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Taurus Gx4 Carry T.O.R.O. 9mm: Full Review

Taurus Upsized its GX4 standout. Here's a full review.

Taurus Gx4 Carry T.O.R.O. 9mm: Full Review

(Photo by Mark Fingar)

Taurus ANNOUNCed the GX4 in 2021 and quickly followed with the optic-ready GX4 T.O.R.O and GX4XL T.O.R.O. a few months later. The GX4 is a micro-compact, polymer-­framed, 9mm, while the -XL model increased capacity from 10- to 11- and 13-plus-one rounds. “T.O.R.O.” is an acronym for “Taurus Optic Ready Option,” and also a nod to the “bull” iconography in its branding. These pistols have been a big success for Taurus. 

I tested the GX4 when it came out. The design and build quality on the GX4 seemed superior to every other Taurus semiauto I’d shot, and as good as (or better than) any competing subcompact 9mms on the market, albeit with a lower price, starting at $400 for the most basic, not-optic-ready configuration. For a company known for its budget-­priced pistols, the GX4 handled and shot like a more expensive gun, which was a revelation, and why it won the 2022 Guns & Ammo Handgun of the Year award.

(Photo by Mark Fingar)

Early on, I subjected the GX4 to a mini ­torture test. After 325 rounds, my sample seemed practically new inside, and just as tight as it was unfired. I experienced zero malfunctions, though I did manage to break the front sight. It wasn’t an exhaustive torture test but it was enough to prove to me that this subcompact is everything it was supposed to be, and far more than I expected.

Taurus has since added more models and color options to the GX4 line. For 2024, it’s the GX4 Carry T.O.R.O. It wasn’t that long ago when manufacturers introduced full-­size models of a new pistol first, and then came out with compact versions and other calibers. Today, concealable handguns are driving the market. Manufacturers like Taurus tend to produce smaller guns first and then follow with larger models, which is what we have here. In this case, “larger” is still compact enough for “carry” — hence the model name.

The Taurus GX4 Carry T.O.R.O. is compact with an optic-ready slide that rides along the chassis rails. Disassembly requires the use of a flat-head screwdriver to rotate the takedown pin for disassembly. The barrel and dual-spring guiderod are removed as usual. (Photo by Mark Fingar)

The GX4 Carry T.O.R.O. pairs the barrel and slide of the GX4XL with an extended grip frame fed by 15-­round magazines. The GX4 Carry has a 3.7-­inch stainless steel barrel, is 6.56 inches long, and 5.16 inches tall. For comparison, the original GX4 had a 3.06-­inch barrel, and the shorter grip accepted 10-, 11-­ or 13-­round magazines. Officially, the pistol is 1.08 inches wide, but I must point out that the pistol is only that wide at the magazine release (which is reversible). The frame and slide are only about .9 inches wide, making this pistol flat and concealable.

Finish Work

Aesthetically, the GX4 Carry looks good; the proportions work. Two 15-­round magazines are provided with this model. They are blued steel and have numbered index holes in the back, and inside are high-­visibility yellow followers. The basepads are not exactly flush, and they have a tiny lip to aid in stripping them out, just in case.

Magazine capacity for the GX4 Carry is 15 rounds. The double-column arrangement narrows to a single-stack center feed. (Photo by Mark Fingar)

Mostly, what makes the GX4 pistols amazing is offering a great feature set at a price. The suggested retail price of the SIG Sauer P365 XL is $600 and Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro OSP is $649. The GX4 Carry costs $100 to $150 less with features such as high-quality finishes: The stainless-­steel barrel has a diamond-­like carbon (DLC) finish; the slide is given a nitride finish; and the internal steel alloy parts are protected against corrosion by either a Teflon or nickel coating. The chassis within the polymer frame, which includes the rails, is a stainless steel component. 

While I still act like I’m 12, I’m old enough to say, “You kids have no idea how good you have it!” Back in my day, gun makers rarely had stainless steel available to work with, so guns were generally constructed of steel parts that were blued and started rusting if they were not kept covered by oil! With the GX4, materials are as durable and rust-resistant as a pistol can be.

