Taurus G3c

Taurus G3c Review: The best budget 9mm?

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I was minding my own business one day when I got a call from my media contact at Taurus back in June 2020. He said Taurus was coming out with something new, a new 9mm. It would ship with either three 10- or 12-round magazines and was based on the four-inch-barreled G3 full-size 9mm pistol that Taurus came out with not too long ago. Knowing that Taurus can be fairly innovative when it comes to firearms design, I was anxious to see the gun, take it through its paces and write the ultimate Taurus G3c Review.

First Impressions

When I finally got to open the box my first impression was, I think we have a winner, ladies and gentlemen. Here’s why I thought so, before even shooting it:

  • It’s based on the very popular G3, with the same flatter-faced single action trigger with restrike capability. Plus, it’s in 9mm, the most common concealed-carry caliber today;
  • The gun has forward slide serrations (important to some folks);
  • The grip texturing is even a bit more aggressive than that on its predecessor, the G2c – that grip is amazingly “sticky” and the new G3c, even more so;
  • Sights are steel, with a drift-adjustable rear. The rear sights’ dovetail is cut for aftermarket replacement, most notably TruGlo tritium sights and the front is replaceable a la Glock;
  • Speaking of the trigger, I didn’t have my Lyman gauge handy but I would guess that it may be around 5 pounds – more later after I measure it (see it in the Specs). The trigger is very nice, not much if any take-up or creep. And, the restrike capability means that if the primer doesn’t go “pop” the first time, pull the trigger again. Being a handloader, sometimes I don’t get the primer seated all the way down and it takes a second “whack” to get it to go. Easy to do with this gun;
  • Holsters should be easy to find, as the gun is a near-clone of the G2c. Many choices abound. (Later: I did try to stick the G3c into a kevlar IWB holster I have for the G2c – no go. I would imagine the “softer” G2c holsters might fit it).

Remember, these are just my quick observations about the gun straight out of the box. So let’s see if they changed after shooting it. Anyway, it looks really good right from the get-go. Now let’s look at the gun.

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Specs & Pictures

First, here are the specs, both from Taurus and from my measurements…

Caliber:9mm
Capacity:Three 12-round magazines. Taurus 15- and 17-round mags will work as well
Action:Single action with restrike capability
Trigger Pull Weight:5 lbs, 7.4 oz., average of 10 pulls
Length:6.3 in
Height:5.1 in
Width:1.2 in
Weight:22 oz.
Slide:Alloy steel, Tenifer finish; front serrations
Sights:Steel, fixed front white dot, drift-adjustable serrated rear
Safeties:Manual thumb, striker block
Operational Controls Finish:Teflon
MSRP:$305
Real-World Price:~ $250-$280
Taurus G3c profile left
Gun in profile…the gun is a virtual clone of the G2C.
Taurus G3c profile right
Taurus G3c field stripped
Field-stripped
Taurus G3c frame side
Frame
Taurus G3c frame from top
The inside of the frame is very clean (except for oil, of course) – no post-production leftovers in here.
Taurus G3c slide left
Slide
Taurus G3c slide right

The Slide & Materials

Note the slide engraving and the new forward serrations. The slide is finished using the Tenifer (Melonite) process, which is a method of ferritic nitrocarburizing. This makes the metal harder and more rust-resistant. Glock, S&W, and others either use or have used, this process.

Taurus G3c slide inside
The inside of the slide.

I saw no extraneous machining marks. Taurus has really cleaned up their milling act, literally. Parts were polished that needed to be. The only anomaly I see is the part of the slide over the barrel – two separate channels are milled here. I would need to see other G3cs to see if this is the norm. (To the best of my knowledge this is a pre-production gun, and subsequent guns may look different).

At any rate, the thing worked great. Note the polish job on the central feed rail – it came like that from the factory. That was impressive, especially when you consider the number of guns I’ve owned that did not have that rail finished in that fashion. The time and effort I’ve expended over the years just to get the feed rail slick… at least I didn’t have to do that here. (For another take on a central feed rail, read my review of the Springfield XD(M) .45 – it’s interesting what they did).

