May 17, 2021
Taurus has never been shy about embracing its heritage as a company that builds affordable guns that people want. The new-for-2021 G3 Taurus Optic Ready Option (TORO) and the TX22 Competition continue that tradition, but with a greater emphasis on accuracy.
The two guns reviewed here are evolutions of already successful pistols, and they exist as a response to consumer feedback. The G3 and TX22, respectively, were both major announcements for Taurus. The G3 and smaller G3c appeared on Guns & Ammo covers in December 2019 and August 2020, and the TX22 was the cover story for G&A’s May 2019 issue, and earned 2019’s Handgun of the Year honors.
The G3 and G3c have both proven quite popular given their improved triggers and accuracy, far exceeding expectations for a pistol costing less than $350.
Of course, red-dot optics on pistols are what consumers are asking for. The most popular pistols from FN, Glock, SIG Sauer, Smith & Wesson, Springfield Armory and others are including standard models with optic-ready slide cuts, and some pistols are even sold as a package with a red dot installed. (These Taurus pistols do not come with the optics shown, by the way.)
In case you’ve been “living under a rock,” as the idiom goes, red dots are here to stay. The dot offers the ability to focus on the target rather than aligning two sights. Emphasis is on the front sight, affording your attention to stay on the threat during a life-or-death situation. They also offer speed and accuracy over traditional sights, particularly for longer shots.
Taurus G3 TORO
The G3 is a polymer-framed, striker-fired pistol that incorporates Taurus’ unique second-strike trigger system. This allows a shooter to press the trigger a second time as an immediate course of action if they heard a click instead of bang on the first press. I’m not going to argue the merits of pressing the trigger a second time versus an immediate action clearance, but the option is there with the G3 design.
Safety-wise, the G3 has all of the features one could ask for. There’s a manual thumb safety for those who carry concealed in the appendix position or for those who simply prefer the additional peace of mind. And the G3’s trigger includes a safety lever within the trigger shoe that must be pressed before the trigger can move rearward. Internally, there is also a striker block that plunges in and out of the way as the transfer bar moves with the stroke of the trigger.
The G3 comes with a 4-inch barrel that sits in a machined steel slide. The slide is Tenifer finished to resist wear and corrosion, and the polymer frame is a continuation of the design and texture pattern found on the PT111 G2 and G2c models. The G3 frame also has a standard accessory rail molded into the dust cover, which allows users the choice of adding a light, laser or laser-light combo.
The G3 ships from Taurus with both a 15-round flush-fit magazine and a 17-round extended magazine. The 17 rounder has a spacer sleeve on it to eliminate the gap between the bottom of the grip frame and the top of the magazine’s baseplate. One of my few concerns with the G3 TORO has to do with this spacer. It fits loosely on the magazine body, and it doesn’t appear to mate up well with the grip frame. With G&A’s sample, there was still a gap that would pinch my finger, which could be irritating while shooting.
The TORO comes optic ready, and uses a rear sight plate system. The G3 slide is cut to accepts various adapter plates and screws, which means most red-dot sights can be installed. It’s a relatively deep cut, which allows the optic to be mounted low to the bore, even with the adapter plate in between. However, the pistol does not come with taller, suppressor-style sights for backup, and a mounted red dot will likely not co-witness with the standard-height sights.
The G3 TORO that I tested had been shot quite a bit by Editor-in-Chief Eric Poole. He had already mounted a Trijicon RMR Type 2 with adjustable LED, which retails for $699 and might seem like a mismatch given the G3 TORO’s sub-$400 suggested retail price. Then again, one could argue, “Why not have one of the toughest optics you can afford on a carry pistol you might stake your life on?” Poole had done me the favor of sighting it in, too.
I also added a Streamlight TLR-1 ($129, streamlight.com) to the dustcover for my testing, and set to work evaluating the performance of the G3 TORO. It has been my experience that the using lights with a red-dot sight can compromise reliability by changing how mass is distributed throughout the gun. Accessories can change a gun’s recoil signature.
At The Range
Our G3 TORO produced an average trigger weight of 5 pounds, 1 ounce, after 10 pulls on a Lyman digital trigger gauge. In its “set” position, meaning that the slide has pre-cocked the striker, there is quite a bit of take-up on the initial press. Once the wall is hit, the trigger bar engages the striker. The press is smooth and slightly rolling. There isn’t the hard let-off that we find on some striker fired pistols. The G3’s is a good trigger.
Though the grip frame is a legacy feature, Taurus did their homework way back then. It sits well in the hand, and allows a high grip, which is encouraged under the back of the triggerguard. Presenting the pistol up high in front of the face before punching it out on target helped me put the dot where it was supposed to be, and I didn’t spend time frantically chasing the dot. The shape of the grip, in conjunction with the texture allowed me to anchor the pistol down, which helped the red dot track well through recoil. The dot barely bumped straight up before settling down again on the target.
