What is the Difference between Gas and CO2 Airsoft Guns?

What is the difference between gas and CO2 Airsoft guns FI

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What is the difference between gas and CO2 Airsoft guns


Those two gun types are mistaken to be the same. But there are quite a few differences between them. One uses pure air, while the other needs silicone oil. Which is which? That’s what we’re here to find out! And as a bonus, we also bring you:

  • The other ways that green gas and CO2 differ from each other;
  • The benefits of using each type of pistol;
  • The factors that affect the effectivity and consumption of each gas type;
  • Recommendations about which type will work best for you; and
  • Lots more!

Aside from those two, we also have duster gas and black gas in our options. 

Duster gas, you can say, is the cheaper version of green gas. It’s also a lot less effective. In comparison, black gas is the highest-pressured one of the bunch. So it’s the most powerful that it gets dangerous both for players and the guns.

So those two other options are almost out of the question.

We’ll just focus on the comparison between green gas and CO2.

And as a side note – if you’re wondering – green gas or propane tanks can be used in a CO2 pistol. But don’t be too excited. There are considerations. We have all the details for you later. For now… 

Eye on the target…

… and fire!

Related: Gas Blowback Airsoft Pistol

Green Gas vs. CO2

Green gas and CO2 (AKA red gas) are the same in function. Just like batteries for electric guns, they’re both used as propellants for airsoft gas guns. And they’re both just compressed air.

But the main difference is…

Green gas is propane with silicone oil added and the smell removed. On the other hand, red gas is merely pressurized carbon dioxide.

Since they differ in nature, they also differ in storage.

You can buy green gas propellant in prefilled Airsoft green gas cans. That’s the safest option. But if you’re on a budget, you have your regular propane cans refilled by your own green gas. Just make sure that you have a fully functional adapter.

Green gas cans are pressurized to around 300 pounds per square inch (psi). You just have to load them in your magazine through the fill valve, then fire away!

On the other hand…

Pressurized carbon dioxide is stored in CO2 cartridges or metal cylinders of different sizes. 

CO2 requires higher pressure than green gas.

The most commonly used can size for airsoft guns are 12g cartridges. CO2 is pressurized up to 12,000 psi. You just have to load it in the magazine, like green gas, but these canisters are small so that they won’t fill the whole mag.

Related: Gas Blowback Airsoft Pistol

Advantages of Green Gas

Green gas has lower pressure than CO2. That’s an advantage for the green gas gun itself because it would mean fewer chances of damage. And since green gas uses silicone oil, lubrication comes naturally.

You still have to clean the gun – don’t be lazy.

But more importantly…

Green gas is a lot cheaper than CO2. Not only because you can buy a can for less, but also because it’s very efficient.

It’s easier to keep a green gas magazine full. There are available data in other sites saying that each green gas shot costs around $0.025 or less. Possibly, since a can’s price can be even lower than $20.

What is the difference between gas and CO2 Airsoft guns

Advantages of CO2 (AKA red gas)

But wait…

CO2 has its perks, too – like more power and higher fps!

Since CO2 has more pressure than green gas airsoft guns, it will shoot faster and much harder. And it’s common knowledge that the higher the power, the faster the BB flies. That advantage is for the players themselves, not the gun.


CO2 cartridges are more temperature-resistant. Meaning, either in warm or cold weather, they generally are more effective than green gas. There’s a lot more to the story, and we’re going to tell you all of it in a while.

That makes them more expensive, though, naturally. But considering the benefits, we’re sure you won’t mind!

In terms of consumption…

These two gas gun types are different too. But it depends on a lot of factors. For now, we can give you a general sketch.

At optimum conditions, one green gas can may let you fire 30 to 60 magazines. But in certain situations, one canister can go as low as 20 mags.

As for CO2 gas guns, they can go as far as 200 BBs in one 12g cartridge. So imagine how many BBs can a 90g cartridge propel. But once again, that’s the ideal number for ideal conditions. It can drop to as low as 30 shots.


What are these factors that we’re talking about?

What affects CO2 and green gas cans consumption?

These same factors affect both types of gas mags:


Compressed gas needs heat to expand. And this gas’s expansion is what airsoft guns count on to make them fire. So, colder temperatures may cause the gas can to malfunction, especially when the airsoft gun itself turns cold.

The optimum temperature range for gas-powered guns is 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Blowback or non-blowback

Blowback airsoft guns take up more green gas or CO2 than non-blowback gas guns. It’s just a sliver of gas escaping for every slide action. But the amount of escapees adds up, and you’ll find yourself out of firepower in no time. 

And there’s nothing we can do about that. The slide action is part of the blowback’s mechanism to make it as realistic as possible. 

To know more, you can read an article about blowback gas airsoft guns if you click HERE.

Shooting pace

We get it! When in the heat of the fight, you’re bound to let your BBs rain down on your opponents.

