Airsoft guns can be powered in different ways, and at the time of writing – before anything new is developed – the “big three” include batteries, springs, and gas.
Each has their advantages and disadvantages, but most experienced players are usually running a battery-powered primary weapon, and a gas-powered sidearm.
And within the latter platform, there are different types of gas available.
In this particular article, we’re going to take a look at green gas vs red gas vs black gas, to try and discover the difference, and which one is the best.
Let’s get started.
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Airsoft Gas Types – Too Long, Didn’t Read
Although this article isn’t going to be particularly long, for anyone who is looking for an immediate answer, we’ve got it right here.
The main differences between airsoft gas types can be split into three factors. They are:
- Operating temperature/pressure.
- Feet per second power (fps).
- Gas gun quality and performance.
Each gas will perform differently depending on the circumstances, and the type you choose will depend on your gun, the season, and the maximum fps allowed at your game.
In a nutshell, choose green gas for late spring to early fall, and red gas for winter. Black gas is likely too powerful for most field fps limits – but is excellent for target shooting or particularly cold temperatures.
That’s if it is available at all. Red and black gas is also often mistaken for straight up Co2, which can make things even more confusing.
Read on to discover what sets them apart in more detail.
Why Choose a Gas Gun?
Gas guns have some significant advantages over their spring and electric counterparts.
The two most popular are the ability to achieve more powerful shots, and a more realistic, blowback recoil with every shot.
As such, they’re prized in MilSim and scenario games.
Regardless, most players have one of each, so you should too.
Leaving Co2 out for the moment, green gas is the most popular and common option when it comes to powering gas airsoft pistols.
It is essentially the same thing as standard propane, but has had the odor removed (thankfully), and a silicone-based lubricant added.
This means you’re not going to stink the place up when you’re filling your magazines, and the gas actually lubricates the 0-rings, rubber parts, and inner workings of the gun every time you fire.
It is possible to use propane instead of green gas – and it’s certainly much cheaper – so long as you’re prepared for the stench. Some airsofters prefer to mix their own green gas, which can also cut costs.
When it comes to pressure and fps performance, green gas is the weakest of the choices. Typically pressurized to 100 psi, it will get your shots up around 300 fps, which makes it compliant with most airsoft fields.
As for conditions, it should be used in average temperatures, making it the ideal choice for late spring through early fall airsoft games.
The optimum temperature range for green gas is on average between 50-68 degrees Fahrenheit (10-20 degrees Celsius).
Green gas will take a dip in performance in colder climes, and you will see a significant drop in fps as a result, particularly if you’re playing airsoft in the winter.
Rapid fire with a green gas gun will also result in a “cooldown” effect, which will have a negative impact on your shots, gas might leak, and it may cause internal damage – especially to the 0-rings.
As for the type of gun, green gas is compatible with a great choice of weapons on the market, and you’re unlikely to do much damage to the inner workings if running it correctly.
Check out this article on the best airsoft pistols for some awesome examples.
Green Gas Pros
- Readily available.
- Suitable for most compatible guns.
- Lubricates while firing.
- Easy to use and store.
- Affordable – particularly when created from scratch.
- Three-season use.
Green Gas Cons
- Less power and lower fps.
- Not as much recoil kickback as Co2.
- Poor performance in lower temperatures.
- Large canisters are not the best on the battlefield.
Red and Black Gas
Contrary to mistaken belief, red and black gas are not the same as Co2, and are in fact variants of green gas stored at higher pressures.
However, some players label Co2 as black gas, so it can get more than a little confusing.
Take a look at this article which explores the differences between Co2 and green gas.
These variants offer considerably more power than green gas and Co2, providing they are used in the right environment in order to be safe and legal.
Which is basically when it’s very cold. As gas performance is affected by temperature, gas stored at higher pressures will ensure a more consistent power and fps when the Mercury drops.
Only airsoft guns with metal internals can be used with red and black gas – and even then it’s going to put a lot of strain on the weapon, so you should make sure you’re maintaining your airsoft gun regularly.
Generally speaking, both red and black gas aren’t that popular in the US, nor are they easy to come by – certainly not when compared with Co2 or green gas.
Many airsoft fields have banned them for being too powerful, and they’re not particularly good for the environment. So much so, you’ll be hard-pressed to find them, and they might not even exist at all.
Red/Black Gas Pros
- More power and higher fps.
- Ideal for winter play.
- Good for target shooting.
Red/Black Gas Cons
- Do they even exist anymore?
- Can easily damage gun internals.
- Too powerful/illegal at most fields.
There is another option when it comes to the different types of airsoft gas, and that’s something called duster gas, which is the absolute weakest of all the options out there.
Otherwise known as compressed air, it’s the same kind of stuff you clean your computer with. In Europe, it’s packaged as 144A, and is more common on the other side of the pond.
The advantage, here, is that it’s ideal for gas guns with plastic internals. Other types of gas are going to be too powerful for such a weapon, and will shred the inner workings in no time.
It’s also useful if you want to lower the fps rating on your weapon – particularly if you’re going to be over field limits on a warm day.
However, it’s no longer very popular, and there’s not many players running this type of gas anymore – especially in the US.
In the end, each type of gas has its place, depending on the who, what, where, when, and how you’re running it.
And if it’s even legal, available, or actually exists in your location. Generally speaking, for green gas vs red gas, I’d go with green gas every time, and Co2 for the winter.
Use duster gas for blowback guns with plastic internals, or to lower the fps on hot days.
Use green gas late spring through early fall.
Use red gas in the winter, or if field fps rates allow year-round play.
Use black gas for target shooting, or particularly cold days.
Remember to never mix your gas – green gas canisters are not compatible with cartridge gas guns, and vice versa – so don’t even think of trying it.
And whatever you do, just make sure you’re wearing some quality airsoft goggles while you’re at it.
You have been warned!
I hope this article has helped you understand the green gas vs red gas vs black gas debate, and you know which option is best for you and your gun.
Let me know which gas you’re running and why, or if you have any more useful information on this topic you’d like to share with the community.
Until next time – call those hits, and happy airsofting!