The Taurus G3 – What’s To Like About It?

A recent range trip with a buddy introduced me to the Taurus G3. He and a few other friends have this model of pistol and they’ve been telling me how much they like it, so I figured it was time for me to take a closer look at it. Is it a worthwhile pistol to purchase? Let’s take a closer look at it.

Taurus G3 in tan.
The Taurus G3 is an attractive-looking pistol that comes in Tan, Black, and Gray color schemes. Note the external extractor.

Throughout the years, Taurus has received some criticism in the gun culture. I’m not sure this has all been fair, as I’ve owned at least five Taurus handguns over the years and I’ve not experienced a single issue with any of them. All of them did what they were supposed to with nary a single bobble. Granted, just because I’ve had positive experiences with them does not mean that everyone else has. But if they were so terrible, you’d think that I’d have experienced at least a minor issue with one of them.

The Taurus G3

Taurus’s G3 is a Polymer framed pistol that closely resembles several other similar pistols on today’s market. The model I checked out had an attractively colored tan frame, which I liked. Here’s a closer look at its features.

Grip

It was easy to maintain a good grip on the Taurus G3 because of the sections of stippling on the grip (the sides, front strap, and back strap). The stippling is not so aggressive as to be abrasive, but it’s enough to keep your hand from slipping all over the place. For my medium-sized hands, the grip felt very good; not too large, not too small. My buddy has very large hands, and the grip was a good fit for him as well, so it does fit a wide variety of hands. There is a palm swell that also helps to kind of hug the hand, which is a help.

Close up of the Taurus G3 Grip.
The G3’s grip has several sections of stippling, including on the front and back strap. The purchase on the grip was very positive, thanks to this stippling. Is it the best concealed carry gun out there? That’s a question you’ll have to answer after due diligence.

Rail

As with most pistols on the market nowadays, the Taurus G3 sports a Picatinny Rail on the dust cover on the bottom of the frame. This rail will accommodate a very wide variety of tactical weapon lights that are all the rage these days. As I like to say, options are great, so this is a point in favor of Taurus.

The rail and forward slide serrations.
Like many other pistols on the market, the Taurus G3 comes with a Picatinny rail for attaching lights and lasers.

Safety

This next subject is going to cause some people to spontaneously burst into flames. The G3 has a manual safety. Oh, my gracious, there goes the wailing and gnashing of teeth in the shooting community. I can hear it now…”WE DON’T NEED SAFETIES ON PISTOLS!!!!!!!!”

Fair enough. If you do not wish to utilize a safety, I’m going to introduce you to a ground-breaking, earth-shattering concept: Don’t use it. Just ignore it. It’s rather like that channel you hate on television—you flip past it and don’t bother with it. Problem solved. You can send me a check in the mail for solving this issue for you.

Personally, I’ll not turn away the option of a safety because I like the choice. But then, I was raised in an era when guns had safeties and I was taught to use them. You may counter with, “Well, my revolver doesn’t have a safety!” Fair enough. Your revolver also has a trigger pull of well over ten pounds in double action. It takes effort to pull the trigger intentionally, let alone accidentally.

Safety, slide stop, and magazine release.
Just behind the slide release/stop, we see the safety lever. Here, it’s in the Off position. It operates just like most other manual safeties and is perfectly placed.

Of course, Taurus included a safety lever on their trigger, just like legions of other pistol makers these days. It’s just about become the standard in this day and age. Undoubtedly, there is also another internal safety inside the pistol.

With all that said, I will say this: it might be possible that the safety gets flipped to the “On” position with this pistol. Because of that, it’s a good idea for shooters to train to flip that safety off, even if they don’t plan on using it, just in case it is activated. Is that a huge deal? Each shooter will have to decide that. Will it dissuade some people from buying this pistol? I’m sure it will. Bottom line: it’s a software (training) issue, in that you can simply train to wipe the safety off when deploying the pistol.

Trigger

Since we’re talking about trigger pulls, Taurus lists the G3’s trigger pull at six pounds. I’d say that’s probably accurate. The one thing that really shocked me about this pistol is the trigger pull. It is extremely good! It has the usual long take-up that we’re accustomed to in striker-fired pistols. When you hit the wall, the break is fairly light. It contributes to accuracy, without a doubt. I just fired a different striker-fired pistol this week from another manufacturer and the trigger pull was gritty and horrible. Not so with the Taurus, it is head and shoulders above many others as far as the trigger is concerned.

Close shot of Taurus G3 trigger.
The trigger pull on the G3 is stellar! Taurus got it right when they designed this trigger. The magazine release is also good and can be switched to the other side of the pistol should the user desire.

The trigger reset is also pleasantly short for those who utilize the reset.

An unusual aspect of the G3 pistol is that it has a re-strike capability. If you experience a dud round, you can simply pull the trigger again, and it cocks and fires a second time. Granted, rather than doing that, we should probably engage in a Tap, Rack, Bang Drill, but it’s an interesting aspect of the pistol and one that is noteworthy.

Magazines

When they decided on magazines, Taurus went with Mec-Gar, which is commendable. Mec-Gar makes magazines for many major pistol makers, including Sig Sauer, as their OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer). I think that says it all. Their magazines are always the cream of the crop, well built, and reliable. They are made in Italy.

