Deciding to carry certainly has some expenses involved. After training, permitting and the purchase of good carry equipment, you still need to scrape enough cash together for one last item...the gun. First-time gun owners (or oldsters getting into something new) often reach for something inexpensive "just to see" if they'll like it. Today, inexpensive doesn't always mean "cheap," because Taurus has delivered some terrific handguns to the gun-toting public at relatively inexpensive prices. Several years ago, they introduced the G2c. This compact pistol helped many protect themselves throughout their daily routine and became a gun-store staple for those in need on a tight budget. A few years later the G3 came out, and really showcased how good a gun Taurus could make for a real-world price of around $250. I was one of the writers who was lucky enough to test Taurus's new full-sized pistol just before it debuted and, like many of my colleagues, I exclaimed "You gotta put this trigger in the G2c!"
Enter the G3c, the hybrid of the G3 and the Gc2. Taurus has mashed the best features of both guns together into an accurate, controllable little package. The new pistol is built with much more than just the better trigger; it also has undergone several upgrades to make it easier and more fail-safe. Unbeknownst to me, there was already one en route to my local gun store with my name on it.
When the gun showed up, I had to take it over to the side counter so prying eyes couldn't sneak a peek. After opening the box, I realized that I didn't need to be that careful anymore because it shares almost all of the same external features as its predecessors. In fact, they even both fit the same holster, which is nice if you already have a G2c. This early inspection also revealed that the sights have been upgraded to steel, and the slide now has a Tenifer finish to help it stand up to the beating that a carry gun typically undergoes. After some paperwork, I was on my way to the range to get in some live fire and give the gun a better once-over in a more private setting.
At the range, I set up a 15-yard target and got out my typical test accoutrements. This included a Lyman Digital Trigger Scale and some ammo. This time I grabbed a few boxes of the new Speer Gold-Dot G2 Carry Gun ammunition, because it is designed specifically for compact pistols. I also brought a few boxes of Winchester’s USA forged steel-cased ammunition, because it is designed specifically for cheapskates (like myself).
Before filling the magazines, I examined some of the other features and controls. I was impressed with the overall ergonomics, especially the relief cuts at the top of the grip and towards the front of the frame. The ones over the grip give the side of your thumb as well as the front of your palm a place to rest, bringing your grip in tighter. The divot on the left side is perfect for resting your support thumb, and the one on the right is a perfect tactile reference point for keeping your finger off the trigger. Besides the unique relief cuts I really enjoyed the amount and placement of the skateboard-tape-like material and the generous, but not overdone, palm swell on the backstrap. After a status check, I measured a trigger break at just 4 pounds, 9 ounces, and observed less than one-quarter of an inch of required forward travel to reset. While the trigger is a single-action striker-based system, it has second-strike capability just like a DA/SA. This gives you a second chance to ignite a cartridge with a high or hard primer should you encounter one. This is also a great feature to have should you want to use a laser-based dry-fire tool like the Laser Ammo SureStrike.
The G3c comes standard with 12-round magazines; however 10-rounders are available for restricted jurisdictions. Rumor has it 15- and 17-round versions will be around later in the year, perfect for range time or even to carry as long as your cover garment allows for the extra footprint. We filled the magazines and dumped a few onto a Champion IPSC steel silhouette to get a feel for how it handled. Recoil wasn't half bad, even with the carry ammo. The trigger was phenomenally easy to manipulate, yielding .2 second split times with centered rounds on steel. We tested accuracy by producing five five-round groups with both ammunitions at 15 yards and were able to pull in an average group of 1.94 inches with the Gold Dot G2, and an average of 2.74 inches with Winchester's practice ammo. Winchester's best group was 1.78 inches and the Gold Dots printed an astounding .65 inch.
The best part about the G3c is the low MSRP of only $305, meaning that we will likely see it on shelves for around the same $250 price point that made the full-sized G3 so popular. Overall, I felt that it was a lot of gun to get for such a small investment, as typically comfort, features or reliability need to be sacrificed to save some green. Once again Taurus has produced a gun that is easy to shoot and easy on the wallet. For more information visit www.taurususa.com.