I think it’s safe to say that the days when compact semi-automatic pistols were considered a compromise on quality are over.
Nowadays, manufacturers like Ruger and SIG Sauer are on a streak with reliable concealed carry handguns. They constantly come up with new ways to produce cost-effective models with excellent triggers and well-made machinery instead of plastic firing pins and questionable safeties.
That’s why, in today’s pistol review, I’ll be covering the Taurus GX4 9mm, Taurus’ new micro-compact addition to their budget handgun line of small, striker-fired semi-autos.
I had the chance to shoot one of these, and after several sessions, I decided that it’s high time to do a Taurus GX4 review for all of you looking for a new budget handgun for concealed carry purposes.
We’ll talk about its features, overall feel, where it flops, where it excels, and add some ammo recommendations, as well as alternative EDC pistols for comparison.
I know what you’re thinking, and yes, it’s a definite improvement over the Taurus G3C or the Taurus G2C. It’s smaller, the trigger and grip feel nicer, and more importantly, it has an 11+1-round capacity. But, how’s that possible?
Read on to see if the hundred-dollar jump for this new Taurus micro-compact addition is really worth it.
Taurus’ Idea Behind the GX4
An interesting trend emerged in the handgun market over the past years; prominent handgun manufacturers are unveiling innovative compact 9mm models with a 10 or 11-round capacity with single-stack magazines, or the “slim-line nine,” as they call it.
Striker-fired handguns with a polymer frame, usually with a 3.06-inch barrel, and single-column magazines that can accommodate from 7 to 11 9mm rounds, suitable for concealed carry, are all the craze nowadays.
Now, the Brazilian manufacturer went in with a racehorse of their own. The Taurus GX4 appeared on the market months ago (May 2021). Although Taurus has been receiving slack for their budget handguns, I believe that the GX4 is a fantastic addition to the G series.
The main idea is to make the standard, single-stack 9mm pistols roughly the same size while retaining their additional rounds in the magazine. It sounds crazy, but it really works.
If you want to go even smaller than 3-inch barrels, take a good look at our round-up of the best pocket pistols of 2021.
Let’s check out the details.
Overview – Taurus GX4 Semi-Automatic 9mm Luger
The GX4 is a striker-fired semi-auto (SAO) 9mm pistol with a 3.06-inch barrel, specifically designed for concealed carry ergonomics. Still, you can freely use it as a standard choice for the ranges.
With your purchase, you get a hard case, two 11-round mags, a GX4 manual, and one extra backstrap that can be easily replaced with a removable pin.
There’s also a slightly more expensive one with a Coyote/Brown finish and an optics-ready version—the T.O.R.O. You’re also covered with a good old Limited Lifetime Warranty by Taurus.
If you’re looking for a subcompact with a better trigger and cycling, check out our review of the Canik TP9 Elite SC here.
Here are the contours and overall feel of the GX4.
Design, Grip, and Ergonomics
From an aesthetic aspect, the GX4 differs a lot from the G2C and G3C models.
The reduced size design with additional rounds is the highlight of this Taurus model. The overall length is 5.8 inches and the 1-inch width makes sure it doesn’t print on loose clothing.
Additionally, the larger trigger guard means it can fit most gloved fingers.
It has a well-made polymer grip frame with anti-corrosion properties, and the internal chassis is stainless-steel which is important for reliability and stable shooting.
The chassis has two rails that keep the slide assembly stable, unlike regular striker-fired poly pistols with four short ones. This is a major departure for Taurus designs, which means that they’re really trying to make this work.
The stainless steel slide has a corrosion-resistant gas-nitride finish that’s serrated on the front and back, making operation a cinch.
The grip’s surface has decent coverage on the front strap, backstrap, and sides. If your palms sweat a lot, you’ll really appreciate the grip. For comparison, it’s shorter than the Sig P365.
Just like most of its edges, it has a beveled muzzle end for smooth holstering that further enhances the no-snag aesthetics that are fantastic for EDC.
