Gun Review: Taurus G3XL 9MM Pistol

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Taurus G3XL 9mm pistol gun review compact full-size
4″ barrel 9mm with a sub-compact 12-rd grip. Is it the perfect do-all size?

Taurus recently released the G3XL 9mm pistol along with the G3X at SHOT this year. Both guns are variations on Taurus’s successful G3 full-size pistol. The G3X combines a slide length of the G3c (with its 3.2-inch barrel) with the larger frame of the G3. The G3XL reverses that. Sort of.

The G3XL puts the longer slide of the G3 (4.0-inch barrel) on the smaller G3c compact frame. The idea is to give you a longer sight radius and better ballistic performance of a longer barrel with smaller, more concealable frame.

Despite some earlier mixed experiences with Taurus I decided to give the new gun a try. Retailing under $300 and offering a versatile size combination I figured, why not.

Previous Issues

We’ll get this part out of the way since I know the comment section is likely already lighting up with folks who are here to hate on Taurus without actually reading. Years ago while I was instructing a student who brought in a then-new Taurus G2C, I was impressed with the overall design and inclusion of details such as “memory points” on the frame that other makers didn’t have on their similar guns.

I bought one and it lasted less than 200 rounds before the recoil spring skipped a coil and seized the slide half way in its travel. Taurus’s customer service at the time wanted me to pay for overnight shipping — to and from — for them to look at it. From Oregon that would have cost me about half of what I had paid for the gun.

The New Taurus

In 2020 Taurus hired a new CEO, Bret Vorhees, who came over from Walther Arms. One of the first things he did was to send a letter to everyone who had ever registered with Taurus publicly apologizing for the Taurus of the past and promising to improve things like…customer service. When the GX4 came out I figured I’ve give it a try.

Taurus G3XL 9mm pistol gun review compact full-size

My early-production model had an issue with chamber fitment. I contacted Taurus and they promptly replaced the barrel, free of charge. That little GX4 remains my favorite of the micro-compacts. Thanks to the power of YouTube I’ve heard from others who had similar issues with their early guns, as well as many who have not. It seems like there really is a new Taurus.

G3XL?

Again, the new G3XL appears to be a G3 slide on a G3C frame. That’s the way to think of the G3XL and it’s mostly correct, but there are some minor tweaks (see video).

What makes this size combination attractive? You get that longer 4″ barrel that most defensive loads are formulated to perform best from (yes, there are now some specialty loads for barrels under 4″) and puts it on a sub-compact grip that makes the pistol easier to conceal.

Taurus G3XL 9mm pistol gun review compact full-size
One minor update to the G3XL (bottom) over the G3 (top) is the use of a standard dovetail rear sight.

In fact, despite the sub-compact grip I can still get my size XXL glove hands completely on the gun. That makes the pistol is large enough for serious range use and small enough to carry and conceal easily.

Considering the Taurus price tag tends to appeal to first-time buyers and those on a budget, the G3XL’s feature set seems ideal for a general-purpose pistol.

As you saw in the video, it first appeared as if I was going to experience another chamber fitment issue with the G3XL. Wary of that, I hit the range for my standard battery of “get to know the gun” tests.

Taurus G3XL 9mm pistol gun review compact full-size
The G3XL (right) uses the same slide length as the G3 (left) but with a shorter, more concealable grip.

I brought the camera along to film my cold-shot impressions, a full magazine+1 test, trademarked What’s For Dinner test consisting of ten different loads, some trigger control testing, and practical accuracy before coming to an initial conclusion.

Performance-wise the G3XL out-classes the price I paid for it. The finish and general feel of the G3XL still say “affordable” but the performance is on par with guns costing nearly twice as much. The striker-fired G3XL gives you second strike capability. If you’re unlucky enough to pull the trigger without a bang, you can pull it again for another try. That’s faster than a tap/rack.