The Sights

Taurus G3c front sight
Sights

…and, if you want to replace the front sight, just take it off via this screw:

Taurus G3c front sight screw
Taurus G3c rear sight

The sights are steel, and replaceable. The dovetail is a standard-sized cut, so that aftermarket sights should soon be easily obtained. The rear is drift-adjustable, as well. Serrations helped break up the glare when I shot the gun.

Grip & Texturing

Taurus G3c grip texturing
Here is the grip.

As I stated above, the texturing seems to be more aggressive than that on the G2c. I stippled my G2c grip with a soldering iron – this grip feels just about like that grip. Very aggressive, which places the gun firmly in the hand when shooting. But, it was not uncomfortable – I really like it.

The Trigger

Taurus G3c trigger

The G3c trigger uses its big brother’s flatter face and reconfigured safety blade. That’s the only thing I didn’t like about the gun – either the safety blade or the trigger had a pretty sharp edge that made my trigger finger sore after a number of rounds. If it were my gun, I’d find a way to relieve that edge without compromising functionality.

Above, I made an observation about how the trigger had “not much take up or creep” – well, shooting it proved that it did have a bit of take-up, but part of that is due to its single-action striker. I measured it at just shy of 5 ½ lbs. There was a touch of creep before the striker fired, but the break was very crisp. It’s a nice trigger, much better than previous Taurus efforts.

Extra Magazines!

Taurus G3c box contents
Here is the box it came in.

Notice on the right two magazines, plus the one in the gun – you get three 12-round mags with this gun, not unlike some Glocks. That is a welcome touch! Speaking of those mags, here they are, all lined up…

Taurus G3c magazines

When Taurus first started putting yellow followers in their mags, I noticed it and commented on it. I like the yellow color – you can tell when the mag is empty, or is about to run out. Witness holes are at the 6 and 12 round levels. The magazine is stamped “Caliber 9mm – MADE IN BRAZIL” on the other side so we know they’re not Mec-Gar mags but that’s OK. I’ve never had trouble with any Taurus magazine feeding or otherwise acting up. Look at the base plate – something new Taurus is doing with these mags is to add a bit of a scallop, a dishing of the plastic of sorts. That matches up with a similar indentation in the grip…here’s a shot of it:

Taurus G3c mag cuts

This is just a fail-safe in case the mag doesn’t drop free – you have an easier job of removing a stuck mag in a hurry with relief “dishing” cuts than you do without them. This is by no means a new feature – other makers have done this for years – but it looks like Taurus is trying to put all the applicable features it can into this new product. I think they could take even more off the frame and mag, make the “dish” a bit deeper, but that’s just me. The photo also shows off the more aggressive grip texturing.

The Barrel & Spring

Taurus G3c barrel recoil spring
The Barrel and Recoil Spring

Nothing new much new to speak of there in this Taurus G3c review. Read the full Taurus G2c review for more info.

Taurus G3c barrel feed ramp
The feed ramp is polished sufficiently – I had no troubles feeding different bullet shapes.

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On The Range

I tried the gun with a few different 9mm ammo brands and loads – here are the three most interesting:

Brand/Type:Velocity, f.p.s.:Energy, ft./lbs.:
Winchester “White Box” 115 RN1097307
NovX 65-gr. RN Practice Load1595 (really!)367
Handload: Lee 124-gr. RN/4.8 gr. Long Shot1000278

Let’s look at some targets…

Taurus G3c target winchester
Winchester “White Box”
Taurus G3c target novx
NovX

If you’re not familiar with this ammo, please read my review on NovX. This stuff just screams out of a short 9mm barrel.

Taurus G3c target handload
Handload

These targets were shot at 15 yards, at my backyard range. It was very sunny, and the serrations on the rear sight came in handy – no glare. The groups tend to be to the right on the target, because that’s how my eyes work. I was using a 6-o’clock hold – perhaps a center hold would have raised the groups a bit. At any rate, the sights were fairly well regulated for both these loads and my eyes, at least in terms of elevation.

How Did It Shoot?