The brand new flat face trigger makes the Taurus GX4 feel like an expensive pistol.
It has a serrated safety lever that breaks around the 6-pound mark and has a quarter-inch take-up with a crisp break which is, quite honestly, one of the best triggers I’ve experienced on a Taurus.
The reset is tactile and not too long, and there’s a little creep before you break the trigger with no overtravel. Once the trigger is a tiny bit over half an inch, it resets.
For comparison, the Smith & Wesson Shield Plus averages around 5 pounds, while the Ruger Max-9 has a 4.5-pound trigger pull. The backstrap has a little palm swell, but swapping it doesn’t affect trigger reach.
Additionally, Taurus gave us helpful features called “indexing” and “recoil management pads.” They’re little areas for your index and thumb with grips that allow you even more control and stability.
Overall, the second-best feature of the Taurus GX4 is the trigger. It’s a true Goldilocks when it comes to creep, travel, and trigger pull weight. It just feels perfect at the ranges if you’re going for lightning-fast follow-up shots.
Moving on to the magazine and safeties.
Magazine and Racking
With your purchase, you get two fresh magazines for your GX4. Let me first warn you that when inserting a new one, it’s easy to pinch the edge of your hand, so be very careful—it stings.
The springs are generally light enough and load the rounds without a problem, but if they’re too stiff, use a speed loader like the MakerShot for the Taurus GX4.
There’s also the grippy section for your fingers that allows a thumbs-forward grip, like we mentioned above. If you happen to get the magazine stuck, you have the frame cuts on the sides of the mag that allows you to rip it off and release it.
I think that medium or larger hands might find it a bit troublesome to grasp because of the flush-fitting magazine that’s annoying the pinkie finger. If you’re struggling, there’s a 13-round magazine with a bumper that will take care of this problem.
There’s also a bottom lip on the magazine to prevent any accidental mag drops if you have larger hands, and this is frequent on most flush-fit magazines.
I have to first address the major improvement Taurus made for the safety of the GX4, and that’s removing the manual safety. No one liked them, and Taurus listened, so points for that.
Controls on the GX4 feel solid and reliable. The slide stop is very easy to operate on the thumb, so you won’t need two hands to manipulate the otherwise hard-to-push slide on this compact pistol, which is a very important aspect for many.
It has a striker block, trigger safety, and a witness hole for round checking. The beveled ejection port at the rear has an oversized extractor claw for smooth cycling.
Another good feature is the reversible magazine release which most lefties can appreciate. A safety lever within the trigger works via lateral pressure to prevent accidental discharge.
The internal parts with a Teflon coating make sure the reversible mag release is smooth and durable, which makes sense for a compact pistol this small.
Slide racking is really easy with its recoil spring, and the medium-deep serrations on the front and back are a nice touch.
Just remember that when you insert the magazine, the slide will stay locked back, so you’ll need to hit it after a reload, and the slide will move forward.
Overall, the Taurus operates pretty well, the slide is easy to rack, the slide lock is far superior to most compact pistols, and the magazine release is decent.
There is nothing much to say about the factory sights; front fixed-steel white dot sights and rear serrated drift-adjustable sights that look like Glock ripoffs, except the white dots don’t glow.
Concealed carry pistols like the Taurus GX4 are tailored for self-defense and application in ranges around 25 yards, so there’s not much use to add improved sights like you would on a 1911 handgun.
If you want to replace the stock sights, it’s pretty easy to do so, and the slide cuts for the sights are compatible with Glock aftermarket sights, so you’re in luck. That being said, I wouldn’t change much.
One major downside is that this pistol doesn’t have a very necessary optic plate. I don’t know why Taurus neglected to give you the option of aftermarket sights, but I guess that’s what T.O.R.O. is for.
If you don’t like those sights, just install that missing adapter plate on your GX4 and buy yourself a Trijicon RMRcc. I highly recommend it.
The factory sights offer decent accuracy around the 20 to 25-yard mark and expect 2-inch groups at 8 yards with slight straying. Still, they’re an improvement over the polymer ones on the former models.
