Taurus G3 Tactical Review: Best Budget Tactical Handgun?

by Bucky Lawson

July 19, 2023

0 comments

5
(1)

Taurus describes the G3 Tactical as the “first factory custom variant of the G3 9mm defensive handgun.” Built on the popular G3, the G3 Tactical we are reviewing is a full-sized, polymer framed striker-fired pistol with lots of bells and whistles for not a lot of money. That’s all well and good, but how does the gun perform? We’ve been running the G3 Tactical for four months now and have a pretty good handle on it. Here’s what we found.

A polymer framed handgun chambered in 9mm with threaded barrel and suppressor height sights.

Have an opinion on this product? Click to leave your review

Taurus G3 Tactical Specs

  • Caliber 9mm
  • Action Single Action with Restrike
  • Capacity 17+1
  • Barrel Threaded Stainless Steel
  • Barrel Length 4.5 in
  • Overall Length 7.76 in
  • Weight (unloaded 25.8 oz
  • Optics Ready Yes
  • Front Sight Fixed Suppressor Height
  • Rear Sight Dovetail Suppressor Height
  • Slide Alloy Steel

Building on Recent Success

That Taurus, as a company, has had its ups and downs is no secret in the firearms community. After a successful collaboration with Smith & Wesson in the 1970s, the Brazilian company put out some respectable revolvers into the 1980s and 90s. Taurus also took advantage of acquiring the São Paulo Beretta factory, complete with plans, tools, and an experienced workforce to produce pretty good Beretta 92 clones at that same time. It could even be said that the PT 92 had at least one advantage over its Italian counterpart, with a frame-mounted safety.

But Taurus declined in later years, resulting in shoddy products and abysmal customer service. We hated to see that because we bought a Taurus Model 66 Revolver in 1986 and it was a pretty nice gun. It still is. We’ve never had a problem with it. A Taurus Judge, purchased around 2010, was nothing but trouble. Nor could we get the company’s “customer service” department to even respond. Not a good deal.

But management changes seem to have turned Taurus around, recommitting to better quality and improved customer service. Years of lackluster designs have given way to new revolvers and some well-received semi-auto pistols. The G3 is one of the latter, proving to be a big hit in the budget handgun space.

Taurus is taking advantage of that success by offering upgraded versions of their base guns. The G3 Tactical is one of those. We must admit to being a bit skeptical. More recent Taurus experiences gave us good reason to be. So, when Taurus provided this gun for review, we halfway expected it to be ho-hum, at best. But we determined to run it hard, if only to confirm our doubts. So, how did that go? Read on.

Taurus G3 Tactical Features

1 FDE Frame

The “Patriot Brown” Cerakote slide and Magpul FDE frame, exclusive to the G3 Tactical, make a sharp looking gun.

2 T.O.R.O.

Taurus Optic Ready Option (T.O.R.O) Standard. The gun ships with plates for Noblex/Docter, Vortex Venom, FastFire, Trijicon RMR, Holosun 407c/507c, C-More STS2, and Leupold Delta Point Pro optics. We ran the Venom on ours.

3 Flat Faced Trigger

Taurus G Series 2-stage flat faced trigger with restrike capability. The restrike is very nice for dry fire training.

4 Sights

Suppressor height sights that can also co-witness with a red dot.

5 Threaded Barrel

½x28 threaded barrel for muzzle devices or suppressors. We’re running a Lakeline Micro Compensator on our gun. The gun ships with an extra recoil spring for running suppressed. Nice.

Models and Variations

The Taurus G3 line has many options to choose from. They have their standard sized firearms, the G3, in black and brown with optics ready variations, along with compact and subcompact variations. We have a full review on the Taurus G3C here.

Taurus G3 Tactical Review

Taurus G3 Tactical Shooting

At the time of writing, we’ve been running the G3 Tactical pretty hard for four months. As we said, we had tempered expectations, but the gun impressed us greatly in the beginning and we have found very little to dislike since. Picking it up from the gun store, we immediately noticed the nice soft case, complete with pockets and Velcro straps. It’s probably the nicest pistol case we have. And the G3 Tactical is a nice-looking gun, which doesn’t really mean anything, but who doesn’t like their guns to look good? But nice case and good looks aside, how does the G3 Tactical perform? We found out, so let’s get to it.

