Looking for a full in-depth review of the brand new Taurus GX4? Well, you’ve come to the right place. I have owned and shot Taurus guns for more than a couple decades. If you have read any of my other reviews (for example the Taurus G3C review) you will be aware that I have not always been impressed by Taurus.
However, I need to state right away. This gun will be a game-changer for Taurus. I’ve never seen a gun like this with “Taurus” engraved on the slide. Let me explain…
- Affordable – MSRP: $392
- Easy to carry – excellent ergonomics
- Improved trigger – comfortable flat-faced trigger with safety blade
- Glock-style steel front and rear sights – effective and easily upgraded
- Metal guide rod – shows real commitment to quality
- Mec-Gar magazines – leading American supplier.
The Taurus GX4 Back Story
A while back I received an email from my contact at Taurus asking if I wanted to be in on the launch of a brand-new pistol chambered in 9mm. Of course! I jumped at the chance – I like to see new, not-yet-in-stores guns… what shooter wouldn’t? Anyway, I picked up the gun at friend Duane’s gun shop and opened the box.
At the time I was there, a mutual friend named Gary was in there. Gary is a state trooper in my home state and is a gun aficionado – we’ve had many discussions about pistols. I’ve gained some insight about some specific guns and their carry characteristics from him, knowledge that a lot of shooters just wouldn’t have access to.
At any rate, I showed him the GX4 and the first words out of his mouth were “This is made by Taurus?”
I think that sort of sums this gun up in a very succinct manner… yep, it’s made by Taurus.
Before we go on, let’s take a quick look at the current trend in small 9mm pistols and see how the new Taurus fits in.
9mm Pistol Trends
The current trend in 9mm pistols is to make them basically the same size or smaller than older, single-stack guns but to have them carry almost double the number of rounds that the originals carried.
An example is the new Ruger Max-9 sports a capacity of 12+1 rounds and is not much larger than its single-stack stable mate, the LC9 (for an idea, check out my Ruger LC9s review). That gun held 7 rounds plus one more with the extended magazine.
The Max-9 has not grown appreciably but holds almost twice as many rounds. The Taurus comparison might include the PT-709 Slim 9mm and this new GX4.
The Slim was 6.25” long and 4.5” high, with a width of just under an inch at .95”. It carries 7+1 rounds. One of our sons has one of these and really likes it – it’s a really decent carry gun for not a lot of money. When you compare these measurements to those of the GX4, you begin to see just how interesting this gun is.
I have prepared a short chart that compares vital statistics of the GX4 with those of three other top-selling micro compacts. Here we go:
|Taurus GX4||Glock 43||Springfield Hellcat||Sig P365|
|Weight (oz), with empty mag:||17.9||17.9||18.3||17.98|
|Capacity:||11+1||6+1||11, 13 both mags included||10+1|
*measured across slide stop lever. Actual slide width is 0.85″
So we see that the new GX4 lives in a pretty interesting neighborhood.
As we get into the features of the gun, I think that you might come to the same conclusion that I did – Taurus is stepping up its game. So, we see that the new GX4 is in the same size classification as some of the most popular concealed carry pistols going – but what sets it apart from previous Taurus pistols?
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Taurus GX4 compared with the G3c and Spectrum .380
Let’s compare the GX4 to two other Taurus pistols, the G3c 9mm and Spectrum .380.
Taurus GX4 and the Spectrum
Here’s the tiny, pocket-size Spectrum on top of the GX4. Notice how little of the GX4 is sticking out underneath the Spectrum. We must remember that the Spectrum was designed to be a 10-ounce pocket pistol – the GX4 isn’t that much larger. When you factor in capacities, the comparison gets really interesting. The Spectrum holds either 6 or 7 (shown) rounds of .380; the GX4, 11 rounds of 9mm.
Taurus GX4 and the G3c
Now for the Taurus G3c. This gun is one of the best-selling semi-autos that Taurus makes, with good reason. Holding 12 rounds and including three magazines, this pistol lends itself to upgrades (Glock sights fit it) and is very easy to carry. Here are a couple of comparison photos.
Here are some informal numbers I gathered today as I compared these three Taurus guns. I am just including relevant measurements as to gun size and weight.
|Taurus G3c||Taurus GX4||Taurus Spectrum|
|Width across the widest part of the gun:||1.229"||1.127"||0.90"|
|Height, no magazine:||4.795"||4.215"||3.80"|
|Weight in ox. (no mags):||19.3 x/laser||16.1||10.3|
So, what does all this mean? Why compare three different guns made by the same company? I just wanted you, dear reader, to understand just how small the GX4 is and to see where it will fit (snugly) into the Taurus pistol line-up. I also included some competing models from other manufacturers above so you could see how this gun lines up with some of the competition.
The GX4 will, undoubtedly, be one pistol that will require overtime from the workers who make it – I predict that it will be a runaway success for Taurus. Why, you ask? Good question. Let’s examine it in a little detail.