Shooting and Ammo Recommendation
To my honest surprise, shooting the GX4 was more than smooth. It was fun.
I expected snappy kicks while I tried to stay within three inches on the 20-yard mark. What I got was rapid follow-up shots with manageable recoil. Once again, I have to mention how the trigger and ergonomics worked together for an overall enjoyable experience shooting the GX4.
These loads are really good, and they all ran with zero hiccups; no feeding or chambering failures or ejection issues either, for that matter.
Every 11-round cycle felt like a breeze, and my shots averaged around 2.5 to 3 inches.
A few informal 5-shot groups fired out at 15 yards produced groups that hovered around the 3.5″ mark. What you get is well-placed and fast follow-up shots that make you forget it’s a budget micro-compact pistol.
For self-defense concealed carry purposes, you could also use hollow-point rounds like the Winchester USA White Box that are practically made for shorter pistols. They’re more expensive but get the job done, and the felt recoil is much easier to manage.
Disassembly and Maintenance
Before disassembling the GX4, remember to be absolutely sure the gun is unloaded and pointed away from any living thing.
Now, the GX4 has a tricky takedown system that needs some tweaking with tools.
What makes it annoying is that you need to press and hold the trigger to field strip it while pushing the slide forward. You’ll also need a flathead screwdriver to rotate the takedown pin by 90 degrees.
Keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. Drop the mag, lock the slide back, keep the trigger pulled back, unscrew the right side of the frame to unlock the slide, and remove it from the frame.
Taurus could have gone with a simple takedown lever that’s common in these handguns, but at least the takedown pin is attached (rarely seen in other pistols), so you won’t have to worry about misplacing it.
One more thing: make sure you prepare a soft towel before you strip it down to prevent any accidental drops or surface scratching. Having a good gun cleaning kit is also in order, so make sure you take care of this pistol, and it will sing for a long time.
Pros & Cons of the Taurus GX4
- Great concealed carry option with beveled, snag-free edges
- Highly reliable for a compact 9mm
- Outstanding trigger with a 6-pound pull
- Comfortable grips
- Easy safeties and serrated slide for smooth operation
- Suitable for medium-sized hands
- Comes with a hard case, two 11-round magazines, and extra backstraps
- cre sights
- No optics adapter plate included
- Awkward takedown system
- Model: Taurus GX4
- Manufacturer: Taurus
- Product line: G-series
- Type: Striker-fired semi-automatic pistol
- Caliber: 9mm Luger
- Action: Single-action only (SAO)
- Trigger pull: 6 pounds
- Capacity: 11+1
- Safety: Striker block; Trigger safety; Witness hole
- Barrel length: 3.06 inches
- Overall length: 5.8 inches
- Overall height: 4.4 inches
- Overall width: 1.08 inches
- Weight: 18.5 oz. (unloaded)
- Grips: Polymer
- Front Sight: Fixed steel white dot
- Rear Sight: Serrated drift adjustable sights
- Frame: Stainless steel frame
- Finishes: Satin black DLC coated barrel; Gas Nitride treated slide
Here are some frequently asked questions about the Taurus GX4.
Is the Taurus GX4 a Good Self-Defense Handgun?
From a self-defense standpoint, the Taurus GX4 is a great concealed carry option with a fantastic trigger, has an 11+1 round capacity, doesn’t snag to your clothing, and conceals well.
Is the Taurus GX4 Similar to the G3C?
You can say that it’s a more efficient improvement.
The G3C is a 12+1-round capacity pistol, while the GX4 is an 11+1-rounder. However, the GX4 is a vast jump for Taurus standards in ergonomics, reliability, shooting, and convenience.
Taurus really improved the trigger, which is far superior to the G3C or G2C, and they designed the Taurus GX4 to be lighter, smaller, shorter, and thinner than the G3C.
What’s the Best Holster for the Taurus GX4 Pistol?
You’ll need a good concealed carry holster for your GX4, so a Vedder IWB Kydex for the GX4 is a very reasonable and cost-effective choice for that purpose.
