Airsoft Gas Vs Electric (AEG) - What’s The Difference?
Airsoft guns encompass a full range of different model types, brands, roles and functions. However they can mainly be divided into two categories through their main method of propulsion, gas or electric. The main difference between electric and gas airsoft guns is the way each one propels BBs, electric airsoft guns use a battery-powered spring and piston to move BBs out of the barrel, while gas guns use compressed gas as a propellant. Other differences are in costs, performance, and realism. In this blog we will compare what is electric airsoft gun and what are gas powered airsoft guns and then look at airsoft gas vs electric and examine their pros and cons between gas vs electric airsoft.
What Is Electric Airsoft Gun?
How Electric Airsoft Guns Work
In order to know what is electric airsoft gun, you have to understand how they work. Electric airsoft guns use a mechanical system inside, the gearbox contains three gears and a motor that allows the transfer of electrical energy into mechanical energy. It's a simple process that begins with a trigger pull, then the trigger contacts close thus completing the electric circuit from battery to motor. After the motor draws enough energy it will begin spinning and engage the first (bevel) gear. The bevel gear is blocked by an anti-reversal latch, so it doesn't reverse. This bevel gear then engages with the second (spur) gear, which subsequently engages the third (sector) gear.
Once the sector gear makes contact with the piston, it pulls it back in order to compress the spring. Meanwhile, a tiny nub on the sector gear drags the tappet plate back which consequently also retracts the air nozzle towards the cylinder. With this motion set, it allows the next BB to feed up into the hop-up chamber. The tappet plate will return to its original position which then chambers the BB. With the piston released by the sector gear, a spring shoots back launching the piston through a cylinder to force pressured air out. This results in the BB subsequently being launched out and down the barrel.
Pros of Electric Airsoft Guns:
- - High rate of fire: Electric airsoft guns have a high rate of fire, which means you can shoot multiple rounds in a short period of time. This makes them ideal for situations where you need to quickly take out multiple targets.
- - Ease of use: Electric airsoft guns are very easy to use. You simply need to load the battery, insert the magazine, and start shooting. This makes them ideal for beginners who are new to airsoft.
- - Reliability: Electric airsoft guns are very reliable and require very little maintenance. They are also less affected by temperature and weather conditions compared to gas-powered airsoft guns.
- - Low cost: Electric airsoft guns are generally less expensive than gas-powered airsoft guns, making them an affordable option for those who are just starting out in the sport.
Cons of Electric Airsoft Guns
- - Battery life: Electric airsoft guns require a battery to operate, and the battery life can be a limiting factor. You may need to carry extra batteries or a charger with you during longer games.
- - Limited customization: Electric airsoft guns are not as customizable as gas-powered airsoft guns. You may have fewer options for upgrades and modifications.
- - Limited realism: Electric airsoft guns lack the realism of gas-powered airsoft guns. They do not have blowback action, which means they do not simulate the recoil of a real gun.
Types of Batteries
NiMH batteries are made from nickel-metal hydride, the main advantages of NiMH batteries is that they have a moderately higher energy density than the older nickel-cadmium (NiCd) batteries and also have a longer lifespan and are less prone to developing memory effect, a phenomenon where the battery "remembers" its last charge level and starts to discharge more quickly.
Another advantage of NiMH batteries is that they are less harmful to the environment compared to other types of batteries. They do not contain toxic heavy metals such as cadmium or mercury, and they can be recycled.
Lithium Polymer or LiPo batteries use a polymer electrolyte instead of a liquid electrolyte, which allows them to be made in various shapes and sizes. They are also lighter and more compact compared to other types of batteries.
One of the main advantages of LiPo batteries is their high energy density, which means they can store more energy for their size and weight than any other comparable battery. They also have a high discharge rate, which makes them suitable for high-drain applications such as and drones and airsoft guns. Crucially, LiPo batteries have a low self-discharge rate, which means they can retain their charge for longer periods of time compared to other types of batteries, LiPo batteries also have a longer lifespan compared to other types of batteries, as long as they are properly cared for and maintained.
However, LiPo batteries do have some limitations. They require special charging and discharging procedures to prevent overcharging or over-discharging, which can be dangerous and may damage the battery. They are also sensitive to temperature and can be damaged if exposed to extreme heat or cold.
What Are Gas Powered Airsoft Guns?
How Gas Airsoft Guns Work
Gas airsoft guns work through storing their gas or CO2 inside a gas reservoir inside the removable magazines. In the case of most gas airsoft guns, you can charge gas into the magazine through a fill valve that is usually at the bottom of the magazine.
When the trigger on a loaded gas airsoft gun is pulled, a pin strikes another valve on the magazine, which then allows the compressed gas to flow up through an outlet in the top of the magazine and into the gun’s main blowback unit. The blowback unit sits inside the slide or bolt, and houses a piston and cylinder that is expanded when the gas enters.
