There is a centuries-old tradition among gunsmiths to mix and match existing components within their product lines to create new designs. This includes stretching and cutting slide lengths for semi-automatic pistols. Long slides increase barrel length and sight radius while shorter barrels can make carrying guns easier. Usually the grip frame will lengthen or shrink with the slide, but not always.
This year, Taurus USA released a 9mm G3 series “hybrid” pistol called the G3X. It mixes the more compact slide assembly of the G3c subcompact with the increased ammo capacity and grip length of the G3. This review takes a closer look at the first version, which has an all-black finish and single slider, is not optical-ready, and carries a suggested retail price of $342.98.
The G3X combines the shorter slide of the G3c model with the compact handle of the G3 model.
Like the other models in the G3 line, the G3X is a polymer-framed, percussion, semi-automatic pistol made in Brazil. The G3 models use a short recoil, locked breech action with some features and cosmetics taken from its predecessor, the G2. However, the G3 incorporates some notable changes in its design.
The square subcompact slide gives this pistol an overall length of 6.30″. It is constructed from carbon steel and treated with a durable Tenifer finish that provides resistance to wear and corrosion. The nose of the slide is beveled for ease of potting, while the back of the slide, just below the rear sight, is rounded to match the shape of the grip frame.Slanted cocking serrations are cut into the slide at the front and rear.The inside edges of the ejection port are beveled for improved reliability.
The G3X (left) compared to the G3c (right).
It is not uncommon for concealed carry practitioners to choose to swap out factory-installed sight assemblies for fiber optic or night sights. To facilitate this modification, the G3X features a front sight port and a rear sight dovetail sized to be compatible with aftermarket Glock-type sight systems. However, Taurus installs an all-steel sighting system consisting of a white dot sight on the front and a windage-adjustable square notch sight on the rear.
The 3.2″ barrel is stainless steel with traditional groove and ground rifling and a witness hole in the top of the chamber that serves as a loaded chamber indicator. Some budget guns come with somewhat rough barrels on the edges, but Taurus ensures that the G3 series feed ramps are properly polished. The barrel is supported by a two-piece double-spring recoil assembly made of steel components.
The metal sight system is compatible with most aftermarket Glock sight options.
The framework is mainly borrowed from the G3. This gives the pistol a height of 5.20″ and a double stack magazine capacity of 15 rounds. The grip is both longer and wider, front to back, than the G3c. Although it still fits small hands, this grip is more likely to be better suited to medium and large hands compared to the G3c A notable change to the frame is the abbreviated dust cover sized to accommodate the G3c style slide assembly .Shorter dust cover is molded into one Picatinny-slot accessory rail has been reduced from 2″ to 1.25″ Frame specs otherwise remain the same.
The dust cover features the frame’s serial number plate. Between the dust cover and the takedown lever are left and right side frame dimples (aka Memory Pads) intended to act as contact points for the trigger finger. The slide rides on four short rails incorporated into the front and rear steel support blocks which are held in place by roll pins. The metal slide catch and manual safety lever, as well as the grooved polymer magazine release button, are located on the left side of the frame. The front of the trigger guard is slightly curved to serve as a finger rest.
This version of the G3 accepts 15 round magazines.
At the top of the grip, on both sides, are thumb indentations that make the magazine release more accessible. The grip has a total of six aggressively textured panels to provide a high degree of purchase. Similar in texture to skateboard tape, these roughened panels prevent the grip from becoming slippery in wet, cold or sweaty conditions. They are also very effective when wearing gloves. The trade-off is that the grips can start to feel abrasive with bare hands during extended practice at the beach. A simple solution is to wear shooting gloves for longer shooting sessions.
A few simple steps are required to disassemble the gun for cleaning, much like other impact guns.
A short extension at the base of the rear grip strap prevents pinched fingers when slamming magazines home during quick reloads. The magazine well is dimpled on each side so that, if the magazine needs to be removed during the course of correcting a malfunction, it is easier to grasp the magazine base plate. This pistol comes with two blued steel magazines with bright yellow polymer followers and numbered ports along the back to keep track of the number of rounds remaining. This model does not have a magazine safety, which means the pistol can fire with the magazine removed.
The G3 series was launched with a new trigger system, which eliminates the relatively heavy and soft support of typical percussion pistols. The trigger face is grooved and flattened with a wide safety lever. This ignition system incorporates a second strike capability, which means the trigger can be pulled more than once in the event of a hard priming. The trigger of the gun tested had a slight pressure of 2 pounds. taken with firm resistance before breaking cleanly with 5 lbs., 9 ozs. of relaxation. The trigger reset is short and distinctive, contributing to faster shots when needed.
The G3X performed perfectly with all ammunition tested.
So far I have had positive range testing experiences with the G3 series pistols, and the G3X did not disappoint. The trigger was better than the price implied and the gun controls worked properly. The weapon suffered no malfunctions during informal or formal bench testing.
Examination of the range results shows that the relatively short 3.2″ barrel generated subsonic bullet velocities with all standard 9mm pressure Luger loads used for formal testing. The Hornady load is already reduced to subsonic levels, while Fiocchi USA loads can travel faster from longer barrels. This drop in velocity has its benefits. The gun’s ratio is less concussive, and the lower velocities help reduce the levels of felt recoil This, in conjunction with the full-size grip, made the G3X quite comfortable to work in. Compared to some compact models, it felt more like a .380 ACP than a 9mm.
The shorter barrel and fuller grip contribute to easier shooting sessions.
But if you prefer to improve the performance of the pistol, look for ammunition specially designed for short-barreled pistols. Due to the popularity of compact and subcompact carrier weapons, most ammunition manufacturers offer at least a few loads designed for them. When it comes to accuracy, this particular gun had a preference for bullet weights above 115 grains. The heaviest bullets shaved about an inch from the size of the groups at 7 yards.
With so many shooting products sized to fit into small, medium or large categories, it’s good to see that Taurus is ready to develop a defensive pistol that falls somewhere in between. I tested the G3 and G3c before working with the G3X and found reasons to like them both. I was a bit surprised to discover how much I liked the G3x. Its combination of features provides a different shooting experience than the models it is based on. The no-compromise full-size handle fills by hand and is secure. The compact slide gives the gun a light and quick handling that balances well with the shape of the grip. And the 15+1 ammo capacity is definitely a plus. For more information, visit taurususa.com.
Manufacturer : Taurus USA
Model: G3x (1-G3XSR9031)
Action: short recoil, semi-automatic bolt locked, striker fired
Slider: carbon steel with matte black Tenifer treatment
Arming clamps: front and rear
Handlebar: Metallic White Dot
Rear sight: metal serrated square notch, adjustable rear windage
Barrel: 3.2 inch stainless steel, polished feed ramp
Frame: Matte black polymer
Controls: metal with black teflon finish
Accessory Rail: MIL-STD-1913 to 1.25 inch slot
Grip: aggressive enveloping texture
Trigger: single action with reset capability
Release: 5 lbs., 9 oz. (As tested)
Safeties: firing pin block, trigger safety, loaded chamber indicator
Magazine Version: Reversible
Total Length: 6.30″
Slide Width: 1.05″
Handle width: 1.15″
Weight: 22.5 ounces. With empty magazine of 15 rounds
Capacity: 15 + 1 rounds
Twist: 1:10″ RH
Rifle Grooves: 6
Accessories: two magazines, lock, user manual
Suggested retail price: $342.98