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.
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.
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.
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.
The T.O.R.O. version was not available at the time of testing. I snagged the first GX4 XL available.
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
I was able to fire some of the loads for comparison in the standard Taurus GX4.
|Federal 124-grain HST||1,099 fps|
|Federal 124-grain HST (GX4)||1,055 fps|
|Speer 124-grain Gold Dot||1,122 fps|
|Hornady 115-grain Critical Defense||1,130 fps|
|Hornady American Gunner 124-grain +P||1,160 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.
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.