Airsoft guns powered by CO2 are generally the most powerful type of airsoft gun there is, outshining green gas guns when it comes to power. However, choosing the best CO2 airsoft replica from the hundreds of different options is a difficult task. To help you distinguish the quality from the worthless pistols, we ranked and reviewed 7 of the best CO2 airsoft pistols on the market in 2023.
If you’re in a hurry:
While it’s pretty clear that gas airsoft pistols are superior to any other type of pistol out there, you still have to choose between a gas pistol powered by green gas or CO2. Although both of these use compressed gas to propel the airsoft pellet out of the barrel, there are some notable differences.
Usually, CO2 gas is found in small cartridges that are inserted whole into the pistol. CO2 guns tend to shoot with a higher velocity compared to those powered by green gas. They’re also less affected by cold weather. On the other hand, CO2 airsoft pistols are generally less durable than green gas ones, due to higher pressure. These are some of the differences between the two.
If you want to learn more about these different types of airsoft pistols and everything you need to know about them before buying an airsoft pistol, you can check the buyer’s guide below.
And if you decide to get a CO2 airsoft pistol, there are still hundreds of available options on the market. On one hand, the large number of CO2 airsoft pistols is great, since it gives you a lot of options to choose from. But, it also makes it very difficult for you to choose the best one. And to make matters worse, a large percentage of the airsoft pistols available are low-quality and should be avoided. That’s why having a reliable guide in choosing a CO2 airsoft pistol is crucial.
There are many factors to consider when choosing a CO2 airsoft pistol. Some of the more important ones that we took into account when we made this list are shooting performance (FPS), accuracy, reliability, build quality (both internal and external), value for money (we made sure to only include airsoft pistols on the list if they’re definitely worth their respective price), adjustable hop up, the reputation of the manufacturer, as well as others. You can read more about these in the buyer’s guide below.
And now, here are the best CO2 airsoft pistols on the market in 2023.
Best CO2 Airsoft Pistols for 2023
Best CO2 Airsoft Pistol Overall (and Best CO2 1911 airsoft pistol)
|Gas Type||12g CO2 Cartridges|
|Dimensions||230mm x 135mm|
|Hop up||Yes, Adjustable|
|Firing Mode||Semi-Auto, Safety|
|Manufacturer||Elite Force / Umarex|
Among the plethora of great options, we chose the Elite Force 1911 TAC CO2 airsoft pistol as the best one on the market.
The Elite Force 1911 TAC Co2 features a full-metal construction, which makes it very realistic. Another thing that adds to the realism is the ultra-realistic slide action. This pistol has a great shooting performance and accuracy out of the box, and it comes with an adjustable hop up which further improves them.
It comes with all the features expected of a 1911 safety pistol. The usage of CO2 enables the Elite Force 1911 TAC Co2 to have an FPS of around 345, which is among the highest on this list. The CO2 also enable this pistol to have a very strong blowback, making it one of the most realistic airsoft pistols out there.
- Full Metal Construction
- 20mm Underside Rail great for Tactical Accessories
- Threaded Orange Tip
The Elite Force 1911 TAC Co2 has a built-in rail to which you can add on a flashlight or a laser. It also features a threaded tip which allows you to add a mock silencer or a suppressor.
The only con to this gun is its relatively low magazine capacity of 14+1 rounds, which is characteristic of all single-stack 1911s.
All things considered, the Elite Force 1911 TAC CO2 airsoft pistol is very likely the best CO2 airsoft pistol out there, especially if you don’t mind the low magazine capacity.
To read more about this pistol, check out our in-depth Elite Force 1911 TAC Review.
Best CO2 Airsoft Pistol for Beginners
|Power||Green gas, propane adapter, red gas, CO2.|
|Dimensions||216mm x 133mm|
|Hop up||Yes, non-adjustable|
The KJW M9 is very realistic and with a great internal and external build. Unlike the Elite Force 1911 TAC CO2, this one’s compatible with both green gas and CO2. The construction of this gas blowback airsoft pistol is full metal.