What’s the Best Ammo for the Taurus GX4?
Any cheap boxes with a 115-grain are fair game if you’re looking for something viable for the ranges.
I would recommend the ones that I tested the GX4 with, and those are the Hornady Critical Defense 9mm Luger 115gr FTX, which are easy to find nowadays, and Federal American Eagle 9mm Luger 124-gr FMJ.
I’d also recommend some 135-grain Hornady Critical Duty that’s slightly more expensive, but a quality ammo box with nice stopping power for self-defense purposes nevertheless.
What Are the Best Laser Sights for the Taurus GX4?
In order to install an optic or a laser dot sight on the GX4, you’ll need an optic plate, which Taurus didn’t include on the standard model. But, no worries, the Taurus GX4 T.O.R.O. (Taurus Optic Ready Option) platform is optics ready.
Then there’s also the ADE RD3-006x Green Dot Sight that comes with a rear sight optic mounting plate for a good price.
For more info on how to choose the best red dot sight for your pistol, please refer to our guide here.
What Do the Others Have to Say? (Social Proof)
Here are some interesting testimonials and review snippets from customers that bought the Taurus GX4.
Alternatives to the Taurus GX4
If you want some more interesting compact 9mm handguns for self-defense, check out these handguns that are similar to the Taurus GX4.
If you want something with a slightly tougher trigger pull and more rounds, Smith & Wesson’s new addition to the Shield might just do the trick.
It’s a micro-compact S&W 9mm pistol with a 13-round capacity, and though heavier than the GX4, it packs solid firepower. The enhanced grips and ambidextrous safeties are a great feature, and the trigger is flat and has an audible and tactile reset.
For a few dollars more, what you get with the Shield Plus is smooth and reliable operation, concealable frame, and all kinds of aftermarket parts.
Make sure you check out our full review of the Shield Plus if you want a detailed report of this reliable 9mm piece of machinery.
Here’s Ruger Max-9, the least expensive alternative option.
What you get is 12 rounds of striker-fired, concealed carry self-defense precision shooting with a medium frame and finely textured grips.
Expect Ruger quality from the internal parts, hardened steel slide, chassis, and hammer-forged barrel. It comes optic-ready and has an integrated trigger safety with a loaded chamber witness hole.
The barrel length is slightly longer at 3.2 inches, it’s still within the ranks of micro-compact, and the beveled edges vouch for its EDC and conceal carry purpose.
You can find all kinds of aftermarket options of your choice, but I’ll chime in with a nice little TruFit Tactical IWB Kydex Holster for it.
The Springfield Hellcat Micro-Compact 9mm offers a 13-round capacity as its main selling point, but many would appreciate the adaptive grip texture that feels super comfy. Moreover, the dual captive recoil spring makes it feel like a high-end powerhouse.
It weighs around 18 ounces, has a standard accessory rail for your optics, and reversible mag release.
A lot of folks seem to pair this with a SIG Sauer P365, and most would say they’re about equal in performance.
Personally, I feel that shooting the Hellcat somehow feels better and freer than the P365, but that’s just me.
Conclusion – The GX4 is a Redeeming Addition to the Taurus G-Series
It seems that Taurus are underway to a redemption arc with this new GX4.
At first glance, the Taurus GX4 looks like another shoe-in to the compact single-stack 9mm competition. It has a flat face, serrated trigger, recoil management pad, magazine grip cuts for more convenient reloading, and a reversible magazine release.
Taurus advertises this brand new concealed carry pistol that it “outclasses anything else in its class—reaching unprecedented new heights in concealed carry firearm engineering, ergonomics, and innovation.”
It costs way less than your standard micro-compact pistols from big names, and I really feel that Taurus has atoned for their crimes of questionable triggers, plastic parts, misfires, and lousy customer service.
I’d recommend the GX4 to anyone who wants to see what all the fuss is about the new micro-compact pistol trend without spending those extra dollars. If you want a reasonably priced CCW, this is it.
Stay safe, and shoot straight!