Rear of Taurus G3 magazines with witness holes.
The G3 comes with one 15-round magazine and one 17-round magazine.
Mec-Gar magazines.
Taurus pulled out all the stops when they went with Mec-Gar for the magazines. Mec-Gar makes OEM magazines for most pistol manufacturers and they are second to none.

Slide

Taurus went with a Tenifer finish for their slide, which is matte black in color. There are forward and rear slide serrations. The front of the slide and frame were slightly radiused for ease of holstering the pistol.

Front of G3 slide and frame.
The front of the slide is radiused, as is the frame, for ease of holstering.

On the top of the slide at the chamber area, there is a loaded chamber indicator (a witness hole), so you can see if there’s a round in the chamber.

Controls

The slide release is pretty standard, as is the magazine release. As mentioned, there is a safety lever just behind the slide release should the user wish to take advantage of that feature. All controls operated easily and positively. None of the controls are ambidextrous, although the magazine release can be changed to either side. Magazines ejected forcefully, which is a good thing.

Taurus G3 and spare magazine.
All controls on the G3 are placed in standard positions and are easily reachable.
Taurus G3 top of slide showing witness hole to check for a chambered round
There is a witness hole located at the rear of the breach block on top of the slide so you can see if there is a round in the chamber.

Sights

I commend Taurus for choosing steel sights for the G3! The rear sight is of the two-dot variety, while the front sight wears a single dot, for a three-dot system, which is pretty standard these days for pistols intended for social purposes. The sights worked well overall.

Two dot rear sight.
Two dot rear sights are standard and work well.
Single dot front sight.
The front sight sports a single dot and works well for the purpose.

Specs

  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Steel Front and Rear sights
  • Feeding – Two magazines are included: one 15-round and one extended 17-round magazine (both made my Mec-Gar)
  • Picatinny Rail
  • Length: 7.28 inches
  • Height: 5.2 inches
  • Barrel: 4 inches
  • Width: 1.2 inches
  • Weight: 24.83 ounces
  • Slide: Alloy Steel
  • Slide Finish: Tenifer

The Taurus G3 at the Range

We retired to the range for a shooting session. Functioning was 100%, with no issues encountered. Approximately 350 rounds have gone down the pipe so far with no cleaning or lube as received from the factory, yet the pistol fired smoothly.

Firing the G3 at the range.
Here, the pistol’s owner, Jason, puts rounds on target. The recoil of the G3 is soft and follow-up shots are easy.

Practical accuracy was about average for a full-sized service pistol. I managed a group of a little under an inch at ten yards. Rapid fire groups, naturally, were a bit larger, but overall very satisfactory. Further back, around 20 yards, groups opened up to around three inches, but this is still not bad. Without a doubt, the pistol is more accurate than I am, and it will do basically whatever you ask of it, within reason.

A grouping on the target with the Taurus G3 from 20 yards
Accuracy was good with the G3. One group came in around one inch at ten yards. This group was shot around 20 yards.

As mentioned, the trigger was excellent for a pistol of this size and pedigree, which contributed to accuracy.

Recoil was also exactly as expected; quite manageable and not really noticeable. There were no surprises with this pistol, and its performance approximates most of the other Polymer, full-sized service pistols on the market.

Disassembly is carried out precisely in the same manner as a Glock would be field stripped. Taurus even has the two little tabs that you grab above and ahead of the trigger guard on the frame.

Taurus G3 field stripped.
Field stripping held no surprises and the components are similar to most other Polymer pistols on the market. Field Stripping took mere seconds, as did reassembly.

What about the value?

At the time of writing, this pistol retails for $339.65. Naturally, the street price is going to be considerably lower than that. This brings us to a large factor of the choice to buy a Taurus. They are inexpensive, which puts them into the range of many people who cannot afford to buy the latest, greatest, flavor-of-the-week pistol from some of the more affluent manufacturers. There are folks who simply cannot afford the big bucks, and for them, Taurus offers a reliable alternative. For a low price, you get decent performance in a package that looks good. As an added bonus, Taurus also has a lifetime repair policy.

G3 with both magazines. The tan color is attractive.
The Taurus G3 looks good, shoots good, and feels good at the range.

Taurus also offers other pistols in the G3 line, including Compact and “X” versions, giving consumers more variety to choose from. Aside from tan, there are also models available in black and gray, with some having different colored slides. If you need or want an inexpensive pistol that will reliably perform, give Taurus a look, you might be impressed.

Jim Davis served in the PA Dept. of Corrections for 16 ½ years as a corrections officer in the State Correctional Institute at Graterford and later at SCI Phoenix. He served on the Corrections Emergency Response Team (CERT), several of those years as a sniper, and also the Fire Emergency Response Team (FERT). For 25 years, he was a professional instructor, teaching topics including Defensive Tactics, Riot Control and Tactical Operations, Immediate Responder, and cognitive programs as an adjunct instructor at the DOC Training Academy. He was then promoted to the title of corrections counselor, where he ran a caseload and facilitated cognitive therapy classes to inmates. His total service time was close to 29 years. He was involved in many violent encounters on duty, including incidents of fatalities.

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