Shootability

If the G3 Tactical’s looks caught our attention, its performance firmly fixed it. This is not a concealed carry gun, so we didn’t treat it like one. We can’t buy a dedicated holster for every pistol we review, but we have a few generics lying around and we found one for the Taurus. We ran it like a duty gun from a battle belt.

Taurus G3 Tactical Optics Plates

My adult son acts as my testing partner. We took turns running the gun through countless 2-2-2 drills, Mozambiques, dueling tree competitions, and whatever else we could think of. We either ran 650 or 700 rounds through the G3 Tactical. The first few range sessions drew several surprised exclamations about how well the gun was shooting.

The 2-stage G Series trigger is surprisingly good in single action. There’s a very short take up, followed by a clean break. Taurus calls it a “flat-faced” trigger, but it isn’t really that flat, compared to my P365XL. Whatever. I always compare factory triggers to my Walther PPQ. The G3 Tactical isn’t that good, but it’s better than my Sig P365XL and leaves a standard Glock in the dust. We never had to use the restrike capability on the range, but this gun has become a regular in my dry fire rotation because of that feature. The restrike pull is mushier than the single action, but it’s not horrible and we both love the feature.

My only complaint about the gun’s shootability is that the front sight is blacked out, making it sometimes hard to distinguish against certain backgrounds. It’s also a problem in low light. I don’t mind the blacked out rear notch, but the front blade needs something more discernable. They serrated the front sight blade to avoid glare, but I’d like it to be more visible.

The G3 Tactical is very accurate. We consistently rang steel and easily held 2-inch groups inside 10 yards, both with iron sights and the Vortex Venom we mounted. The only detractor was the blacked out front sight blade against a dark background. Not a huge deal at short range, but it did affect some shots.

Recoil was very manageable, thanks to the full size and grip, which we’ll get to shortly. Running the Lakeline Micro Compensator made it even more so.

Reliability

This was where most of our concerns lay. We’ve both had past issues with Taurus, so we approached this with some trepidation. Well, I can say that we need not have worried. The G3 Tactical ate everything we fed it and came back for more. We ran various 115 and 124-grain FMJ loads and even a few 124-grain hollow points. We had not a single hiccup through those 650-700 rounds (I lost count, so it’s one or the other).

Shooting Taurus G3 Tactical

Taurus makes a big deal on their site about the barrel’s “Diamond Like Coating” (DLC). We researched this a bit and found it’s a relatively new finish that supposedly needs less lube and increases durability. If so, that’s a nice feature, but we have no experience with DLC.

The gun ships with two 17-round Taurus factory mags. We supplemented those with two 15-round G3 mags made by Mec-Gar of Italy. All four mags ran flawlessly. Their slick finish helped with positive ejection and the slide always locked back when the gun ran dry. And we changed mags a lot, routinely incorporating changes into our drills. The only small magazine issue is that the sleeve on the 17-rounders can slide back and forth. It didn’t cause any problems.

We purposely did not clean the gun through our test period, though we did give it an initial inspection and hit the high spots with some lube. Again, there were no operational problems through any of our range sessions.

There was one small issue we noticed on our last range trip. They built the G3 series around the serialized Fire Control Unit (FCU) like many modern handguns. Three small pins, which require a hammer and punch to remove, secure the FCU to the frame. The forward-most pin has started working its way out on the frame’s left side. We knocked it back in, but that will need watching. Since it only just happened, we can’t say how prevalent it will be, if at all.

Controls and Ergonomics

The G3 Tactical’s grip is pretty good, though not great. We say that knowing full well that grip feel is subjective. My PPQ’s grip has probably spoiled me, but the Taurus doesn’t quite fill my hand the way I like. My son, on the other hand, thought it was darn near perfect. We differed on the grip texture as well. It’s very aggressive, which he likes, and I do not. But I must admit that a duty gun’s grip texture should probably be that way. The texture covers the sides, back, and front.

Taurus G3 Tactical In the hands

We both liked the “Memory Pads,” which is what Taurus calls the grooves on either side of the frame. The upper grooves are supposedly for resting one’s trigger finger when not ready to fire, and they do work for that. But we found that our off-hand thumb fit perfectly into the upper grooves, while our shooting hand’s thumb went right into the lower grooves when firing one-handed. Call them whatever you want, but we think of them as “thumb grooves.”

