April 24, 2020
With a matte-black steel slide, three-dot sights, a polymerframe, a 4.0-inch barrel, and a trigger safety, Taurus’s new G3 9mm semiautomatic pistol might not sound like anything new, but it is. It’s the next generation of Taurus G-series pistols.
The new G3 is a full-frame semiautomatic pistol, and as such, it takes the popular Taurus G2 to the next level. For anyone who doesn’t know, the G2 and G2c guns are compact pistols. They were introduced in 2013 and upgraded in 2018 and have earned a good reputation for being easy to carry and easy to shoot. Plus, they perform as well or better than a lot of similar-size pistols that cost twice as much.
The new striker-fired G3 pistol has all the features most handgunners demand in this type of gun, and I’ll get to a detailed description of those features in a moment. But first I want to point out the safety features Taurus has built into this pistol. It has several safety systems.
One is the trigger safety. Like other similar trigger safeties, the G3’s is designed to prevent the trigger from being squeezed unless the shooter’s finger has fully engaged and depressed the trigger safety. The unique thing about the G3’s trigger safety is that it is noticeably wider than other such trigger safeties. I much prefer the wider trigger safety lever of the G3.
Another safety feature of the G3 is the internal striker block. It keeps the striker from moving forward unintentionally—as in a drop or a hard impact—and accidentally striking the primer. When the trigger is squeezed rearward, the striker block is pushed away from the striker.
Yet another safety system is the manual thumb safety located on the left side on the slide. It is not ambidextrous, but it is positioned for easy access with the thumb of the shooter’s right hand. Moving it up engages the safety and prevents the trigger from being squeezed all the way as well as preventing the slide from moving rearward. Levering it down allows the pistol to be fired.
Another safety feature of the G3 is the loaded-chamber view port. When a round is chambered, the cartridge case can be viewed through the top of the barrel’s chamber, providing visible verification that a cartridge is loaded in the chamber.
Finally, the G3’s polymer frame has recesses on both sides above the trigger guard that are designed specifically for the shooter to use to rest the trigger finger on when not actively shooting, keeping the trigger finger entirely outside the trigger guard and off the trigger. The company calls them “Taurus Memory Pads,” and the term has been trademarked.
Other Fine Features
Like many other striker-fired pistols, the G3 has a low bore axis. A lower bore axis permits the pistol to sit lower in the shooter’s hand, which translates into better control of muzzle flip. That means the G3 is easy and comfortable to shoot. After first shooting the new pistol at a Taurus-sponsored media event held at Southwind Plantation in Georgia last April and working with a second pistol months later on my home range, I can attest to that fact.
One surprising—and pleasant—characteristic of the G3 is that unlike other striker-fired pistols, its slide is easy to rack. A striker-fired mechanism usually requires stiffer springs for reliable operation, and as a rule that makes the slide more difficult to rack.
Also unlike a lot of other striker-fired guns, the G3’s trigger pull is pretty good. A lot of striker-fired pistols have sloppy, heavy trigger pulls. Not so with the G3. My sample’s trigger broke at 6.0 pounds on average for five measurements with my RCBS trigger pull scale. Take-up was long, but the break was crisp. The reset was not the shortest I’ve experienced, but it wasn’t the longest, either, and it was audible.
Relating to the trigger system, unlike other striker-fired pistols, the G3 has repeat-strike capability. That means if a round fails to go off the first time, after reset, the trigger can be squeezed again quickly. As anyone who has done a fair amount of shooting knows, sometimes with a repeat strike, the round goes off. It’s a great capability for a self-defense gun.
The G3 also can be fired with the magazine removed. A lot of semiautomatic pistols these days will not do that. I prefer a mechanism that will fire with the magazine out, especially if it’s a self-defense gun, just because I can foresee a situation in which the magazine could get dislodged and possibly ejected with a round in the chamber and just maybe that round might save somebody’s life.
Speaking of magazines, my G3 came with a flush-fitting 15-round magazine and an extended 17-round magazine. Taurus also makes the G3 available to customers with two 10-round magazines or two 15-round magazines. The magazine bodies are metal, and they have removable polymer baseplates and polymer followers.
Other good features of the G3 include the three-slot accessories rail on the frame, grasping grooves at the front and the rear of the slide, and the flat-top slide. The front of the slide and the sides of the slide ahead of the ejection port are beveled for easy holstering. And I especially like the contouring of the frame. The grip area has thumbrests on both sides. Taurus calls them thumb “shelves.”
