Guns are expensive, as is ammo, magazines, hell even targets can be costly. That’s just part of the hobby. The thing is that guns go beyond a hobby. Weapons are used for self-protection both inside and outside the home. With firearms being so expensive, it can be a challenge for someone on a tight budget to find one that they can afford that meets their needs and is reliable. I bought a Taurus G2S to test and evaluate to see if a budget gun can meet the requirements for those who are cash strapped but need a weapon.
The Taurus G2S is currently selling for well below 200 dollars online. The Taurus G2C is another budget option with more ammunition, but it’s 12 round magazine makes it illegal in several states. The G2S is legal almost everywhere, and it’s single-stack design also makes it easier to carry for smaller shooters. You can currently purchase the G2S from Palmetto State Armory for $179.99.
I’ve been shooting mine for well over a month and have had some exciting results. Can a sub 200 dollar gun be dependable and reliable enough for home defense and concealed carry?
Breaking down the Taurus G2S
The Taurus G2S is a single stack handgun that comes in 9mm or 40 S&W handgun. Mine is in 9mm, and that seems to be a much more common model. It’s a striker-fired, polymer-frame pistol that holds seven rounds in its magazine. The gun comes with two magazines, as well.
The G2S has a very thin grip and a thin overall profile. It’s roughly 1.1 inches wide at the widest point. The widest point comes in at the manual safety. The rest of the gun is 1 inch thick, so it does conceal very well. The gun is slightly heavy for being so small and weighs 19.85 ounces. It has a 3.25-inch long barrel with an overall length of 6.25 inches.
The G2S has an interesting trigger system. Taurus describes it as a single action with restrike capability, and that’s accurate. The gun is technically a DA/SA design, but the double-action-only comes into play when the single action fails to ignite a round.
The Taurus G2S features a manual thumb safety as well as a trigger safety. I’m not a huge fan of manual safeties on my carry guns, but this isn’t a poorly designed one. It’s positioned right where the thumb naturally rests. It clicks downwards and into place with little effort.
The G2S also has a short Picatinny rail that does give you the means to attach small and compact flashlights and lasers. This is important if you have one gun that doubles as both a concealed carry and home defense weapon. You can attach a weapon light for home defense and ditch it when you are carrying the gun. Mini lights like the Olight Mini 2 Valkyrie or the Viridian CTL, or even the mini CMR from Crimson Trace will fit this rail.
The sights are plain three-dot white sights. The rear sight is fully adjustable and is easy to adjust as well.
The Taurus G2S is a small gun, but the grip fills the hand when you factor in the magazines equipped with pinky extensions. The gun is somewhat square in the grip and reminds me of the earlier single-stack 9mms on the market. It’s okay, not surprising, but okay.
The G2S has some aggressive texturing on the grip, and it sticks to the hand pretty damn well. It doesn’t move under rapid fire. Each side has a scalloped side that allows for comfortable thumb placement with a thumbs forward grip.
The manual safety is 1911 style and is mounted to the frame. It’s ergonomically placed and gives you tactile and audible feedback when you push the safety up and down. The slide lock is one of the few that works with my hands. My thumbs don’t press it down due to the presence of the gun’s manual safety. This ensures the slide locks back after the last round is fired.
The magazine release is a small button that’s a little low for my hands. I have to move a bit more than I like to hit the button. The magazines drop free, and reloading isn’t hard. However, I have to be cautious that my palm isn’t pinched when slamming the magazine home.
The gun has one major ergonomic problem, and that’s the lack of a beavertail or any kind, and this is a pain — literally, a significant pain. In my hands, the slide digs into my hand when utilizing a nice and high grip. This bite will quickly draw blood, and after a few hundred rounds, it sucks.
Besides the pain the gun caused the gun isn’t entirely unpleasant to fire. Its recoil is mild, as is its muzzle rise. The grip gives you a very comfortable hold, and the gun is controllable. Accuracy wise the gun is more than suitable. The sights are somewhat cheap and aren’t exactly eye-catching, but they work.
I topped out at about 20 yards for making precise headshots. When I first started shooting this gun, I ran into a big problem. I was making massive groups in an unpredictable way. It turned out that the front sight of the gun was loose. This caused me to throw shots. It was easy to tighten, and I added a little Loc Tite to make sure it stayed that way. After that, we were on target without issue.
The trigger is another component I will say is just okay. Technically it’s a single action, but it seems to have the exact same travel length as a double action. The pull is just lighter overall but still drags a bit. It feels like plastic rubbing on plastic for the entire length of the trigger pull. It’s not a great trigger by any means. It’s usable, and there are worse triggers out there for sure. As I said before, it’s best described as ‘okay.’
I’ve run numerous drills with the G2S and passed the majority of them. This includes the iHack, Dot Torture, and Failure to Stop drills. The Taurus G2S can perform well in short-range dynamic shooting drills. Most self-defense situations are going to happen at close ranges, so the G2S is up to the task.
I had a short string of issues with the gun in the beginning. Using steel cased ammo, the gun had to failure to extract and ejects, which created a complicated malfunction. There was also a magazine issue where one of my two magazines would not raise the rounds to feed the gun. This happened twice. These four malfunctions occurred in the first few hundred rounds.
After this, I gave the gun a good cleaning along with the magazine. After that, I no longer ran into any issues with the gun. It functioned flawlessly. The malfunctions are certainly worth noting, but I’m now several hundred rounds deep without any other issues. It reached the point where I would trust it for self-defense purposes — especially compared to other guns in this price range.
The most significant downsides have been listed in the article. The reliability issue was one that seemed to resolve itself. My biggest fault with the gun is the slide beating my hand up. It’s a rough one to shoot for long periods of time. However, this seems only to affect shooters like me with large hands.
A female friend fired the weapon several times and didn’t have the slide bite problems I ran into. Just for reference, I wear 2XL sized gloves. That may have a big difference in the hands of other shooters.
Can a handgun that costs less than 200 dollars be a reliable firearm? Yes, it appears so. The G2S had some growing pains, but the gun seemed to overcome them quickly. For under 200 dollars, the G2S appears to be a solid choice. My main advice would be to get out and shoot, shoot a lot, and make sure you have your hands on a good one, and any potential problems are ironed out.
The G2S is a popular pistol, and there appear to be numerous items you can use to upgrade your gun as well as holsters available for concealed carry. The G2S isn’t a fantastic gun or an innovative gun, it’s an okay gun, and that’s okay. When it comes to a defensive handgun, it doesn’t have to be a match grade gun. Something as simple as the Taurus G2S will get the job done 99.99% of the time.
Use the money you saved to buy some ammo and hit the range, train hard, and make yourself lethal.