In the early 1980s the National Survival Game was enjoying explosive growth and by 1983 paintball was gaining traction outside the US. But NSG wasn’t the best choice for some field operators getting into the game and around this time several franchises and manufacturers were working on providing alternate routes.
Sometime in roughly 1983 PMI was beginning to sell their PG pistols along with paint that was smuggled into the US with help from Aldo Perrone of War Games Supply. During the same period Joe Survival, out London, Ontario, Canada opened their field and began marketing their franchise, which used .50 cal Crosman revolvers they converted for paintballs.
AGA (Adventure Game American and Canada) began offering franchise options as well in roughly 1984. They may have been out of Scarborough Canada(?).
Around this time, a young and enthusiastic entrepreneur named Joe Kimpson (19 at the time) began looking into opening a field in Ontario. Joe’s field eventually became Flag Raiders Paintball. He applied to both NSG and Adventure Game and both turned down his request for a franchise so he then contacted Crosman who put him in touch with the Joe Survival franchise.
After the Joe Survival franchise could not deliver, they had Joe contact another company, Air Gun Games Supplies, a division of Simutech.
Air Gun Game Supplies had just started manufacturing their marker, the Mark 1 Machine Pistol.
Kimpson remembers he first received his Uzi’s in 1983-1984. He writes, “Crosman put us in touch with a fellow in Scarborough that was converting revolvers to shoot .50cal balls, he could not deliver, he put us in touch with the air gun guys in Ottawa. All this happened after the Survival Game and Adventure Game said no to franchises… Flag Raiders Was born”
The Mark 1, or UZI as it later became known, featured Nelson based internals and a plastic shell. A feed compartment on top acted as a bulk loader, allowing the player to dump maybe 25-30(?) rds of paintballs in.
Through John Amodea’s research for Paintball Media’s “The Complete History of Paintball”, he brought to my attention that Paul Fogal, of Skirmish USA, initially discovered Air Gun Games Supplies during a white water rafting trip (likely in Ottawa Canada). He then went on to purchase early markers and received the first two in late 1983.
With the Air Gun Game Supplies MK 1 “Uzi” predating the Splatmaster (late 1984), it holds the title of first cast shell on a paintgun, 1st mass produced Nelson clone and 1st marker to feature a bulk loading chamber.
It’s been tough to build a timeline on the UZI but with clues from Joe Kimpson and John Amodea we can place the Air Gun Game Supplies MK1 in the range of 1983-84.
The Canada Federal Corporation Information page shows Air Gun Game Supplies Inc ran from 11/1983 until 6/84 and then changed to Simutech.
Update as of 2023-1-23: In recent conversations with Jeff Perlmutter, President and Co-Founder of Pursuit Marketing, Inc., he mentioned that David Luxton was the name of the creator of the Mark 1 “Uzi”. Looking at the Canadian Corporation Search we can Luxton listed as a director. Luxton would go on to create the Simunition training platform for Law Enforcement.
Some research brought up a lawsuit on behalf of NSG against the Fogals / Skirmish USA.
The lawsuit dates the Fogals / Skirmish meeting with NSG in 11/83 and 12/83 to set up franchises and stopped responding after December 1984.
The legal brief states that in 11/1983, “…Defendants Douglas W. Fogal and Paul Fogal met with R. Gerard Jaggard, NSG’s vice-president of marketing and sales, seeking to become a dealer of the Survival Game in the New York/Philadelphia area.”
It continues that they met again in 12/83 “with NSG and its local dealers, after which the Fogals stopped inquiring about the Survival Game and ceased any efforts to negotiate a dealership.”
And that Skirmish opened in 6/84, showing that the Fogal’s decided against the NSG package and prefered to use the Air Gun Game Supplies MK1 by 6/84. According to John Amodea, The Fogal’s invested in Air Gun Game Supplies to help bring the MK1 marker to the market so a likely market date of mid 1984 makes sense with this timeline.
The legal brief details, “Plaintiff [NSG] also alleges that in June 1984 the Fogals began operating Skirmish”
Later Simutech sold their design to Aldo Perrone of Brass Eagle (War Games Air Gun at the time).
After purchased the design they were rebranded for Darkside and were manufactured for the next several years with various models featuring updating changes.
The Uzi has gained notoriety as an instrumental early step in not only paintball markers, but paintball history. This design along with the PMI PG and others that followed, helped early field owners have another choice from the NSG franchise and helped bolster competition during these early days of the survival game.
Revised with new details on 1/31/2023.