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Quality budget-priced guns have always struck a chord with Outdoor Life readers, and that’s true when it comes to concealed-carry guns like the Taurus GX4XL, too. We can’t all shell out for the most tricked-out EDC rigs—and many folks don’t want to. There’s something to be said for guns that are affordable, reliable, and easy to shoot.
Taurus has made headway in the pistol market in recent years with successful guns like the TX 22 and the G3X that wooed our test team at the 2022 Outdoor Life gun test. The Taurus GX4 was released in 2021, and is a micro-compact pistol similar in size to the Sig Sauer P365—which is the heavy-hitter in the space. The line has seen a few upgrades, and the Taurus GX4XL T.O.R.O. is a version with a longer slide that’s optics-ready.
The GX4XL has a longer slide, and is slightly softer-shooting than the Sig P365. Tyler Freel
The Taurus GX4XL tackles a concept that hasn’t always received much attention from pistol manufacturers. It pairs a long slide with a short grip. This theoretically gives the shooter a smoother-shooting platform, but with a less obtrusive handle for concealed carry. A gunsmith buddy of mine used to modify Glock G17’s by chopping the handle down short enough to take G19 magazines and achieve a similar end product. Now, Glock’s new full-length G47 slide fits right on a Gen 5 G19 Frame. The slide of the Taurus GX4XL T.O.R.O. is comparable in length to several compact pistols like the G19, and while using the flush-fitting magazines, the grip is very short and very concealable.
Taurus GX4XL T.O.R.O. Specs
Capacity: 11+1 rounds or 13+1 rounds
Barrel: Stainless steel, DLC finish
Dimensions with flush magazine: 6.40 inches (L) x 4.30 inches (H) x 1.08 inches (W)
Weight: 20 ounces (with flush magazine)
Frame: Polymer, matte black
Slide: Alloy steel
Finish: Gas nitride
Grip: Laser-etched stipple texturing
Sights: Metal white dot front, black, serrated rear, low profile
Optics: Slide cut with removable pillars, compatible with Shield RMSc, Holosun
Accessory Rail: None
Trigger: Flat-face, single-action, safety bar, 5 pounds, 11 ounces (measured)
Safety: Trigger bar safety
The Taurus GX4XL T.O.R.O. is a Sub-compact Contender
With the wave of micro-compact 9mm pistols that’s hit the market in recent years, manufacturers have begun chiseling away at every possible niche in the compact and sub-compact market too. It might seem redundant, but there are some great pistols in the mix. The Taurus GX4XL is simply a GX4 with a three-quarter-inch longer slide, barrel, and recoil system. The T.O.R.O. version, Taurus Optics Ready Option, has an RMSc optics cut and comes fitted with a cover plate. It’s a semi-auto, striker-fired pistol with a polymer grip, accompanied by 11- and 13-round magazines. It’s similar in size to the Sig Sauer P365, but with a longer slide and slightly more robust grip.
The GX4XL (top) and GX4 (bottom) use the same frame and trigger group, but the XL has a longer slide, barrel, and recoil spring. Tyler Freel
Slide and Barrel
The Taurus GX4XL has a stainless steel, DLC-finished, 3.71-inch barrel that’s got a long feed ramp and some shallow rectangular machine work on the sides and top of the chamber. It also has a loaded chamber indicator notch cut into the top/rear of the chamber.
The GX4XL uses an Alloy steel slide with a durable nitron finish. It sports simple lines, but has front and rear cocking serrations, a wide-toothed external extractor, and gently beveled corners on the front and top of the slide. The gun comes with a set of simple low-profile iron sights: a serrated black rear and white-dot front. The front sight is secured with a Torx-head screw and doesn’t require a specialized tool like Glock sights. Mine loosened after a couple hundred rounds, but a drop of blue loc-tite fixed that. The inside of the slide around the barrel has several channels machined into it to remove steel and lighten the slide—which in turn, softens recoil.
Optics Installation on the Taurus GX4XL T.O.R.O.
