Taurus has entered the bullish high-capacity compact concealed market.
The high-capacity subcompact market just got a little bigger with the introduction of the brand-new Taurus GX4 9mm. With two 11-round magazines included, the diminutive-framed GX4 is clearly aimed at the Sig P365, Springfield Hellcat (original and RDP), and Smith & Wesson Shield PLUS as its biggest competitors.
Ever since Sig introduced the P365 in 2018, every reputable manufacturer has upped their game to compete in the larger capacity concealed carry arena. So it’s logical that Taurus would join the fray.
My initial impressions of the gun when I received it were mixed. There is a lot to like about the GX4 and a few things that gave me pause. Let’s start with the good.
The overall size is certainly concealable yet not too small. At right around 1 inch thick, it aligns perfectly with the competition, easily tucking away under even the lightest cover garments. Despite the narrow grip, the magazine easily holds 11 rounds with a spring that is surprisingly light for being brand new. As many of us do, I normally use my speed loader with a new magazine because the spring is so stiff, but this one was light enough that I loaded all 11 rounds without any mechanical assistance, a refreshing change.
Once loaded, the gun was easy to get into battery with a medium weight recoil spring making slide rack easy, aided by deep serrations on both front and back. Press check was easy and the slide pull lightweight.
Taurus did a great job on the grip texture – not too rough and not too smooth. Goldilocks would be proud. Shooting with both dry and sweaty palms proved solid and firm, with little worry about the gun moving in my grip during recoil and realignment. The GX4 comes with two interchangeable backstraps that are simple to swap out, but they are so similar that I couldn’t tell much difference between them. The slightly larger one that came installed on the gun fit my hand solidly, so I only swapped them to feel the difference, which was nominal. The swells were close enough that I don’t know that Taurus needed to include the second one. I would like to have seen a more significant difference between the two.
The grip length, often the bane of large-handed people’s existence, was just right. Taurus did an admirable job of shortening the grip to reduce printing without going too small for larger hands. While only part of my pinky rested comfortably on the bottom, it only sort of hung off, barely. When I started shooting, my fingers stayed firm on the grip, not ever slipping off. After a few shots, I forgot all about it. This was all during a range session shooting 100-, 115-, and 124-grain ammo in a healthy mix of practice and defensive rounds from Federal, Winchester, and Black Hills, all of which ran flawlessly with zero malfunctions.
One often overlooked feature when designing compact pistols is the trigger guard size. Taurus did not overlook it. Instead, the GX4 features a large trigger guard, big enough to comfortably insert a gloved finger without the danger of accidentally pulling the trigger in the process.
Speaking of the bang switch, the GX4 features a flat-faced design with an integrated trigger safety. I admit I was expecting a squishy action with lots of slack and a mushy reset, especially given the price point (see below). What Taurus gave us instead is a crisp trigger break with minimal slack and a firm, audible, tactile reset – the kind of trigger feel normally associated with more expensive guns.
One feature that surprised me about the GX4 was the highly usable slide stop. Sometimes the smallest details can make a difference. The slide stop on many compact pistols is too small to operate with most thumbs, necessitating both hands to close the slide on reloads. However, Taurus engineered a slide stop with lighter action and a slightly larger button that was easy to thumb, making reloads quick and simple. Kudos for this little oft-overlooked detail!
Now, before you start thinking this is a GX4 love fest, there are a few things about the gun that definitely could have been designed better, some big, some small. Understand this is a budget-friendly pistol, so don’t expect too many high-end features, but a few small improvements would have been nice.
First are the sights. The factory sights are adequate but not great. They are basically Glock-style with a non-glowing white dot on the front and blacked-out rear with anti-glare texturing, which is a nice touch if you like blacked-out sights. But I’m not a big fan, especially on concealed carry guns designed to be used in heat-of-the-moment self-defense situations where you need to immediately see the sights. Thankfully, replacing the stock sights is fairly simple. It would be great to see a dayglow sight on front at least, but that might raise the price beyond Taurus’ target market, so maybe we will see that in a 2.0 version down the road.
Second is the takedown system. Unlike the typical takedown lever, which pushes up or rotates with a finger or thumb to release the slide, the GX4 requires a flathead screwdriver to twist the lever while the trigger is pulled and the slide is pushed forward. It’s also on the other side of the gun, which is a bit odd. This is not terribly difficult, just unnecessarily awkward. Once these gyrations are complete, the rest of the takedown process is like any other striker fire.
Third, there is no accessory rail. None. Zero. Not even a stub of one. It would be nice to have at least a little rail to attach a small laser or light. There is enough real estate in front of the trigger guard to allow for one, so space is not an issue. This may not be a huge miss, but it might turn some potential buyers off.
Fourth and final – and this is a biggy – no optic plate. While the rest of the compact concealed carry market is either including an optic plate on new models or going back and adding them to new versions of an existing gun, Taurus inexplicably chose to leave off this ever-increasingly important feature. I would like to see this as at least an option should Taurus ever create an upgraded version of the GX4.
Overall, the Taurus GX4 is a rock-solid option in a basic carry gun that won’t break the bank. It fits the hands well, shoots flat with minimal felt recoil for a small gun, has enough rounds in the mag to compete in the higher capacity concealed carry market, and performed flawlessly in my limited testing. Manufacturers will soon introduce holsters and other accessories, so support should be good. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly, no-nonsense, frill-free concealed carry gun that checks all the basic boxes and a few extras, the Taurus GX4 at $392.42 MSRP is well worth a second glance. Final grade: B+
- Caliber: 9mm Luger
- Capacity: 11 RDS
- Magazines: 2×11
- Firing System: Striker
- Action Type: Single Action Only
- Front Sights: Fixed White Dot Steel
- Rear Sights: Serrated Drift Adjustable
- Safety: Striker Block, Trigger Safety, Visual Loaded Chamber Indicator
- Frame Size: Micro-Compact
- Grip Material: Polymer
- Slide Material: Alloy Steel
- Barrel Finish: Satin Black DLC Coated
- Slide Finish: Gas Nitride Treatment
- Barrel Length: 06 in.
- Overall Length: 05 in.
- Overall Width: 08 in.
- Overall Height: 4 in.
- Weight: 5 oz. (unloaded)
- Packaging Weight: 80 oz
- Packaging Size: 8 in x 9.75 in x 3 in
- MSRP: $392.42
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
David Workman is an avid gun guy and a contributing writer to several major gun publications. As an NRA-certified instructor, David trains new shooters on basic handgun skills and CCW requirements and is a strong advocate for training as much as you possibly can. “Real-life shootouts don’t happen at a box range.”
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