The slide is beveled on the corners, making it very low drag coming out of the holster. Honestly, that would be a nice feature on a carry gun, and Taurus does feature that on all G3 models. Nice touch. The top has an observation port to peek into the chamber, which we like very much. Front and rear slide serrations are expected nowadays, and the G3 Tactical has those. But the slide itself is super easy to manipulate. It’s very slick and doesn’t require much strength at all, yet we had zero failures to eject or failures to load. This is the only G3 we’ve handled, so we don’t know if it’s representative of the entire line, but this is reminiscent of the M&P EZ slide. Very nice. Great job on the slide, Taurus.

Taurus G3 Tactical Patch

The slide release is textured, but it’s a little lower profile than we like. We sometimes had to work to operate it, especially with gloves. We quickly went to manually dropping the slide, especially after installing the Venom. The slide release is not ambidextrous, nor is it reversible. That’s disappointing.

The mag release is small but positive. We had no issues with ejecting mags. The button is also textured. But the size was occasionally a challenge with gloves. Like the slide release, the mag release does not appear to be ambidextrous or reversible. It looks like it could be reversible, but Taurus says nothing about it in the manual or on their website. Again, disappointing, especially for my ambidextrous son. He can shoot both ways but prefers left-handed. Being who he is, he insisted on running it left-handed anyway.

Disassembly is easy. If you can take down a Glock, you can take down a G3. Takes about 10 seconds. We’re glad to see there are no pins or tools needed, as in a couple of our recent reviews.

Value

The G3 Tactical really shines here. Taurus’ MSRP for this feature rich duty sized handgun is $589.99, but we found it listed online anywhere from $380.69 to $449.99. That’s a steal for this gun, unless maybe you’re a lefty. The threaded barrel, suppressor height sights, super nice slide, Cerakote finish, and optic plates make this a very nice gun for a budget price.

The only reservation we might have is the gun’s long-term durability. It just hasn’t been around long enough to say how that will shake out. Lower priced guns may or may not last as long as, say, your Glocks or Walthers. But if you aren’t planning to put tens of thousands of rounds downrange, which most people don’t, the G3 Tactical is a great value.

Taurus G3 Tactical Hero

Taurus G3 Tactical Pros and Cons 

  • Features – Feature rich, with threaded barrel, suppressor height sights, optic plates. ergonomics, and finish.
  • Price – The street price is somewhere between 380 and 450 bucks. That’s tough to beat, especially for a gun this nice.
  • Great shooter – In the time we’ve had it, the G3 Tactical has done as well as most of our higher priced pistols.
  • Trigger – Not top of the line, but still quite good and we love the restrike capability, especially for dry fire training.
  • Cool Factor– I know, I know, functionality and reliability are king. I agree. But I also like my firearms to look good and have cool features. This one does.
  • Not ambidextrous – We think this is a major issue with a modern pistol. Even making the controls reversible wouldn’t have added much, if anything, to the price. The only ambidextrous features are the “Memory Pads.”
  • Blacked Out Sights – The blacked out front sight blade is a minor issue. But not something a luminescent paint marker won’t fix.
  • Handguard – I like the MLOK handguard but it gets toasty

We really like this gun. The lack of ambidexterity is a problem, but overall, the G3 Tactical has an awful lot going for it. Unless you’re a lefty, we believe the pros far outweigh the cons.

Report Card

Shootability

The G3 Tactical was great throughout our tests. We withheld the A+ because of the sometimes hard to see front sight blade.

A
Reliability

The gun did everything we asked of it. No malfunctions whatsoever. We didn’t give it an A+ because of the roll pin working out of the frame. We can’t say whether that’s a recurring problem, but it should not happen.

A
Ergonomics

We arrived at this by grading the following: the trigger and grip each got an “A;” the slide got an “A+;” the mag and slide releases each got a “B-;” and the lack of ambidexterity received a “D.” That averages out to an overall “B” grade.

B
Accuracy

The G3 Tactical is not a competition pistol, but you could maybe run it that way. Maybe.

A
Value

Despite the lack of ambidexterity, this is a feature rich gun at a great price.

A+

Our Grade

A

Reviewed by Bucky Lawson

Reader’s Grade

A+

Based on 3 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Gun? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

Taurus G3 Tactical Starter Pack

Here are some items that are critical to own and have with you at the range.

