In an era of civil unrest, pandemics and rising crime, it is only natural that Americans look to improve their personal security. Food, water, silver and yes, even firearms, play important roles in self-sufficiency. One of the problems that many Americans face is deciding how to allocate their money for these items.
Taurus has a pistol that offers a lot of value for personal protection – freeing up your cash for ammunition, training and other necessities. The handgun is positioned for both concealed carry and home defense, plus Taurus designed it with features you would not normally expect at its price point. That gun is the G3c T.O.R.O.
My experiences with Taurus pistols have been mixed. But this gun offers a lot of features for the price. As it turns out, the gun was 100% reliable…but with a single problem that may not have been the company’s fault. Let’s jump into this G3c TORO review.
- Say Hello to My Little Friend
- Range Time
- Swampfox Liberty on the Range
- G3c Problems
- Bottom Line
Say Hello to My Little Friend
The Taurus G3c T.O.R.O. is a compact pistol chambered in 9mm with a suggested retail price of around $450. Using a polymer frame, the gun is relatively lightweight.
When the price and features are combined with its compact size, the handgun is likely to generate interest in shooters looking for an affordable concealed carry pistol.
For the money, it is one of the best-positioned optic ready CCW pistols currently on the market. So, let’s consider it from that perspective.
The 9mm cartridge has a long track record of success in handguns starting more than 100 years ago. With modern ammunition, the cartridge is an exceptional performer. Although the gun is compact, the standard magazine holds 12 rounds.
No one knows how many rounds might be needed in a defensive shooting, but I feel comfortable leaving the house with 12+1 of 9mm in my gun.
Taurus includes three magazines with the pistol, so you can always carry a spare to give you more than two dozen rounds available should the worst happen.
How Big Is It?
Size is often an important aspect of a CCW handgun. The G3c T.O.R.O. lands between the micro-compact pistols like the Ruger LCP and larger handguns similar to the Glock 19. For a lot of people, this is the preferred intersection of concealment and shootability.
Taurus lists the overall width of the pistol at 1.2”. However, the grip feels thinner than that and fits my hand nearly perfectly.
The frame size lands the pad of my trigger finger in the center of the trigger. Taurus uses areas of aggressive texturing on the grip area to improve hand traction on the pistol during shooting. Further, the magazines have a small extension on the baseplate for your pinky.
Taurus uses the company’s Gen 3 trigger system in this pistol. During normal shooting, the trigger has a substantial amount of take up followed by a hard break.
The break is neither the best nor the worst I have felt in a modern pistol, and it is certainly manageable. Nevertheless, it is the one aspect of the gun I identified as most in need of improvement.
If you have a cartridge that fails to shoot, the Restrike function allows you to pull the trigger a second time to try again. In this case, almost all the take-up felt in the normal pull is used to cock the striker.
The weight is consistent from start to finish in Restrike mode. I’m unsure if this feature offers any substantial benefit in a tactical context, but it is there if you want it.
The trigger shoe is wider than many of its competitors. Likewise, the trigger safety is much larger than most. Combined, these make for a very comfortable feel when shooting.
What’s a T.O.R.O.?
By now, you might be wondering what the acronym in this gun’s name means. T.O.R.O. stands for Taurus Optics Ready Option. It is the company’s designation for its pistols that can natively accept a red dot sight.
In the case of the G3c T.O.R.O., the gun’s slide has a special cut in the top of the slide. With one of four included adaptor plates, you can easily mount many different red dot sights onto the pistol with nothing more than a pair of screws.
If you do not have a red dot sight, no worries – a protective plate fills the slide cut giving the pistol a clean look. When you are ready to add an optic, the plate comes out and the sight goes on. It really is that simple.
Luckily for me, I just received a Swampfox Liberty red dot sight for review. I mounted the Swampfox Liberty using one of the plates provided with the Taurus handgun. It took less than five minutes to remove the factory plate and install the Swampfox red dot. It was a perfect fit, and I was ready for the range.
Sights, Safeties and More
The G3c TORO comes equipped with fairly standard sights. The front sight uses a white dot. In the back, the rear sight sports a plain black notch.
While the sight design might seem basic, it avoids eye confusion under stress. A single white dot draws the eye to it while the rear notch outlines the front sight post easily.
Taurus designed the G3c line with a manual thumb safety. While many people prefer a pistol without such a device, plenty more people like to have one.
G3c TORO Specifications
Here are the factory specs on the Taurus G3c TORO:
|Weight (unloaded)||22.0 oz|
|Sights||fixed white dot front, drift-adjustable black rear, optics ready|
When I am evaluating a firearm, I spend time with it on the range to gauge its usefulness for its intended purpose. The G3c T.O.R.O. is intended to be a self-defense handgun, so it is that use for which I judged it.
In a self-defense gun, I insist on reliability. A gun that regularly chokes on the range is not dependable enough for personal protection.
Additionally, I want a gun that delivers respectable accuracy. Most guns have more potential accuracy than the guy pulling the trigger. However, the ergonomics of a pistol – from the grip angle to the trigger pull – can impact practical accuracy. Shooting the gun is the only reasonable way to provide an evaluation of this “real world” accuracy.
During range testing, I also check the gun’s other features. For example, I want to know if the manual safety works and is easy to operate. With the Swampfox Liberty installed, I loaded the G3c TORO into my range bag and headed to my range to get a feel for the pistol.
Is the Taurus G3c Reliable?
Yes. Reliability was perfect in my test gun.
My experiences with Taurus pistols have been mixed, so I was unsure of what I should expect. As it turns out, the gun ran everything I fed it.
With the exception of the optics mounting plate, I experienced no problems of any kind with the gun. All of the parts and controls operated as they should.
Ah…but the optics mounting plate did experience an issue. I cover that farther down in the article. However, it did not affect the performance of the gun in any of my testing.