I set my target stand up at 15 yards, with three blank targets attached. I went back to my bench and loaded the gun with the Winchester load. Taking up the slack in the single-action trigger, the shot broke. The recoil was a bit brisk but was nothing to write home about – the gun was eminently controllable. I credit the grip texturing and ergonomic design for the controllability aspect.

The sights were easy to pick up and allowed quick target acquisition. Empties were thrown well clear, to the right, and about 10-15 feet back. I repeated the exercise with the NovX load, my handload, and a few other miscellaneous 9mm loads I had hanging around. After shooting the targets, I broke out my Caldwell Ballistic chronograph and measured velocities – the results are above. In the end, the gun shot well and had no quirks or problems. It functioned perfectly, and the sights were impressive. This gun should digest whatever it’s fed, including lead bullet handloads.

Where Does The G3c Fit In?

If you’re wondering about this brand-new model and what slot it will occupy in Taurus’ line-up, I’m betting that it will replace the G2c. The “modern” progression of concealed-carry 9mms from Taurus started with the PT111 which then progressed to the PT111 G2, then it went to the G2c. The G2c was (is) a great seller and put a lot of pistol in your hand for about three hundred bucks. After the introduction of the four-inch-barreled G3 with its improved trigger, sights and ergonomics, the launch date of its compact version was widely speculated.

Now that we have the G3c, will the G2 series (G2c, G2s single-stack) continue? I don’t know, but if past history is any indication, the G2 will eventually go away in favor of the G3 series. After all, what’s not to like? Three 12-round (or 10 rounds, for those states) magazines with the ability to use 15- or 17-rounders, steel replaceable sights that use a standard dovetail/screw-post mount, great grip texturing, new trigger – that is a lot of gun for under $300.

So where does that leave those of us who own a G2c? Well, this shooter is trying to sell his in order to buy a G3c. I do like the improvements and the “shootability” of this new platform. For me it seems like a bit of a new start for Taurus – the gun just looks more “grown up”, like it belongs in the big leagues. I hope the reliability factor is there, as this gun could place Taurus in a position that it has never been in before. Receiving a serious look from the previously-Taurus-bashing compact 9mm CCW crowd. These are the folks who buy Glocks, Walthers, S&Ws, Rugers, Sigs. etc. – you get it – who say they’d never even look at a Taurus.

This gun could put Taurus on a new playing field if the company follows through and hits its improved reliability and customer service goals. I guess we’ll see if this is the case – it bears watching. If Taurus actually makes the improvements in customer service, reliabilty and website parts availability that its CEO claims are going to happen. It could be a game-changer for them. At any rate, the G3c is a heck of a bargain.

Conclusion

So, to sum up, I like this new gun. I must, because I ended up selling my G2c in order to buy it. Is it the best budget 9mm? Maybe… what I will definitely say is that if you are in the market for a compact 9mm and you are on a limited budget, check this one out. It should be “real-world” priced with the SCCYs, the Kel-Tecs, and other lesser-expensive guns but the build quality says it should go for more.

I’ve owned guns by those other two manufacturers (plus more “bargain guns”), but I think this gun is a heck of a buy. It remains to be seen if Taurus actually cleans up its act, but I’m hoping it will – this might turn things around for them.

As always, feel free to leave a comment below and if you like the targets I shot above, you can download them for yourself here. Now, it’s time to go to the range and do some shooting, but be safe! Thanks for stopping by.

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32 comments
  1. Another good review and well written. Mike, do you or does anyone know if the 12 rd mags are interchangeable between the G2c and G3 ?

    1. Vulcan, the mags are supposed to work with either gun, although I haven’t tried them. Should be good. Thanks for writing!

  2. Good review Mike, I’m one of those guys, Glock is as low as I go (love my 30 SF because it hides better than my H&K) but this has piqued my interest. Always thot of Taurus as a low budget clone factory. Hope this is a changing point for them in weapons.

    PS: loved the comparison guide if you don’t have it get it! Also PSS used to love to read your stuff back when magazines came in the mail. Keep writing.