It shoots roughly at between 300 and 340 FPS. Keep in mind that if you’re using CO2 the FPS should be higher compared to green gas. Also, by using CO2 you get a stronger recoil.
The KJW M9 has a great grip, is perfect for lefties too, and comes with reinforced steel parts, which increase its durability.
- Full Metal Construction
- Full Metal Heavy Weight New Version Aluminum Slide and Frame.
- Able to handle high pressured gas: green gas, red gas, Co2, Propane adapter.
- TONS of after market upgrade / replacement parts available.
- Hard Kick Blowback Action / Working Realistic Hammer action.
- Great accuracy and performance.
- Standard Military Type Tactical Grip.
- Ambidextrous on frame safety.
- Built in front & rear sight with high visibility white dot.
- Reinforced metal steel parts on entire pistol.
- Built in lanyard adapter, a spec. requested by the US military to KJW. For increased tactical advantage and realism.
- On Slide Serration.
- It’s a KJW: Marui Design, reputable manufacture and its close relationship with your#1 retailer means it will never go out of service on you. (Tons of spare / upgrade parts available).
This airsoft pistol is perfect for all conditions, both outdoors and indoors. It has a great range and accuracy, and comes with an adjusted hop up.
The KJW M9 is one of the most realistic airsoft pistols out there. In fact, it’s even used by the US military and law enforcement, as part of their training. This is due to their great performance and their realism.
Although it’s already awesome out of the box, the KJW M9 is highly upgradeable and customizable, with numerous parts available for fine-tuning it.
If you’re looking for a realistic, accurate, and reliable airsoft pistol, you should definitely consider the KJW M9.
Another Top Pick
|Gas Type||HFC134a, Green gas/ CO2|
|Dimensions||216mm x 165mm|
|Hop up||Yes, Adjustable|
|Firing Mode||Semi-Auto, Safety|
If we exclude the price as one of the factors in making this list of best CO2 airsoft pistols, it’s likely that the first place on it would have been taken by the SIG Sauer ProForce P320 M17. An exact replica of the US Army’s M17, it hardly gets any better that this gun.
The SIG Sauer ProForce P320 M17 is compatible not just with CO2, but also with green gas, which offers you flexibility. You can opt between black or tan as its color. Another thing that sets it apart is a snappy recoil.
The fact that it’s produced by SIG Sauer is another advantage since a high reputation of the manufacturer is always a pro with airsoft guns. And not only is it produced by SIG Sauer, it’s in fact one of their best products. It was manufactured as a training pistol for professionals, which is why it’s incredibly realistic.
- Metal slide with fully licensed SIG SAUER laser-etched trademarks
- Optic-ready slide with removable reflex sight plate
- Compatible with both CO2 and green gas (includes CO2 magazine)
- Field strippable with similar weight and balance to the real M17 handgun
- 1:1 replica of the new US Army Modular Handgun
With a metal slide and a polymer frame, the SIG Sauer ProForce P320 M17 is accurate, reliable, and with a great range. It shoots at an FPS of around 400, which is among the highest on this list.
The only disadvantage is that it’s on the more expensive side, but that is understandable given the quality of the pistol.
All in all, you definitely can’t go wrong with a SIG Sauer ProForce P320 M17. If you don’t mind paying a little more than for many of the other airsoft pistols on the list, this one should be among your top choices.
To read more about this gun, check our in-depth SIG Sauer P320 M17 Airsoft Review.
Best Airsoft CO2 Glock
|Gas type||Green Gas, Red Gas, Propane/ CO2,|
|Dimensions||190mm x 140mm|
|Hop up||Yes, adjustable|
|Firing Mode||Semi-Auto, Safety|
|Manufacturer||Elite Force (Licensed by GLOCK)|
Any list of best airsoft pistols probably wouldn’t make sense without a Glock replica in it. The Glock Gen 4 G17 features all the logos and details found on the real firearm it replicates. If you want a CO2 airsoft pistol that closely resembles the real version, consider this pistol, fully licensed by one of the most famous brands in the world when it comes to firearms.
