Taurus continues to refine its runaway G-series handguns with another lean concealed carry hybrid
by Rob Reaser
It was only a month ago that we reported on the latest handgun in the Taurus G-series lineup, the G3X. Contributor Bob Campbell gave the fresh polymer 9mm a thorough shakedown and was intrigued with the concept.
Many shooters with larger hands sometimes have difficulty with compact and sub-compact pistols yet require abbreviated handguns for their concealed carry needs. The folks at Taurus decided a solution could be found by combining the grip dimensions of their full-size G3 9mm with the shorter slide and frame of the company’s G3c compact. With the G3X, shooters with beefy mitts can enjoy improved firearm control in a platform that is comfortable and convenient for concealed EDC.
As it turns out, Taurus had another hybrid variant waiting in the wings—this time taking that same hybrid concept but applying it in reverse.
Enter the Taurus G3XL.
In contrast to the heavy hand crowd, most shooters are comfortable handling a compact pistol, finding little problem with the shortened grip. The diminutive barrel and trim sight radius, on the other hand, often leaves shooters longing for those tighter groups that typically accompany full-size pistols.
The solution? Merge a compact frame with a full-length slide assembly.
I must admit that when Taurus first alerted us that an advanced test model was heading our way and I read the specifications, my first thought was, “This is looking like too many variations on a theme.” As it turned out, the G3XL is not a case of “one too many.” In fact, once I had a chance to carry it and put it on the range, it made a whole lot of sense.
Let’s begin with the polymer frame.
The G3XL is built around the same frame as that of the non-manual-safety compact G3c. This means the G3XL is shorter in overall length and in grip height than the full-size G3, although most shooters can comfortably wrap three fingers beneath the trigger guard. As such, the G3XL is a double-stack 12-rounder, just like the G3c. The trademark (and most excellent) Taurus stippling on the grip, memory pads, operational controls, and spot-on ergonomics are all retained. Unlike the G3c, though, the G3XL is not offered with a manual safety—that function being relegated to the trigger safety and striker block.
The G3XL utilizes the same 12-round magazine as the G3c. Scalloping between the grip and floor plate is there to assist stripping a hesitant magazine, although we have never had this issue with any Taurus G-series pistol. In fact, the mags usually jump right out as soon as you depress the mag release button.
The trigger breaks somewhat crisply. Overtravel and reset aren’t what you would call “short” if you’re familiar with aftermarket triggers, but they are just fine for a defensive handgun like this.
Where the G3XL takes a sharp departure from the G3C is in the slide configuration. The G3XL employs the same 4-inch barrel and slide as the G3 for a common 7.28-inch overall length, with one exception. To accommodate the shorter receiver length, Taurus designed an extended shroud to cover the guide rod and spring assembly and fill the gap between the end of the slide and the end of the receiver. Sort of a classic 1911, look, we think.
Although we’ve had nothing but praise for the inherent accuracy of the G3c and the even smaller GX4, the simple fact is that the longer the barrel and the longer the sight radius (distance between the front and rear sights), the more accurate the gun, all else being equal. We measured the G3XL’s sight radius at 5-15/16 inches, compared to the G3c’s 5-3/16 inches. It may not seem like a lot, but as any experienced shooter will tell you, an additional 3/4 inches in sight radius is a big deal for accuracy.
Shooting from a combat stance at 30 feet, we achieved a best five-shot group of 1.7 inches with the G3XL courtesy of Fiocchi’s 124-grain JHP. The ten-yard, five-shot groups from other ammo tested ran…
- Barnaul 115-grain FMJ: 2.495 inches
- Black Hills Honey Badger subsonic 125-grain: 2.563 inches
- NovX Engagement Extreme 65 grain: 2.659 inches
Any of these are in the zone for a personal defense handgun, but the numbers clearly favored the Fiocchi ammo in this test.
To disassemble the G3XL, make sure the magazine is removed and there is no ammo in the chamber. Slightly pull back the slide and pull down on the slide release lever. While continuing to hold down on the slide release lever, release the slide and pull the trigger. The slide can now be removed from the receiver. As you can see, the G3XL breaks down to familiar components.
One thing we do want to mention is that the G3XL comes with two 12-round mags. If you are so inclined, you can purchase optional 15- and 17-round mags to increase your carry capacity. That might be great for range day, but it does defeat the intent of the pistol for CCW/EDC work.
With the G3XL, Taurus completes the hybrid experiment that began with the G3X, and we welcome it. This gun makes a strong case for itself given that it prints, when worn IWB, like a compact handgun yet delivers the extended barrel and longer sight radius that makes for an accurate shooter. Win and win.
Taurus G3XL Specifications
- Caliber: 9mm Luger
- Capacity: 12 rounds
- Magazines: 2
- Firing System: striker
- Action Type: single action with restrike
- Front Sight: fixed steel
- Rear Sight: drift adjustable
- Safety: striker block, trigger safety, loaded chamber indicator
- Frame Size: compact
- Grip Material: polymer
- Slide Material: steel alloy
- Slide Finish: Tenifer matte black
- Overall Length: 28 in.
- Overall Width: 20 in.
- Overall Height: 10 in.
Crossbreed Holsters Stand Ready
One of the things we appreciate about Crossbreed Holsters, aside from the high-quality products they manufacture in the US, is that they are quick to market with holster solutions for the newest handguns.
Given that the Taurus G3XL is based on the G-series frame, Crossbreed has several OWB and IWB holsters ready to go for this fresh model. Since I prefer OWB carry whenever possible, I acquired Crossbreed’s two most popular IWB models—the SnapSlide and the DropSlide holsters.
These are straightforward holsters featuring a thick leather backer and a form fit Kydex pocket that keep pistols secure and wears comfortably. The DropSlide places the gun lower on the waistline, making it an easier reach when wearing heavier clothes or a coat. For lighter dress and shorter shirt tails, the SnapSlide is a great choice.
The “Soft” Protection Option
We keep driving, at every logical opportunity, the need for person defense advocates to invest in the other side of protective firearms—legal defense. The importance of legal protection is not diminishing. On the contrary. As increased civil unrest and social upheaval look, unfortunately, to continue an upward trajectory as we move deeper into 2022, it is ever more essential that those who carry a firearm for personal defense understand the legal jeopardy they will be exposed to should they ever need to use their firearm to defend themselves or another.
We’ve engaged Firearms Legal Protection out of Addison, Texas, as our protection service, and recommend everyone check them out if you haven’t already acquired a legal protection plan. FLP offers three plan levels to cover individuals and families, and the cost is not only low ($16.95/mo for Individual Basic to $44.95/mo for Family Premium), it is negligible when you consider the financial challenge of defending yourself in court—something you will have to do should you ever be involved in a defensive encounter with a firearm.
Some highlights of the core benefits provided to FLP members include:
- Uncapped attorney fee payment for criminal defense cases
- Uncapped attorney fee payment for civil defense cases
- Extended protection to all legal weapons
- Defense of Extreme Risk-Protection order, or Red Flag laws
- 24/7 emergency access to an attorney-answered hotline
- Expungement of criminal record on non-conviction incidents
Member benefits increase, of course, as you move up through the FLP plans.
FLP continues to expand their membership coverage states, with residents of 36 states now able to acquire FLP’s services. New Hampshire was added to the coverage list this month, and five more states will be eligible on March 1, 2022. These include Arkansas, Tennessee, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Nevada.
If you haven’t yet considered a legal protection service for your CCW/EDC practice, we strongly encourage you to do so. The process is simple, as we detailed in a recent article, and the peace of mind is worth the cost and the few minutes it takes to sign up.