With a price point around $300 and a lot of standard features for that amount of green, the new Taurus G3C gives the buyer a lot of bang for the buck.
Catering to the concealed carry market-- now at least 20 million strong in the U.S.-- the 9mm G3 comes across its name honestly, as it is the company’s third-generation of polymer-framed handguns, following in the wake of the G2 and PT111 Millennium Pro, pistols that stretch back over a decade. The "C," for "compact" denotes this model is shorter in both length and height than the standard G3.
With a 3.2-inch barrel, the G3C is just 6.3-inches overall and, using a double-stack magazine, is 5.1-inches high at its tallest point. This puts it about as long as the Glock G43 but is slightly higher.
The G3C ships standard with a trio of flush-fit 12-round magazines in a plain Taurus-branded cardboard box. This is value-added compared to a lot of companies that only cough up one or two mags.
When it comes to manipulation and handling, the G3C breaks down like just about any other popular striker-fired pistol and is instinctive to figure out if you are familiar with one of those.
Shooting and handling
The Taurus G3C has right-hand-sided Teflon-coated surface controls to include a functional frame-mounted manual safety lever, whether you want it or not. The grip module has a series of fairly grippy texture pads for your palm and indents for your thumbs, left and right. The frame also has memory pads for indexing. Although it is a sub-compact, the grip length wasn't too short, even for the author's size XL mitts, and provided lots of real estate.
The single-action trigger with a Glock-style trigger insert, has a restrike or second-strike capability, depending on how you want to describe it. We found it breaks at about 5-pounds after a deep take-up and has a short reset for a factory striker-fired trigger. On restrikes, the weight is closer to 6.5-pounds. Here is when we should say that, over the course of testing, we never had to use the restrike capability.
The blacked-out rear and single front dot sights are metal-- and Glock pattern, which means they can be swapped out with ease for those who want night sights or something more exotic.
We found the gun shot to the effective point of aim and, while not meant for match use, rang plates out to 25 yards as long as you didn't rush it. The pistol felt decent in the firing cycle, even when firing from the unsupported offhand alone. While the Tenifer finish seemed more like a "working man's gun" than the current finishes and coatings you find on an FN, Glock, or Sig, it didn't feel cheap to the touch, though did tend to show wear marks.
When it came to functionality and reliability, the Taurus ran.
Using the gun right out of the box, with no added lube and only a pre-shoot field strip to check function, we put 1,000 rounds through it ranging from 115-grains through 147-grains, from a series of seven different manufacturers. Of those, 999 went bang without issues, with one failure to extract on Wolf steel case from an old box (hey, we are getting low on ammo and reaching way back into the vault these days). Once we cleared the jam with an emergency action drill, the pistol went right back into battery.
After the pistol got really dirty (northward of the 700-round mark), the slide occasionally failed to lock back on an empty mag, although to be honest, we noted this more with old Sig P226 mags than Taurus factory. Also, we found occasionally that if you insert a full mag and slammed it home with some aggression, sometimes the pistol would go into battery without slingshotting the slide or depressing the slide stop.
While the grip has a scallop between the bottom of the mag well and the top of the magazine base pad to allow users to strip away stuck mags, we never needed it as the Taurus Teflon-finished mags with lots of spring pressure leaped to the ground whenever the (reversible) mag release was depressed.
Alternating between using a leather DeSantis 019 Mini Scabbard for OWB use and a Kydex Slim-Tuk from the same holster maker, we carried the G3C around the house and out-and-about for about 300 hours and, unsurprisingly, it felt akin to toting a G43 or Ruger LC9, which are in the same size envelope.
It drew and pointed naturally and felt good in the hand when coming up.
With a lifetime warranty and a price running around $300 bucks, the reliable Taurus G3C approaches the Springfield Hellcat and Sig P365 on size and capacity, without dropping the same amount of cash to acquire. In the end, I bought this one from Taurus rather than send it back.
Don't drink too much of the Taurus-hater kool-aide because it is tough to find a gun with the same price point that brings what the G3C does to the table.