What is the Difference Between Gas and Electric Airsoft Rifles?

With airsoft guns becoming more and more popular, many are faced with the choice of which one to buy. Gas or electric may be the first question you ask yourself before making a purchase. With many pros and cons for each, let's dive into what you need to know.

Gas Or Electric?

The main differences between gas powered and electric airsoft guns is their power source. While the electric rifles are powered by a rechargeable battery, the gas powered models require CO2 cartridges or green gas. Both guns have many similarities but both also have their own sets of pros and cons. For information on how airsoft guns function check out our post: how do airsoft rifles work.

Electric Airsoft Guns

The most commonly used airsoft rifle is the electric powered version. With their ability to shoot up to 500 feet per second, it's no wonder the electric rifle is the most popular choice. Airsoft enthusiasts especially love the money saving aspect, with rechargeable batteries lasting for hours at a time and saving them bundles of money.

With many electric airsoft rifles selling for between $100 and $500, the price is very similar to the gas powered rifles, but the included charger and battery are generally a much cheaper option than the continuous purchasing of the CO2 or green gas needed for the gas powered models. Electric rifles provide shooters with an authentic shooting experience, with the metal rifles being the most realistic.

Electric rifles offer semi-automatic as well as automatic firing with no manual cocking necessary. Seemingly the only real downfall to using an electric airsoft rifle is their inability to perform well in wet or damp conditions. With electric and water being a combination to avoid, using an electric airsoft rifle during rain or snow carries the potential for wet batteries or connectors.

Players should also pay close attention when playing in extremely cold weather, as it can cause the rifles to tighten up. 

Gas Powered Airsoft Guns

Perhaps the second most commonly used airsoft gun is the gas powered model. Using carbon dioxide cartridges or propane (AKA: "green gas"), these models are generally favored in pistol form.

While the green gas power source tends to be a favorite, the CO2, or carbon dioxide, cartridges are also quite popular. With the CO2 shooting at a higher feet per second ratio than propane, both gas sources can propel ammo to speeds of up to 500 feet per second. In addition to their high travel speed, gas powered rifles tend to be very accurate.

While the initial purchase prices tends to be lower than electric models, gas powered rifle owners may find themselves shelling out large amounts of additional cash for the gas refills, whether they are CO2 or propane. Gamers and purchasers tend to look past the added cost in exchange for the realist look of the gas powered rifles and the potential for added features such as the blowback mechanism. Many like the realistic feel of the blowback recoil.

Gas powered models are also one of the few options for continuing your game in the rain, with moisture not having any affect on usage. Check out post on the difference between airsoft vs air rifles as well.

So Which Should You Choose?

While both the electric powered and the gas powered rifles have many differences, the two also have many similarities. Both come designed to look like the real thing, both come with a variety of options and both provide hours of fun.

When it comes down to choosing your weapon, airsoft experts insist that trying each one out is the only way to make an informed decision. If you like the blowback feature, the gas powered model might be up your alley. If you're just starting out, a user-friendly electric airsoft rifle might be more your speed. The main difference between the two power sources really seems to boil down to what you'll be using the gun for.

A beginner wanting to experience some casual fun with friends will probably be a better match for an electric model, while a more intermediate or advanced player leaning more into the tactical side of the game will likely chose the gas powered rifle for its firing distance and realism.


Either way, your're guaranteed to have fun whether its target practicing, firearms training or just chasing your friends around an open field. Choose your weapon carefully, always make safety a priority and have fun!