Plastic VS Metal – GBB Pistol Slides

Among people who are on their mission to find the perfect GBB pistol, there’s always one question that comes up. Should I go with a plastic slide or is the metal slide the better choice?

There is no definite answer to this question since both have their disadvantages and advantages.

The advantage of a plastic slide is definitely its lightweightness. It consumes less gas since less weight has to be moved for each shot. Also the plastic slide cycles faster due to the smaller inertia. Fewer mass results in less inertia of course.

A lot of people claim that plastic slides are so efficient that they even work at low temperatures, in which metal slides already start failing to cycle properly. With this point, I don’t agree. Why? – Because there is CO2, which brings me to the disadvantages of plastic slides.

Plastic slides aren’t very durable. If you owned a bunch of plastic slide GBB pistols you will know there is one big problem with them. If you use them with green gas, they tend to break. I had three G18c with plastic slides since I started to play airsoft and one of the parts that kept breaking was the plastic slide. Even tho I used the lowest power green gas I could find, the gun couldn’t handle it for more than ~10.000 shots, which is not that long if you are using your sidearm as frequently as I do.
This is why defenders of plastic slides recommend duster gas. The problem with this weak gas is that it can only empty around 70% of the magazine properly. So there is no propellant for my plastic slide G18c which is strong enough to cycle the gun for an entire magazine that doesn’t break my gun. This is what I found extremely disappointing for a GBB pistol that retails for a whopping 170 € in Europe.

Another big downside of plastic slides is that they cannot handle CO2. CO2 just provides a lot more pressure compared to green gas. This is why CO2 sidearms are in general more reliable than green gas pistols.
If you play in a clean CQB environment then this might not be important for you. But if you play at milsims that last multiple days you need a sidearm you can count on even if it is covered in mud.
A heavy-duty CO2 pistol is more likely to just kick off the mud and cycle properly – while a plastic slide green gas pistol with a weak recoil spring tends to jam once it gets dirty.

Even tho this is not important for me personally there is one additional plus point for metal slides, which is realism. Ever seen a real steel pistol with a plastic slide? Also, the combination of CO2 and a metal slide just leads to a heavier felt recoil and a louder shooting noise which a lot of people enjoy.

While I’m a fan of gas efficiency, I changed my opinion due to the experience I gathered with plastic slide GBB pistols the past few years.
My current preference is metal slides since they are just more reliable in the environment I’m using them. No matter if the pistol is dirty or if it’s a cold winter day – My CO2 sidearm will not let me down and will shoot when I need it to shoot + it won’t break as likely as the plastic slide one does.

Now I’m curious to hear back from the community – what’s your personal experience with GBB slides and which one do you prefer – plastic or metal slide?

Do you want to read a bit more about an optimal gas pistol? There is another blog post about those.