Firearms

Review: Taurus GX4 T.O.R.O. Optics Ready 9mm

Taurus GX4 T.O.R.O resting on a Kydex holster

Taurus has earned a good reputation for affordable firearms that get the job done. While Taurus made its bread and butter on clones of well-known revolvers and the Beretta semi-auto, Taurus has also introduced its own innovative firearms. There really isn’t anything like the Taurus 856 six-shot small-frame revolver or the Taurus Tracker. The Taurus GX4 T.O.R.O. 9mm is another example of innovation, and I would dare say, excellence of design.

I have long been a fan of the G2 series and feel it offers good value for the money. However, the GX4 is a different beast, not a warmed-over miniature G2. There really isn’t much from the other striker-fired polymer-frame pistols in the Taurus GX4. It’s a good gun that has gotten better with the introduction of the GX4 T.O.R.O. optics-ready pistol.

Taurus GX4 T.O.R.O with Holosun sight right profile
The combination of an optics-ready slide and a proven system makes the GX4 T.O.R.O. an attractive option.

Taurus GX4 Features

The GX4 is a unique firearm in design but not in handling. However, if you can handle a Glock, Springfield, or Smith & Wesson polymer-framed striker-fired pistol, the GX4 will not be a surprise. The manual of arms is simple. Lock the slide to the rear, insert a loaded magazine, then release the slide to load. Holster, draw, and then fire. It is as simple as that.

The GX4 is nearly the same size as several other popular handguns, but the size and weight fall into the ‘just right’ category for many of us. Striker-fired polymer-framed handguns with double-stack magazines are increasingly popular. While there is a place for the single-stack 9mm as a minimally-sized hideout, with the availability of the GX4, I simply don’t see the need.

My average-sized hand fits the GX4 fine. An advantage to the high-capacity 9mm is that the slightly-wider frame spreads recoil about the palm better than the single-stack 9mm. These days, it seems takeover robbers and gangs are the rule — even carjackers often come in pairs. I doubt we will need 20 rounds, but 10 quick 9mm cartridges may save the day.

The five-shot .38 snub is no longer viable in this environment, and the .32s and .380s don’t hit hard enough — based on my experience and research, they are practically worthless. In the beginning, I noted that the GX4-sized 9mm may be just right — if it would shoot. Spoiler alert… on the range, the GX4 T.O.R.O. proved it shoots very well in capable hands.

As for the design, the pistol is minimalist in footprint and controls. There is a magazine catch and slide lock. The trigger features the standard blade-type safety that prevents lateral discharge. The trigger cannot move unless you press the trigger across the face unlocking the safety lever. I like the design of the practically-flat trigger.

Taurus GX4 pistol field stripped
Removing the top plate is simple enough.

The GX4 features a texture across the frame and handle that offers an excellent balance of abrasion and adhesion. If you use the thumbs-forward grip, there are finger position rests on both the left and right side of the frame. There are trigger finger reliefs on each side of the frame. Some of us exert pressure on the frame when pressing the trigger. You need to train out of that. These slots in the frame help avoid this pitfall.

A spare grip insert is supplied. With the flush fit magazine, some hands will find a pinky finger riding off the frame. With the extended magazine, a good hand fit is realized.

The sights are a good design, with the rear sight featuring a serrated rear face black sight. This works well against a single white dot front sight.

Top view of the Taurus GX4 T.O.R.O showing mounting for an optic
The pistol will accept some patterns as issued plates are needed for others.

The pistol is well designed. My early version has proven reliable and accurate enough to perform most any self-defense chore. It has consistently displayed better accuracy potential and control than other handguns in its fighting-weight class.

If there is a complaint, some do not like the takedown. Rather than using a takedown lever, the GX4 features a screw in the frame that is rotated to release the slide assembly. There are compromises in a small handgun, and this system takes up little space compared to a decocker. It is different, but not inferior, to other takedown systems.

GX4 T.O.R.O.

Today, a maker introducing a new handgun will often design an optics-ready model. The GX4 T.O.R.O. is the newest Taurus optics-ready handgun. The pistol accepts a number of red dots, including the Shield RMSc, Holosun HS507K, HS407K, Sightmark Mini Shot A-SpecM3, Hex Wasp GE5077-MIC-RET, SIG Romeo Zero, Riton 3 Tactic MPRD2, and Trijicon RMR or Red Dot. Optional plates are available from Taurus.

Taurus GX4 T.O.R.O lying down on a blue silhouette target
The pistol exhibited excellent performance on the firing range.