The GX4XL ships with a cover plate installed, and most compatible optics don’t require an adapter plate—only the Trijicon RMRcc. The system is compatible with RMSc-pattern pistol red dots like the Holosun 507. One thing I really like about the system is that it has two removable pillars that allow some other sights to be used. I have mounted both the Holosun 407K and EPS carry on the samples I received. One fits with the pillars installed, the other requires them to be removed. It’s a nice feature.
The pistol doesn’t have co-witness sights, but the optics cut is low enough that with a Holosun 407K, I can see the front sight well enough for it to be functional. With the EPS Carry red dot, I can’t see it.
The optic cut on the GX4XL fits RMSc-pattern optics and features two removable pillars that allow more flexibility with optics like the Holosun 407K. Tyler Freel
Grip and Frame
The frame and grip of the Taurus GX4XL are quite different from that of the G3X that we reviewed last year. The G3X is built and functions very much like a Glock, but the GX4 series is more similar to the Sig P365. It features a polymer grip, what we’d normally refer to as the frame, but the frame is a stainless steel chassis and a separate assembly that sits inside the polymer grip. It houses the trigger and is held in place by the takedown pin.
The GX4XL and GX4 have identical frames and grips, and the 3.3-inch-long slide rails are formed by folding the top edges of the frame 90 degrees outward. When assembled, there is a bit of play between the slide and frame, but not much—certainly less than on many other striker-fired pistols.
The pistol is field stripped in essentially the same way as a P365, but the GX4 and GX4XL require a flat-tip driver bit to twist the takedown pin from the right side of the frame. A quarter-turn counter-clockwise, and the slide can be pulled off the front of the frame. The one feature the grip lacks is an accessory rail.
Unlike Glock-type pistols such as the Taurus G3X, the GX4XL uses a stainless-steel chassis to house the fire control group inside a polymer grip. Tyler Freel
Shooting the Taurus GX4XL T.O.R.O.
I received both a Taurus GX4XL and GX4 to test and compare. They fit my hands well and are natural pointers. The short grips have a pronounced hump that I assumed would force my wrist forward like a Glock, but in the hand, they feel and point more like a Sig. The GX4 series pistols come with an additional interchangeable back strap that helps customize the fit too.
The grip has etched stipple texturing on all sides that is grippy but not too aggressive. When carried against the skin it isn’t irritating. There is a small, stipple-textured spot on each side of the grip module, forward and just above the trigger guard. This gives the support-hand thumb a good indexing spot and traction to help counter recoil. There isn’t much room for my strong-hand pinky finger when using the flush-fitting 11-round magazines, but the extended 13-round magazine allows me a full-fisted grip.
For testing, I fired approximately 300 rounds through the regular GX4 T.O.R.O. and 750 rounds through the Taurus GX4XL T.O.R.O. The majority of ammunition was 115- and 124-grain ball ammo, but I fired some 115-, 124-, and 147-grain hollowpoint defensive ammunition through each pistol too.
The GX4XL Has a Clean-Breaking Trigger
The trigger of the Taurus GX4XL T.O.R.O. is somewhat heavy, but surprisingly good for a striker-fired gun. It breaks at almost six pounds, but after a short takeup, it’s pleasantly consistent and crisp. The reset isn’t dramatically distinct, but it’s audible and tactile. The trigger has good spring tension to drive it back, so you’re not likely to miss it during rapid fire. The trigger shoe has two flat surfaces that are angled rather than curved, and the bottom two thirds of the shoe is where your finger applies pressure. That’s where the trigger safety bar is too.
The trigger shoe surface is a little wide, and I pushed shots to the left when trying to shoot very fast. But overall, I think the triggers on the GX4XL and GX4 are more crisp and consistent than their competitor, the Sig P365.