The G3XL has an excellent trigger that breaks cleanly and has a short, audible and tactile reset. The pistol has decent basic (dovetailed rear) iron sights, a one-slot 1913 rail for accessories and it’s easy to rack.

From my experience with the G3XL, I’d have no qualms about recommending this pistol to someone looking for an affordable, do-all pistol.

I can’t speak to the longevity of the gun yet, of course, but I bet those looking to save on a 9mm pistol are also those who don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on ammunition. The same logic goes for my theory as to why there’s no optic cut. Optics are a big expense that not everyone feels the need for.

Those who grow with the gun and decide they want an optic can pick up Taurus’s T.O.R.O. kit and easily convert. The same goes for G3C owners looking for smoother shooting and increased muzzle energy of a longer slide. Taurus isn’t offering factory optic-ready T.O.R.O. versions of the G3XL or G3X yet, but given the popularity of pistol red dots, you have to think they’re in Taurus’s future.

Specifications: Taurus G3XL 9MM Pistol

Capacity: 12 Rounds
Action Type: Single Action with Restrike
Firing System: Striker
Front Sight: Fixed Front (white dot)
Rear Sight: Drift Adjustable Serrated
Barrel Length: 4 in.
Overall Length: 7.28 in.
Overall Height: 5.1 in.
Overall Width: 1.2 in.
Weight: 24.4 oz.
Caliber: 9mm Luger
Safety: Visual Loaded Chamber Indicator, Striker Block, Trigger Safety
Slide Finish: Tenifer Matte Black
Frame Finish: Black
Barrel Finish: Matte Stainless
Features: Accessory Rail, Re-Strike Capability, NO Manual Safety
Magazines Included: 2
MSRP: $342.98 (retail about $280)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Reliability * * * * *
With 11 loads tested including brass, steel, aluminum, plated brass and steel cases, and various projectile shapes not one malfunction. I fed it rounds with bullets from 70 to 150 grains including personal defense and frangible rounds. Everything chambered and went bang.

Ergonomics * * * * ½
Near Goldilocks size. My XXL-size hands can hold on just fine so I imagine the gun would fit any hand. Controls are well sized and located. The slide serrations could definitely be a bit more aggressive, but the pistol is easy to rack.

Accuracy * * * * *
The trigger helped greatly, appropriate for carry, but with a discernible wall and clean break.

Concealability * * * * 
We all have our own personal preferences. I typically conceal a 15-round gun, but the G3XL’s combination of a 4″ barrel slide on a sub-compact gun is what a lot of gun buyers have been asking for. The shorter contoured grip should make the G3XL easy to conceal.

Overall: * * * * ½
The only thing that holds me back from loving this gun is my personal history with Taurus products. I can’t find much wrong with G3XL, especially considering its price point. That said, I want to see if it’s something that will last thousands of rounds. That may or may not be fair, but it’s how I feel. I’ll hang on to the G3XL and likely spend some more range time with it, possibly take it to a training course; that seems to be a great fault-finder on guns and gear that are flawless on the range. A few days of course work is where faults tend to appear.

See TTAG’s Taurus G3X review here

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29 COMMENTS

  1. Not every one is a POTG. Not every one is going to shoot thousands of rounds annually. Not every one can afford the best.

    Why not a budget pistol if you fit that niche?

    • Logically absolutely nothing if it fits the bill. For the hysterical screechers probably something about a saturday night special with all the associated racism and classism points twisted about to somehow be the gun owners fault.

      • ‘Just save up for a used brand x and you’re better off than a Taurus.’

        And while you’re waiting to scrape together a few more pennies Smokey the Crackhead shanks you with a sharpened screwdriver and that’s the end.

        • Buddy of mine bought a hipoint and was always surprised how well it worked for $100 (while ago obviously). So long as it goes bang and you have it when needed any gun is good enough. Up here with the pistol permit issues a used maverick 88 stevens or similar cheap shotgun is the bottom starting point (hopefully that changes this spring/summer somewhat) but gotta start somewhere and can always upgrade once you meet basic needs elsewhere.