This brings the new GX4 into the optics world. Many shooters find optics-ready handguns solve problems related to speed, target acquisition, and firing in dim light. If you are one of these people, you now have the opportunity to obtain one of the best buys in the 9mm subcompact strata and fit a red dot sight to it. My evaluation of the GX4 T.O.R.O. followed the same path as that of my earlier testing with the standard GX4 — they are, after all, the same pistol save for a modified slide.

I loaded both 11 and 13-round magazines with Federal American Eagle 9mm ball for the initial evaluation. The pistol came on target quickly and was controllable in rapid fire. This handgun wasn’t a lightweight at 18.5 ounces unloaded. Recoil wasn’t unpleasant. I found the sights properly regulated for 124-grain ammunition. American Eagle 9mm burns clean and provided good accuracy.

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I also tested the Federal Syntech Defense 9mm 138-grain hollowpoints. Like all Syntech loads, this is a clean cartridge that leaves little to no residue after firing, this load is designed to produce good wound potential. The nose breaks in shards.

Testing in six-inch wide water jugs, the second jug had three distinct impacts illustrating this loading works as designed and breaks apart quickly. Unlike many low-penetration, fragmenting loads, the base of the bullet penetrated a full 20 inches. This should make for a good defense load. It combines the need for penetration with radial wound potential.

As for absolute accuracy, the results were similar to those I fired with an earlier GX4 9mm. Firing from a solid benchrest, using both the 124-grain and 147-grain 9mm American Eagle cartridges, the pistol provided a five-shot group of 2.0 inches with the 147-grain load and 2.15 inches with the 124-grain load. This is outstanding for a subcompact pistol.

Federal Syntech cartridge and fragmented bullet
Federal’s 9mm Syntech Defense is a viable defense loading.

The big news is the red dot application. When using the red dot, you do not aim as you would when using sights. Look through the sight and place the red dot on the target while holding both eyes open. The result is amazing speed and accuracy — for those who get it. It takes some time to acclimate and plenty of dry fire practice. Once you are squared away, you are well armed with the optics-equipped Taurus GX4 T.O.R.O. 9mm.

Carrying the GX4

Carrying the Taurus GX4 isn’t difficult, but it requires a well-designed holster that doesn’t move about and holds the pistol secure during movement. The original Crossbreed-type remains among the finest designs for comfortable, secure carry. This holster offers a lot of adjustment in angle, rake, cant, and ride as well as tension. Like many modern holsters, the holster is cut for an optic-mounted pistol. The balance of speed and retention is good, and nothing wears as comfortably as the Crossbreed.

Crossbreed Taco holster with Taurus pistol
The Crossbreed Taco holster is a fine idea, a bit of brightness in a world of serious business.

The Taurus GX4 T.O.R.O. is a good improvement over the original and offers the option of using a red dot sight for those who prefer it. I trust this pistol and will carry it often.

According to the author, the verdict is already in, and the Taurus GX4 is a winner. Your only choice is whether you prefer the standard GX4 or the Taurus GX4 T.O.R.O. Which red dot would you run it with? Give us your top choices in the comment section.

  • Taurus GX4 T.O.R.O left quartering profile
  • Taurus GX4 T.O.R.O with extended magazine left profile
  • Federal Syntech cartridge and fragmented bullet
  • Taurus GX4 T.O.R.O lying down on a blue silhouette target
  • Crossbreed Taco holster with Taurus pistol
  • Taurus GX4 T.O.R.O with Holosun sight right profile
  • Taurus GX4 pistol field stripped
  • Top view of the Taurus GX4 T.O.R.O showing mounting for an optic
  • Taurus GX4 T.O.R.O with Holosun red dot sight resting on a Crossbreed Kydex holster
  • Taurus GX4 T.O.R.O resting on a Kydex holster

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 (3)

  1. @DOUG.
    Let me reinforce some of the things I have said on a number of different blogs. I was a medic in the Army back in the early 70’s when I was sent overseas and ended up in a unit where I was on a team doing SAR/Recon. I carried a 1911, and still do, BTW. I got out and began working in busy civilian metropolitan and inner city ER’s where we saw innumerable GSW victims. I did that for more than 30 years in the two largest cities in my state and saw people shot with just about every caliber there is. The number of GSW patients that I have seen is in the high triple digits so it is not just a few.

