In the past couple of years, Taurus has really upped its 9mm game with a trio of G3 pistol models offering affordable options for everyday carry.
All based on the standard G3 line – the budget gunmaker's third family of striker-fired polymer-framed pistols following in the wake of the PT111 Millennium and G2 series – the G3C was introduced in 2020, with the "C," for "compact," denoting the fact that it was both shorter in length and height than the base model.
Then came the G3X, which was much the same as the G3C but with a fuller grip and larger magazine capacity, and the G3XL, which had the same grip and magazine as the G3C but with a longer slide, offering a better sight radius and more controllability.
A Closer Look
For reference, all three of these pistols all stand roughly the same height, with the G3X being just slightly taller due to its fuller grip and having the same 1.2-inch width over the surface controls. While the G3C and G3X are the same length due to their common 3.2-inch barrel, the G3XL runs almost an inch longer due to its 4-inch barrel and corresponding slide.
When it comes to weight, we found the G3XL's loaded weight with 12+1 rounds of Hornady 9mm Luger 115-grain FTX Critical Defense to hit the scales at 29.4 ounces. Interestingly, the G3X, with 15+1 rounds of the same ammo, weighed in at 29.3 ounces, with the difference made up in the shorter length of the slide and barrel. As for the G3C, we found it to weigh 25.7 ounces when stoked with 12+1 rounds.
Talking about magazine capacity, the G3C and G3XL use the same 12+1 pinky extension magazines, while the G3X, with its fuller grip, ships with flush-fitting 15+1 capacity mags. All three pistols will accept the available 15- and 17-round magazines meant for the standard G3. As a bonus, we also found that Sig Sauer pattern P228/229 13/15-shot mags will work in the G3C and G3XL, while longer P226-pattern mags fit all three. Be advised, though, when using the non-standard capacity mags (e.g., a 15+1 shot P226 mag in a G3C) that the magazine body will extend below the grip's mag well.
When it comes to reliability and accuracy, the G3 platform has really impressed us across a variety of tests and evaluations, chewing through everything we gave them and making holes downrange right where you expect. Where the rubber meets the road, these things just flat-out work.
In the end, you'd be well-suited to trust any of the above sub-$400 Taurus G3 variants, and should you want to run a micro red dot, be sure to check out the TORO series, which comes optic-ready right out of the box.