May 17, 2023
It seems as if the micro-compact 9mm market is getting more congested every month. In 2015, the Glock 43 ($450) was introduced, then the SIG Sauer P365 in 2018 and the Glock 43X/48, Springfield Armory Hellcat in 2019, and the Smith & Wesson Shield Plus in 2021, to name a few. In 2022, Taurus launched its smallest 11-round GX4 model, but in the same year it followed up with several models all at once, including a 13-round GX4XL, red-dot-ready GX4 T.O.R.O. and GX4XL T.O.R.O, reviewed here. Unlike many firearm category trends, this wave of new guns has consisted overwhelmingly of good products!
Taurus has been making a series of bold decisions lately: Consider the TX22 rimfire series and the custom shop’s Executive Grade 856, for example. Since installing Bret Vorhees as president and CEO, the brand’s strategy has been paying off while benefitting shooters.
The GX4 introductions in 2022 happened so fast — and so quickly after Guns & Ammo’s April 2022 coverstory on the G3X and G3XL — that we waited to evaluate them at once.
Taurus’ GX4 series introduces several improvements when compared to other Taurus 9mm pistols, in my opinion. Modern manufacturing techniques allowed Taurus to shave more than 30 small parts from the still-popular 12-round G3C, for example, which isn’t a bad compact pistol either. But don’t be confused: The GX4 is an entirely new design. G&A Editor-in-Chief Eric Poole visited the factory in São Leopoldo, Brazil, and pored through prototypes in 2019. It lacked texture and markings at that time, but the pistol was almost ready for distribution.
Developed for the American market, the GX4 is now assembled at Taurus’ factory in Bainbridge, Georgia. Led by Vorhees, the new management team keeps a close eye to ensure a high level of quality and customer service.
The GX4 series features a polymer frame engineered from focus-group feedback to afford as much control over the small-frame pistol as possible. There is a generous undercut, for example, at between the grip and triggerguard junction, and the interchangeable backstraps encourage a high grip around the tang. The hand position on a GX4 helps the low-slung bore feel even lower while aiding in control. The grip texture shouldn’t be overlooked, either. It’s like two grits of sandpaper, fine and coarse, working together without feeling too aggressive. The side texture is even molded in front of the takedown pin where your index finger would go when its off the trigger, or your support hand thumb would ride with a two-hand grip.
The polymer frame houses a serialized steel chassis, which suggests that it could be like a grip module and changed out one day for a different size or color, if Taurus or an aftermarket company eventually decides to offer optional grip modules for the GX4 pistols.
Inside the polymer frame is what I believe is the best feature of the GX4: The trigger. It’s not the lightest factory trigger in its class, but it is clean and predictable for a striker, better even than on the G3C. The flat-faced trigger moves a very short distance — approximately a quarter inch — before hitting the wall and snapping. Measured pull weight averaged 5 pounds, 13 ounces. There was no distinct overtravel and minimal reset, which made the GX4 trigger predictable. As with many striker triggers, there is a degree of tolerance stacking that often leads to an inconsistent feel, which was not the case for the GX4. I also noted that the trigger safety blade recessed all the way into the trigger face. After several high round count shooting sessions, I did not have a blister on my trigger finger.
The slide-lock lever is beveled and unobtrusive. Even with the diminutive size of this gun, I didn’t unintentionally lock the slide back. It’s not an ambi control, though, so if you’re a lefty, keep that in mind.
The magazine release is a contoured triangle shape that protrudes further out from the frame, but closer to the frontstrap. Large hands are less likely to inadvertently drop the magazines, but it’s still easy to reach and press. The magazine release was stiff but manageable, and the 10, 11, or 13 round magazines — depending on your state of residence or preference — all inserted and ejected positively.
Taurus did a nice job of providing useable front and rear serrations to the GX4. It’s a small slide on the smallest model, and 1-inch longer for the GX4XL. The generous cuts really made a difference with the smaller gun.
The Nitride-finished alloy steel slide also features a non-adjustable steel front sight with a white dot. The rear is serrated and blacked out. Notably, the rear sits in a Glock-
I have shot several examples of the GX4 and GX4XL during several events and range sessions, but the model I have the most experience with is the T.O.R.O. This optic-ready slide system features a direct-thread, no-plate system for the Shield RMSc, Holosun HS507K and Sightmark Mini Shot A-Spec. The Trijicon RMRcc requires an adapter plate sold online. Eric Poole has been carrying T.O.R.O. models of the GX4 and GX4XL personally, and has been repeatedly impressed with the affordable combination.
The stainless-steel barrel features a beveled crown, and is quite accurate for its length. In concert with the trigger, G&A’s samples produced some fantastic results. The GX4 and GX4XL will shoot as well as any of its more expensive competitors. Groups as small as 2 inches were shot not only by me, but several by Brad Fitzpatrick and Poole. When this many examples of the same pistol reliably shoots sub-21/2 inches in the hands of several shooters, you know it’s a good gun. Some folks write G&A and say that shooting a micro-compact beyond 10 yards isn’t practical, but with the proliferation of citizen-involved shootings in the news lately, one famous shooting at 40 yards, I’m happy to know that the GX4 can stop a threat at that distance.
There were no reliability issues with any of the GX4 models that G&A has shot. The GX4, GX4XL and T.O.R.O. models are all great options. In one session alone I put several hundred rounds through one gun; no issues.
With a retail of $393, the GX4 is an unprecedented juxtaposition of value and performance. Taurus has listened to its American customers. Forget what you think you know about Taurus, you owe it to yourself to take another look.
Taurus GX4XL T.O.R.O.
- Type: Striker fired, short recoil operated, semiautomatic
- Cartridge: 9mm
- Capacity: 11+1 rds. or 13+1 rds.
- Barrel: 3.71 in., stainless steel
- Overall length: 6.43 in.
- Width: 1.08 in.
- Height: 4.4 in.
- Weight: 1 lb., 4 oz.
- Finish: Nitride (slide); DLC (barrel)
- Grip: Polymer module, black
- Sights: Fixed dot (front); adj. notch (rear); optic ready
- Trigger: 5 lbs. 13 oz. (tested)
- MSRP: $469
- Manufacturer: Taurus, 229-515-8464, taurususa.com
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