    I worked with a lot of cops who were investigating those shootings. It was the consensus in every ER that several calibers were more dangerous to the shooter than to the shootee. By that I mean that when the shootee became the shootee, his response was to kill the shooter by any one of a number of means, beat them to death with bare hands or anything that could be used as a club, etc., quite a number of shootees took the gun away from the shooter and proceeded to shoot the shooter with his own gun. Others pulled out their own weapon and killed the original shooter. For this reason, those calibers were labelled by the local cops as “the last bad choice of dead people everywhere.” Those calibers were .25 ACP, .32 ACP, and even the .380.

    Most of the shootees on the receiving end of those shots DID NOT die; in fact, well more than half survived, and were sent to prison for killing their shooter after they got out of the hospital. From what I have seen, those calibers are more likely to piss someone off and then he will kill you before he dies IF HE DIES, but he probably won’t. Been there, seen that, time and again.

    This is where people say that it is all about shot placement. This is also where I tell them that drawing a weapon on another human being is not like on TV or the movies. Physiologic changes happen over which you have no control. The sympathetic nervous system takes over, it’s called fight or flight. The only people who do not experience this are DEAD people.

    When hunters go through this, it is called buck fever but it is worse when faced with combat and a good way to tell that people have no clue is they try to say they have been through bad stuff in other areas so they are good. They are not. Your vision tunnels and your perception of time, distance, reality is distorted. It takes several episodes of going into this situation before you can really get a grip on what is happening inside you.

    In too many police shootings, it is not unusual for there to be NO injuries meaning the officer missed his target completely. NYPD did a study and had a mean hit ratio of 15% over 11 years. Back in the Army, we were told that in WWI for every person killed 11 rounds were expended. In WWII, that number was up to 110. By the time the end of Vietnam rolled around, it was reported that 11,000 rounds were expended for every enemy soldier killed. That is a lot of misses.

    These calibers have a BAD history of failing to deliver what everyone who carries is hoping for- that is deterrence. What they frequently deliver is the death of the person who carries it. Seen it too many times. Friends don’t let friends carry worthless guns that kill the person who carries it.

  2. I would say that for a primary defensive gun 9mm is minimum. However as a second gun in the ankle or pocket a 32 or 380 could be a lifesaver if you lose your primary gun. I’d rather have a 380 than nothing.

  3. Bravo, Wilburn! One comment you made really stands out to me, “The five-shot .38 snub is no longer viable in this environment, and the .32s and .380s don’t hit hard enough — based on my experience and research, they are practically worthless.”

    IMO, there are NOT nearly enough people preaching that message. Now, I realize that some readers are saying “Oh, no, there he goes again…” but this is a message that I have been proclaiming for years and have taken a lot of abuse for singing that same song.

    I was a medic in the Army playing with guys who did SAR and Recon some place overseas back in the early 70’s. I was introduced to the 1911 then when I was issued one as a sidearm for when we played out in the boonies (which we did, a lot.) When I got out, I went to nursing school and, all told, spent more than 30 years in different busy metropolitan ER’s on different Trauma teams, sometimes working more than one ER at a time, one as full time and one as per diem staff.

    Between the Army and those ER’s, I have seen more GSW’s than anyone I know. The number runs well into the high triple digits and I have commented many times on many different blogs about the inadequacy of the .22, .25, .32, and even the .380. In several ER’s I worked, the local cops frequently referred to those calibers as “The last bad choice of dead people everywhere” due to the number of people who chose those calibers for self-defense and died due to the failure of their chosen weapon to deter their attacker from the assault.

    I have spoken out about the failure of these calibers to deliver real protection for anyone who would carry a firearm for self-defense. In my experience, these calibers are not only inadequate for protection, but are actually more dangerous to the shooter than to the shootee, as many people, after have been shot with those calibers, were so pissed off, they killed their shooter. I have also taken care of too many, many people shot with those calibers who did not only NOT succumb to the wounds but, as I said, went on to kill their shooter, some of whom were beat to death by the shootee. I would say less than half the people we treated who were shot with those calibers actually died from their wounds. Many of them were arrested and went to prison after they got out of the hospital.

    And for reporting what I have seen, I have received no small amount of derision and ridicule from no small number of people who, not only have they never seen a single GSW patient, they have never drawn a weapon on another person in any real live fire situation. But they “KNOW” how they will respond and how their chosen weapon will provide protection without ever having seen any evidence to support their misplaced faith.

    Thank you again for that short statement. I hope anyone who has chosen the calibers you mention will sit up and take notice. There is a reason our local cops called those calibers “The last bad choice of dead people everywhere.”

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