The stainless-­steel chassis inside the polymer frame is not meant to be ­removable by the consumer. Sure, you can see it through the cutout at the rear of the frame where the serial number is engraved. The GX4 Carry is made by Taurus in Brazil, so you’ll also find the serial number repeated on the barrel and the slide per international regulations.

Rail space for a light or laser has been added to the GX4 frame for the Carry model. Behind it, molded texture areas serve as touchpoints for an inactive trigger finger or support-hand thumb. (Photo by Mark Fingar)

Lockup on the GX4 Carry felt excellent, much better than the average striker-fired pistol. There was no play with the barrel fitment, and almost an imperceptible amount of movement with the slide-­to-­frame fit. The slide cycled smoothly by hand, though, even with the double recoil spring surrounding the guiderod inside the gun. That said, every GX4 I’ve handled felt the same.

Sighting In

The sights of the GX4 Carry, just as on other GX4 models, are made of steel. The front sight has a white dot, and the rear sight is just serrated and black. Such utilitarian sights are perfectly acceptable, but if you want to swap them out, the GX4 accepts aftermarket Glock-­pattern sights.

The GX4 features a serialized chassis system, not intended for removal by its owner. The chassis houses the fire-control system, guides the top round, and reinforces the polymer frame. (Photo by Mark Fingar)

Why a plain rear instead of dots? On the topic of iron sights, we are often taught to focus on the front sight when aiming. Therefore, the only purpose of the rear sight is to frame the front sight. The rear sight is like a window frame, you should be looking through it, not at it. Bright rear dots — or anything else that pulls your eye away from the front sight — aren’t what you want.


As for the oft-­repeated claim that gunwriters get hand-­selected guns to review, that’s almost never the case — except when a manufacturer sends a pre-­production prototype in advance of its launch. To prove my case, I’d point to the rear sight of the GX4 Carry sent to Guns & Ammo for testing. It was not centered in the notch; rather, it was a tad off to the right. This made no appreciable difference in point of impact out to 7 yards, and this was an easy fix with a sight pusher. However, the GX4 Carry includes a slide with the T.O.R.O. cut.

If no optic is mounted, sight alignment uses a front white dot nested in the rear notch. (Photo by Mark Fingar)

The first GX4 predated T.O.R.O. by a few months, meaning that those did not have provisions for an optic on the slide. Subsequent models in 2022 changed that, and all GX4 Carry models have the T.O.R.O. feature. Remove the steel plate and you’ll see that the slide is drilled and tapped to accept direct mounting of optics with the Holosun K-­series footprint. To illustrate this, a Holosun EPS Carry was installed. A pistol light could also be added to the three-slot Picatinny rail. If you want to carry the GX4 with an optic and a light attached, know that the GX4 Carry is the first GX4 model with a frame rail. Of course, adding accessories affects concealability and is of arguable utility on a compact carry pistol, but it’s nice that buyers have the option.


As mentioned, the steel magazine release is reversible. The slide release is single-­sided, small and has a low profile, but it functions as a slide release. It’s not so low profile that it can’t be worked using your thumb. Elsewhere, there is no takedown lever, which was intentional to keep the pistol as slim as possible. To disassemble the GX4 Carry, you’ll need a flat-­head screwdriver to turn the pin above the trigger.

The T.O.R.O. acronym refers to Taurus’ system for mounting a red-dot to the slide’s factory sight cut. The bosses and mounting holes accept optics compatible with Holosun’s K-series footprint. (Photo by Mark Fingar)

The polymer trigger has a trendy flat face, and there is the expected safety lever in the center of it. As far as safety, there is also a passive striker safety in the slide, as well. The triggerpull on G&A’s sample was 6 pounds even. It exhibited a short pull with a shorter-­than-­average reset; it was pretty unremarkable for a striker-­fired gun. The trigger reset was imperceptible, also. Personally, it seems clear to me that if you’re riding the reset on the trigger of a carry gun, you haven’t quite grasped the concept of defensive handgun shooting; the goal is to pull the trigger as fast as you can keep all your rounds in the center of the target. If you can hear or feel the reset, you’re not shooting fast.

