The subcompact 9mm handgun is easily the most popular firearm for concealed carry. Lightweight and reliable, subcompacts are easy enough to use by those who practice. And with a reasonably effective 9mm cartridge, these guns have a lot going for them. A big plus is that recent introductions have upped the ante in magazine capacity, with 10 or more shots. Let’s look at two popular subcompact 9mm handguns — the SIG Sauer P365 vs the Taurus GX4 — to see how they square off.
About the SIG Sauer P365
I found SIG’s P365 for sale ranging from $419 to $499. All P365s have a stainless slide, and the black pistols have a nitride finish as well. The P365 features a polymer frame and a striker-fired design. As the longest-running 9mm subcompact, the P365 enjoys a good reputation.
Among the best features of this handgun are SIG’s X-ray sights. These sights feature two dots set in the rear sight and a larger, brilliant tritium insert in the front sight. This makes for a system almost impossible to misalign in a hurry.
The pistol is supplied with two 10-round magazines. Extended 12- and 15-round magazines are available. There is a slight finger rest on the magazines.
About the Taurus GX4
The Taurus GX4 is another affordable option, with online searches finding the pistol for $319 to $349. I tested the GX4 handgun with the Taurus Optic Ready Option (TORO) mounting system. The Taurus features good fit and finish. And the sights are a good example of combat sights, with a serrated rear face of the rear sight and the front post featuring a white dot insert. Taurus’ GX4 is available with a 10-, 11- or 13-round magazine.
Comparing SIG P365 vs Taurus GX4
The P365 is dimensionally very close to the GX4. And though the SIG has a shorter frontstrap than the GX4, the rear straps are the same length. Each pistol features forward cocking serrations. This helped with the slightly heavier effort demanded to rack the SIG slide. Short-slide pistols demand a heavy recoil spring to control recoil and ensure proper function, so greater proportionate effort is needed to rack the short slide. The Taurus features a squared trigger guard, and the SIG’s is rounded.
Each features a 6-pound trigger action within a few tenths of an ounce of the other. However, the trigger action operates differently on each pistol. Both the SIG and Taurus release a fully tensioned striker with a press of the trigger. Most of us would call these pistols single-action. The Taurus action is tighter than the SIG and breaks with slightly less poundage. Taurus also adds a blade-type safety in the trigger face.
|Taurus GRX 4||SIG Sauer P365|
|Overall length||5.6 inches||5.8 inches|
|Height||4.4 inches||4.2 inches|
|Max width||.9 inches||.9 inches|
|Weight unloaded||18 ounces||17.8 ounces|
|Weight loaded||22.8 ounces||22.6 ounces|
|Frontstrap height||2.15 inches||1.8 inches|
|Backstrap height||2.5 inches||2.5 inches|
|Barrel length||2.75 inches||3.1 inches|
|Grip thickness max||.95 inches||.9 inches|
|Grip circumference||5.4 inches||4.9 inches|
However, the P365 handgun has an easier takedown. The P365 uses a take-down lever not dissimilar to full-sized SIG pistols. The Taurus uses a screw in the frame that must be turned to disassemble the pistol. Compact pistols must sometimes compromise. Neither takedown is difficult.
Each pistol features steel magazines with a plastic follower and bumper pad. The Taurus magazine is slightly longer and accommodates 11 cartridges, while the SIG accommodates 10. The frame treatment of the Taurus GX4 features a generous amount of roughening. The result is a good balance of adhesion and abrasion. On the SIG P365, the top of the frontstrap isn’t abrasive at all. The Taurus also has two abrasive finger rests above the trigger guard. In terms of grip, the Taurus GX4 is ahead of the SIG Sauer P365 by a noticeable margin.
Subcompact 9mms Face Off at the Range
Brand loyalty has taken a hit due to continued ammunition shortages. I was able to obtain a few boxes of Turkish-made ZSR 124-grain ball. This load functioned well, and the powder burn was clean. Accuracy is good enough for practice. I fired 50 rounds in each pistol at man-sized targets from 5, 7 and 10 yards.
The Taurus GX4 was more controllable. I drew quickly and shot the X ring out at shorter distances. The pistol handles well and offers good practical accuracy. The grip treatment and short trigger press were the primary factors in this 9mm’s good showing. SIG’s P365 was not far behind. The difference in combat groups was slight. And the GX4 was more pleasant to fire by a small margin.
In firing for absolute accuracy, I set up the MTM K-Zone shooting rest. This has nothing to do with combat ability, but I like to be certain the pistol is properly zeroed. I fired three-shot groups at 15 yards with the Hornady 115-grain Critical Defense and Black Hills Ammunition Extra Power (EXP). The results were better than expected.
Taurus flagged behind SIG this time. The SIG will put three shots into 2 to 2.25 inches at 15 yards. The Taurus was in the 2.3- to 2.65-inch range. Both groupings were more than adequate for personal defense. Those who practice would not be helpless at 25 yards with either pistol.
I also tested velocity with a handful of loads. The SIG’s slightly shorter barrel produced less velocity but not by much. Some varied as little as 5 feet per second.
|ZSR 9mm ball||1,138 feet per second||1,120 feet per second|
|Federal 138-grain Syntech HP||1,035 feet per second||1,022 feet per second|
|Hornady 115-grain Critical Defense||1,055 feet per second||1,048 feet per second|
|Black Hills Ammunition 115-grain EXP||1,080 feet per second||1,075 feet per second|
Accuracy margins were small, with the GX4 a better shooter for offhand fire and the P365 more accurate in slow fire. In terms of hand-fit, those with smaller hand may prefer the SIG, as the Taurus, especially with an extended magazine, can create the feeling of being overstretched.
In the end, I found both to be very capable handguns. Either would make a good concealed carry firearm. And holster options are plentiful. They chamber the popular 9mm Luger cartridge. The Taurus GX4 has an advantage in economy, costing around $150 less than the SIG Sauer P365 and holding an additional round.
SIG Sauer: SIGSauer.com
ZSR Ammunition: ZSRPatlayici.com
Federal Ammunition: FederalPremium.com
Hornady Ammunition: Hornady.com
Black Hills Ammunition: Black-Hills.com