The single most prolific handgun type in the shooting world is the polymer-frame striker-fired 9mm pistol. Among this family of pistols is the Taurus G3X. The design parameters are narrow, but there is considerable leeway to offer different grips, sights, and trigger actions.
Design a pistol with a good trigger action and well-shaped handle that fits most hands, and your pistol should be popular. However, the key factor for defense is reliability. With modern manufacturing expertise, there is no excuse for an unreliable handgun.
Taurus G3X Features
The Taurus G3X is a variation on the popular, and affordable, G3 series. A short time after the introduction of the G3, Taurus introduced the G3C compact. The G3C is simply a G3 with a short slide and grip frame. The new pistol is the G3 trigger action and standard grip frame — with the short slide from the G3C. This handgun is dubbed the Taurus G3X.
The G3 was affordable, reliable, and light to carry. The new pistol is even faster handling. The G3X is a single-action striker-fired design. There is a blade-type safety set in the trigger face. The blade safety must be completely depressed with the trigger face to allow the pistol to be fired.
I liked the feel of the trigger. The face was a bit wider than the majority of striker-fired pistols. The result was more control during a firing string.
As an additional safety, the pistol features a positive firing pin lock or drop safety. This firing pin block prevents the trigger from releasing the sear until the trigger is pressed completely to the rear. Another safety feature is a window cut into the barrel hood to allow a visual check for a loaded chamber.
I especially liked the grip treatment. The grip fit most hands well. The balance of stippling and checkering was ideal. This allowed for a firm steady grip — even with sweaty or cold hands.
There are several reasons the Taurus G3X sits lower in the hand than similar competitors. The trigger action is straight to the rear rather than the actions that require the trigger finger swing downward in an arc to address the trigger action.
The pistol was easier to rack than most 9mm compact pistols. While the slide wasn’t difficult to rack, the recoil spring and guide rod still managed to help control recoil well. The pistol was easily loaded. The magazines were not difficult to load to full capacity. The slide was easily racked by folks of average strength.
The pistol’s trigger action was controllable. Trigger reset is as important in a combat pistol as a smooth and controllable trigger action. The G3X featured a sharp reset. The trigger action was smoother than most striker-fired actions.
Trigger compression broke at just over six pounds. An unusual feature was the ‘second-strike’ feature that allowed a second strike at the primer without racking the slide. If the cartridge under the striker failed to ignite the primer, you may quickly press the trigger for another strike.
The pistol was supplied with two high-quality steel magazines. These were flush-fit 15-round magazines. Seventeen-round extended magazines are available.
The Taurus G3X featured low-mount low-profile sights. The sights featured three dot inserts for speed and accuracy. These sights were well suited to a personal defense handgun. The sights were properly sighted for 124-grain ammunition at 15 to 25 yards.
The rear sight offered adjustment for windage. During the firing program, I had no reason to adjust the sights. Another advantage of the G3X was its light weight. The pistol tipped the scales at a mere 23 ounces. This was certainly light enough to comfortably carry. However, it was also enough mass weight to make firing the 9mm pistol with a full-size grip comfortable.
Take down and fieldstripping were simple enough, which should be a plus for the G3X with those who do not put maintenance high on the list of chores. It should be, but the busy world we live in isn’t perfect. Clean the chamber by removing the magazine and locking the slide to the rear. Visually inspect the chamber, also touch the chamber to be certain it isn’t loaded.
Drop the slide and press the trigger to de-cock the striker. Press the two take down levers downward, and then move the slide forward. Lift the recoil spring guide and spring out of the slide, and then remove the barrel. This is all that is needed to properly clean or prep the pistol for lubrication. I run a drop of oil on the barrel hood and a little in the slide rails.
If you have fired the Taurus G3 or G3C, there will be no surprises with this pistol. I like the firing and handling of the G3X better than the other two 9mm handguns — no surprises there, since the G3X borrows from the best features of both.
Grasping the full-size grip while carrying the pistol in a Galco Sto-N-Go holster. I quickly draw the pistol and got on target. The short sight radius makes for real speed on target. The trigger action and sights were well designed, and the pistol’s overall balance was excellent.
9mm Defense Loads
I fired a wide variety of ammunition with good results. The Winchester Silvertip, 124-grain Defender, Hornady XTP and FTX, and a few other combinations proved accurate and reliable. I also function fired a variety of inexpensive 9mm loads with good results. The pistol never failed to feed, chamber, fire, or eject.
This was among the easiest shooting pistols I have used. Even shooters in the novice grade easily got hits from 7 to 15 yards. I fired the pistol for absolute accuracy, carefully firing the pistol from a benchrest. The Taurus G3X demonstrated 5-shot groups of 2.4 to 2.6 inches with the Hornady FTX loading.
The Taurus G3X is a great overall carry gun with much to recommend. It may be best combination of value to come from this year’s SHOT show.