The majority of new introductions in the handgun world—and on the shelf in gun shops—are polymer frame 9mms. When it comes to service and personal defense, the polymer frame is by far the most popular. All are not inexpensive, but most are affordable. The polymer frame is not only inexpensive to manufacture the material is tough, long lasting, and easy to shape into a useable firearm. Among the newest introductions that has enthusiasts’ attention is the Taurus G3.
The Taurus G3 is a development of the Millennium and the later G2. The G2 is among the best Taurus pistols and a truly compact and useful handgun. The G2 and the single stack G2c are very popular handguns. These pistols have proven to be reliable and useful. Each is light enough for constant carry and chamber the popular and powerful 9mm Luger cartridge.
The G3 is a new version that features a lengthened grip frame to accommodate a higher-capacity magazine. The 12 rounds of the G2 are a good reserve for a carry gun, but the new G3 offers up to 17 rounds in the magazine. The larger grip also makes shooting more comfortable.
In appearance, the G3 is similar to the G2. The G3 features same operating mechanism of the G2 and G2c. The G2 features a 3.2-inch barrel. The G3 uses a 4-inch barrel. In the past, the service-size pistol usually came first—SIG P220, Glock 17—followed by compacts such as the SIG P228, Glock 19.
Taurus introduced the compact version first and then the high capacity version. The reason is probably that the concealed carry-size pistols are very popular. There is certainly room for the larger pistols, as evidenced by the popularity of Glock 19-size handguns. The new handgun is available with either a black finish or stainless slide.
The pistol is supplied with both 15- and 17-round magazines. The 15-round magazines are flush fit and best suited for concealed carry. The 17-round magazines are well suited to home defense. The new G3 is 7.3 inches long and weighs but 25 ounces. Oddly enough, the G2 is generally issued with 12-round magazines with base pads.
While base pads make for good leverage when firing, they also make for a taller gun. As a result, although the G3 is a larger handgun, the 15-round flush fit magazines of the G3 make the pistol measure out only 1/10-inch taller than the G2 9mm. That is a good piece of engineering.
The Taurus G3 9mm is a striker-fired handgun, no surprises there. However, unlike the Glock and similar pistols, the G—in common with the G2—is a single action handgun. Rack the slide and the striker is cocked. Press the trigger and the strike drops.
The pistol features a frame-mounted safety. The safety is easily manipulated. Since this is a single action handgun, the pistol should be carried with the safety applied. The trigger features a 5.7-pound trigger action, comparable to most Safe Action or Double Action Only handguns.
There is considerable take up and a fairly clean break. If the cartridge fails to ignite, the G3 features a second-strike capability. A long trigger press may be taken that might crack the cartridge on the second strike. For some, this seems a big deal. If a cartridge fails, I am going to clear the chamber and feed a new round. However, the feature hurts nothing. The sights are easily acquired in fast shooting. The rear sight is drift adjustable. The sights feature three dot outlines.
|Striker fired, semiautomatic
|10-, 15- (standard), 17-round (extended)
|1-pound, 9.3 ounces (tested)
|Matte black; stainless
|Carbon steel/stainless steel
|Three white dot, dovetailed
|5 lbs. 8 oz., single action; 6 lbs. 4 oz., double action
|Striker block plunger; manual safety lever; trigger safety lever
The grip frame features a nicely pebbled and checkered treatment. The treatment is superior to most. The pebbled section is raised above the grip surface. The result is a nice texture and one that is at least comparable to superior to most polymer-frame handguns.
The grip features a small depression for resting the thumb as you fire. This is a small thing, but it helps control when firing the pistol. The grip frame is relieved to aid in grasping and removing the magazines. The cocking serrations are well designed and offer good leverage. The longer slide results in a longer frame and greater area for mounting lights or lasers. The light rail makes the piece more viable for personal defense. The pistol field strips easily with the Glock-type take down.
On the range, the pistol was fired with a variety of loadings. The primary loading was the Black Hills Ammunition 115-grain FMJ. I also used a few handloads using the Hornady 124-grain FMJ. The pistol comes on target quickly, and the sights line up quickly.
The trigger isn’t the finest available, but it is controllable with practice. During the initial firing, the nose of the FMJ bullets sometimes contacted the feed ramp. This disappeared after the first 60 rounds. Firing over 140 rounds during rapid fire, at man-sized targets at 5, 7, and 10 yards, left us with a good impression of the pistol as a personal defense handgun. The group were centered, and recoil wasn’t a problem.
Moving to personal defense loads, I tested the Black Hills Ammunition 115-grain EXP. This is a high velocity loading that breaks over 1,260 fps but doesn’t reach +P pressure. The Black Hills Ammunition 124-grain JHP was also tested, along with a handload using the Hornady 147-grain XTP at 990 fps. Results were good. Recoil was increased but controllable with these personal defense loads.
Moving to a solid bench rest firing position, the Taurus G3 was tested with the Black Hills 124-grain JHP and the 147-grain handload. Results were decent with a five-shot group at 20 yards averaging 3.0 inches with the Black Hills 124-grain JHP and 3.5 inches with the 147-grain handload. The Taurus G3 offers good performance for personal defense, along with modest recoil and a good reserve of ammunition.