Taurus GX4 Features
Let’s just start at the beginning, with a look at the gun from each side…
Notice the clean lines, without any angularity to speak of. Lines are blended and ergonomics are excellent. Not to jump ahead of ourselves, but when I shot this little gun it felt like it shot more softly than my G3c. Not quite sure how they pulled that off, but it’s amazingly smooth. Also note the forward slide serrations – great for press-checks and to cock the striker for dry-fire practice. Lastly, the front of the slide is beveled for easy insertion into a holster.
Here we have the major components after a quick field-strip. Notice how the magazine’s baseplate has a slight cut that matches the grip’s relief cut at the bottom. This is to make it easier to strip a stuck magazine from the gun if it won’t fall free. I had no problems with this – the mags fly out of the grip.
A shot of the grip. Taurus has continued its texturing pattern from the G3 and G3c – rough enough to keep the gun in your hand, but not so rough that it abrades your skin. Also note the little pin, lower left – this is the pin you remove in order to swap out the backstraps. I traded mine out – I put the more aggressively-angled one on the gun… now it feels more like a Glock, as my son pointed out.
Full-length Frame Rails
Now, here is something that is a true departure for Taurus and shows that they are serious about changing their image – full-length frame rails. No more little “tabs” sticking up for the slide to ride on – these rails are serious. This tells me that Taurus is drastically upping their game. The left side’s rail is pretty much the same, except for the cutout for the slide stop.
A good shot (above and below) of the flat-faced trigger with its safety blade. This one doesn’t pinch my finger like previous blades have done. The mag release is reversible for us lefties – yay to that! Also note the minimal slide stop/release. Yes, it does work as a release – there’s just enough of it to allow your thumb to release the slide, and the slide release spring tension is just enough to hold the slide open but not too much. Sometimes those really stiff slide release springs can cause you to have to press down the release with both thumbs – I hate that. Not very usable, unlike this one. It actually works as advertised.
The slotted post above the trigger is the takedown lever. Turn it counterclockwise with a case rim or dime and the slide pops off, no trigger press needed. I’ll take this slotted-lever-takedown over a removable (read: easy-to-lose) takedown pin any day.
Also visible here is the roughly-textured area above the trigger on the side of the frame. This is replicated on the other side as well, and is designed to be a place for your trigger finger to rest when it’s not busy doing other things, like pulling on the trigger. It keeps your finger out of trouble.
Taurus has included this feature on at least three generations of their pistols and it’s a good thing to have – a passive reminder to keep your finger out of the trigger guard until it’s time to fire. Another use for it is as a place to park your support-hand thumb when firing – it encourages a consistent grip, a good thing.
The Taurus GX4 features a front sight, white dot. This sight is attached in a manner similar to Glocks’ sights – it is held in place by a screw from underneath – see below.
Rear sight. Both sights are steel. There are replacement sights available – like the G3c, the dovetail was cut with a Glock-style sight in mind. I would imagine that those sights should be available by the time you read this. Also, there is a new addition to the rear striker plate – the bull. That new Taurus logo is getting around these days!
Sight picture. The white dot is visible, considering it isn’t a night sight or fiber optic.
In the interest of front sight replacement, it is attached in the same way as it is on the G3c (and on your Glock, as well). Note the clean machining – no stray marks or chatter here.
Taurus GX4 internal engineering
OK… see the striker block? See how part of it has been relieved? This aids in keeping things running smoothly and helps with slide function and trigger pull as it engages the trigger bar. Also, the central feed rail is tapered from the rear to the front and has a cutout for the striker block to ride in – very nice.
The captive recoil spring is double-wound and uses both coil and flat wire springs. Notice that the guide rod is made of steel – another improvement from the Bull people.
The barrel. Notice the milling that relieves the top and sides of the chamber area. The feed ramp is polished – I had zero failures to feed.
And, topping everything off – Mec-Gar magazines. Taurus had built their own magazines until now, as far as I know. This is a distinct improvement. The 11 witness holes on the other side are just icing on the cake for this example of a “stack-and-a-half” magazine.
Final thoughts comparing the Taurus GX4
Let’s sum up the differences between this gun and its previous cousins. Bear in mind I am not an engineer or a gun designer, but I’ve lived with and shot many Taurus autoloaders for a couple of decades now so I think I know a little about them. Here are the differences between previous guns and the Taurus GX4, to the best of my knowledge – these come strictly from my observations. I have not been coached by anyone at Taurus. They didn’t want to talk about this gun in much detail before the publication deadline passed (which figures) so I was on my own.
