April 22, 2022
By Joel J. Hutchcroft
Taurus describes its new micro-sized GX4 9mm striker-fired, polymer-frame 9mm pistol with words like “artful,” “intelligent,” and “much praised.” The company also says the pistol presents “negligible printing,” and that is muito importante since the GX4 is designed specifically for concealed carry. It’s also designed to be comfortable to shoot. As many readers are aware, a micro-sized 9mm is often not the most comfortable handgun to shoot, even with the relatively mild-recoiling 9mm Luger cartridge.
The GX4 has a 3.06-inch barrel. It is 6.05 inches in length and 4.4 inches in height. It weighs 18.5 ounces unloaded. The frame proper is 1.0 inch thick, and the slide is 0.95 inch thick. Measuring outside the controls, the pistol is 1.08 inches thick. It literally fits in the palm of a hand and weighs just three times what my Android cell phone weighs.
Speaking of the controls, the GX4 has a slim-profile slide stop on the left side of the frame and an unobtrusive magazine release not quite halfway down the grip. The magazine release is set up on the left side, but according to the GX4’s press material, it is reversible. There is no manual thumb safety on our sample, so the slide stop and the magazine release are the only parts that stick out, and they sure don’t stick out much. Obviously, since this is a striker-fired pistol, there is no external hammer. The whole pistol is sleek and slim.
Some of the operational control parts, such as the magazine release, receive Teflon coating for optimal smoothness, corrosion resistance, and wear endurance. Other parts, such as the slide stop, are coated with a polymer overmolding for maximum durability. The metal internal parts are nickel plated for corrosion resistance.
Several safety features are built into the design. For example, there’s a hinged trigger safety lever (more about the trigger later), and there’s an internal striker block. There is also a loaded-chamber viewport on top of the barrel’s chamber. There is not a magazine disconnect safety, so the pistol will fire without the magazine inserted.
The standard magazine holds 11 rounds of 9mm Luger ammunition, but you can get extra 13-round magazines if you like. You can also get 10-round magazines for states that restrict capacity to that number. Our sample GX4 came with two 11-round flush-fitting magazines; however, Taurus offers an 11-round magazine with an extended baseplate for shooters who prefer a larger gripping surface. Unlike other double-stack magazines for micro-sized and compact pistols, the GX4’s magazines were surprisingly easy to load fully. Also, they functioned perfectly throughout my range session, feeding a variety of bullet styles without fail.
The magazines’ bodies are polished metal finished in a high-gloss black, and they have numbered witness holes on the back sides. The followers are bright yellow polymer. The baseplates also are polymer, and they are textured and removable. One nice touch on the GX4 is the recess, or scallop, on each side of the bottom of the grip frame that is designed to allow a thumb and finger to firmly grip the magazine and apply the necessary pressure to remove a stuck or slow-to-drop magazine. I didn’t need to do that during my shooting session as the magazines always fell free from the gun with just the press of the magazine release each time I pressed it.
As I said earlier, the frame is polymer. It has a stainless-steel chassis inside and some extra touches on the outside. For one, the frame above and ahead of the trigger guard has landing pads of texturing where the shooter’s fingers are to be placed. (Taurus refers to these locations as the “indexing” and “recoil management” pads.) The grip portion of the frame has a slight palmswell and texturing in four places, including the full length of the backstrap.
Speaking of the GX4’s backstraps, they are interchangeable. That’s been the norm for duty-size polymer pistols, but not so much on some of the newer micro-sized guns. Taurus provides two sizes of backstraps for the GX4. The standard backstrap comes installed on the pistol, and it has a slight palmswell. The extra backstrap is a high-swell piece that promotes a higher wrist position and has a more-pronounced palmswell (it does not increase the trigger reach).
The backstraps swap out easily and simply. Just drive out the retaining pin at the base of the backstrap, pull up on the bottom of the backstrap, and lever it out at the top.
Disassembling the pistol for regular care and maintenance requires a tool—a flat-head screwdriver to be specific—but it’s a simple procedure. With the pistol unloaded, rotate the recessed, slotted takedown pin located on the right side of the frame/slide with the flat-head screwdriver. Turn it a quarter-turn counterclockwise and squeeze the trigger. Then simply remove the slide toward the front.
Up top, the GX4’s slide is machined stainless steel with a matte black gas nitride finish. It is contoured with beveled edges for concealability. It features grasping grooves at the rear and the front. And the slide’s nose is further beveled to help make holstering easier.
