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Taurus G3X and G3XL Offer Something Extra: Full Review

The Taurus G3X and G3XL pistols offer hybrid feature sets from the company's popular G3 lineup; here's a full review of the new pistols.

Taurus G3X and G3XL Offer Something Extra: Full Review

(Photo by Michael Anschuetz)

Some firearms companies turn a deaf ear to potential customers, ignoring the pleas and suggestions of their base. Hence, some guns don’t change much year to year. Taurus is not one of those companies. Led by a young-for-a-CEO Bret Vorhees, Taurus has changed for the better. The company is listening to those of us who buy their guns, which is evident by the release of the new Taurus G3X and G3XL pistols.

There was nothing wrong with the original G3, which just came out in December 2019. As a matter of fact, the G3 and G3c are now two of Taurus’ top sellers. With a retail price near $350, there’s a strong case that the G3 offers the best value of any semiauto 9mm. Introduced at the 2022 SHOT Show, the G3X and G3XL are striker-fired pistols with a polymer frame and a steel slide. That’s nothing earth-shattering since the vast majority of 9mm carry pistols released during the course of the last decade follow the same recipe, but Taurus found a way to pack these pistols full of user-friendly features while keeping the suggested retail below $350 (and discounted prices around $300).

Taurus G3X and G3XL Offer Hybrid Feature Sets: New for 2022
Despite the “extra-large” sounding name, the G3XL features the compact grip frame of the easier-to-conceal G3c. However, it features the longer slide of the G3. Additionally, it uses the shorter 12-round magazine from the G3c. (Photo by Michael Anschuetz)

The original G3 came with a 4-inch barrel and a magazine capacity of 15 or 17 rounds. Taurus followed the G3 by introducing the G3c that same year, a compact version with a 3.2-inch barrel and 12-round capacity. Of course, many said they wanted features of both. Some wanted the greater capacity of the standard G3 with the shorter barrel of the compact G3c, so Taurus created the G3X; it has a full-size frame, 15-round capacity and a shorter 3.2-inch barrel. Then others asked for a different mix, mainly the longer slide of the G3 paired with the short grip of the G3c. So, Taurus gave them what they wanted, too. The new G3XL has the shorter height of the G3c — content to carry its 12-round magazine — combined with 4-inch barrel and slide from the G3. Ask and you shall receive.

Common Features Among G3 Models

Whether you prefer short slides and a long grip, or vice versa, every Taurus G3 variant shares several features. For starters, these striker-fired pistols offer restrike capability. Should the initial attempt to fire a cartridge fail to ignite a hard primer, G3 pistols automatically reset to fire from its double-action mode. This would only occur if there was an attempt to fire the gun and the primer failed. Since that is a rare occurrence, many shooters would never know if their pistol has such a feature. However, if you come up against a stiff primer that requires a second strike, you’ll know that you can deliver a second blow to the primer with another pull of the G3’s trigger.

In its single-action operation, the trigger required an average pull of 5.1 pounds to fire for each stroke of the trigger. In double-strike mode, pull weight averaged 6 pounds. When firing in single action, I noticed that the take-up was long but the feel was predictable, and there’s minimal stacking. It’s difficult to find fault in a $343 striker-fired pistol with a 5- to 6-pound trigger with restrike capability.

Taurus G3X and G3XL Offer Hybrid Feature Sets: New for 2022
All G3 pistols feature Taurus’ refined trigger, which was designed for a 6-pound pull. It has a noticeably short reset. (Photo by Michael Anschuetz)

These guns are designed to be carried. Few things corrode a gun more quickly than constant exposure to the salts and moisture from human perspiration. G3 pistols come with matte-steel slides nitrocarburized in black. Nitrocarburizing actually changes the chemical composition of the steel’s surface. While it isn’t impossible to make a nitrocarburized gun corrode, it’s not likely to happen under normal use. Considering that it protects the substrate from corrosion, it is easy to understand why most semiauto pistol manufacturers are using this type of surface treatment. We’re glad to see all G3 pistols receive this touch.

Front and rear slide serrations make it easier to manipulate any G3 model, and the slide edges are slightly beveled.