Some of the gas is routed forward onto the BB that is sitting inside the barrel of the gun and is fired out while the remaining gas is used to move the slide back and cycle the gun. This cocks the hammer and then loads the next round into the chamber for the upcoming shot, this mechanism is identical to a real pistol or rifle’ cycling action where the slide or bolt will lock back when all BBs from the magazine have been expended.
Pros of Gas Airsoft Guns
- - Realism: Gas airsoft guns are very realistic and provide a more authentic shooting experience compared to electric airsoft guns. They often feature blowback action, which simulates the recoil of a real gun, and can be loaded with shells or cartridges like a real firearm.
- - Versatility: Gas airsoft guns come in a wide variety of styles and types, including pistols, rifles, and shotguns. They can also be used in different game scenarios, such as close quarters combat or long-range engagements.
Pros of Gas Airsoft Guns
- - Cost: Gas airsoft guns are generally more expensive than electric airsoft guns. They require additional accessories such as gas canisters and maintenance tools, which can add to the cost.
- - Maintenance: Gas airsoft guns require more maintenance than electric airsoft guns. The gas canisters need to be refilled or replaced, and the gun needs to be cleaned and oiled regularly to ensure optimal performance.
- - Limited Playtime: Gas airsoft guns have a limited playtime compared to electric airsoft guns. The gas canisters can only provide a certain number of shots before they need to be refilled or replaced.
- - Temperature Sensitivity: Gas airsoft guns are sensitive to temperature changes and may experience a decrease in performance in extreme temperatures.
Types Of Gas
Green gas is essentially propane with a little silicone oil added in. This addition of silicone oil is meant to help lubricate and clean green gas airsoft guns as they are fired. In addition to silicone oil, many green gas products also include additional additives meant to reduce the strong propane smell. However, it's the propane in green gas that powers any green gas airsoft gun. In fact, ordinary propane can be used to power green gas guns as well. However, this is not recommended since the silicone oil in green gas does play an important role when it comes to keeping the gun functioning correctly by ensuring that the various o-rings in the gun remain well-lubricated.
Co2 is the chemical abbreviation for carbon dioxide. It was first discovered all the way back in the early 1700s, and its first uses as an aerosol propellant followed soon after. Today, most aerosol products ranging from hairsprays to cheese whiz are powered by Co2. As for Co2 airsoft guns, they function quite similarly to green gas airsoft guns. When the trigger of a Co2 airsoft gun is pulled, a small amount of pressurized Co2 is released from the gun's Co2 canister. The released Co2 then rapidly expands and creates the pressure necessary to propel a BB out of the gun.
Times When It’s Better To Use A Gas-Powered Airsoft Gun
Gas-powered airsoft guns are a great option for certain situations where their unique characteristics can be beneficial. Here are some situations where it is better to use a gas-powered airsoft gun:
Realistic Training: Gas-powered airsoft guns provide a more realistic training experience for military or law enforcement personnel. The blowback action and realistic recoil simulate the experience of firing a real firearm. This can help improve accuracy and handling.
Competitive Gameplay: Gas-powered airsoft guns are often preferred in competitive gameplay due to their faster trigger response. This allows players to get their shots off faster than the competition.
Overall, gas-powered airsoft guns are a great option for situations where realism and fun are important. They are also ideal for outdoor gameplay and training scenarios. However, they may require more maintenance and can be more expensive than electric airsoft guns.
Times When It’s Better To Use An Electric Airsoft Gun
Electric airsoft guns are a popular choice for many airsoft enthusiasts due to their ease of use, affordability, and reliability. It is only natural to wonder are electric airsoft guns good, here are some situations where it is better to use an electric airsoft gun:
Indoor Gameplay: Electric airsoft guns are ideal for indoor gameplay due to their lower muzzle velocity and quieter operation. They are also more compact and maneuverable, which makes them ideal for close-quarters combat.
Beginner Players: Electric airsoft guns are a great choice for beginner players who are just starting out in the sport. They are easy to use and require minimal upkeep, which makes them a great option for those who are new to airsoft.
Extended Gameplay: Electric airsoft guns have a longer playtime compared to gas-powered airsoft guns, which can provide hours of gameplay before needing to be recharged.
Cost: Electric airsoft guns are generally more affordable than gas-powered airsoft guns. They require fewer accessories and maintenance tools, which can save players money in the long run.
Price Comparison: Gas vs Electric
On the lower end of the pricing range, electric airsoft guns are indeed cheaper than their gas counterparts. For example, the cheapest electric airsoft gun we have in stock, the CSI Airsoft STAR XR-5 (FG-1504) Advanced Main Battle Airsoft AEG Rifle (Red) costs just $129 whist the cheapest equivalent gas rifle, the GHK G5 Gas Blow Back Rifle (GBBR) - BLACK costs $263.
However, the general rule of thumb is that the more money you spend, the better your gun is. The airsoft guns that sit in the $250 and beyond range tend to be more precise, shoot faster and are generally more durable regardless of their propulsion.