Contextual Valuation, Diminishing Returns - Part 3
Okay, for you impatient folks, here’s the first recommendation - Point A on the curve. For those who missed the point of this series, check out Post #8 and Post #9 for defining guardrails and diminishing returns.
My personal recommendation for pistol A is the Taurus G3c in 9mm Luger. It is not a completely new design, but rather an update of previous models with attention to shooters requests over the years. The pistol does have a manual safety, and you should practice it until you work it subconsciously, just like learning to drive a stick shift vehicle.
Factory sights are quality steel offerings, with a blacked out rear sight
Sight cuts for Glock sights
Striker channel is now bright yellow
Magazines and the magazine catch are both metal
Slide finish now has a Tenifer treatment
Internals are Teflon coated for corrosion resistance
Slightly more aggressive grip texture
MSRP is $30 more than G2C
Street price - $270, Jan2022, Ohio
Taurus is a major firearm manufacturer that controls every single part and process in the production of their guns. Taurus does not sub-contract anything, which means problems can be isolated and corrected quickly. While Taurus hasn’t had the best reputation, their current and previous CEO’s have publicly acknowledged this and are working to fix it. That says a lot to me coming from the head of the company. Additionally, their current CEO comes from Walther, so I would expect future offerings to only get better.
The factory sights are made of steel, with a front dot and a plain rear to give the end user a great factory sight picture. Using Glock styled sight cuts can only be called a no-brainer. This allows end users to change the sight picture to include fiber optic and night sights at a later date if they desire. The simplicity of these sights reduces machining costs on the slide as well.
A brightly colored striker channel allows owners to easily inspect critical parts of the gun for maintenance. Any dirt or lubricant is easily visible, neither of which should be in the striker channel. Bravo for this simple change that is often overlooked.
Taurus has learned from past mistakes and now uses a metal magazine catch with their metal magazines in this gun. You also get 3 mags in the box, meaning you can keep a fully loaded magazine of hollow points and use the other magazines for the range. No more constant loading and unloading magazines on the range or accidentally using expensive ammo for practice.
The gun is about the same height as a Glock 19, which is one of the most popular “Goldilocks” benchmarks for size, ammunition capacity, weight, durability, and price. The barrel and overall length of the G3c is shorter, which is both a pro and a con. This may be helpful for shooters of smaller stature, but it can also hurt concealment. (See Phlster)
This a great option for the folks that are looking to have a pistol that should work in a self defense situation and are willing to do a bit of regular maintenance. These folks probably have a lot of obligations in life that can’t be ignored (rent, utilities, mouths to feed, etc.). They probably aren’t going to go to the range frequently, and training will probably be minimal.
There is minimal quality aftermarket support for this gun, and that is to be expected at this price point. This gun might not be for you if you spend more in ammo than the cost of the gun, or are planning on attending several training classes. I would avoid the optic-ready model, as it's a relatively new system that hasn’t been vetted. Additionally, the increased purchase price of the TORO version and a reliable optic easily more than doubles the cost of the base model (making point A completely irrelevant).
The biggest negative for this brand is the warranty program and past reputation. While Taurus will stand behind their product, and the timeline for repairs is getting shorter, they absolutely are going to charge you $50 for a shipping label to get the gun to them - that’s about 20% of the purchase price. You may spend more money if you use a FFL to facilitate this process.
Stay tuned for Pistol B
Taurus USA website
Taurus USA customer service phone call
1st hand experience in high volume gun store/range
Caleb Giddings / Bret Voorhees interview (GAT Daily)
Caleb Giddings - GAT Daily G3 update
Phlster - Keel Princible
Note - I did ask Taurus customer service via phone directly about engineering processes, percentage of returns, most reliable models, QC procedures, production numbers, and spare part availability. My information was taken, the questions deferred to others, and I was told I would be contacted in the future. To date I have not heard back regarding my questions. This is not unexpected given the depth of questions asked and coming from an unknown party with an unstated goal, but it is only fair to tell the efforts to find information from the manufacturer rather than 3rd parties.