With the GX4XL T.O.R.O., Taurus is stepping into one of the fastest growing, most challenging, and most in-demand market segments in the gun industry; higher capacity micro-compact carry guns. After the new standard-setting SIG P365 and the follow-on models from competitors, consumers now expect a whole lot out of a little gun.
Taurus has delivered.
The GX4XL is simply the previously released Taurus GX4 with a 1″ longer slide. The benefits of that extra length are pretty obvious; a longer sight radius for more accurate shooting, and more mass up front to reduce recoil. The downside is…well…it’s still a short, thin slide on a very easily concealable firearm so…no significant downside, really.
This is also the Taurus Optics Ready Option (T.O.R.O.) version of the GX4 line, which allows the shooter to easily install a range of optics on the handgun. In keeping with the low cost/high value theme, I mounted a Primary Arms Classic Series 21mm Micro Reflex Sight on this GX4XL for most of the review.
If there’s one place I’m a huge fan of pistol optics, it’s on sub and micro-compacts. There are a couple big challenges typical of micro-compacts — small capacity and lousy sights. The capacity problem is well solved, and with the optic, so is the issue with the sights. It’s also nice to have that big ledge of the sight to use in order to manipulate the slide in the case of a malfunction.
Taurus put some thought into the aesthetics of the GX4 line. There are subtle changes in the slide that tie it into the design of the frame. These are small details, but there are lines and angles throughout the gun that don’t really have to be that way just for function, but serve to give the little pistol a consistent theme.
The grip has also been done well, with a slight undercut to the trigger guard and material removed at the thumb for a more natural grip. The GX4XL also comes with two different backstraps and all of it is textured like skateboard tape. That’s become common on a lot of newer pistol designs, and for good reason. It holds the hand in place even when your palms are wet and sweaty.
The GX4XL ships with two magazines and two magazine extensions. With the flush fit factory magazine, the GX4XL holds 11+1 rounds of 9x19mm ammunition. For the entirety of my review, I loaded a full magazine plus one round in the chamber. This practice never caused an issue.
With that little, extremely concealable grip, the pinky finger of my size-large hands just barely hangs on. With the addition of the +2 extension, the magazine holds 13+1 rounds and easily allows for a full grip, even with large hands. To be clear, you can run the magazines in either configuration — or mix them up — with just what’s shipped from the factory.
Both baseplates, the flush fit and the extended, include ledge cut-outs for your fingers, table edge, or whatever you might need to strip a stuck magazine. That’s nice to have, but I never needed it for this review. The (switchable) magazine release never failed to launch empties with authority and no magazine failed to load and lock home.
The trigger includes the ubiquitous “safety” tab mid-shoe, and breaks with a few little starts and stops at an average of 5lbs 1oz. The trigger itself is perfectly adequate but unexceptional, and those of you familiar with the M&P 2.0 will find it has a very similar feel to the GX4 series in general.
One of the few things I didn’t like about the GX4XL was the fact that it requires a tool to remove the slide from the frame. To be fair, that “tool” can be the rim of a cartridge, a coin, a flathead screwdriver, or the supplied plastic tab on the bottom of the Taurus GX4XL keychain that comes in the box.
With the slide off, one feature becomes immediately obvious…long, continuous rails. I’m doubtful of some companies’ claims that longer rails lead to more accuracy or longevity, but it certainly can’t hurt.
What also doesn’t hurt is the dual recoil system. It’s as well done as any I’ve seen from any of the major manufacturers.
When it comes to reliability, I give any gun a pass for the first 50 rounds. There were, however, two failures to feed, both of which occurred between round 250 and 350, and both were with the Remington UMC 115gr FMJ cartridge.
Both times, a simple tap with my palm on the back of the slide sent the round home. No other rounds failed in any way, including hollow points from Federal and Wilson Combat in 124gr +P as well as 147gr FMJ rounds from a variety of manufacturers. Even the IMI 115gr Di-Cut rounds fed just fine.
In total, I shot 500 rounds through the GX4XL, lubing the gun with Lucas Oil prior to shooting, and never cleaning or lubing the gun again in any way until the review was over. I shot 420 rounds in one day, in two sessions with lunch in between. Not bad (the shooting or the lunch).