  3. Thanks for the review Mike…my son recently (~`9 months ago) bought a couple of G2c’s for him and his wife. I sent your take on this to him just to tickle him a little. I’ve carried several different weapons over the years, started shooting at 6 y/o and I’m 72 now. I prefer heavier weapons than the average carry nowadays. I currently like to carry an old Star M45, but have carried everything from a AMT Longslide in .45 to a S&W 915 that was and still is a great gun after 1000’s of rounds. Keep up the reviews Mike and I’ll be reading. Sincerely–Steve

    1. Steve, wow, you like the heavy artillery! Nothing in the world wrong with that. I’ve carried big pistols a time or two myself. Thanks for writing!

  4. Mike

    For me personally….I got the G2c for well under $200.00 and a $25.00 Rebate and IT WORKS so far ZERO malfunctions after several hundred rounds of assorted ammo. I upgraded the springs and Guide Rod an it looks like the one in the in G3c should be replaced as well and the price o replace the polymer ones with REAL METAL cannot be beat from LakeLinell.com among other accessories.

    Granted the plastic adjustable rear sights on the G2c can easily be replaced and acquired with various ones from the same company and even Holographic and Tritium Night sights. are available. There is also a trigger kit and the prices are reasonable.

    If people missed out on the G2c at that low GREAT PRICE then G3c might well be worth the price. It is a PLUS that the G3c comes with 3 magazines instead of 2.

    But trading the G2c for the G3c I don’t see happening….IF I had not got the deal on the G2c, then I would most likely seriously give the G3c.

    If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

    1. Bingo, good points. The G3c isn’t for everyone – I just like keeping up with new guns if I can. The G2c is a great carry gun. Thanks for writing!

      1. Mike,
        Thanks! When it comes to The Latest Greatest “Gee-Whiz”Gizmos and Gadgets.I apply this to pretty much everything from firearms to electronics.
        I tend to wait and see how they work out and get a bit or Real World breaking in.and finding out all of their quirks/bugs/whatever issues they may have.

        They can be and function from Fine to Great to having Minor or SERIOUS issues. The original M-16 as purchased by the Father of SAC (Strategic Air Command) for the USAF along with the other M-16s issued to the rest of he US Military….The powder and non chrome chamber and bores and troops being told the weapon NEVER needed cleaning. etc.

        Anyway I bought the G2c cause the price and that could not be beat and it had a lot of good reviews. I did not think I would actually like it and I planned using it for trading off and up.

        I was most pleased and surprised and excited and most happy with how it fit my hand like a good glove and WORKED an is accurate! I still have my 1911 Government Model and other firearms including a revolver or two). (talk about old tech….LOL). Everyone of them is/are proven and I do not have any concerns of any of them failing other than perhaps feeding them some Bad Ammo. Granted MISTER MURPHY is always out there lurking and waiting to visit…..

        I had been looking for a nice compact 9mm to “upgrade” over the .380 ACP/9mm Short/9mm Kurtz. I could not justify the cost….until saw the price on the G2c.

        I have not looked back since…..I do like new things don’t get me wrong…..I want to make sure they are “Bug Free” Especially If my life depends or is going to depend on it before I spend my $$$!

        Keep writing and I will keep reading!
        All the Best and God Speed

        1. Bingo, glad you found a gun you liked. The G2c was (is) a great seller for Taurus and I’m sure they’re hoping the new G3c will be as well. Thanks for writing again. (And, there’s nothing wrong with owning revolver!)

  5. Mike, I bought a G2C a few months ago and absolutely love it. At 15 yards if very accurate. I bought a Green Laser for $29, so $229 and shipping total. Is a G3C worth $100 (50% more)! I didn’t really see much besides improved grip (my G2C fits my hand like it was custom made), polished slides, and second strike action (I don’t even know if the G2C has this, every round has fired on first pull).
    I would like to get the 9mm & rifle PDF’s w/the targets, but you seem to already have my e-mail address. Probably bought them from Cheaper Than Dirt. If I fill out the forms I can pretty much be assured I will get two or three e-mails every day from Sniper Country.

