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What's better - gas or electric airsoft pistol?


Many airsoft players opt to purchase a replica pistol. Less often as a primary replica, more often as a so-called sidearm – carried in a holster. Having a compact, backup replica at hand increases our effectiveness on the field, allowing us to quickly draw the pistol in emergency situations such as running out of ammunition or a jammed rifle. Pistols also excel in close combat and situations where we manage to approach the opponent at very short distances. One of the most important dilemmas faced by players is the decision between electric-powered and gas-powered airsoft pistols. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, which are worth considering before making a purchase.

Electric Pistols (AEP)

Electric pistols, also known as AEPs - Airsoft Electric Pistols - are airsoft guns powered by battery. Similar to their larger counterparts, electric rifles from the AEG segment, their heart is the gearbox, consisting of pneumatic parts enclosed in a metal housing - the gearbox shell. Like other types of airsoft pistols, they can have an adjustable hop-up system and even blowback, simulating the recoil of the slide. However, it is not as strong and realistic as in gas-powered pistols.

Electric-powered ASG pistols are popular due to their simplicity of use and reliability. Simply charge the battery, insert it into the pistol, and you're ready to play. Very popular among players and extremely effective in airsoft battles are AEP pistols with full auto mode, as such options are available on the market, for example in the Cyma brand offer.

airsoft magazine

Advantages of electric pistols

  • Stability of shots - thanks to the electric internal mechanism, AEP pistols provide a constant muzzle velocty, even in winter conditions, making them reliable in operation.
  • Multi-seasonality - modern AEP pistols powered by efficient Li-Po batteries allow gameplay practically throughout the year, unlike gas replicas, which are very sensitive to temperature drops.
  • Ease of use - electric pistols are easy to operate, making them an ideal choice for beginners who are just starting their adventure with airsoft.
  • Low operating cost - compared to gas pistols, electric models are usually cheaper to operate. There is no need to regularly purchase green gas or CO2 capsules, which translates into lower costs.
  • Low weight - AEP pistols are often made of polymer (both the frame and the slide), so they are very light and comfortable to maneuver. They will also not burden the belt holster too much.
  • Reliability - AEP pistols do not break down, their parts do not wear out quickly, and they do not require meticulous maintenance and cleaning (although, of course, they should be taken care of, as with any airsoft gun).
  • Lower muzzle velocity - allowing for safe shooting at opponents from closer distances and participation in CQB games without worrying about FPS limits imposed by organizers.

Disadvantages of electric pistols

Electric pistols also have their limitations, and the aforementioned advantages for some may be obstacles in choosing an electric replica:

  • Less realism - lack of full metal construction, lack of firearm-like handling, or much lower weight. Also, AEP replica magazines look completely different from magazines for real handguns and cannot be carried in original Glock or Beretta pouches.
  • Lower muzzle velocity - AEP pistols have even twice lower muzzle velocity than their GBB counterparts, which translates into lower effectiveness, range, and accuracy.
  • Limited model selection - while in stores we can find a gas powered equivalent of practically any pistol we dream of, the choice of AEP models is quite limited.
BB's for airsoft pistol

Gas Pistols (GBB)

Gas-powered ASG pistols are extremely popular due to their realism and performance. The term GBB does not literally mean "gas pistol" but rather the name of the entire Gas Blow Back system. However, such terminology appears in the airsoft industry for simplification. Gas rifle replicas are GBBRs - Gas Blow Back Rifles.

GBB pistols are realistic not only due to their construction but also due to the materials used for production: metal, aluminum, steel, or high-quality polymer. They are usually powered by green gas (a mixture of propane and silicone oil in appropriate proportions) or popular 12-gram CO2 capsules. The green gas tank / CO2 capsule space is located in the pistol's magazine.

There is no need to fear high operating costs of gas replicas. There are, of course, "gas-guzzling" models with very high performance and strong blowback that consume a lot of fuel, and there are also models with slightly lower muzzle velocity and without the GBB system, allowing for firing a very large number of BBs on one gas charge - every player can find something for themselves.

airsoft pistol

Here are some advantages of gas pistols:

  • Realism - gas pistols are operated similarly to firearms, have a similar construction (which comes in handy when we need to disassemble the pistol for cleaning and lubrication). They have a strong GBB system, enhancing shooting experiences from the replica and giving the impression of using a real firearm.
  • Higher muzzle velocity - gas pistols usually have higher muzzle velocity than their electric counterparts. This makes them more effective on the battlefield, especially at longer distances.
  • Wide range of models - there are many different models of gas pistols available on the market, allowing players to choose a replica that suits their preferences. You can complement your collection with many iconic designs known from history, movies, or games, such as Colt 1911, Glock 17, Beretta, or Magnum 44 revolver.
  • Tuning possibilities - unlike AEP replicas, which have limited tuning capabilities, we can purchase many reinforced and modified parts for GBB pistols such as buckings, barrels, nozzles, CNC slides, or even complete conversion kits.
  • Wide range of additional accessories - because gas replicas faithfully replicate firearms, we can find countless holsters, magazine pouches, optics, or tactical lighting on the market that match our pistol.

Disadvantages of gas pistols

However, gas pistols also have their drawbacks.

  • Higher operating costs - even the most economical GBB replica requires the purchase of green gas or CO2 capsules, which is more expensive than the electricity used to charge the AEP battery.
  • Seasonality - gas replicas are very sensitive to low temperatures, so players have the opportunity to use them and enjoy their full performance only in warmer months of the year.
  • Lower durability of some elements - due to the specific construction of GBB replicas, some elements wear out more frequently and are more prone to damage, e.g., seals or magazines. Magazines themselves are also relatively expensive compared to electric replicas.
airsoft gun

Difficult choices – gas or electric pistol?

The final choice between an battery powered and gas-powered airsoft pistol depends on the preferences and needs of the individual player. For those seeking simplicity of use and reliability throughout the year, AEP pistols may be the ideal choice. However, for those who value realism and performance, as well as want to experience a semblance of using a real firearm, gas pistols will be a real hit.

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