For years, Taurus’ semi-automatic, striker-fired handguns have been the ones I’ve wanted to love; after all, models such as the G2 and G3 seem to have every feature a concealed carrier could want, including desirable size, capacity, sights, grips and, most notably, price tag.
But, each time, they left me brokenhearted.
Features and specifications on a website can be vastly different from actual performance on a range. Taurus’ striker-fired guns have historically lacked the smooth, quality feel of the higher-priced guns. Over time, “rough-around-the-edges” typically translates to more jams, wider groups and diminished owner pride; therefore, my pick for daily carry went to a more-expensive gun. So, when Taurus introduced its GX4 high-cap carry gun, I was skeptical.
After testing, however, I believe the GX4 is the best polymer handgun Taurus has ever produced, and indeed may change the perception and trajectory of the company into the future. Perhaps most impressive is that Taurus produced it while maintaining its familiar sub-premium-tier pricing. How’d they do it?
“Taurus’ Brazilian and American engineers didn’t just improve upon old designs, but started with a blank sheet of paper and a directive to build the perfect carry gun,” said Mark Sidelinger, a marketing representative for Taurus.
After some digging, I discovered those engineers had reduced the number of parts required on the GX4. The G3 contains 56 parts; the GX4 has 48. Fewer parts usually means simpler, smoother and more-reliable functioning.
The GX4 is a micro-compact, striker-fired, polymer-framed handgun with a double-stack magazine. I call this popular new category “micro-compact double-stack.” SIG led this revolution with its P365, and most of the major players soon followed. These guns weigh about 18 ounces and are only about one inch wide, meaning they are true carry guns that can be concealed easily, yet give enough grip space, heft, accuracy, reliability and magazine capacity to use as your primary arm.
The GX4’s specifications all fit in the micro-compact double-stack category. It has a loaded-chamber window and a heavily serrated and muzzle-beveled steel slide. It possesses no manual safety. All steel parts are nitride-finished for rust protection—critical in a carry gun. It straightforwardly disassembles via a small slotted pin on the right side of the frame.
The belly of the GX4’s grip measures exactly 2 inches from under the trigger guard to the end of the flush-fitting magazine, providing just enough space for my index, ring and pinky fingers. I have medium- sized hands, however, so those with big hands might need to hook their pinky under the bottom of the magazine. The grip features 360 degrees of fine-grit stippling and thumb index panels for the support hand. Its backstrap is modular for two fit sizes. The GX4’s narrow beavertail allows for a high-bore grip that mitigates muzzle flip. The triangular magazine release is placed perfectly above the index finger so the thumb can access it effortlessly. This can be moved to the right side for lefties.
Engineers clearly poured energy into the GX4’s flat-faced two-stage trigger. While its pull-weight measured 6 lbs., 6 oz., this trigger with a safety blade is much crisper and cleaner than most two-stagers out there. Reset is short and tangible. The gun ships with two 11-round magazines, but a 13-rounder is available. It comes with robust steel sights. (While the no-nonsense sights are great, I’d still upgrade to Tritium.)
The GX4’s molded polymer frame is fortified with an internal chassis/trigger group featuring dual metal raceways on which the slide rides.
As always, the true test of this new relationship would be on the range.
After 500 rounds, I experienced zero failures with the GX4. I found the grip excellent; my hands never slid even sweating in July heat. The gun’s trigger felt superior to some popular models from other gun makers. At 10 yards, I averaged 1.4-inch groups. Rapid-fire on 7-yard plates was easy, as were tactical magazine changes, thanks to the gun’s energetic magazine release. I hit 6-inch plates at 35 yards. I fired it one-handed with both left and right hands to good effect.
The GX4’s recoil is noticeable—there’s no getting around physics with an 18-ounce gun—but it was mitigated nicely thanks to its dual spring guide rod and the grip’s great fit, effective stippling and high-bore design.
As far as complaints, I have only one: If Taurus wished to beat the best and trendiest carry guns, why not cut the slide for an optic? I assume Taurus hopes to sell an optic-ready version soon, but why not swing for the fences now?
In sum, the GX4 performs as well or better than the highest-priced guns in this hot category. I actually like it better than others because of its grip angle and trigger. What’s more, at $392 MSRP, it’s priced $100 to $200 less than its competition.
Article by Jeff Johnston