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.
Liking the long slide rails and close slide to frame fit, etc. No manual safety is the deal breaker for me.
Why do you need a manual safety? It’s already safe don’t pull the trigger unless you want it to go bang!
Question………….. because rights cannot be charged a: fee, tax, license, permit, registration, bans etc., MURDOCK 319 US 105, then all money spent on buying a firearm etc., are to be tax deductible so a person does not have to use “after tax” dollars to exercise a right?
Is this not only logical but constitutional?
Have you considered a holster? The ultimate in EXTERNAL manual safeties.
Taurus is a viable option for those on a tight budget. Which most folks are these days.
While the sig will be easier for magazine restrictions this is a great competitive option hopefully it will keep everyone else competitive but we are quickly getting a lot of good options in this area.
eye of the beholder.
Reliable enough? Not for me. Never would I trust my life to a Taurus.
The Glock is just a little more and money well spent.
Funny about the IWI di-cut ammo. Wouldn’t feed in my Taurus 709 which runs everything. So have all my other guns. Funky stuff. Also the UMC has been subpar in the little I’ve used. Like the Armscor 9mm. Anyway Taurus took a quantum leap in QC lately especially after opening the Georgia plant. I’m maybe getting a Taurus 3″ 357 after rave reviews from a couple folks. Or a 4″ barrel. Whatever won’t violate communist Ill annoy gun BS laws…
I don’t believe Glock has a gun in this category (G43 is low capacity and the G48 is bigger). Glocks aren’t “just a little more”, they are at least 50% higher priced.
You may disagree, but JWT gives it a good report. I believe my Glock 19 is a slightly better gun than my Taurus G3C. The Glock cost double what the G3C cost. I have no problem recommending the G3C to the budget conscious defensive pistol buyer.
When I bought my g19 here in CA it was near 600 bucks. It is a good self defense pistol.
But in my younger years I had budget issues. I did Taurus revolvers then. Never had a problem with them.
u- Glock 26?
It is your hide.
Apparently some have trouble judging quality and absorbing the results of institutional testing.
Glock 26 isn’t in the same size category. It is a standard Glock 17/19 size gun with a shorter grip and barrel. It is significantly thicker than these new micro compact guns (P365, Hellcat, Max-9, Shield Plus).
If you prefer the G26, that’s great. Go for it. The Glock 26 is a very solid dependable gun.
On the other hand, this isn’t 1990 anymore. Glocks aren’t the only solid reliable polymer framed 9mm guns anymore. S&W, Sig, and Springfield have caught up or surpassed them, and Ruger and Taurus aren’t far behind.
Here’s a link to a side-by-side comparison of the two.
Your problem is the ammo. Remington UMC 115gr FMJ is really hit or miss especially after the Biden war on ammo. I bought a regular GX4 for $275 OTD NIB a month ago and have put 500 rounds of Blazer Brass and 50 124 Gold Dots through it and haven’t had one stoppage or hiccup. It was an impulse buy but I like it and it could be my summer EDC.
IMI makes some great ammo but the IMI Di-cut isn’t one their great rounds. I wouldn’t trust my life with it but the fact that it fed defiantly means it’s the UMC. I have seen boxes of it that had vastly different OAL’s, it’s QC is questionable at best.
Keep up the good gun reviews JWT, they are enjoyable and thorough.
Thanks, and yup, absolutely agree on all points. That IMI 115gr die cut rounds runs fine, in some guns, kind of like the .451″ caliber Hornady XTP bullet.
Hey JW! thanks for another excellent review. I just read this review, and the Mobius back to back, and while I saw the “no way I would pay….” comments on the Mobius almost immediately, I was a little surprised not to see more “No way I would buy a cheap Taurus….” comments popping up sooner.
Inflation must be getting to us….
Looking at that trigger guard reminds me of my 5906 S&W 9mm. Does anyone use their off hand index finger in front of the trigger guard to control recoil? Just curious as to your results.
I go back and forth. Where I’ve landed is that I get recoil reduction not from the force of my index finger, but from the more solid grip my support hand gets with my index finger out of the way.
I also use this technique to force new students to index their trigger finger: if you can’t feel your trigger finger extended to touch your support index finger, you’re wrong.
When I try that method, I tend to pull the gun down and left too hard.
I’ve seen Jerry and Lena Miculek use that method. They obviously know what they’re doing. I have a cheat code – a ported barrel. It makes a big difference.
Thanks guy’s. I tend to pull down and to the right jw being a lefty. I never quite got it to work for me so I went back to the standard grip. I thought someone might know a secret.
“ there are lines and angles throughout the gun that don’t really have to be that way just for function”
This is one of my least favorite trends in handgun design. Unnecessary hard edges and corners. I think the Ruger LC9 series was the pinnacle of concealed carry design, as far as shape goes. Smooth curves and tapers wherever possible made it a gem to carry and minimized poke points against the body. It had a sports car aesthetic. Now the tactical SUV aesthetic seems to prevail.
Concur with the contours of the LC9 but the original trigger was CRAZY stiff. My wife couldn’t pull it. Now an LCR trigger is a dream in comparison.
Yeah, the original LC9 trigger was tough. I could shoot accurately with it SLOWLY, but rapid fire was a mess. I traded it for the LC9S Pro striker version when that came out. Easy trigger, but a little too easy for my taste. I don’t like manual safeties, but I felt a little uneasy carrying that gun without one.
I’m getting older and less ‘tactical’ minded. I think an LCR is in my future. I had the 3-inch LCRx model and loved it except for the snaggy adjustable rear site. It was a serious problem in carry pouches for hiking when a hip holster wouldn’t work due to backpack hip straps. As that was a prime purpose for the gun, I didn’t keep it. If Ruger offered Novak style sites in the 3 inch, that would be my perfect carry revolver. I may end up with a snubby LCR instead.
“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.”
I disagree here, I would put the GX4 action among the best striker fired trigger on the market out of the box. The shoe is rigid and comfortable, pull has some light pre-travel before coming to a firm wall then breaks clean. Reset is positive and nice and short.
The M&P with it’s hinged trigger is just silly and bends too much. The trigger shoe is too thin has some flex to it, I would rate it as one of the worst. Others with the hinged trigger shoe like the FN 509, they execute the design significantly better.
About a year ago S&W updated the M&P 2.0 trigger to a flat faced one.
It’s very close to the GX4.
Is that new blade safety trigger shoe going to be their new standard? I’ve only seen the Perform Center versions come with those
I don’t work for S&W but on the M&P 2.0s I think yes it will.
I have seen a few that were just M&P 2.0s and they all had the flat faced trigger. They started doing this a year ago.
I just can’t get very interested in the technical details of the ugliest handgun I’ve ever seen.
The Taurus is a single action not a safe action of DAO like service pistols.
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Taurus is just a revolving door, once you buy you are committed. No room to modify or even fix yourself because they won’t sell simple parts to general public. STAY AWAY unless you thoroughly enjoy disappointment after disappointment
Never would I trust my life to a Taurus
Glock, SIG or Hellcat just a little more.
It is your hide.