When Size Matters

Several companies make “carry” models of their guns. Some pair a full-­size grip with a short slide — the G45, for example — which is the exact opposite of what I think a carry gun should be. “Carry” guns should be easier to carry, meaning shorter grips that are easier to conceal paired with longer slides. Taurus already offers that in the GX4XL. The GX4 Carry adds a longer grip frame, which makes the GX4 Carry less concealable than the GX4 series, but the Carry is easier to shoot.

The GX4 trigger is wide, featuring a safety lever more like a pedal than a narrow blade. (Photo by Mark Fingar)

The original GX4 had two interchangeable backstraps: Small and Large. The GX4 Carry comes with three backstraps with Medium installed at the factory. Large provides a bigger hump under the heel of your hand, both enlarging the grip and changing the grip angle. If you like the Glock grip angle (like me), this is a welcome option. The Large backstrap won’t quite give you the aggressive grip angle of a Glock, but it’ll be close. The Medium backstrap puts your hand firmly in the 1911 grip angle.

Modern injection molding (MIM) is incredible. About 10 years ago, manufacturers figured out how to machine-­produce textures that were as aggressive as hand-­stippling. Have you noticed that almost no company offers grip stippling or texturing services anymore? Modern grip textures have improved so much that the fine grip texture on the GX4 Carry frame doesn’t look aggressive but feels like worn sandpaper under your hand. It’s not too aggressive, but your hand shouldn’t slip when wet.

There is one shallow finger groove across the frontstrap. At 2.3 inches from the underside of the triggerguard to the bottom of the frame, the grip is long enough. Unless you can palm a basketball, you are likely able to comfortably fit all your fingers around this pistol’s grip. Comfort and control have been dramatically improved.

Interchangable backstraps give the GX4 Carry different personalities based on the size of the shooter’s hand. The standard Medium backstrap is like a 1911, while a Large is like a Glock. (Photo by Mark Fingar)

Everything about the grip of the GX4 seems well thought out. Ergonomically, the GX4 Carry is a home run. Aesthetically, it’s a solid win, too. The pistol has a low bore and points naturally. On the frame, just above the front of the triggerguard, you’ll find a section of texturing meant to help keep the thumb of your support hand in place. Taurus calls this the “Recoil Management Pad.”

The magazine well of the GX4 Carry is subtly flared, too, and lightly beveled. This compact pistol reloaded as smoothly and as fast as some full-­size pistols I’ve tested. That was not something I expected.

My time at the range was uneventful. The GX4 Carry ate every type of hollowpoint I fed it, but so did all the other GX4 models I’ve shot. When testing the first GX4, I shot it alongside a Ruger LCP. The Ruger is chambered in the less-­powerful .380 ACP, but the gun is smaller and lighter. I found that it and the GX4 produced equivalent felt recoil. It was shootable but jumpy. The GX4 Carry is a different gun to shoot. It recoiled softer and the longer sight radius got me on target quicker when using iron sights. It was a lot of fun punching paper and knocking down steel plates with it.

The striker-fired trigger on the GX4 Carry was tested at 6 pounds, even. The geometrically shaped lines guide the triggerfinger to the trigger. The guard includes a high-grip undercut. (Photo by Mark Fingar)

The longer grip helps the GX4 Carry shoot like a full-­size pistol. Still, it is concealable with the right holster, belt and cover garment. I don’t know of anyone who shot a GX4 who didn’t walk away impressed, and the GX4 Carry is perhaps an even better pistol than that.

Taurus Gx4 Carry T.O.R.O.

  • Type: Striker ­fired, recoil operated, semiautomatic
  • Cartridge: 9mm
  • Capacity: 15+1 rds.
  • Barrel: 3.7 in., 1:10-inch twist, stainless steel, DLC finish
  • Overall Length: 6.56 in.
  • Width: 1.08 in.
  • Height: 5.16 in.
  • Weight: 1 lb., 5.5 oz.
  • Finish: Nitride (alloy steel), DLC (stainless steel)
  • Sights: Steel, white dot (front), notch (rear); Glock dovetail
  • Trigger pull: 6 lbs. (tested)
  • Safety: Striker disconnect plunger, trigger lever, loaded safety indicator
  • MSRP: $505
  • Manufacturer: Taurus, 229-515-8464,
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