But, the original looks and feel are just a small part of why the Glock Gen 4 G17 is an awesome choice. It’s a very reliable, lightweight, and durable pistol with a comfortable grip. It’s powered by green gas, but you can also opt for a CO2 version.
- Lightweight, rugged injection molded polymer frame w/ aluminum alloy slide
- Fully licensed by GLOCK w/ complete rollmarks on the slide and logos molded to the frame
- Traditional GLOCK sights
- Functional GLOCK trigger safety
- GLOCK Gen.4 rough texture technology for improved slip-resistant grip
- GLOCK accessory rail
- Realistic gas blowback to simulate recoil and slide cycling
The Glock Gen 4 G17 shoots at around 300 FPS. It features a magazine with a capacity of 20 rounds, as well as a hop-up unit. You can add a flashlight or laser to it, if you wish so.
It’s produced by Elite Force/Umarex, companies with a great reputation in the airsoft world, which received the world’s first license to reproduce Glock. And it manages to do so with great success. All in all, the Glock Gen 4 G17 is likely the best CO2 Glock replica there is.
To read more about this pistol, check out our in-depth Elite Force Glock 17 Gen 4 Review.
Another Great Pick
|Dimensions||230mm x 135mm|
|Hop up||Yes, Adjustable|
|Manufacturer||Colt / Cybergun / OEM: KWC|
To complete the top 5, we chose the fantastic Colt 1911 Tactical. It’s a truly awesome licensed replica of one of the most legendary pistols of all time, the Colt 1911. A pistol that was used in both world wars, and that is the longest running military pistol of all time.
The Colt 1911 Tactical is a full metal gun, powered by CO2, with a realistic blowback and an adjustable hop up. It has a good range and great FPS close to 400, which is one of the highest on this list.
- Full metal construction looks and feels like the real Colt
- Stamped Colt trademarks on both the right and left side of the slide
- Stamped & laser engraved Colt Government markings on slide & frame
- Tri-dot, white dot combat sights
- Front and rear cocking slide serrations
- Functioning frame and beavertail safety
- Under barrel 20mm accessory rail for mounting weapon lights of laser units
- Ultra realistic finish
This airsoft pistol comes with an accessory rail perfect for tactical attachments such as lights or lasers. It features a dropfree magazine with a capacity of 14+1 rounds. The Colt 1911 Tactical is easy to use, very accurate, and has a comfortable grip.
In a nutshell, the Colt 1911 Tactical is a great gun worth of its price tag that you can’t go wrong with.
Best CO2 Airsoft Pistol under $100
|Manufacturer||Elite Force / Umarex|
While all the ranked airsoft pistols are great and definitely worth the money, the reality is that not everyone is willing to spend that much money on a handgun. But, that doesn’t mean that you have to settle for a low-quality gun. In fact, you can find very solid CO2 airsoft pistols even for less than $100.
Although it may not be as perfect as the other CO2 airsoft pistols on the list, the Beretta APX CO2 Blowback is without a doubt a great option. With it, you get a sidearm that’s not too far from the highest-quality CO2 airsoft pistols out there, at a price that’s significantly lower.
The Beretta APX CO2 is a replica of the 9mm Beretta APX pistol, featuring a metal slide and a polymer frame, a dropfree magazine with a capacity of 15 rounds, and a very realistic blowback. It shoots BBs at 310 FPS. The fact that it’s manufactured by the always reliable Elite Force / Umarex is another plus.
- Metal slide
- 15 round drop free magazine
- 20mm under barrel accessory rail
- Blowback action
- Manual safety
- Utilizes 12g CO2 cartridges
- Includes two magazines
This replica has all the logos and trademarks of the real Beretta APX, and it features a picatinny rail to which you can add tactical attachments such as lights and lasers. It’s a semi-automatic pistol with a true double-action trigger.
The Beretta APX CO2 is characterized by good durability and solid accuracy. It’s powered by 12g CO2 cartridges placed inside the pistol grip.
While inferior to the other pistols on the list, the Beretta APX CO2 is very likely the best CO2 airsoft pistol under $100 on the market. At that price, there’s no doubt that the Beretta APX CO2 is worth the money.