The grip’s circumference measures 5.63 inches, and it has six panels of fine texturing (Taurus calls it “stippling”): one on the frontstrap, one on the backstrap, and two on each side. I’ll describe the texturing as tacky, as in it feels like my hand sticks to the grip. It reminds me of skateboard tape. Anyway, it proved to be very effective during my shooting sessions.
As I said at the beginning of the report, the sights have three dots. They are not made of steel, but instead they are polymer. The rear sight is dovetailed into the slide and is drift-adjustable for windage. It is locked in place by a Torx-head screw. The front sight is 0.152 inch thick and provides plenty of light on each side when paired up with the 0.167-inch-wide square notch in the rear sight. The sight radius is 6.0 inches.
The G3 is 7.3 inches long overall, 5.2 inches high, and 1.25 inches wide. The slide proper is 1.0 inch thick. The pistol weighs 25 ounces unloaded. The finish on my pistol is matte black, with the steel slide wearing an oxi-nitrocarburizing process that, according to the company, creates a casehardened surface and enhances strength and wear-resistance. If you prefer a two-tone finish, you can also get your Taurus G3 with a natural-finished stainless-steel slide and a black frame.
All G3 barrels are made of stainless steel, and they are rifled via a broach cut process. The recoil guide rod is steel, and the recoil spring is tuned to deliver an easy recoil pulse while ensuring reliable operation.
The Taurus G3 is easy to field strip for regular cleaning and periodic maintenance. Here’s how it goes. Remove the magazine and be certain the pistol is not loaded by racking the slide and checking the chamber, return the slide to its forward position, point the pistol in a safe direction, retract the slide slightly, pull down the takedown lever, and move the slide forward off the frame. Remove the recoil spring assembly from the slide and then remove the barrel.
As I said earlier, my first exposure to the G3 was at a new-product seminar hosted by Taurus last spring. The pistol I fired there performed well and so did the review sample I recently received for this report.
During my action-shooting routine on my home range, I found the G3 to point naturally. It was a natural extension of my arm, and the high handhold helped make shooting the pistol very comfortable. The generous trigger guard easily accommodated a gloved trigger finger.
I also fired the pistol for accuracy from a bench. During that phase of testing, I fired 10 different 9mm factory loads, with bullets ranging in weight from 115 to 150 grains. As you can see from the accompanying chart, all loads produced five-shot group averages less than 4.00 inches at 25 yards. That’s for five, five-shot groups with each load. The tightest group average was 3.35 inches, and it came with SIG SAUER’s Elite Performance 147-grain FMJ ammo. That load produced an average velocity of 909 fps, with a standard deviation of 19 fps and an extreme spread of 47 fps. Averaging 3.39 inches, the second most accurate load was the Barnes 115-grain TAC-XPD +P ammunition. And overall average accuracy for all 10 factory loads was 3.69 inches. Again, that’s for five, five-shot groups with each load fired from a bench with the targets placed at 25 yards.
Reliability throughout my shooting sessions with the G3 was, as my friend and fellow writer Joseph von Benedikt is fond of saying, “sterling.” I can’t think of a better word to describe the performance of the new full-frame Taurus G3. After all, the most critical characteristic of a self-defense gun is reliability. When you consider the G3’s good accuracy, great retail price ($345.23 to $360.70, depending on the configuration), and supreme reliability, it’s easy to predict Taurus is going to sell an awful lot of these new pistols.
For anyone wondering about holsters for the new G3, Crossbreed was one of the first out of the gate, if not the first, with holsters form-fitted for the pistol. Specifically, Crossbreed is offering the IWB SuperTuck, the diverse Freedom Carry holsters, the SnapSlide, the DropSlide, the Open Top Pancake, and the SuperSlide models. The company also has modular holster systems to accommodate various home, vehicle, and discrete travel needs, including the Belly Band, the Purse Defender, the Pac Mat, the Bedside Backup, and the Ohai. In addition, Crossbreed also has developed magazine carriers to coordinate with each of the holster systems.
Taurus G3 SpecsManufacturer:
9mm LugerMagazine Capacity:
15 and 17 roundsBarrel:
4.0 in.Overall Length:
5.20 in.Weight, Empty:
Integral to polymer frameFinish:
Drift-adjustable rear; fixed front; three-dot systemTrigger:
6.0-lb. pull (as tested)Safety:
Manual thumb safety; trigger safety; striker blockMSRP: