“The Bull” takes its spicy micro-compact defender to the next level. Electro-optic fans cheer.

by Rob Reaser

In the broader trends of the shooting industry, innovative entrepreneurs develop accessories to meet the real (and often perceived) needs of firearm consumers and enthusiasts. They do this by identifying said needs and creating a product that adapts to specific firearm platforms.

Today, we are seeing that trend move in something of a reverse fashion. At least as it pertains to electronic optics—specifically, to red dots.

The last several years have witnessed an increase in the use of red dot optics for personal defense pistols. Many consumers like them for their positive, pinpoint sight picture. Others simply follow a pattern they’ve become accustomed to with their AR-15s—adding stuff because they can.

Whatever your take is on red dots or electro-optics for EDC and personal defense pistols, the Bushnells, Holosuns, the Trijicons, and other optic manufacturers of the world have taken the hint, developing ever-smaller red dots to accommodate the concealed carry practitioner who is more comfortable with an electronic sighting system than with conventional open sights.

In the not-so-old days, fitting a red dot to a semi-auto pistol meant either buying an expensive aftermarket slide that was modified to accept a red dot or paying a machinist-gunsmith big bucks to modify your factory slide. Now, pistol manufacturers have reversed the current; they are making guns to accommodate aftermarket red dots.

Taurus is one of the latest gun manufacturers to move into this lane. After introducing their full-size G3 9mm in 2019, the company followed up with their G3 T.O.R.O. model earlier this year. The G3 T.O.R.O. was the first Taurus pistol to feature the Taurus Optic Ready Option mounting system. Next came the G3c T.O.R.O., delivering a factory-ready optic mounting system to the compact G3c 9mm. And, as many of us in the shooting media surmised would happen, Taurus has now followed the recently introduced GX4 micro-compact 9mm with…you guessed it…the GX4 T.O.R.O.—providing deep-conceal carry fans with a quick-to-upgrade red dot option right out of the box.

We managed to get our hands on a pre-release version of the GX4 T.O.R.O. and have enjoyed shooting and carrying it for the last several weeks. But before we get into that, let’s talk a bit about the T.O.R.O. system.

The GX4 T.O.R.O., as with the G3 T.O.R.O. and the G3c T.O.R.O., features the dimensionally same slide as its non-T.O.R.O. counterpart. The difference is that the T.O.R.O. model includes a factory cut along the top of the slide between the ejection port and the rear sight that is sized to allow the more popular micro red dot sights to nestle cleanly into place.

From the factory, the GX4 T.O.R.O. comes with a slide cover plate installed, so it is ready to run as-is without an optic. To install an optic, simply remove the two screws that secure the cover plate to the slide and attach the optic with its supplied mounting screws. That’s it.

Our test model came with Holosun’s HS407K open reflex sight and it proved to be an exquisite fit. With the sight body being the same width as the slide, the lines blended smoothly and the cut perfectly matched the length of the optic.

In addition to the Holosun HS407K, the GX4 T.O.R.O. mounting pattern accepts the following optics:

  • Holosun HS507K and HS407K
  • Shield RMSc
  • Sightmark Mini Shot A-Spec M3
  • Hex Wasp GE5077-MIC-RET
  • Sig RomeoZero
  • Riton 3 Tactix MPRD2

The GX4 T.O.R.O. also works with the Trijicon RMR or Red Dot (available at shoptaurus.com).

Beyond the new optic mounting system, the GX4 T.O.R.O. is identical to the GX4 released seven months ago. We encourage you to read our in-depth field test of the GX4 to get the full measure of what this micro-compact pistol is all about. For a deep-conceal handgun, its performance proved to be quite impressive and our testing of the new GX4 T.O.R.O. shows it to stay right in that same lane.

The Holosun optic, with its low profile and precision fit, adds nothing discernible to the gun’s handling performance. In other words, the presence of the sight does not upset the gun’s carefully engineered balance and fit. Thanks to the intelligent ergonomics of the receiver and grip design, the GX4 T.O.R.O. with the installed red dot delivers a fast sight picture, presenting crisply and confidently to the target.

That is a huge deal for me because unlike many shooters, I am not a red dot devotee. In fact, it takes me a good while to become adept at acquiring a sight picture with a particular gun/optic combo. For a micro-compact, though, the GX4 delivers an almost uncanny natural point of aim, making it easy to bring the electro-sight to target and the acclimation curve is short and sweet.

For our testing, we tapped Fiocchi’s Defense Dynamics 9mm. This jacketed hollow point round comes in 115-, 124- and 147-grain for the 9mm and has earned consistently high marks for us in terms of both accuracy and reliability. The cartridges are constructed of only premium-grade components to ensure consistent pressures, ignition, and repeatable point-of-impact. Cartridges offered in the Defense Dynamics line include .32 Auto, .380 Auto, 9mm Luger, .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .40 S&W, 10mm Auto, .44 Special, .44 Magnum, and .45 Auto.

All of this, plus the precision tolerances of the slide, barrel, and integrated hybrid polymer/stainless steel frame assembly, make the GX4 the most accurate micro pistol we’ve tested, and the GX4 T.O.R.O. falls right in line with our earlier range work.

In terms of carry comfort and convenience, the optic did not even register in the Crossbreed Micro Reckoning IWB holster we acquired for the GX4. In fact, the GX4 T.O.R.O. fit this holster as smartly as does the GX4. The back even covers the Holosun with a half-inch to spare. So, this is a perfect combination for carrying the GX4 T.O.R.O. with or without an optic.

While shooters with larger hands may balk at the handling of micro-compacts, the GX4 platform offers concessions. The gun is built with a modular backstrap design and comes with two variations. The standard backstrap is installed at the factory. A second backstrap with a more prominent palm swell is included. Those with bigger hands can easily swap the backstraps to deliver a larger hand purchase, if they choose.

Another inclusion that expands grip acreage is a 13-round magazine with a pinky extension. Add this and you’ve got a micro-compact that handles almost like a big boy.

There’s no question that concealed carry platforms are leading the handgun market these days. What were once “compromise” guns have now merged into the fast lane thanks to their robust features, improved ergonomics, greater capacity, and accommodations for advanced sighting systems. Count the new Taurus GX4 T.O.R.O. among the pack leaders.

Taurus GX4 T.O.R.O. Specifications

  • CALIBER: 9mm Luger
  • CAPACITY: 10, 11, 13
  • MAGAZINES: 1×11 Rounds and 1×13 Rounds Extended Magazine or 2×10 Rounds
  • FIRING SYSTEM: Striker
  • FRAME: Micro-compact
  • GRIP: Polymer
  • SLIDE: Alloy Steel
  • BARREL FINISH: Satin Black DLC Coating
  • SLIDE FINISH: Gas Nitride Coating
  • BARREL LENGTH: 06 in.
  • OVERALL LENGTH: 5.8 in. with Backstrap Small; 6.05 in. with Backstrap Large
  • OVERALL WIDTH: 1.08 in.
  • OVERALL HEIGHT: 4.4 in.
  • WEIGHT: 18.7 Oz.
  • ACTION TYPE: Single Action Only
  • FRONT SIGHTS: Fixed Steel White Dot
  • REAR SIGHTS: Serrated Drift Adjustable
  • SAFETY: Striker Block, Trigger Safety, Visual Loaded Chamber Indicator
  • MAGAZINE RELEASE: Reversible
  • MSRP: $468.18

Shoot On Editor-in-Chief Rob Reaser is a lifelong outdoorsman, former magazine editor, columnist, and contributing editor to numerous national publications in the automotive and outdoor segments. He has also authored and co-authored several DIY gun building books. His shooting and hunting passions cover everything from traditional archery and big-game bowhunting to the latest in handguns, rifles, and reloading. Rob has a troublesome habit of pulling guns and things apart to see how they work; occasionally, he manages to get them back together...

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