Best CO2 Airsoft Revolver
|Dimensions||270mm x 165mm|
|Magazine||8 Round Cylinder|
|Hop up||Yes, Adjustable|
|Firing Mode||single action/double action|
|Manufacturer||Elite Force / Umarex (Licensed by Smith & Wesson)|
If you’re a fan of revolvers, you’ll be happy to hear that there are some good CO2 revolver options. In fact, most of the airsoft revolvers are powered by gas, predominantly CO2. These are more gas-efficient. With just one CO2 capsule (stored in the pistol grip) you could probably shoot more than 100 BBs.
The Smith & Wesson M&P R8 is an accurate and powerful airsoft revolver, with great range, shooting at 400 FPS. Its internals are full metal, and has a polymer frame. This gun is a fully licensed Smith & Wesson replica.
- Polymer body w/ adjustable rear sight and authentic M&P R8 trademarks
- Bottom 20mm accessory rail
- Ergonomic grip w/ in grip CO2
- 8 round cylinder with realistic shells
- Double action/single action with integrated safety
- Adjustable hop up
It comes with a picatinny rail to which you can add tactical attachments such as lights and lasers. The Smith & Wesson M&P R8 can be used both in double action and single action firing modes. It comes with an adjustable hop up and a magazine with a capacity of 8 rounds.
Although the revolver as a weapon type may be outdated and has some drawbacks, it’s still a unique airsoft gun that can be a lot of fun. If you’re into them, the best CO2 airsoft revolver is likely the Smith & Wesson M&P R8.
Best CO2 Cartridges for Airsoft Pistols
CO2 airsoft pistols are powered by 12g CO2 cartridges. If you decide to get one of the high quality pistols on this list, you’ll need high performance CO2 cartridges too. You can get 100% tested 12g CO2 cartridges that exceed ASTM F590 standard consumer safety specification on Evike. Here are some of their features:
- Certified ASTM F590 Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Airsoft & Airgun Projectiles and Propellants
- Precision manufactured with maximum diameter = 18.90mm for best compatibility
- Performance, quality, safety and sizing tested to highest standards
- Premium precision grade made in Taiwan or USA with world-leading equipment directly from the authority of 12g CO2 cartridges
These are available in bulk, which will save a lot of money in the long run.
Comparison Table of Best CO2 Airsoft Pistols
|Elite Force 1911 TAC CO2||KJW M9||SIG Sauer ProForce P320 M17||Glock Gen 4 G17||Colt 1911 Tactical CO2||Beretta APX CO2 Blowback||Smith & Wesson M&P R8 CO2 Airsoft Revolver|
|Gas Type||CO2||CO2/Green gas, propane adapter, red gas||CO2/HFC134a, Green gas||Green Gas, Red Gas, Propane/ CO2,||CO2||CO2||CO2|
|Dimensions||230mm x 135mm||216mm x 133mm||216mm x 165mm||190mm x 140mm||230mm x 135mm||270mm x 165mm|
|Magazine||14+1 rounds||25+1 rounds||21+1 rounds||20 Rounds||14+1 rounds||15 rounds||8 Round Cylinder|
|Hop up||Yes, Adjustable||Yes, non-adjustable||Yes, Adjustable||Yes, adjustable||Yes, Adjustable||Yes, Adjustable|
|System||Gas Blowback||Gas Blowback||Gas Blowback||Gas Blowback||Gas Blowback||Gas Blowback||CO2 revolver|
|Firing mode||Semi-Auto||Semi-Auto||Semi-Auto||Semi-Auto||Semi-Auto||Semi-Auto||Single action/Double action|
|Manufacturer||Elite Force / Umarex||KJ Works||SIG Sauer||Elite Force (Licensed by GLOCK)||Colt / Cybergun / OEM: KWC||Elite Force / Umarex||Elite Force / Umarex (Licensed by Smith & Wesson)|
What Is an Airsoft Pistol?
An airsoft pistol is essentially a highly realistic replica of a real pistol. While they closely resemble the real pistol they replicate, airsoft pistols shoot small, round, plastic BBs.