  • Eye Protection – Everybody needs shooting glasses to keep your eyes safe when shooting your guns.
  • Hearing Protection – Upgrade your hearing protection with some of our favorites.
  • Gun Cleaning Kit – Here are our favorite cleaning kits to keep all of your firearms maintained.
  • First Aid Kit – It is wise to have a great first aid kit with you, especially when firearms are around. Look for one with a tourniquet and bleeding control for your range specific kit.

Taurus G3 Tactical Gun Deals

Here are some deals we found on the Taurus G3 Tactical.

Upgrades and Accessories for the Taurus G3 Tactical

Here are some suggested upgrades for your Taurus G3 Tactical

Upgrades and Accessories for the Taurus G3 Tactical

G3 and G3X 9mm 17 Round Magazine
  • Heat-treated steel body
  • High-tensile steel internal spring
  • High-visibility polymer follower
  • Removable polymer floor plate
  • Compatible with Taurus G3 and G3X pistols
Check Price
Lakeline 1/2x28 Micro Compensator
  • Designed for 9mm pistols
  • Constructed of 416 stainless steel
  • Engineered and Made in the U.S.A.
  • Black Nitride finish
Check Price
Vortex Venom Red Dot Sight
  • Fully Multi-Coated
  • Rugged construction withstands recoil and impact.
  • Ultra-hard, scratch-resistant coating protects exterior lenses from scratches, oil and dirt
Buy on Amazon
Weapon Light

Streamlight TLR-9

Streamlight TLR-9
  • Next generation rear paddle switches with HIGH and LOW options
  • 1,000 lumens; 200 m beam; runs 1.5 hours
  • Uses two (2) CR123A lithium batteries (included)
  • Safe off feature prevents accidental activation; saves batteries
Buy on Amazon
Safariland 578 GLS Pro-Fit
  • Paddle and Belt Loop Carry Options
  • Grip Locking System (GLS) locking system
Check Price

Best Ammo for Your Taurus G3 Tactical

Here are some ammunition suggestions for your Taurus G3.

Range Ammo

CCI Blazer 9mm Ammo

CCI Blazer 9mm Ammo 115gr FMJ

Marketplace
Cost Per Round
gun.deals $0.24
Palmetto State Armory $0.30
Optics Planet $0.32
GunMag Warehouse $0.29

Defensive Ammo

Nosler ASP 9mm Ammo 115gr JHP

Marketplace
Cost Per Round
GunMag Warehouse $0.66
MidwayUSA $0.72
Optics Planet $0.55

Other Handguns of its Class to Check Out

Here are some similar handguns to the Taurus G3 Tactical to review.

Compact Taurus G3C

Check Latest Price

  • Shootability A
  • Reliability C
  • Ergonomics C
  • Accuracy B
  • Value A+

Our Grade

B

Reader’s Grade

A

Based on 138 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Gun? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

1 FN 509 Tactical

FN 509 Tactical

The FN 509 Tactical, an extension of the FN 509 family, is based on FN’s submission pistol that the U.S. Army tested for its Modular Handgun Trials, but includes the significant improvements to the design that were implemented in the FN 509.

Check Latest Price

  • Shootability A
  • Reliability A-
  • Ergonomics A
  • Accuracy B
  • Value C

Our Grade

B+

Reader’s Grade

C

Based on 4 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Handgun? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

2 Walther PDP

Walther PDP Feature Image

Walther PDP

The Walther PDP series of handguns is a polymer framed 9mm available in several different grip and barrel sizes.

Check Latest Price

  • Shootability A
  • Reliability A
  • Ergonomics A+
  • Accuracy A
  • Value A+

Our Grade

A

Reader’s Grade

A+

Based on 15 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Gun? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

How to Care for Your Taurus G3 Tactical

Field strip for the G3 Tactical is not that different from most handguns like it. however, you will need to remove the thread protector first before you can remove the barrel. Here is a short video showing you how its done.

Check out the links below for the manufacturer’s website and operator’s manual.

Rate

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 1

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

About Bucky Lawson

W. "Bucky" Lawson is a typical Appalachian American gun enthusiast, with a particular interest in military surplus firearms. He holds a master's degree in military history and is slowly working toward a Ph.D. in the same subject. He writes for several online gun blogs and the occasional historical journal and hunts deer when time allows. Bucky shares space with two bulldogs, Bilbo and Blueberry. He enjoys an evening stogie, preferably paired with an Old Fashioned with an extra orange slice.

Recent Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *