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Owning and Operating a Gas Gun in South Africa



2021-06-22 09:49:18




Most of us are already familiar with the concept of non lethal firearms and a gas gun falls neatly into this category. A gas gun is a non lethal weapon used for self defense and other purposes, such as pest control and sport. Gas guns are guns that shoot projectiles with the help of compressed gas. Unlike live firearms, a gas gun shoots BB pellets pneumatically with compressed air or other gases that are mechanically pressurized without involving any chemical reactions, in contrast to a firearm, which pressurizes gases chemically via oxidation of combustible propellants.


For legal purposes various techniques are used during manufacture of gas guns to prevent the use of live ammunition, such as using calibers exclusive to gas cartridges, welding obstacles into a non-removable barrel and using malleable metal alloys. If you are considering purchasing a gas gun it is essential to know the legalities and operating practices associated with this type of non lethal weapon.

Is owning a gas gun legal in South Africa?


Although gas guns do not require a firearms licence in South Africa there are provisions in the FCA that treat the use and ownership of gas guns in the same manner as firearms. This can be from the moment you squeeze the trigger or your behaviour whilst in possession of your gas gun. It is vital that you know what the parameters are and maintain responsible behaviour whilst using your non lethal weapon. Gas guns are not toys! Below are some offences that can land you in real trouble with the law if not followed.


It is an offence to:


  • Cause bodily injury to any person or cause damage to property of any person by negligently using a gas gun.
  • Discharge or otherwise handle a gas gun in a manner likely to injure or endanger the safety or property of any person with reckless disregard for the safety or property of any person.
  • Have control of a loaded gas gun in circumstances where it creates a risk to the safety or property of any person, and not take reasonable precautions to avoid the danger.
  • Handle a gas gun while under the influence of a substance which has an intoxicating or narcotic effect.
  • Give control of a gas gun knowingly or under circumstance where you ought reasonably to know, to a person; (a) that is mentally ill; or (b) under the influence of a substance which has an intoxicating or narcotic effect.
  • To point a gas gun, irrespective of whether it is loaded or capable of being discharged, at any person, without good reason to do so. Please note that self defence is the only acceptable reason.
  • To discharge a gas gun in a built-up area or any public place, without good reason to do so.


That being said, with responsible ownership and proper maintenance, you can legally enjoy your gas gun for numerous activities.

How to load a gas gun

Here is a step by step guide on how to load your gas gun.


  1. Remove the magazine from the gun by pushing on the magazine release.
  2. Hold the gas canister upside down and give it a few shakes.
  3. Fill the magazine with the gas by holding the magazine upside down. Make sure both the magazine and gas canister are perfectly in line and completely vertical. Do not tilt sideways or angle the gas canister or the magazine. Make sure the nozzles get a firm seal and proceed to fill the “liquid” into the mag by pressing firmly down with the gas canister.
  4. After loading the gas into the magazine, load the BB’s. Simply pull down on the magazine and insert BBs.
  5. Lastly, reinsert the magazine into the pistol then simply cock the pistol or pull back the top slide and you’re good to go.


It is important to note for your safety that gas canisters should always be stored at room temperature and away from direct sunlight. This type of heat can result in the can expanding and in extreme cases, the can may rupture and explode.

Purchasing a gas gun


When you are ready to take the plunge and purchase a gas gun, be aware that there are many options and you will need a gas gun that is suited for your intended purposes. Whether you need a gas gun for self defence, plinking, sport shooting, pest control or hunting small game Tactical Defence Store has the perfect gas gun for you. Talk to use and see how we can help you to get the most out of your non lethal weaponry by calling us on +27 10 023 0289/ +27 84 943 1686/ +27 72 533 1511 or drop us an email on info@tacticaldefencestore.co.za and out knowledgeable team of exports will gladly assist you with your purchase.


Willie from Jhb   2022-11-28 01:32:23 / Reply

Hi i want to know if im aloud to drive with a paintball gun in my car ,only when traveling far for self defense

Cliebo from Johannesburg   2022-06-21 13:03:10 / Reply

Do you need a permit to carry a gas gun.

Willy from Potchefstroom   2022-06-16 23:28:39 / Reply

I am wondering if someone can be arrested if the police find him in the possesion of gas gun and what is required to proof that you dont use the gas gun for any criminal activity apart from self defence.
And using that kind of gun will not increase the chance to be kill by the real firearm while i try to defend myself.
Thank you.

desan from buccleuch   2021-07-30 07:43:58 / Reply

Hi can i use a gas gun if a robber is trying to beak into my property, or if i feel my life is in danger.