In airsoft, pistols are mainly used as a sidearm, a secondary weapon. If you’re mostly playing close quarters, you may even opt for an airsoft pistol as your primary weapon. Pistols are also great for target shooting practice.
Airsoft pistols are highly popular, in part due to their affordability. Indeed, compared to airsoft rifles, pistols are usually much cheaper.
Types of Airsoft Pistols
Depending on what powers them, there are different types of airsoft pistols. Mainly, we divide them into 3 categories: spring, electric, and gas airsoft guns.
Spring Airsoft Pistols
The simplest and by far cheapest are the spring airsoft pistols. Although the first airsoft guns ever were spring guns, they aren’t practical for an airsoft battle. This is mainly because they require the player to manually cock the gun before each shot. Because of this, they have a much slower rate of shooting and are virtually unusable in an airsoft match.
They also require some hand strength in order to pull back the slide before every shot. Finally, their range and accuracy are inferior to other types of pistols. They can still be fun for target shooting in your backyard though.
If this works for you, the Colt M1911A1 may be your best option, which is also very affordable.
Electric Airsoft Pistols
Next up are the electric airsoft pistols (AEPs). They are definitely an upgrade over spring pistols, and these can even be used in an airsoft match. Electric airsoft guns are battery-powered and don’t require you to manually cock the gun.
While electric airsoft guns are generally the most popular, when it comes to pistols, they are clearly inferior to gas pistols.
Still, they do have some advantages over them. Mainly, AEPs are more cost-effective. This is because they are powered by batteries, which can easily be recharged when depleted. On the other hand, with gas pistols, you’ll need to keep buying gas whenever you’re out of it.
AEPs are also much easier to maintain, which makes them a good option for beginners. They’re also very consistent and are able to perform great in difficult conditions such as cold weather.
All in all, while not as good as gas pistols, AEPs are an option that you can consider when buying an airsoft pistol, depending on how much you rate cost-effectiveness and maintenance.
The choice of electric airsoft pistols isn’t as good as that of gas pistols. Still, there are a couple of great choices. If you decide to go this route, you won’t be disappointed with the H&K Licensed USP AEP by Elite Force, arguably the best electric airsoft pistol on the market.
Gas Airsoft Pistols
Without a doubt, gas airsoft pistols are the superior pistol type. They’re the most realistic, powerful, accurate, reliable, and durable airsoft pistols there are. If you’re really serious about airsoft, these are virtually the only type you should look at.
The only disadvantages they have is that they aren’t as cost-effective (you’ll need to buy gas bottles or cartridges), and require some maintenance, which shouldn’t be much of an issue. If you find these factors crucial, you may opt for an electric airsoft pistol instead. But, be aware that the performance and realism you get from them won’t be as good as with gas airsoft guns.
Gas airsoft pistols are powered by gas, such as green gas or CO2. Green gas is stored in bottles, and you fill it in by “pouring” it from the bottle into the magazine. Generally, you can shoot 2-3 full magazines before you need to refill gas. The best green gas airsoft pistol, as well as the best airsoft pistol overall in our rankings, is the Tokyo Marui Hi-Capa 5.1.
On the other hand, CO2 gas is usually found in small CO2 cartridges, which are inserted whole into the pistol. If this is what you’re looking for, your best option is to go with the Elite Force 1911 TAC CO2.
Blowback vs non-blowback gas airsoft pistols
Some of the terms that you might have heard are blowback vs non-blowback gas pistols. In essence, gas blowback airsoft pistols are those that have a recoil upon firing, similarly to real pistols. This hugely increases the realism of these type of pistols, so they’re far more popular than any other type of airsoft pistols. A large majority of the items on our list of best airsoft pistols are gas blowback guns.
Still, you should be aware that gas blowback airsoft pistols have a disadvantage too. Once again, that’s their cost-effectiveness. A blowback pistol will use gas both for shooting the BB and for the recoil. In comparison, a non-blowback pistol will only use gas for the shooting.
Despite this, if you’re looking for the best of the best airsoft pistols, it’s very likely you’ll end up with a gas blowback airsoft pistol.