        • 𝑫𝒐 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒘𝒂𝒏𝒕 𝒕𝒐 𝒆𝒂𝒓𝒏 𝒎𝒐𝒏𝒆𝒚 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉𝒐𝒖𝒕 𝒊𝒏𝒗𝒆𝒔𝒕𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒎𝒐𝒏𝒆𝒚? 𝑻𝒉𝒂𝒕’𝒔 𝒉𝒐𝒘 𝑰 𝒔𝒕𝒂𝒓𝒕𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒋𝒐𝒃 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝑵𝒐𝒘 𝑰 𝒂𝒎 𝒎𝒂𝒌𝒊𝒏𝒈 $200 𝒕𝒐 $300 𝒑𝒆𝒓 𝒉𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒇𝒐𝒓 𝒒𝒘𝒆03 𝒅𝒐𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒐𝒏𝒍𝒊𝒏𝒆 𝒘𝒐𝒓𝒌 𝒇𝒓𝒐𝒎 𝒉𝒐𝒎𝒆.
          𝑨𝒑𝒑𝒍𝒚 𝑵𝒐𝒘 𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆__________𝒏𝒆𝒕𝒄𝒂𝒔𝒉𝟭.𝒄𝒐𝒎

  2. Good review. The only thing that gives me pause is the missing half star due to an issue you had with a previous gun. If you didn’t know what brand this 9mm was, would that have changed your rating? I suspect so.

    • Not entirely. The gun feels like it’s made of inexpensive material. From the frame to the slide and barrel finish it doesn’t feel like something that will last. That said, most guns are probably over-built and chances are that doesn’t matter. It does play a role in perspective however.

      • Gotcha. One of the Glock mud, sand, grime torture tests would certainly be interesting. But I could say that for any gun 🙂 Thanks again for your review, one of the better ones I’ve seen recently.

  3. I own a few Taurus’s. They’ve been perfect. This thing fails to my eyes. To attach a light you have to get a more expensive micro light(one slot). Kinda like they had some extra slides & frames instead of doing a proper fit. Not patting glock on the back but they did it right…

    • “To attach a light you have to get a more expensive micro light(one slot).”
      Or you can get a light with a range of different rail keys, such as the Streamlight TLR-9 I bought for my AR pistol. It came with two universal and four 1913 rail keys, allowing it to be adapted to a wide variety of pistols, including single slot models like Tauruses.

  4. Definitely a Gun to consider unfortunately no external safety heads me back to the G2C or G3C which can use Glock style night sights, link below. I get reminded of these little guns right after another carbine is being pieced together so maybe next time Taurus.
    Classic Firearms has stripped Aero Precision minor blem upper for 60.

    https://youtu.be/7SgKeMeqNvk

  5. I see it as… sure it’s a cheap gun, but it’ll work. While in the long run you might be better to save for a 5-600 $ pistol, for some people it just isn’t a choice due to budget. THIS is their gun. Let’s not deprive them of a handgun that works and that they can afford. That would be against the 2A , IMO.
    Good going Taurus!

  6. Taurus. The Bushnell of handguns.
    Save your money and buy a used Ruger, S&W, Glock, Springfield etc.
    Taurus QC sucks. The gunsmiths at the warranty repair facility must sniff airplane glue. I’d rather eat cat excrement with a knitting needle than buy another Taurus.
    Don’t do it. Friends don’t let friends buy Taurus.

      • Nope. I had a horrible experience with Taurus “customer service”. Cost me hundreds in shipping, and the gun got worse.
        A crap gun getting by QC is forgivable. A crap gun getting worse with a trip to the “Repair Facility” is not. Eff Taurus.