Another point I need to make is that the G3 and G2/G3c had started making some of these changes so those guns include some of these listed GX4 features, but it’s only in the GX4 that I see them completed and fully integrated into the new gun.
|Feature||Previous Guns||Taurus GX4|
|Grip/Ergos:||Angular, not well textured, sharp edges||Smooth line, nice texturing|
|Frame Guide Rails:||Partial-length, 4||Full-length, 2|
|Barrel:||Alloy steel||Blackened stainless steel|
|Finish:||Nitride or other process||Tenifer|
|Sights:||Plastic, rear adjustable||Steel, replaceable|
|Recoil Spring & Guide Rod:||Coil wire-wound, plastic rod||Flat and coil wire, steel, captive with steel rod|
|Striker Block:||Round, flat, not relieved||Relieved and optimized|
|Trigger:||DAO or DA/DA/re-strike||SAO, cleaner trigger pull - seems lighter than it is; flat-faced|
|Magazines:||Built in-house||Supplied by Mec-Gar|
|Backstrap:||Built-in, not changeable||Extra, replaceable backstrap included|
There are things that can’t be quantified about this gun, as well. It just feels different in the hand. This is a subjective thing that will be different for every shooter but the gun fits me and is fun to shoot.
Speaking of shooting, let’s look at that experience…
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Shooting the Taurus GX4
Let me state right off the bat that I think this gun shoots “easier” than my G3c. How I define easier is that it doesn’t feel like it kicks as much. How’s that for scientific? I really can’t explain it – I just know how it feels when I shoot it.
The gun put all the bullets on all the targets, in mostly the right places so the handling definitely aids in shooting accurately. I am convinced that the grip design has a lot to do with it – I can’t put my finger on it but the thing just fits really well. This is taking into account that the GX4 is what I call a “2-and-a-half-finger” gun – the grip allows two full fingers plus about half of my pinkie to be placed on it.
Now that I have a little more factory 9mm ammo, I was able to get a better idea of what the GX4 was capable of doing with those factory loads (and, of course, I had to shoot my favorite handload just for giggles but I didn’t include it here). At least I had fun shooting it – I’ll still swear it kicked less than my G3c, which is a larger and heavier gun. At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
Here are a couple of 20-yard targets I shot. The gun is accurate (probably more so than I am) given that it has in essence only a three-inch barrel and a really short grip that doesn’t allow you to grip the gun fully. Even so, it works well. It was fun to shoot. A thought — if I had more ammo, I could’ve really narrowed the groups down. I hate having to limit my shooting because it doesn’t really show the gun off to its fullest extent. But, c’est la vie – such is the situation now. Hopefully it will get better in the future.
Thanks to Fiocchi for providing ammo – this is really good stuff. When it re-appears on your local dealer’s shelf, pick some up – you won’t be disappointed. It’s not expensive, and it works. Plus, it’s all made here in the U.S. Handloaders – they even sell primers and those work very well.
Now is a good time to look at the GX4’s specifications. Remember that this review is being written before there is any information online about this gun, so I took what I could from the owner’s manual and my own measurements.
Taurus G4X Specs
|Action:||Single Action Only (SAO)|
|Capacity:||11 + 1, two MecGar magazines included|
|Width:||1.13”, measured at the slide stop lever; slide is narrower (.85”)|
|Weight:||17.9 oz. with empty mag; 22.2 oz. with loaded mag (11 124-grain cartridges.); 16.1 oz., no |
mag-all are my measurements
|Trigger Pull:||5 lbs., 13 oz. measured. About ¼” take-up, very little creep, distinct break|
|Sights:||Serrated steel rear, windage adjustable; Steel front white dot|
|Materials:||Slide: Black Tenifer-coated alloy steel or stainless steel; Barrel: Satin black stainless steel|
|Safety:||Striker block; trigger safety; loaded chamber indicator|
|Features:||Reversible magazine release; extra backstrap|
|"Real-World" Price:||Too soon to tell|
I really think that Taurus won’t be able to build these things fast enough. When you consider that this gun shares many features with more expensive, similar pistols for around half their price, you tend to think you’re holding a winner in your hand.
Two things really impressed me, really stood out (well, more than two but these are at the top of the list). They are the full-length slide rails and the steel recoil spring guide rod with its flat-wire-wound spring. These are features that you usually see on pistols at the top of the food chain, not on a gun meant to sell for a bit more than $300.
Of course, the steel replaceable sights, the extra backstrap, the improved trigger and the impressive 11-round capacity all go together to make this gun remarkable. However, the first two features I named knock it out of the park as far as I’m concerned.
Looking to buy a Sig Sauer P365 or Springfield Armory Hellcat-sized gun but your budget won’t allow it? Like the micro-compact size but with the increased capacity these guns sport?
Take a look at the GX4. By the time you read this, they should be shipping. I would imagine that a real-world price might be in the neighborhood of $325-$350, but time will tell. I do know that I was well and truly impressed with this gun – it fits in a pocket, it carries 12 rounds of 9mm, it’s accurate, it has sights that work and its grip is adaptable to your hand.
What’s not to like? If you own one of these, please let us hear from you below. As always, keep ‘em in the black and stay safe!