But consider this:

Shooting non-stop (or in rapid succession) would freeze your cartridge or canister. It’s best to wait for a moment before you take your next shot. That way, you’ll allow your gun and magazine to warm up.

That’s why it also matters whether your airsoft gun is automatic or semi-automatic. Airsoft players tend to keep on firing when they have a full auto. So compared to semi-automatic, that type can use up more gas.

That means single fire modes are the most cost-efficient of the three.

Valve settings

Most airsoft guns, especially gas guns, have a setup that opens the valve every time the hammer drops. That’s how the gas escapes to the barrel and fires the BB. The longer the valve is open, the more gas escapes.

So why not just opt for a different setup?

It’s more complicated than that…

You have to consider if you prioritize power over the number of shots or the other way around. The principle is this – more gas escaping, more power, less number of shots. In other words, less gas, less power, more shots.

We recommend that you go for more power when playing outdoors. You’ll need faster fps in an outdoor field rather than the indoor one.

Cartridge size

This factor is about CO2 gas guns because mags for green gas guns often have only one size.


A bigger cartridge means more shots for your airsoft gun. The 12g CO2 cartridge is only about the size of a thumb. So if you don’t like reloading now and then, it’s better if you chose the larger ones.

What is the difference between gas and CO2 Airsoft guns

Can CO2 Airsoft Guns Use Green Gas?

In a nutshell…

Yes, you can. But let’s crack that nutshell up, so you know what you’re risking.

Green gas guns were designed to handle the relatively low pressure of their mags. CO2 guns, on the other hand, were made to handle high pressure. So you can see where it could go wrong.

But that’s how it used to be.

These days…

Airsoft gun manufacturers have upgraded their designs, so it can handle both if it’s a green gas or a red gas type. 

Also, there are these things we call “adapters.” They’re small devices that you attach to the propane tank or CO2 cartridge so they would fit any valve. If you’re going to use it, though, make sure you’ve properly positioned it so it won’t blow up.

Yes, that can happen, so it would be best to let a professional teach you first.

Be prepared, though.

Don’t expect the sort of hybrid setup to work as well as the original one. 

The inconsistencies in pressure and its release – even the lubrication caused by the silicon oil in green gas – have significant effects on power and fps.

What’s better for airsoft?

You’re probably here right now because you’ve already chosen gas guns. Or maybe you’re close to doing just that.

We can’t blame you.

It’s more popular in the airsoft fields than electric guns. Airsoft players also prefer it more often than a spring-powered gun. Gas rifles and gas pistols are more accurate and powerful than the other airsoft pistols and airsoft rifles.

We’ve explained their differences better in this article – you might want to check it out.

As you can see…

Both gun types have their pros and cons. We’d like to say that it’s up to you, but not really. When it comes to airsoft, some features and specs weigh more than others.

So, our best recommendation would be CO2.


Standard green gas is efficient. But efficiency isn’t the most important thing. In competitive airsoft, you’ll need to prioritize the gun’s performance.

CO2 pistols and rifles perform way better than green gas. Plus, you won’t have to worry about it freezing in cold environments. Green gas magazines freeze faster than CO2.


That’s for airsoft competitions. But if you’re only playing for fun, or if you’re under the first few levels of training, we have a different suggestion.

Which Do I Choose: Green Gas or CO2?

The answer isn’t the same for everyone. So it all depends on you! 

What’s your priority?

If you want to save money – opt for the less expensive green gas. It’s generally less accurate and has low fps than CO2, but that won’t matter once you learn the airsoft craft better. 

Anyway, a green gas pistol is going to last you longer. Its low-pressure system will allow you to properly maintain the strength of the gun itself. 


Propane tanks are easier to install into the pistol magazine. It’s almost as easy as putting batteries in electric airsoft guns. So you’ll conveniently have a full mag in no time.

Just don’t go for a shot under colder weather. Green gas pistols need warmth more than anything else, as we’ve said earlier.

On the other hand…

If you don’t mind the added cost, the high fps of CO2 guns may appeal to you more. 

Gun maintenance is going to be as high as the fps, too but just look at the pros. 

You’ll have a highly accurate pistol which would do you favors during the game, especially if the other team’s members are carrying electric airsoft guns. 

The electric nature of that gun-type makes it as vulnerable to weather as green gas. And by now, we should know that the CO2 gun has very little problem with that. At least, compared to the others.

CONCLUSION: What is the difference between gas and CO2 Airsoft guns

What is the difference between gas and CO2 Airsoft guns

Gas guns are generally more highly recommendable than mechanical and/ or electric guns. Now you just have to decide if you’re up for a green gas or a CO2 gun. 

The features, pros, and cons we’ve detailed out in this article are definitely worth noting, would you not agree?

After all…

It’s going to cost you a good deal if you choose the wrong pistol or rifle for your next airsoft adventure. 

Hopefully, we helped prevent that.

There we go, comrade!

Your next battle awaits you!

Related: Gas Blowback Airsoft Pistol

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