  7. Thanks for the review! Like you say a Goldilocks solution. Started into CC with a BodyGuard 380, a full-featured pocket dweller and practice chore. Eventually got a Taurus G2c for its fit, capacity, and truck-ability, but its trigger also discourages use in crowded heat-of-the-moment situations. Then got an APX Centurion, great value with Glock+ accuracy but I likewise find the slide over-engineered thus a hair heavy for EDC. Recently got a SAR9 to fill the longer range rover HK sidearm gap. Whereas the 3XL folds all these strengths into one package, and you never have to worry about scuffing it up. Never say never to Taurus, I guess.

  8. I’ve owned a few Tauruses, two revolvers and two pistols. The only problem I had was the 45, I think it was called 24/7 , it would jump to double stage instead of single stage. I fixed it with a stronger spring from a Bic lighter.
    I dont keep plastic gunms very long, the first offer I get that’s ten dollars over my cost I sale it.
    I’ve got four steel frame hammer fired pistuls that would be hard for me to part with,but I couldn’t give an opinion that Tauruses are pieces of sht because I’ve had pretty good luck with them.

    • i don’t knock toe rest. elspietta surdyka had a ford toe rest we called the polish sit n spin. scratch that, they’re front wheelers. it was a t- bird.
      but metal frames and hammers, yeah.

  9. Did anybody besides me notice the hole in front of the rail exposing the forward end of the guide rod and spring? I doubt anybody is going to be copying that. Does the weapon need to breathe? Or maybe it’s some sort of anti-compensator for folks that can’t get enough felt recoil. I can’t help but think that it’s a prime route of ingress for mud and pocket lint. Even if it doesn’t compromise operation or safety, I would never buy a gun with a hole in it. Holes are only a good thing in Swiss cheese.

      • Jeans depending on brand can hold compact and some smaller full sized in the front pocket without too much issue. Beretta 92 and larger would be a problem but Glock 19 and similar is possible. Now anything dressy no just no.

  10. Ever since Taurus bought the Beretta plant in 1981, Taurus pistols have been like Wadsworth’s little girl with the little curl. When they were good, they were very good indeed, but when they were bad they were horrid.

  11. A couple of comments. I was for years a Smallarms Instructor in the UK Forces [the RAF in fact] and the only ammunition I ever used in 9mm calibre was NATO Standard or MK2Z fro0m ve arious sources and I am at a loss to understand as to why anybody needs anything else . Tried tested, cheap and reliable and I cannot recall a single misfire and I must have got through tens of thousands of rounds all told. In about seven years the only mishap was a single double feed on a STERLING SMG that resulted in a ‘bulged’ Barrel though the Sterling itself continued to function.
    The main 9mm we had was the ubiquitous Browning Hi-Power SLP the professional choice for half the worlds Armed Forces and Police in one version or another including our very own Special Air Service. I know things have progressed somewhat and the Hi-Power is to say the least a bit long in the tooth but they only lasted as long as they did because they were the Dog’s Bollocks ‘Go-To’ for most militaries. I suppose I’d be correct in saying that the Hi-Power has been replaced by either the Sig-Sauer or Glock in their various forms across the globe but a well fettled Browning Hi-Power is still, in my reckoning, sufficient hand gun for anybody for all practical purposes. There a few normal persons who, under stress, would hit a moving man at 10/15 paces. That’s why the UK Special Forces at least spend literally hours a week practicing and I’ve had the privilige of practicing with them because I ran the Ranges at RAF Station CREDENHILL they used.
    The Special Air Service moved their HQ from BRADBURY LINES [HEREFORD] TO EX RAF Station CREDENHILL [HEREFORD] and use MY old Armoury and Six Ranges

  12. I bought a taurus 9mm g2s and it’s the biggest piece of shit I ever bought it jams every time you pull the trigger I will never buy another Taurus

  13. With that full-size grip, the G3X is a great pistol to have by your side especially if you have larger hands and need that extra grip space for your pinky to remain accurate. In today’s world, primers for sale online and other guns and very easy. Thanks for this wonderful article.

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