Shooting 400+ rounds from a 9×19 micro-compact in one day isn’t always fun. Despite the relatively light recoil of the world’s most popular centerfire pistol round, even that can become a chore with some little pistols. Not so with the GX4XL.
This little 20oz gun handles recoil far better than I expected it would. I haven’t quite figured out why that is, but surely the whole of the frame design, the recoil system, and the grip texture is more than the sum of its parts.
Whatever the reason, the Taurus GX4XL is a surprisingly fast gun. The pistol fires and recoils right back into position much quicker than I expected, and much more like a larger handgun. Especially with standard pressure 115gr rounds, the slide stays pretty flat, and finding the red dot or the front sight after recoil happens in a hurry.
The biggest surprise from this gun was the small groups it produced. Shooting from a bag at 25 yards, the worst 5-shot group over four shot strings averaged 2.8″. That was the Remington UMC 115gr. FMJ. Again, to be clear, that was the worst shooting round I put this through the GX4XL. The best shooting round was the Wilson Combat Pinnacle 115gr TAC-XP +P round, which shot 2.3″ average groups. For a micro-compact budget gun with a 5.6″ sight radius, that is very good.
All of the shooting for groups was done with iron sights for the simple reason that I was shooting slightly smaller groups with the irons than I did with the red dot optic at 25 yards, and none of the firing for groups was timed.
When I first shot this gun, I was unimpressed. That’s because I’ve been shooting too many SIG 365s, Hellcats, and other micro-compact 9mm’s, and this one was a whole lot like those. Then a friend of mine bought a Kimber Micro 9 Raptor based off my previous review.
I wish he would have called me. I’d have told him to buy a GX4XL instead. The fact that I’d choose this Taurus over that (pretty good) Kimber for myself made me rethink my assessment of the GX4XL.
The bottom line is that the Taurus GX4XL T.O.R.O. looks better, comes optics-ready, shoots just as accurately (if not better), is reliable enough, and has a street price that’s a couple of hundred dollars less than the other micro-compact 9mms I’ve been shooting. This gun has all of that…and it’s a micro-compact that’s actually fun to shoot.
Specifications: Taurus GX4XL T.O.R.O.
CALIBER: 9MM LUGER
CAPACITY: 13 Rounds (11 and 10 round capacity magazines available.)
FRONT SIGHT: Fixed
REAR SIGHT: Drift Adjustable
OPTICS READY: Yes
MAGAZINES INCLUDED: 2
ACTION TYPE: SAO
SLIDE MATERIAL: Gas nitride coated Stainless Steel
BARREL MATERIAL: DLC Coated Stainless Steel
BARREL LENGTH: 3.71 In.
OVERALL LENGTH: 6.43 In.
OVERALL HEIGHT: 4.40 In.
OVERALL WIDTH: 1.08 In.
OVERALL WEIGHT: 20.00 Oz. (Unloaded)
TWIST RATE: 1:10 – inch RH twist, 6 groove
MSRP $469.99 (Found easily online for $360 and under.)
Ratings (out of five stars):
Style and Appearance * * * *
The Taurus GX4XL is clearly a step above the competition when it comes to looks. They’ve done a great job tying in the various design elements throughout the slide and frame.
Customization * * * * *
Optics-ready, multiple backstraps, and magazine options included with the base gun from the factory. It’s also from an established line, and Taurus is great with parts and option availability on their website.
Reliability * * *
Two failures to feed with the same cartridge, in the middle of the review, out of 500 rounds fired, including 420 in one day and without maintenance. (As an aside, I appreciate that what I now consider average I would have considered excellent 30 years ago. Guns and ammunition both have come a long way in the last generation.)
Accuracy * * * *
Very, very good. Nothing touched the 2″ mark at 25 yards, but nothing got larger than the 3″ mark either. On a pistol this size, that’s impressive.
Overall * * * *
The two failures to feed pushed this gun out of the exceptional category, but make no mistake, I was genuinely surprised with the overall high quality of this pistol. Even after my Taurus 856 Executive Grade review, I didn’t really think I’d like this gun, partially because I don’t like micro-compacts, but also because I haven’t been impressed with Taurus’ semi-autos in the past. After this review, that’s changed. Whatever Taurus’ is doing, they need to keep it up. The GX4XL T.O.R.O. is a great gun.