The GX4XL has a clean-breaking trigger with a good reset. Tyler Freel
A Budget Gun Break-In
Within a few shots, I could tell that the Taurus GX4XL was going to be a pleasant sub-compact to shoot. The recoil impulse is soft, and the trigger is crisp. But the pistol had difficulty running smoothly. I started with Sellier & Bellot 124-grain ball ammo and tried a few others, but kept encountering the same issue. The slide would hang up approximately half an inch out of battery while it was trying to feed a cartridge into the chamber. A wiggle of the slide would allow the round to chamber, but I couldn’t get through a magazine without two or three of these malfunctions. It’s not uncommon for pistols to have some cyclic hiccups in the first few hundred shots, but this issue wasn’t showing signs of letting up after 200 rounds.
I want every gun I shoot to succeed, and decided to give the GX4XL another hundred rounds. I switched to American Eagle 124-grain FMJ and hit the range. By the time I shot a total of 300 rounds, the pistol had pretty much worked itself out of the feeding issue. I’ve since put about 450 rounds through it, with the out-of-battery failure only reoccurring once. I switched back to the S&B ammo and it works fine now. I also used a few different types of defensive ammo, and the GX4XL functions great with Federal’s 124-grain Punch hollowpoints.
At about 20 bucks-a-box, Federal punch JHP makes a good pairing with the GX4XL. Tyler Freel
The shorter GX4 didn’t malfunction at all during shooting, but I found that if I slowly let the slide forward or racked it from the front of the slide with the web of my hand, it would stop just short of being in battery. When I racked it judiciously, it didn’t give me any problems, and it never happened while firing.
The one persistent issue I encountered was that both the GX4 and GX4XL have very sensitive slide stops. The empty magazine will lock the slide back on both, but if the slide doesn’t snap forward upon removing the magazine, it will when you set it down on a table or shooting bench or when you load a fresh magazine. It’s not a deal-breaker for me, but something to be aware of.
Accuracy and Practical Shooting
From a supported position, the GX4XL would hold two-inch groups with a variety of ammo at 50 feet, and It wasn’t too hard to keep shots in the A-zone at that distance. If I shot too fast, I’d push them out into C territory on the left, but for a concealed-carry gun it wasn’t bad. Closer up, the pistol was completely adequate for defensive accuracy and, inside 21 feet, it’s a fast shooter with both the extended and flush magazines. I did notice that with some ammunition changes, the pistol’s point of impact would shift dramatically, so make sure and reconcile your zero between carry and practice ammo or, better yet, find something that has the same point of impact.
The Taurus GX4XL T.O.R.O. points naturally, and recoil is soft. With a good grip, the sights or red dot don’t even leave my field of view during the recoil cycle, and it’s easy to get quick follow-up shots. The shorter GX4 is much more snappy in comparison. A good grip is critical, and when you’ve got it dialed in, the GX4XL feels smoother than the standard Sig P365 and similar-sized pistols like the Mossberg MC2sc, but not quite as smooth as the Sig P365 XMacro.
What the Taurus GX4XL T.O.R.O. Does Well
The Taurus GX4XL has a good trigger, nice optics-mounting system, and a great price tag. It’s one of the smoothest shooting sub-compact pistols I’ve fired.
Where the Taurus GX4XL T.O.R.O. Could Improve
I’d like to have seen the Taurus GX4XL run a little smoother from the start, and some slide-frame interface hiccups with the standard GX4 indicate to me that some of them are likely to have quirks. I would definitely like to see the slide stop mechanism re-worked to be stiffer and more consistent.
Read Next: Best 9mm Ammo
Final Thoughts on the Taurus GX4XL
I was initially pretty disappointed at the feeding failures my pistol had, but pleased that I could break the gun in and get it running smoothly. It’s unlikely that every GX4XL has those issues, but you’re more likely to encounter things like that with budget guns. There’s no free lunch, and generally, you’ll see more issues as you move down in the price spectrum. Even top-end pistols and rifles still have problems from time to time.
With my sample broken in and running smoothly, I think it’s a good value. It’s half the price of its competition and a hundred bucks, or more, cheaper than some similar optics-ready pistols that aren’t as well-fit or nice-shooting. To me, that makes a little extra break-in ammo and elbow grease a small price to pay.
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