As described, the G3X features the same full-size grip frame used on the G3. That design offers about 3 1/4-inches of vertical space on the frontstrap and 3 1/2-inches along the backstrap. In other words, there’s plenty of gripping surface for the biggest hands. I wear large-size gloves and my hands have space to spare around the G3X grip.

Taurus G3X and G3XL Offer Hybrid Feature Sets: New for 2022
Functionally, all G3 models are the same. They disassemble in the same way as most striker-fired pistols, but what isn’t as easily seen is what makes the G3 special; most notably the refined trigger. It possesses a 5- to 6-pound pull, restrike capability and a short reset. (Photo by Michael Anschuetz)

The G3XL has the shorter grip of the G3c, which is a little easier to conceal. There is less space to grip, but I’ve fired the 12-round G3c extensively during previous testing and I never found my bottom fingers floating.

Regardless of which grip you choose, Taurus got the grip right. Panels with molded microtexturing on the sides, including the front- and backstrap, help manage recoil. I grip high on the frame to increase control and reduce muzzle flip. The backstrap’s curve extends into my palm for more purchase, too.

The scallops, or “memory pads,” molded into the polymer frame provide consistent landing spots for the thumbs. The triggerguard has a substantial undercut which helps to further inch the hand up the frame.

The internal metal chassis inside the frame is the serialized “gun,” but the slide and barrel are serialized, too. There’s a rail on the frame’s dustcover for mounting lights or lasers on both guns, but interchangeable backstraps were not part of the design.

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The trigger face is wide and features a bladed safety lever. There’s a striker-block safety in the slide as well, though no manual thumb safety is offered.

Taurus G3X and G3XL Offer Hybrid Feature Sets: New for 2022
The shorter 12-round G3c mag only supports the G3XL. The 15-round G3 magazine can feed both the G3X and G3XL. (Photo by Michael Anschuetz)

Other key controls include the slide-stop lever on the left side, which is not ambidextrous, but it is serrated and flares slightly away from the frame within a molded fence.

The magazine release is small but useable, and it can be reversed for left-hand use.

There’s a transverse takedown bar with serrated tabs that extend on either side of the frame below the chamber. And speaking of chamber, there’s a notch at the rear of the barrel that serves as a visual loaded-chamber indicator.

Takedown was fast and simple, though it does require a press of the trigger to remove the slide assembly in case that’s important to you.

Inside the pistol, all internal parts fit fine, but you’ll find the standard machine marks you’d expect from a gun that sells for less than $400.

Taurus G3X and G3XL Offer Hybrid Feature Sets: New for 2022
The G3X was launched first, in response to G3c customers wanting more capacity. Hence, the G3X features the full-size G3 grip frame to carry 15-plus-one rounds, but the slide length makes it excellent for defensive concealed carry. (Photo by Michael Anschuetz)

Installed on the slide’s flat top are basic sights. The front features a white dot, which is Glock-like in that it is secured by a screw from under the slide with the barrel removed. The rear sight is a pyramidal sight that’s dovetailed and drift adjustable. This is in line with the current trend with sights that leave behind the flanking pair of dots on the rear in lieu of an all-black configuration for less distraction when aiming. These sights are basic but functional.

If you can’t wait for Taurus to release its Taurus Optics Ready Option (TORO) versions of the G3X and G3XL, then you could purchase a TORO slide that is already pre-cut for mounting optics. Taurus includes adapter plates that support most of the popular reflex sights.

The G3X measures 6 1/2-inches long and, like the G3, it measures 5.2 inches tall. The G3X, with its shorter 3.2-inch slide and barrel, weighs just 22.5­ounces. Compare that to the G3’s unloaded weight of 24.8 ounces. The G3XL shares the same height of 5.06 ­inches as the G3c, and at 7-inches long, it’s about a quarter of an inch shorter overall than the G3. Unloaded weight for the G3XL is 24.7 ounces, and all G3 models measure 1.2-inches in width.

Taurus G3X and G3XL Offer Hybrid Feature Sets: New for 2022
Sights are the same. There is a white dot up front and a black notch at the rear. The G3XL does offers a longer sight radius. (Photos by Michael Anschuetz)

At the Range

Taurus’ reputation for reliability has improved in recent years. For me, it started with Guns & Ammo’s 2015 “Single-Stack 9mm Shootout” in that year’s June issue; it was one of the most extensive evaluations of its kind. Of the10 models available at that time, the Taurus PT709 Slim was one of only three to go without failure. That model marked a change of direction for the brand, in my opinion.