Other terms that you should know are fully and semi-automating firing modes. In essence, fully automatic shooting means that the gun will shoot out pellets for as long as the trigger is pressed, up until you release it. Semi-automatic means that the gun shoots out one pellet for every pressing of the trigger, and you need to release the trigger and press it again for another firing.
What To Look Out for When Buying an Airsoft Pistol?
If you’re looking to buy an airsoft pistol, it’s crucial to know what to look out for. We considered a bunch of different factors when creating this list of best airsoft pistols for 2023. These factors are some of the most important things you should look for in an airsoft gun. Here are just some of the things to consider when buying an airsoft pistol:
- Build quality – It’s no surprise that one of the key things to consider is the build quality, both internal and external. You want a gun with high-quality internal components (such as the barrel, trigger, and bucking), as well as high-quality external components (such as the grip, slide, and rail).
- Shooting performance – You want an airsoft pistol with consistent FPS (meaning that the FPS doesn’t vary too much between different shots), high accuracy (so that you can hit opponents from a distance), and a hop up.
- Reliability – When it comes to construction, metal build is usually considered more reliable than plastic. However, in some cases, the plastic can be of high quality and very durable (such as the Tokyo Marui models), so it’s not a problem.
- Value for money – You’d be surprised how often price doesn’t correlate with quality when it comes to airsoft guns. Therefore, getting a more expensive airsoft pistol is justified only if it lives up to its price. When making the list of best airsoft pistols, we ensured that the price of each pistol on the list is justified.
- The reputation of the manufacturer – Getting an airsoft pistol from a well-known brand means that you shouldn’t worry too much about its quality. If you’re buying an airsoft gun produced by a company such as Tokyo Marui or Elite Force, it’s very likely that you’re getting a high-quality piece.
How We Made This List
In order to make the reviews as reliable as possible, I’m continuously testing the products we recommend.
Out of the 7 pistols reviewed in this list, I’ve personally tried and tested 6 of them. I’ve also consulted countless experienced airsofters. In addition, I’ve looked and analyzed many other blogs and the pistols they recommend, so that I don’t miss a good product.
All of this is done to give you the best possible recommendations for your next airsoft pistol.
With hundreds of CO2 airsoft pistols out there, it’s difficult to identify the best ones. So, we took into account the shooting performance, accuracy, reliability, build quality, value for money, and the manufacturer of the numerous CO2 airsoft pistols on the market to create a list of the best CO2 airsoft pistols for 2023.
In this article, we presented the 7 best CO2 airsoft pistols currently out there. Some of the best of the best are the:
- Elite Force 1911 TAC (Gen3) – best CO2 airsoft pistol overall and best CO2 1911 airsoft pistol
- SIG Sauer ProForce P320 M17 – another top pick
- KJW M9 – best CO2 airsoft pistol for beginners
- Beretta APX CO2 Blowback – best CO2 airsoft pistol under 100
- Smith & Wesson M&P R8 CO2 – best CO2 airsoft revolver
We also included a buyer’s guide where you can learn all you need to know when looking to buy a CO2 airsoft pistol.
Although there are many options on this list, each one of them has carefully been analyzed before being placed on the list. Therefore, you really can’t go wrong with any of these picks, and it’s up to you and your preferences which one to get.
What Is the Best CO2 Pistol for Airsoft?
As of 2023, the best CO2 airsoft pistol is the Elite Force 1911 TAC CO2. This pistol has a great shooting performance and accuracy out of the box, and it comes with an adjustable hop up which further improves them. It features a full-metal construction, realistic slide action, an FPS of around 345, a strong blowback, and a built-in rail to which you can add a flashlight or a laser. It also features a threaded tip which allows you to add a mock silencer or a suppressor.
Are CO2 Airsoft Pistols Good?
CO2 airsoft pistols are some of the best airsoft pistols out there. As all gas-powered airsoft pistols, they are highly realistic. And compared to green gas, pistols powered by CO2 are generally more powerful and have higher FPS. They’re also less affected by cold weather. The only disadvantage they have compared to green gas pistols is that they are usually slightly less durable.
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