Accuracy was good and more than acceptable for self-defense duties. Running the gun from 3 – 15 yards, I was able to reliably make shots within a 4” circle with all kinds of ammunition.
Obviously, some ammo performed better than others, and closer targets made for smaller groups. However, if I did my job the gun did its.
There was a lot of take-up when the striker was cocked. When discharging the firearm, the break was a bit clunky. I wouldn’t describe the feel as bad, but you can get a much nicer feel with a more expensive pistol. Ultimately, I don’t think the trigger negatively impacted accuracy too much.
As I mentioned previously, Taurus uses an aggressive texture on the grip frame. For those who are familiar, it feels similar to skateboard tape. Yes, it is rougher than some shooters might like, but it also arrests the gun’s desire to wiggle about during recoil.
Combined with the darn-near-perfect-for-my-hand frame size, the gun locked solidly into my grip. The feedback from others on the range was mixed – some liked the texture while others hated it. You definitely want to feel it before making a decision to buy one.
Here’s a look at how different loads performed in the Taurus G3c:
|Blazer Brass 115 gr FMJ||1,012 fps||261 ft-lbs||1.90″|
|Federal HST 124 gr JHP +P||1,121 fps||346 ft-lbs||1.84″|
|Hornady Critical Duty 135 gr FTX||961 fps||277 ft-lbs||1.81″|
|Liberty Ammunition 50 gr JHP +P||1,907 fps||404 ft-lbs||1.78″|
|Speer Gold Dot 124 gr JHP||1,009 fps||280 ft-lbs||1.27″|
|Winchester USA Forged 115 gr FMJ||997 fps||254 ft-lbs||1.96″|
All of the self-defense loads showed excellent accuracy from the diminutive pistol. Likewise, the gun was reliable with every one of the ammo selections.
Swampfox Liberty on the Range
With the Swampfox Liberty red dot sight installed, the gun becomes something special.
The red aiming dot in the optic’s window is very easy to find and get on target. It allows you to focus on the target for natural sighting.
Under the stress of a lethal force encounter, your eye will naturally be drawn to the threat, and the Liberty works with your body instead of demanding you perform in an unnatural way.
Throughout the testing, the Swampfox optic performed exactly as expected. It provided a crisp aiming point without a hint of flicker.
Believe it or not, I’ve had other optics shatter from the recoil of a standard handgun cartridge. The Liberty showed no such problems. I’ve conducted a long-term test on the company’s Sentinel micro red dot sight, and it is running like a champ. I expect no less from the Liberty.
Two adjustment screws are located on the Liberty to zero the dot. I sighted mine at 7 yards which seemed to match aim to impact between 3 and 15 yards.
One thing I should point out: the factory sights are not tall enough to co-witness. If this is important to you, aftermarket sights will be your best bet.
Taurus recommends the use of Loctite Threadlocker Blue 242 on the threads of the mounting screws when installing the red dot. Initially, I ran the optic without the Threadlocker and the optic loosened within 200 rounds.
It was not going to fall off the slide, but there was enough play that it measurably affected my group sizes. The good news is Loctite 242 is inexpensive and readily available at many home improvement and automotive parts stores. A little of this banished all play in the mount.
It also appears the Loctite may have negated the one problem I ran into with this Taurus pistol…
Unfortunately, the Taurus G3c TORO was not completely free of problems. In fact, it had a single one that I found – and it was concerning. The good(?) news is it may have been user-induced.
At some point during the gun testing, the mounting plate for the optic broke. I’m not sure when this failure happened, but after completing all testing and shooting of the pistol, I removed the Swampfox optic and discovered the damage.
I contacted Taurus about the problem and shipped the gun back to them for examination. I hoped Taurus would be able to determine what happened for the mounting plate to fail.
Even though I requested Taurus let me know what their examination revealed, I’ve not received any information from the company or its representatives. I cannot infer anything from this regarding the broken G3c part – but it is (sadly) in line with my customer service experiences of the past.
The break occurred on the thinnest section of metal with a cleat that anchored into a mounted optic.
Although it was at a location that seemed to be the farthest point from the mounting screws, I allow for the possibility that I could have over-torqued the screws. I do not believe I did, but clearly, something went wrong.
The mounting plate appeared to be made of a low-quality metal alloy I associate with rapid, inexpensive castings. I have no idea what, if any, role this played in the part’s failure.
Does the G3c T.O.R.O. meet the needs of someone needing a personal defense weapon? Based on my review gun, I think it does.
Sized for concealed carry and chambered for a proven cartridge, the gun shoots well. With the Swampfox Liberty, the gun was an amazing blend of performance and value.
The mounting plate failure is concerning to me. I wish Taurus would respond to me so I could report its findings.
Nevertheless, the gun was 100% reliable during testing. Even with the broken plate, the accuracy of the pistol did not appear to be negatively affected.
While I do not give this gun an unreserved recommendation, I do recommend considering it. If I was looking for a new self-defense pistol in this price range, I would definitely consider it. It is certainly a contender for the title of “best value in optics ready defensive pistols.”
Updated: April 25, 2022
All gun reviews should have disclosures so you know what influences may have swayed the testing and conclusions. Sadly, few websites or other media outlets ever provide you with the truth as it relates to corporate influence.
Taurus is not an advertiser nor is this a sponsored review. “Sponsored reviews” are just advertisements – you can guess how those will turn out.
I received the gun in this review as a loaner for Taurus. I did not keep it and it has been returned to the company. Taurus did not ask for a “positive” review nor did I make any statements to the company about how this would be written.
I currently own one Taurus gun – the Spectrum – and have reviewed several others over the years. Most have been unreliable. Prior experiences with the company’s customer service have been below my expectations.
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