The G3 series has been reliable throughout my experience. For this evaluation, I focused on putting rounds through one gun: The G3X. I did not have a single failure while using a range of loads spanning 100- to 147-grain bullets. Not only were there no failures to feed, the slide locked open after the last round on every magazine.

Taurus G3X and G3XL Offer Hybrid Feature Sets: New for 2022
The G3X carries the abbreviated slide assembly from the G3c, but the full-size frame of the G3. This means that it will only accept the larger, 15-round magazine from the G3. (Photo by Michael Anschuetz)

All G3 pistols — including the G3X and -XL — have an 18-degree polymer grip. (Like the Model 1911.) The microtextured panels on the sides and front and backstrap offered complete control. The scalloped memory pads on the upper sides of the grip and front portion of frame provide a tactile consistency for the thumbs, a feature that may prove helpful to the millions of new gun owners still trying to figure out how their hands should be placed on a pistol. The grip geometry promotes a high hand position, which is encouraged further by the generous undercut at the back of the triggerguard. With a high grip on the gun, you can better resist recoil forces and muzzle rise.

The sides of the grip are rather flat and lack the hand-filling geometry of more expensive pistols. An arched backstrap, however, fills the hand and further helps to manage recoil.

Taurus G3X and G3XL Offer Hybrid Feature Sets: New for 2022
When placed on top of the other, the G3XL has the longer slide. However, both G3X and G3XL have nearly the same-length grip. (Photo by Michael Anschuetz)

Trigger take-up is, as previously mentioned, quite long. When the trigger comes tight, it breaks cleanly with minimal pressure. Reset is relatively short; a practiced shooter could deliver rapid follow-up shots. This smooth, predictable trigger made it possible to shoot groups measuring between 2 and 4 inches off the bench, which is outstanding for an affordable defensive pistol such as these. The G3X could improve on that with a finer set of sights. The standard sights work fine for most circumstances, and they’re durable. Though not very tall, the rear sight has a flat front; I could cycle it single-handedly.

I found the G3X and G3XL just as reliable as Taurus’ other recent introductions. Though it has a short slide, the G3X was notably capable of decent accuracy. These are rather simple pistols, but at $343 they’re a great value.

Taurus G3X and G3XL Offer Hybrid Feature Sets: New for 2022
When placed on top of the other, the G3XL has the longer slide. However, both G3X and G3XL have nearly the same-length grip. (Photo by Michael Anschuetz)

While the Taurus G3 family of 9mm handguns is a value-priced proposition, the Georgia-based company has managed to keep expenses low while producing a competent gun that’s more than functional. There’s nothing flashy about the G3X and -XL, but you can depend on them. And now you can have your G3 in whatever configuration you prefer.

Taurus G3XL Specifications

  • Type: Striker fire, semiautomatic
  • Cartridge: 9mm
  • Capacity: 12+1 rds.
  • Barrel: 4 in.
  • Overall Length: 7 in.
  • Width: 1.3 in.
  • Height: 5.1 in
  • Weight: 1 lb., 8.7 oz.
  • Finish: Black nitride (steel)
  • Sights: White dot, drift adj.
  • Trigger: 5 lbs., 6 oz. (tested)
  • MSRP: $343
  • Importer: Taurus International Mfg., taurususa.com, 229-515-8464

Taurus G3X Specifications

  • Type: Striker fire, semiautomatic
  • Cartridge: 9mm
  • Capacity: 15+1 rds.
  • Barrel: 3.2 in.
  • Overall Length: 6.3 in.
  • Width: 1.2 in.
  • Height: 5.2 in
  • Weight: 1 lb., 6.6 oz.
  • Finish: Black nitride (steel)
  • Sights: White dot, drift adj.
  • Trigger: 5 lbs., 2 oz. (tested)
  • MSRP: $343
  • Importer: Taurus International Mfg., taurususa.com, 229-515-8464 
Taurus G3X and G3XL Offer Hybrid Feature Sets: New for 2022
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