Since its inception in the early 1970s, Airsoft has gradually taken the world by storm. Popular among casual players and competitive masters alike, it has firmly placed itself as a fun tactical shooting sport.
For many, it has replaced the likes of paintball and similar sports due to its versatility and advantages. Even different militarized forces around the world are using Airsoft to train their troops.
Airsoft is based on shooting incredibly small and lightweight projectiles which are fired from a variety of guns. Thus, the name ‘airsoft’ is apt; the projectile pellets are shot with the help of air.
The most commonly used gases are CO2, aka Carbon Dioxide, and Green Gas. These are used as propellants in the magazine of the weapon. While they function very similarly, there are varied opinions on which gas is actually better.
This article will go through the different elements of Green Gas vs CO2 and attempt to give a verdict on which is better for Airsoft.
The Role of CO2 or Green Gas in Airsoft
We know the basic principles of how Airsoft works. The pellets are lightweight and made out of plastic. The guns themselves are magazine fed. The magazines themselves are often pneumatically powered. That means they are powered by gas within the chamber.
Compressed gases are used to power these airsoft guns. Compressed gases include propane, which is also known as green gas and carbon dioxide, aka CO2.
These cannistered gases, which could be replaced, gave the guns enough energy to replicate the effect of real firearms. But not so much that it could cause injury to others.
Now that we know that green gas or CO2 is used as a propellant in airsoft guns, it begs the question; what exactly does a propellant do? Well, here is a brief description of propellants like CO2 or green gas in an airsoft gun:
- The propellant is the chemical substance used to create or propel energy.
- The energy is produced to generate a force or propulsion which can drive the projectile, in this case, airsoft pellets forward.
- In an airsoft gun, the propellant is placed in the interior of the magazine. When the trigger is pressed, the gas is released into the nozzle. This causes the gun to shoot the pellet.
- The propellant, be it CO2 or green gas, is replaceable. They come in canisters and can be replaced over time.
Difference Between CO2 and Green Gas
In the airsoft gun itself, both of these gases work similarly. They are both very potent, which kind of explains why they are so common for this purpose.
The gases themselves, however, are quite different. These key differences are important because they help us identify which one is better.
Green gas is a mixture of propane with some silicone oil added, which essentially eliminates a lot of the smell of the gas.
The key feature of green gas is that it is available in pre-filled canisters and can also be used like natural gas or oil; you fill up the magazine of the gun when needed.
Carbon DiOxide, on the other hand, works a little differently. It is essentially compressed and pressurized CO2 in a small cylinder.
Usually, various sizes of CO2 cartridges are available readily. For airsoft guns, 12g cartridges of CO2 gas are used. They are pretty small and compact.
Pros and Cons of Using Green Gas
Let us first address the pros or the positives of using green gas as the propellant in Airsoft.
Green gas, as the name suggests, is simple and efficient. Green gas or propane is less corrosive or harmful on the gun when used. In addition, green gas has relatively lower pressure than CO2. That means, when used in your gun, it will be less harmful to the gun.
The silicone oil in the green gas will also keep your gun better lubricated. These small factors can actually increase the longevity of your gun.
Green gas is also cheaper than the alternative. An average can of green gas costs between 15 to 20 dollars. The price varies depending on a few factors, but overall it is pretty affordable. You can get up to 700-800 shots using just one canister.
Over the long term, you can actually save a lot of money by opting for green gas. Now, coming to some downsides of green gas as a propellant for Airsoft. Green gas certainly lacks some performance when we compare it to CO2.
It does not shoot as fast as the gun can handle, nor does it work too well in cold weather. It is certainly a more value-focused alternative instead of a performance-oriented one.
Pros and Cons of Using CO2
Coming to the alternative, ie. CO2, we see quite a few stark differences. Yes, the gas works and functions roughly the same way, but its pros are essentially the cons of green gas.
CO2 allows the weapon to have a lot more punch. The airsoft pellets are fired at much higher velocities when you use a CO2 propellant. This happens because CO2 has much higher pressure. Nearly all CO2-powered weapons have much faster FPS than green gas-powered alternates.
The cartridge system of the CO2 is self-contained. That is, the gas is contained within the cartridge, and you don’t have to fill it up separately. This allows the airsoft weapon to work at much more extreme temperatures.
Now, coming to some of the cons. Sadly, the improved performance comes at a price. CO2 cartridges cost above a dollar and allow only about 40 shots each. Do the math, and you will see that it’s quite a bit more expensive than green gas.
CO2 shoots the pellets with a lot more force, but over the life of the gun, that may be harmful. More force equals more abrasion, which reduces the longevity of the gun long term.
Which One is Better?
By now, we have covered nearly everything significant about green gas and CO2, how they affect the workings of an airsoft gun and how to pick one for your needs. They each have their pros and cons, and the answer to which one is better is not quite a straightforward one.
We feel like CO2 and green gas are better for different groups of airsoft enthusiasts. Let’s see which one is better for whom:
Reasons to Go with Green Gas
- You need a value for money alternative for your pursuit. You are probably just getting started or are simply shooting a lot. Using green gas canisters will bring down your costs a lot.
- You want something that is easier on your gun. Green gas is lubricated and less pressurized, so using it will definitely be less harsh on your gun over the course of time. The lubricant in green gas will also automatically lubricate the weapon.
- You are a starter and want something that offers decent performance. You do not need the highest velocity or performance available and just need something reliable in regular conditions.
Reasons to Go with CO2
- You are an enthusiast about Airsoft and demand the best performance. CO2 adds an extra punch and will shoot the pellets with significantly greater velocity.
- The extra cost is not too much of a problem for you. CO2 does cost more per shot than green gas, but it will also allow you to get maximum performance. That won’t be possible with green gas.
- If you live in extreme conditions, be it a very cold or scorching environment, CO2 canisters will undoubtedly serve you better. Green gas does not work well in these conditions, but CO2 delivers optimal performance even in these situations.
As we said, different situations and different needs dictate what is indeed best for you. However, as a general rule, we can say that CO2 is a better alternative if we can overlook the increased price. It is simply more versatile and performs better.
Airsoft is a fun pursuit that requires tie, attention, and dedication. Most importantly, you need the right accessories. The most minor details make a big difference when you are playing or competing.
Choosing gas to use as a propellant can be a difficult chore, as they both appear similar and work in a very similar fashion. In this article, we went in-depth into the details of the alternatives, CO2 vs. green gas, and gave our verdict on which one is better for you.
Our ultimate verdict is that CO2 is better in general. But at the end of the day, there might be scenarios where green gas is better. Identify your needs and figure out what is best for you. That’ll help you become much better at Airsoft.