The concealed carry handgun world has seen a lot of change over the last dozen years or so with new configurations, capacities, and features hitting the market what seems like almost every 3 months or so. The design group over at Taurus hasn’t been slacking on their lineup and has produced great offerings to the concealed carry community that have vast improvements both in the quality control and features departments. Of note for me was last year’s release of the GX4 micro-compact 9mm pistol and the subsequent addition of the T.O.R.O. version of the same pistol which gave users a budget carry optics option while simultaneously giving what I’d say is one of the best striker-fired triggers in the micro-compact class.
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TFB Review: Comparing the Merits of Taurus G3X and New G3XL Pistols
The Taurus G3X was released about a month ago towards the start of SHOT Show 2022. Basically, the G3X is Taurus’ offering to those who might like the idea of the Glock 45 pistol. The G3X features a full-sized frame and compact-sized slide which gives you higher capacity, a smaller overall package, and a full-sized grip. In addition, Taurus has listened to the market and is offering the G3X and the new G3XL without manual safeties. However, close examination of the left side of the slide reveals that while the manual safety lever is gone, the small red indent on the slide is still there.
The pistol holds 15+1 rounds of 9mm, features a Tenifer Matte Black finish, and retails for an MSRP of $342.95. However, as most of you probably already know, these pistols can be found in the mid 200s from most dealers around the country which makes them great affordable concealed carry options. During my range trips with the G3X, it had perfect reliability and felt great in the hand to shoot.
If you’re familiar with the Taurus G3 or the G3C, then there will be no surprises for you in the G3X except when it comes to how it is carried. One notable and perhaps disappointing feature that is glaringly absent from the G3X’s release is that there is no T.O.R.O. offering upon initial release which is something other pistol manufacturers have started doing as standard practice.
This absence is quite baffling considering both the increased popularity of carry optics in the market, as well as the fact that the G3X’s slide is more or less a G3C slide with different milling on the sides to denote the different model. In short, the G3X is a reliable pistol that carries well in the hand and may give those with larger hands a better platform to shoot from and additional capacity over the newer G3XL.
The G3XL is Taurus’ latest offering to the concealed carry market and follows the same vein as the highly popular Glock 48 by offering customers a longer slide on a compact-sized grip. Just like the rest of the G3 series of pistols, the G3XL has a decent trigger with restrike capability and also comes without manual safety. With the slide being the easier part to conceal, it’s no wonder that many like this particular configuration.
Like the G3X, the G3XL wasn’t released with a T.O.R.O. option right out of the gate which is again somewhat disappointing considering the parts commonality with previous iterations of the pistol. In fact, the first thing I did when I received both of these pistols was to check to see if I could take my personal G3C T.O.R.O. slide and mount it to the frames – it works flawlessly.
Aside from being able to mount a compact slide on the compact frame, the G3XL in its native configuration with the longer slide gives users a few other advantages including a longer sight radius which translates to greater accuracy potential and a slightly longer barrel which might net you a couple extra hundred feet per second in the velocity department.
Is One Configuration Objectively better than the other?
I was originally going to review each of these pistols individually but since the G3X and the G3XL are basically slightly altered versions of what Taurus already has, I decided to shoot them together, and compare them to see if one configuration worked better for me over another.
I found the G3X to be much more comfortable to shoot and I also had an easier time managing the recoil out of both standard ball ammunition and much spicier 9mm hollow points that were provided to me by Hornady for these reviews. 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.
On the other hand, the G3XL brings better concealability to the table while still offering 80% of the capacity of the larger and wider G3X grip. The G3XL gave me greater accuracy at longer ranges but not by much, however, the shorter grip meant that the pistol tended to slip more in my hand but I could see this not being an issue for some shooters who have less meaty hands.
In short, both pistols offer you an inexpensive, accurate, and reliable option for daily concealed carry and it seems like the good folks over at Taurus are doing what they can to bring guns to the market that customers actually want. I still think they should have released the inevitable T.O.R.O. options at launch but perhaps there are reasons behind the scenes that I am not privy to that make this either logistically impossible or not economically feasible.
What is your Preferred Configuration
Concealed carry is an insanely personal choice and the above-mentioned observations are solely mine based on my carry preferences and experiences. If I had to pick just one of the two pistols above it would probably be the G3XL as it is most similar to the Glock 48 that I often use for daily carry. I feel like the G3X would see some use for me as well but perhaps only when carrying outside the waistband and under a concealment garment.
I’d like to hear your guy’s thoughts on these two relatively new offerings from Taurus and also which one you’d carry were you given a choice between these two handguns. Do you like the smaller grip footprint and longer slide of the new G3XL or would you much more prefer the thicker, slightly longer grip with the short slide of the G3X? Your thoughts and comments are always welcome down below.