Based on my previous experiences with the G-series, I was expecting it to be reliable — and I wasn’t disappointed. During my testing, and including Poole’s previous shooting observations, there were no malfunctions. What did surprise me, however, was the accuracy. Some think that mounting a red dot somehow makes a pistol more accurate, but that’s not the case. An inaccurate pistol will still be inaccurate, but the finer aiming point of the dot can eliminate some user errors. The bottom line is that the G3 TORO is accurate, and not just “accurate for a service pistol,” as naysayers might claim. With Hornady’s Critical Defense 115-grain FTX load, we were able to shoot several groups that measured less than 2 inches at 25 yards. That doesn’t just happen by accident.
Taurus G3 TORO Specs
Type: Striker fired, semiautomatic
Capacity: 10 rds., 15 rds. (standard); 17 rds. (extended)
Overall Length: 7.3 in.
Height: 5.2 in.
Width: 1.25 in.
Weight: 1 lb., 9.3 oz. (tested)
Finish: Tenifer, matte black (steel)
Trigger: 5 lbs., 1 oz. single action; 6 lbs., 4 oz. double action (tested)
Sights: Three, white dot; optic mounting system (slide)
Importer: Taurus USA, taurususa.com
Taurus’ new variation of its rimfire is a different bull altogether. Following its launch in 2019, the TX22 became a runaway success that arguably helped many to reconsider the brand’s reputation for quality and practical innovation. Since its launch, however, many gunsmiths have attempted to mill TX22 slides to accept an RDS for plinking and steel competition. Most resulted in failure. It’s not that their intentions were bad, it’s just the reality of attempting to modify a light aluminum slide coupled with the low power of most .22 LR cartridges. Questionable reliability of a pistol that’s slide velocity is sensitive to weight changes is to be expected. To make the TX22 Competition work with the broad range of loads extant, Taurus’ engineers approached the challenge of mounting a red-dot sight differently. First, let’s review what stayed the same between the two models.
The TX22’s full-sized polymer frame remains untouched, which was already awesome. The TX22 frame provides easy access to its controls, including one of the industry’s best, and least obtrusive, thumb-safety designs. The trigger assembly is the same striker-fired system. The TX22 Competition produced a consistent trigger pull measuring 4 pounds, 5 ounces, with some expected take-up and minimal overtravel. Overall, it felt good given the price and purpose of the pistol.
More good news, the TX22 magazines remain the same for the competition model, each holding a generous 16 rounds. Once gun stores start receiving TX22s for trade against the new TX22 Competition, I predict there will be a lot of used guns being sold with only one magazine. Be sure to check how many mags are included when you’re shopping.
The upgrades to the TX22 Competition include a shouldered, bull barrel lengthened to 5 inches and threaded to accept rimfire suppressors with a ½-28 thread pitch. The supplied thread protector seals to the barrel with an O-ring, which keeps the threads clean and straight.
To mount an optic, engineers added an adapter plate to the top of the barrel towards the rear. Because the barrel is fixed and the slide weight is unchanged by an optic, function is totally unaffected. It’s a very clever design. The top of the slide has been largely removed to accommodate the arrangement, giving the gun a slight resemblance to the Beretta 92FS or Taurus PT-92 9mm.
The four included plates support the Trijicon RMR, C-More STS2, Vortex, Holosun and Leupold DeltaPoint Pro footprints. The sight plates are different than those supplied with the TORO, but Taurus does provide screws. I used a Leupold DP-Pro ($520, leupold.com) for testing.
While the frame isn’t a copy of any pistol, it’s a close facsimile to many duty and defensive pistols. Many will rightly look at the TX22 as a low-cost training alternative, but its fun factor shouldn’t be overlooked either. This pistol begs for a can. And once a shooter experiences this gun suppressed, there will be no turning back. Many .22 LR semiautos struggle with reliability, but the TX-22 Competition isn’t one of them. Recoil? This gun just doesn’t move. Put the dot on the target and press. It’s that simple.
Taurus TX22 Competition Specs
Type: Striker fired, blowback operated, semiautomatic
Cartridge: .22 LR
Capacity: 16+1 rds.
Overall Length: 7.51 in.
Height: 5.44 in.
Width: 1.25 in.
Weight: 1 lb., 4 oz.
Finish: Melonite (stainless steel); black oxide (steel); hardcoat anodized (aluminum)
Trigger: Taurus Pittman Trigger System (PTS); 4 lbs., 5 oz. (tested)
Sights: Three, white dots; adj. notch (rear); optic mounting system (barrel)
Manufacturer: Taurus USA, taurususa.com
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