This year we've seen several new offerings in the “Micro Nine” class of concealed-carry pistols. Inspired by the success of the SIG Sauer P365, these 9 mm pistols strive to be about the same size and weight as a single-stack subcompact pistol but with the increased ammunition capacity provided by a modified double-stack magazine. One series of Micro Nines that keeps me coming back for more is the award-winning Taurus GX4, currently available with or without an optics-ready slide in various finishes. Here's a closer look at a few of the reasons these little 9 mm pistols deserve further consideration:
A Solid Feature Set at a Fair Price
Taurus set out to make the GX4 one of the most affordably priced Micro Nines currently available. The basic versions of competing models from major manufacturers have suggested retail prices ranging from $499 to $599. The plain-slide version of the GX4 is priced at $392. That makes it around $100 to $200 less than the competition. Taurus just released the T.O.R.O. version of the GX4 (Taurus Optics-Ready Option) for $468.18.
A low sticker price is not impressive in and of itself because there are plenty of ways to reduce the production costs of pistols. For this reason, the feature set of the GX4 caught my attention. The carbon steel slide and barrel could have been shipped with a less-expensive blued finish. Instead, the slide is treated with a corrosion-resistant, matte-black, gas-nitride finish. The 3.06" barrel is treated with a satin-black diamond-like coating (DLC) which provides increased wear resistance and added lubricity.
The slide has two sets of cocking serrations instead of just one. The ejection port is beveled and fitted with an oversized extractor claw. The sights are metallic, instead of being made of polymer, with a Glock profile that makes it easy to find a set of compatible night sights if you want them. A one-piece, stainless-steel chassis supports the slide and the fire-control group. The Taurus team paid close attention to the ergonomics of the GX4’s grip profile in order to give it a more comfortable, usable fit. The GX4 ships with two magazines, instead of just one, and two interchangeable back straps. In other words, you get more gun than the price might imply.
The Size is Right!
The pistols which fall into the Micro Nine category are similar in size but they don’t all have the same dimensions. Some lean more toward the Glock G26 footprint (it's among the largest and oldest of the micros) while others cozy right up to the slim and trim Sig P365. The GX4 falls into the smaller end of the category.
The GX4 (left) compared to the compact-size Taurus G3c.
The GX4 is 6.05” long and 4.25" tall. The slide is just 0.98" wide with the grip measuring at 1.00" wide. This pistol tips the scales at 18.5-oz. with an empty 11-round magazine in the grip. There's nothing wrong with carrying a subcompact pistol if that's what you prefer. But if you're going to go smaller, it might as well be as “micro” as possible.
Once upon a time, back around the middle of the 2010s, slim single-stack 9 mm pistols were competing with pocket-sized .380 ACP pistols for American holster space. They offered a similar ammunition capacity to the .380s (6- to 8-round magazines) but fired a more potent cartridge.
One of the key upgrades that have made the Micro Nines so attractive is a boost in ammunition capacity when compared to the single-stack 9 mm models. But ammunition capacity in an ultra-compact pistol can be a challenging balancing act. An ammunition capacity of 10+1 is old news but boosting the capacity too much will turn the Micro's grip into a compact-size grip in short order.
The GX4 has a just right compromise thanks to the modified 11-round flush-fit magazines it ships with. The top of the magazine has been narrowed in order to fit the slim profile of the slide. However, the grip still has that desirable 2-finger profile that's more comfortable for concealed carry. If you want to extend the grip a bit to support the little finger of the shooting hand, or to add two rounds to the GX4's capacity, Taurus does offer a 13-round magazine for this model.
Straight Forward T.O.R.O. Optic Set Up
Over the last few years, the micro red dot optic has made the move from competition pistols to concealed carry guns. As with past shooting sport technological transitions, manufacturers have done their best to anticipate what customers will want. Full-size and Compact optics-ready pistols often ship with a diverse set of mounting plates and hardware in order to accommodate a wide variety of optics.
Because the GX4 is sized for concealed carry with a narrow slide profile, Taurus simplified the optic mounting process. It does not come with a handful of small parts to keep track of. Instead, the slide cut out is sized for the smaller optics patterned after the Shield RMSc. Compatible optics include the Sig RomeoZero, Sightmark Mini Shot A-Spec M3, Riton 3 Tactix MPRD2 and various Holosun models. Just remove the filler plate and install the optic you want.
The recently released Holosun HE507K-GR X2 shown here projects a green sighting reticle which includes a ring and hash marks around the central dot. It's easier to visually locate within the field of view, and to get on target when forming a sight picture, than a plain central aiming dot. I'm looking forward to working with it more in the future.
The GX4 has been on the market long enough for the holster makers to catch up and offer some great options for daily carry. Crossbreed Holsters launched the Rogue holster system (starting at $79.95) just in time for the release of the GX4 T.O.R.O. model. It's the company's first all-Kydex offering with a modular design that is compatible with a variety of belt clip styles, it includes a configurable magazine pouch and can support the CB Concealment Claw. One of the features I really appreciate is an extension at the mouth of the holster which covers the magazine release button to protect against unintentional magazine ejections.
The Galco Scout 3.0 holster (left) shown with the Crossbreed optics-compatible Rogue carry system (right).
For the plain slide version of the GX4, I like the Galco Gunleather SCOUT 3.0 (#S2-800B, $92). This inside-the-waistband holster is made of tough rough-out steer hide with a mouth that is reinforced with a smooth black leather band. It ships with two belt clips that can be set and canted for a right-handed, left-handed or cross draw position. It's easy to slip on, to take off and rides comfortably throughout the day.
It's important to remember that optics-compatible holsters will work with plain slides but usually not vice versa. Most plain-slide holsters have a taller top edge that will keep the gun from holstering properly with an optic installed. Make sure the holster you pick is the right fit.
For more information about the GX4 series, visit taurususa.com