    1. Bayr, as said above the G2c is a great gun -= I owned at least 2 of them. Glad you got the sight situation figured out. Thanks for writing!

  6. If you have tried to fix a Taurus or get parts for them then you know that their customer service is terrible. I wish more companies were like Ruger.

    1. Shane, you are right about that. We can only hope that the promises made actually happen about fixing that CS situation. Thanks for writing!

  7. Recently bought a g3 for my daughter. Quite impressed with the quality. Has Several nice features all in one package. For the price i don’t think it can be beat.

  8. Hi Mike,
    The pistol-rifle ammo comparison guide. Really enjoyed going thru it and will continue to do so.
    Thanks

  9. Hello Mike,
    Thank you so much for this incredible write up; its a testament to your diligence.
    This gun, despite its upgrades, is not a stretch from the previous version G2c. The greatest of them being the G3 trigger that is now on the G3c. Since the trigger is not a new development, the cost of that upgrade was negligible for Taurus. They also deleted the in-chamber indicator that was on the G2c, and replaced it with an already existing and less useful “window” from the G3 design. I suspect this actually lowered their overall cost. And if you pay close attention, the scalloping on front of the G2c slide is much more difficult and costlier to manufacture than simply continuing the same serrations on the front that the machining is already tooled for on the back. All in all a better gun, but at a lower cost to make than the G2c.

    So, to justify the increase in MSRP by $35, here’s an extra magazine. They had to give you something, because in my mind when they encroached on the $300+ mark, they got closer to a price point where there are a number of options that are perhaps better than a Taurus. With the G2C I was willing to pay $199 – $250; but with the G3c I have to be willing to spend $250-$300; and now I’m wondering what can I get for another $50?

    1. Charles, good points. The main draw for Taurus has always been a lower price point that gives you a decent gun. When they start increasing the price, it does open up the door for other brands. Thanks for writing!

  10. I ve got a 111g2, G2c and 709, all have some inexpensive upgrades like Triggers, guide rod sets and such I am a real Fan of the Taurus, also have some Sigs and Bersa’s and others , all outstanding weapons, I think the G3c hits a spot price wise that Hard to beat ,also the performance of these ( Underdogs ) are quite impressive , seeing that a lot of ready made Accessories are already out there, thats why they are not staying the shelves long , Good review , Thank you , Have a Great day and Happy Shooting !!!

    1. Al, sounds like you have it figured out – those are some nice guns you mentioned. I know one LEO who carries a Bersa as a back-up. The Taurus pricing does tend to make it more available to folks who may not be able to get Sig, or other brand. Nice guns for the money, for sure. Thanks for writing!

  11. Any idea how to find out what hold/sight picture Taurus had in mind when the gun was designed? I am picking up a matching set of these for us on Tuesday! Just trying to get a head of the curve in getting tight groups with a new gun!

    1. Tina, I’ve had good luck with my G3c with what is called a combat hold-I used to know it as a center hold. The front sight is directly on the part of the target you’re aiming at, not below it. Most carry gun makers today regulate their guns’ sights for that center hold. Try it when you can and let us know what happened with it. Thanks for writing!

  12. I love mine. Keep Tinkering has aftermarket triggers. Bloodywheels has some different base plates for the mags.
    Do you review Shotguns???

    1. John, not so much on the shotguns. They are not my area of expertise – I do mostly handguns, with rifles thrown in. Nice to know about different aftermarket parts companies – I appreciate you writing!

  13. Mike, enjoy your writing! In my eyes, the G3c is a heck of a gun! I carry it, and a Hellcat for ccw. Now I’m not saying the G3c is better than the Hellcat, but I payed $250 for the Taurus, and $500 for the Hellcat (I love the Hellcat) I will never get rid of the G3c, because it is a heck of a pistol, and a heck of a price! And I haven’t had 1 misfire yet! Much more comfy trigger than the G2c as well. Keep up the good reviews Mike!

  14. Jon, interesting comparison. I too own a Hellcat and now a GX4, the successor to the G3. Both are well-made, and reliable. I’m with you that the Taurus is a heck of a gun for the money. Thanks for writing!

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