The History of Tippmann Paintball

The Beginning of Paintball

In the 1960s loggers and rangers needed a way to mark trees and cattle. The Nelson Paint Company developed an oil-based paintball with a gelatin shell.  They contracted airgun makers Crosman and Daisy, to make a CO2-powered air pistol to shoot this sphere.  This paint and pistol combination were named the Nel-Spot Paint Pistol.  This was the start of the sport of paintball as we know it today.

Meet the Tippmann Family

In the early 1980’s Tippmann Arms Company, a family business led by patriarch Dennis Tippmann, manufactured collectible, scaled-down .22 calibre replica military machine guns.

In 1986, the Firearm Owners Protection Act changed the gun laws, and Dennis Tippmann started to look for new business opportunities.  Noting the growing popularity of paintball, he combined his knowledge of manufacturing machine guns to develop paintball markers. Machine guns and paintball guns share the same basic engineering, so it was an easy transition.  His experience in the gun industry allowed Tippmann to create paintball products that were much more advanced than the competition. This marked the birth of the Tippmann Pneumatics Incorporated Company, which has been at the top of the paintball industry for decades.

Summit Takeover

In June 2004, Tippmann announced that the company had negotiated a deal with Summit Partners to recapitalize the company. This effectively transferred control of the company to Summit, but it allowed for both Dennis Tippmann and his son to stay on as consulting directors.  Howard Kosick joined Tippmann as its President and CEO. In 2005, the company announced a record year for increased sales of paintball markers.

In 2013 Tippmann Sports announced Dennis Tippmann, Jr. was promoted to President and CEO

Family Tensions

Ben Tippmann, the nephew of Dennis Tippmann, was the designer of the legendary Tippmann 98 Custom and A5. He was against the merger with Summit Partners and left the company to start his own business under his own name. The Summit Partners sued Ben for copyright infringement.  Eventually, they came to an agreement; Ben could continue to use design elements from his previous gun creations but could not sell any new guns under the Tippmann name.  Ben Tippmann decided to operate under the name BT (Battle Tested) which is now considered the top manufacturer in the woodsball niche.

Innovative Design

Known for their advances in the sport of paintball, Tippmann Pneumatics Incorporated is regarded as one of the pioneers of the sport and has been credited with the development of several technologies:

  • First automatic and semi-automatic paintball marker
  • Refillable air systems in place of 12-gram cartridges
  • Cyclone Feed System which dramatically increased the firing rate
  • Flatline barrel to improve distance
  • First propane-powered marker
  • Anti-Chop technology that reduced the number of paintballs that got chopped in the chamber

Acquisitions and Mergers

In 2010, Tippmann Sports acquired NXe, manufacturer of soft goods for the paintball industry. A full line of paintball harnesses, protective gear and other accessories were integrated into Tippmann’s product line.

In late 2013 Tippmann was acquired by the GI Sportz company, combining Tippmann, V-Force and GI Sportz.  In 2014 Tippmann branched out into Airsoft products and launched the Tactical Compact Rifle (TCR) for competitive paintball. 

Top Sellers

The Legendary Tippmann 98 Paintball Marker

Tippmann markers are reliable, rugged, and dependable.  The best selling and most popular are the 98Series from which the 98 Custom originated. This version has all the features of the original 98 but is easier to upgrade, modify and maintain.  Key changes include a removable trigger guard, elimination of the gills on the front of the marker, and internal changes to the shells to allow the additions of other aftermarket parts, namely the reactive trigger system.

These easy-to-use 0.68 calibre semi-automatic markers are fully compatible with CO2, compressed air, or nitrogen.

With the new anti-chop technology (ACT) it allows the bolt to engage only if the paintball is in the correct position. It keeps your marker firing consistently, without any chops to interrupt your firing sequence. 

The Tippmann A-5 Paintball Marker

The A-5 semi-automatic pneumatic marker is one of the most modifiable paintball markers in existence.  Exceptionally durable, most of the body is composed of high-quality cast aluminum. The only plastic polymer parts are the trigger and some other minor parts.

The patented “Cyclone Feed System” increases the rate at which the paintball marker can feed balls into the chamber. This system connects the feed tube to the air system, giving it the power to get the gun ready, delivering exactly as much ammunition as you can fire.

The standard A5 uses an open bolt blow-back operated, sear-trigger paintball marker. Its inline blowback gas system can utilize both CO2 and HPA propellants. Standard marker includes single-finger trigger, 216 mm ported barrel, front and rear sights, tournament-legal velocity adjuster and an opaque black 200-round wide-mouth hopper.

The A-5 is amazingly easy to disassemble and clean. The unit can be field stripped in about 60 seconds. This is done by removing four pushpins which hold the tombstone, endcap, and grip frame in place. Removing the 4 pushpins will give you access to the body and all the internal parts.

American Values

Most Tippmann Products are made in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The made-in-the-USA designation embodies their values of fairness, work ethic, excellence, and innovation.

The company’s goal is to produce high performance, long-lasting, economical paintball products.  They have pledged to support grassroots competitions, tournaments, and contests to promote the enjoyment of paintball.

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