The sights consist of a fixed front post with one white dot and a drift-adjustable, all-black rear. The rear sight has a square notch and horizontal striations. Both sights are steel, and the rear sight is dovetailed into the slide, while the front sight resides in a slot. The rear dovetail is sized appropriately to make switching the factory sight for other aftermarket sights possible and simple.
Earlier, I referred to the trigger. Well, the trigger’s face is flat, similar to those on many of the newest auto pistols. A flat trigger is supposed to provide more consistency in the placement of the trigger finger and perhaps allow a straighter, more consistent trigger pull. As we all know, greater consistency fosters better accuracy, but I’m not good enough at shooting handguns to know if it makes a difference for me. As my contrapardita at Handguns magazine Editor in Chief J. Scott Rupp reported, technically, the GX4’s trigger has a dogleg shape, but I’m going to stick with Taurus’s description and just say it’s flat. Uniquely, the trigger safety lever has vertical striations that are intended to guard against finger slippage.
My sample GX4’s trigger was good as striker-fired triggers go. It had the expected amount of take-up, and it broke fairly consistently, averaging 6 pounds, 9 ounces over the course of 10 measurements with my RCBS trigger pull scale. There were 24 ounces of variation over those 10 measurements. Reset was short.
In the hand, the GX4 felt great. It balanced well, and as we like to say at Shooting Times, it felt like a natural extension of my shooting hand. I shot the GX4 with the standard backstrap in place, and it was comfortable to dry-fire and shoot with live ammo.
And speaking of shooting the GX4, I fired a dozen types of 9mm Luger through it, with most of them being for self-defense use. They included Norma, Hornady, Federal, Winchester, Remington, SIG SAUER, Speer, and Black Hills brands with bullet weights ranging from 108 grains to 150 grains in Monolithic Hollowpoint (MHP), FlexLock, FMJ, JHP, HST, Golden Saber Black Belt, V-Crown JHP, Gold Dot G2, and HoneyBadger bullet styles. I fired three, five-shot groups of each load for accuracy from a sandbag benchrest at 25 yards. I also fired five rounds of each load for measuring the velocities at a distance of 12 feet from the muzzle with a Competition Electronics ProChrono Digital chronograph. The results are listed in the accompanying chart.
As you can see, the GX4 achieved average accuracies ranging between 3.50 and 5.00 inches. Overall average accuracy was 4.35 inches. The best groups came with Norma 108-grain MHP ammo, and with that load, at a self-defense distance of 21 feet, the GX4 put a full magazine (11 rounds) into less than 3 inches as fast as I could squeeze the trigger and still maintain a steady sight picture. The MHP ammo features a cold-formed all-copper hollowpoint bullet that is designed for extreme terminal performance (quicker and stronger shock wave) without over-penetrating. The shape is designed to allow failure-free chambering in semiautomatic pistols and pistol-caliber carbines.
Other top-performing loads in the GX4 were Norma’s Range & Training 115-grain FMJ (3.99 inches, with an average velocity of 1,000 fps, an extreme spread of 29 fps, and a standard deviation of 11 fps), Winchester’s Active Duty 115-grain FN FMJ (4.00 inches, 1,164 fps, 41 fps, and 20 fps), and Hornady’s Critical Duty 135-grain FlexLock +P (4.10 inches, 1,055 fps, 33 fps, and 18 fps). The Federal 150-grain HST ammunition continues to be one of the softest-shooting 9mm loads I’ve ever fired.
The GX4 micro-sized 9mm pistol has smooth contouring, a flush profile, and minimal snag points. It’s easily concealed and light enough to carry comfortably all day. In addition, it is surprisingly comfortable to shoot, and it’s accurate to boot. Developed from the ground up on an all-new platform over the course of three years, as I said at the beginning of this report, it represents the pinaculo of Taurus design and engineering, and it offers maximum concealability without compromising ergonomics, performance, or shooter comfort. What more could you ask for in an everyday-carry pocket pistol?
Taurus GX4 Specifications
- Manufacturer: Taurus; taurususa.com
- Type: Striker-fired autoloader
- Caliber: 9mm Luger
- Magazine Capacity: 11 rounds
- Barrel: 3.06 in.
- Overall Length: 6.05 in.
- Width: 1.08 in.
- Height: 4.4 in.
- Weight, Empty: 18.5 oz.
- Grips: Integral to polymer frame
- Finish: Black gas nitride slide, DLC barrel, matte black polymer frame
- Sights: Drift-adjustable rear, white-dot front
- Trigger: 6.6-lb. pull (as tested)
- Safety: Trigger safety lever, internal striker block
- MSRP: $392.42