Firearms

Range Report: Taurus GX4 XL 9mm — A Budget-Friendly Defender

Taurus GX4XL with a red dot mounted

For many years, Taurus International has provided shooters on a budget with reliable firearms to defend the home and person. It began with clones of established firearms. Later, it designed and manufactured successful firearms of its own design.

Taurus GX4

The Taurus GX4 has been tested before in these pages with good results. The GX4 is a subcompact 9mm pistol with good features that include reliability, good sights, a durable finish, and high-capacity magazines. Additional features include a changeable backstrap, nitride-coated slide, and controllable trigger action.

Taurus GX4XL 9mm semi-automatic handgun, left profile
The author found the Taurus GX4 XL well-balanced.

There is also a Taurus Optic Ready Option (T.O.R.O.) version of many of the popular handguns. I particularly like the easy takedown of the GX4. Fieldstripping the GX4 is a rather simple process.

Completely unload and double-check the pistol. Turn a screw (takedown screw) on the right side of the frame. This allows the slide to be pressed off the front of the receiver. The recoil spring assembly is then pressed from the slide and the barrel simply shakes out.

You do not have to turn the screw again to reassemble the pistol. Simply run the slide back on the slide rails and the screw returns to its original position.

Let’s look hard at some of the features that all GX4 handguns have. The grip frame is nicely pebbled and fits most hands well. The backstrap is offered with an interchangeable insert. The pistol accepts different magazines, with 10, 11, or 13-round options. The 11-round magazine supplied with my pistol features a finger extension base pad. There is a flat base pad in the box if you prefer. An extended 13-round magazine is included as well.

The pistol features low-profile sights. The test pistol was properly regulated for 124-grain loads with most loads striking the point of aim at 15 yards. 147-grain loads strike a bit high. The finish is durable, as witnessed by other Taurus handguns in use for some time.

Taurus GX4XL pistol with two 9mm magazines
On the left is the extended 13-round magazine. On the right is the 11-round magazine with finger rest.

GX4 XL Features

The XL is simply a long slide version of the GX4, although a pistol this compact cannot be called a long slide in the competition sense. Other pistols have been given this treatment. SIG’s P365 has an XL version, and the Glock 43 became the Glock 48.

The Taurus GX4 XL pistol is still compact at 6.4 inches overall. The pistol weighs 20 ounces unloaded. The new XL slide features a 3.7-inch barrel. This seems a sweet spot for full combustion of the 9mm Luger’s fast-burning powder and provides good velocity with a full powder burn.

The longer sight radius allows a shooter to fire more accurately at longer distances and keep the sights aligned properly at shorter ranges. While the sights are well-regulated, the rear sight may be adjusted for windage.

serrated rear sight on a Taurus 9mm pistol
The rear sight is serrated and offers a good sight picture.

The T.O.R.O. version was not available at the time of testing. I snagged the first GX4 XL available.

Specifications

Caliber: 9mm Luger
Magazines: One 11 and one 13-round
Action: Striker-fired, single-action
Front Sight: Fixed
Rear Sight: Serrated, drift-adjustable
Safety: Striker block, trigger safety
Frame: Stainless frame insert and polymer grip
Grip Material: Polymer
Slide: Carbon steel
Slide Finish: Nitride coating
Barrel Finish: DLC coating
Barrel Length: 3.7 inches
Overall Length: 6.43 inches
Overall Width: 1.08 inches
Overall Height: 4.40 inches
Weight: 20 ounces

Load Testing

I was able to fire some of the loads for comparison in the standard Taurus GX4.

Load

Average Velocity

Federal 124-grain HST1,099 fps
Federal 124-grain HST (GX4)1,055 fps
Speer 124-grain Gold Dot1,122 fps
Hornady 115-grain Critical Defense1,130 fps
Hornady American Gunner 124-grain +P1,160 fps
Hornady American Gunner 124-grain +P (GX4)1,104 fps

As you can see, the XL version picks up an average of over 40 fps over the GX4. This isn’t as significant as the improved handling.

The pistol comes on target quickly. The extra weight and length of the slide make for a fast-handling, combat gun. Firing quickly and firing double-taps at 5 and 7 yards, the Taurus GX4 responds well to a trained shooter. In firing for absolute accuracy from a benchrest, I was able to consistently put five shots into 2.5 inches at 15 yards.

Taurus GX4XL 9mm semi-auto in a Crossbreed holster
The Crossbreed Reckoning is among the author’s favorite concealed carry holsters.

The pistol will serve well for personal defense. Carrying the handgun concealed demands a quality holster. I use the Crossbreed Reckoning with the Taurus. The crossbreed is a sturdy Kydex holster affixed to a supple leather backing. The holster is comfortable but secure. The strong steel belt clips make for a strong attachment.

Have you fired the Taurus GX4 XL? What was your opinion of the GX4 XL? What length do you consider optimal for concealed carry? Share your answers in the comment section.

  • serrated rear sight on a Taurus 9mm pistol
  • Taurus GX4XL with the slide locked to the rear
  • Taurus GX4XL 9mm pistol with spare magazine base pad and grip insert
  • safety lever set inside the trigger of a Taurus GX4XL semi-auto 9mm handgun
  • Field stripped Taurus GX4XL 9mm semi-automatic handgun
  • Grip texture on the Taurus GX4XL semi-auto 9mm handgun
  • Taurus GX4XL 9mm semi-automatic pistol's take down screw
  • Taurus GX4XL pistol with two 9mm magazines
  • Taurus GX4XL 9mm semi-automatic 9mm pistol with extended magazine inserted
  • Leather backing on a Crossbreed holster
  • Taurus GX4XL 9mm semi-automatic handgun, left profile
  • Taurus GX4XL 9mm semi-auto in a Crossbreed holster
  • Taurus GX4XL 9mm semi-automatic handgun, right profile
  • Taurus GX4XL with a red dot mounted

About the Author:

Wilburn Roberts

When Wilburn Roberts was a young peace officer, he adopted his present pen name at the suggestion of his chief, as some of the brass was leery of what he might write. This was also adopted out of respect for families of both victims and criminals. The pen name is the same and the man remains an outspoken proponent of using enough gun for the job.

He has been on the hit list of a well-known hate group, traveled in a dozen countries and written on many subjects, including investigating hate crimes and adopting the patrol carbine. He graduated second in his class with a degree in Police Science. It took him 20 years to work himself from Lieutenant to Sergeant and he calls it as he sees it.
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (6)

  1. When I have ammo jams with more aggressive hollow points, I first polish the feed ramp and if that doesn’t work get rid of it. Nothing worse than a semi auto handgun that keeps jamming!

  2. Bought a new one….BUT…It would feed anything but 115 grain hardball – I contacted and argued with TAURUS and they talked about break in period and finally said if it works with hardball then they would do NOTHING but test it and send it back!! I SOLD it within 3 days and the buyer understood the situation – Said he didn’t shoot anything but hardball so he was happy and I’ll NEVER own a TAURUS again!!

  3. I have a Taurus .32 revolver that I bought back in 1075. Never a miss fire or any problems in the few dozen times I have fired it.

  4. I’ve noticed a change in design philosophy among handgun makers these past dozen years. They use to offer full size pistols first, then introduce compact models later. Now they introduce compact models first and full size models later. I suspect this is driven by a combination of market demand and practicality. It must be easier to enlarge a small pistol than it is to shrink a large one and still have it function reliably. I look forward to shooting the latest XL from Taurus.

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