military simulation core. Such hard lines are gently softening around the world as society accepts that paintball, in its simplest form, really is a game.

Still to this day, whenever paintball is mentioned in conversation people have one image. A woods, filled with people running around with guns trying to kill each other. Yet paintball has grown so much, offers such a wide variety of game formats and especially with the inflatable airball events at its elite level it should be viewed as more than that. An exciting, diverse, inclusive and rewarding activity that can be played by anyone, anytime, on any terrain.

And the next time someone asks about your ‘gun’ maybe accept their terminology, but also steer them along the right path to enlightenment and let them know that it’s actually, a paintball marker.

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