Riot Guns, or less-lethal launchers, are firearms that fire non-lethal ammunition to suppress riots. While riot guns can be specially designed weapons, grenade launchers like the M320 or M32 MGL can be adapted to riot control use with specific ammunition types. Tear Gas cartridges are very common riot control agents, and are used at longer ranges, up to around 150 yards. As the gas is only dispersed at the point of impact, the operator of the riot gun does not have to wear a Gas Mask.
— In-game description
Tear gas is used to disorient enemy infantry. A player under the effect of tear gas will experience screen blur and coughing, and will completely deplete stamina, meaning that the ability to sprint and jump are impossible until the effect wears off. Tear gas can be countered with the use of gas masks, which are issued to every kit.
Regardless of whether friendly fire is on or off, tear gas will also affect the player who used it and his teammates. Tear gas is deployed through the use of a standalone grenade launcher. This means it can be fired over long distances.
The gas canister will bounce of surfaces after being fired, so the placement of gas can be somewhat inaccurate. This can be used, however, to deploy tear gas around corners and in buildings. Each Support player is issued a total of 5 canisters to launch.
— In-game description
The launcher takes the appearance of the either the M320 or M79 depending on what team the player is on. The gadget fires a Gas Grenade projectile that will deploy once it lands. The gas' effects are the same as a regular gas grenade, but it can be sent much further than a regular grenade and does not take up the grenade slot. The gas will suppress enemies and blur player's vision, as well as doubling any damage taken. Like the normal grenade, the gas will also affect the player who fired it, but will not affect teammates (unless playing in Hardcore) and will appear as a blue cloud to friendly players. A Gas Mask will cancel out the gas' effects.
The launcher's primary advantage over the hand thrown Gas Grenade is that the projectile has a much higher velocity and can be used at greater distances. As well, it allows the player to either have access to more Gas Grenades if they are equipped with the grenade, or free up the player to use another grenade type while still having access to Tear Gas. The grenade projectile is identical to the standard grenade, and as such does no impact damage when hitting a player. Its high velocity makes it difficult to use in close quarters, as it will usually bounce off target if aimed at the ground up close, but it is very effective at being bounced off of door frames or walls to affect hiding enemies.
As the launcher takes up a gadget slot, Operators will have to sacrifice a healing gadget to use it, like the First Aid Pack or Defibrillator/Revive Syringe, which will somewhat reduce their supportive capabilities outside of combat. Alternatively, the Gas Mask can also be run with the launcher alongside Gas Grenades to allow the player to make significant usage of the Tear Gas in close quarters, as the player will not be affected by the gas with the mask equipped, but the player will have to be purely focused on offense as they will have no gadgets to heal teammates with. This setup will greatly aid teammates in killing enemies however, and allows the player to be more directly supportive while in combat, but be aware that enemies can potentially equip the Gas Mask themselves to nullify its effects.
- The projectile fired by the launcher is an entire Gas Grenade model, although a 40mm Grenade is loaded into the launcher.
- The CS Gas Launcher was originally a cut ammo type for the M320/M79 known as the 40mm Tear Gas, but was cut from the final game before release. It was in the game's beta build until sometime before January 2015, at which point it was no longer available.