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Taurus GX4 vs SW Shield Plus

We’re going to compare the Taurus GX4 vs SW Shield Plus. Both of these guns were released around the same time and have a lot to offer. However, the Taurus GX4 is a brand new firearm that Taurus built from the ground up.

The Smith & Wesson Shield Plus is a new offering from Smith & Wesson based on the venerable SW Shield.

SW Shield Plus vs Taurus GX4 Square

Size

These guns take different approaches when it comes to the size of the firearm. We’ll go over that in detail in our Taurus GX4 vs Smith & Wesson Shield Plus concealed carry segment below this chart.

MetricsS&W Shield PlusTaurus GX4
Weight w/ no mag (Oz)1816.6
Weight w/ empty mag (Oz)20.718.6
Weight w/ full mag (Oz)23.4
Height (top of slide to bottom of magazine baseplate) (Inches)4.424.2
Length (Inches)6.145.8
Width of grip (Inches)1.080.99
Width of slide (Inches)0.90.95
Width across controls (Inches)1.031.06

Taurus GX4 vs SW Shield Plus Concealed Carry

Both of these guns are suited for concealed carry. That said, they might fill slightly different roles.

For example, the Taurus GX4 could work for pocket carry for many people, while the Smith & Wesson Shield Plus will likely be a little bit big for pocket carry for most users. Nevertheless, some people can do it, although that won’t be most of the market. Right off the bat, you will notice that the grip on the Shield Plus and other dimensions are more significant than the GX4. 

Taurus GX4

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The SW Shield Plus holds ten rounds in the magazine. You get 11 rounds on the Taurus GX4 comparatively.

The Shield Plus is almost a quarter-inch taller when it comes to the dimension from the bottom of the magazine to the top of the slide. This is a critical dimension when it comes to concealed carry, especially when carrying inside the waistband.

Another critical dimension is the width of the grip. The width of the grip on the Smith & Wesson Shield Plus is almost one-tenth of an inch wider than the Taurus GX4. If you’re looking for the most miniature gun possible to conceal and the best ratio of size to capacity, the Taurus GX4 is the clear winner. You get more capacity with the Taurus GX4 by one round, as well as a much smaller profile. 

But that’s not the only feature you need to look for when choosing a concealed carry firearm. The Smith & Wesson Shield Plus is over two ounces heavier when loaded than the Taurus GX4. While this might not seem like a lot, this can make a big difference if you’re doing an activity like running or cardio, where the gun can move around a lot inside the waistband.

The lighter the gun the better when carrying unsupportive clothing.

Ergonomics Overall

The ergonomics that may work for one shooter may not work for another. What feels best in your hand may not be what shoots the best in turn. Ergonomics not only define how a gun feels, but they also define how you can leverage the gun to shoot it effectively.

SW Shield Plus

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Frame

A significant difference between the Taurus GX4 and the Smith & Wesson Shield Plus will be the modularity aspect. The Taurus GX4 is the first gun of its size class to offer interchangeable backstraps. This is not a feature of the Smith & Wesson Plus. So how good is this on a gun that size? Well, that’s arguable, but it is a nice feature to have and cool that Taurus could incorporate it.

SW Shield Plus vs Taurus GX4 Grips

Now, as for the feel of the grip itself, the Smith & Wesson Shield Plus allows me to get the same amount of my pinky on the grip as the GX4 does. These guns, despite being similar in height, have a different ergonomic stature.

The trigger undercut on the Taurus GX4 is much higher, and that allows me to get a similar amount of my hand on the grip as I can with a Smith & Wesson Shield, despite it being a quarter-inch taller than the GX4. There is something about the ergonomics on the Smith & Wesson Shield, though. I can see how some users might like this more than the ergonomics on the GX4.

The Taurus GX4, on the other hand, has a very well-designed set of ergonomics. The high undercut, as well as the large bump and the rear of the grip, really force your hand high into the grip. You don’t have to work hard at all to maintain a high grip on this firearm.

This can be an excellent feature for newer and inexperienced shooters as it forces your hand high up on the gun without much work.

Texture

The texture of these guns is different. They both have a sandpaper-like texture, but I would say the texture on the GX4 feels more like 600-grit while the Smith & Wesson Shield Plus feels more like 250- or 300-grit sandpaper. It’s much more aggressive and might be a little too aggressive for some people when carrying inside the waistband.

I don’t think it would bother me personally, but it could bother some more sensitive users. The Taurus GX4, on the other hand, has an aggressive texture that’s aggressive enough for shooting, but it’s not going to bother almost anyone when it comes to concealed carry.

SW Shield Plus vs Taurus GX4 Backstrap

If you like a more aggressive texture, then the winner will be the Smith & Wesson Shield. But if you like a less aggressive texture, you’ll like the Taurus GX4. That said, I don’t see much of an advantage with a more aggressive texture on the Smith & Wesson Shield Plus because the texture on the Taurus GX4’s serrations is good enough.

SW Shield Plus vs Taurus GX4 Frontstrap

Slide Taurus GX4 vs SW Shield Plus

The slides on these two firearms take a different approach in design. Both of these slides have forward-cocking serrations, although the Smith & Wesson Shield’s are for aesthetics only. The serrations on the Smith & Wesson Shield are excellent and some of them are my favorite. But the serrations on the front are only around an eighth of an inch tall and are pretty much useless for anything but press checks, and for that type of press check, you don’t need serrations at all. 

SW Shield Plus vs Taurus GX4 Slides

The Taurus GX4, on the other hand, has a slide that feels slightly easier to rack, and the serrations are also a much better design. The slide is also wider on the Taurus GX4, which just gives you more to grab onto when cocking the slide. There is no comparison. The winner’s the Taurus GX4 vs the Smith & Wesson Shield when it comes to the slide.

Sights

Both of these guns have fundamental sight ops. The Taurus GX4 has a white dot in the front sight, and the rear sight is blacked out with horizontal serrations. The Shield Plus, on the other hand, has a set of three-dot white painted sights. In addition, both of these guns utilize a square notch in the rear sight.

SW Shield Plus vs Taurus GX4 Sights

You can get the Smith & Wesson Shield with three-dot with the same sight picture as the standard sights. I’m personally not a big fan of any kind of dots or features on the rear sight and prefer it just to be blacked out. Therefore, my choice would be the sights on the Taurus GX4, but your mileage may vary.

Taurus GX4

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Aftermarket Sights Taurus GX4 vs SW Shield Plus

Taurus was brilliant and designed the Taurus GX4 with Glock sight cuts. This means the Taurus GX4 can accept any aftermarket Glock sight. This is an essential feature if you want to have the ability for users to switch out with multiple sight options without having to have manufacturers adopt your cut.

On the other hand, the Smith & Wesson Shield Plus has a similar style and uses standard Smith & Wesson Shield sight cuts. This is not a significant downside, but there will be fewer options than there are with the Glock. That said, the most popular options are available for both of these guns.

Red- Dot Optics

While it hasn’t been released yet, the Taurus GX4 will be released in an optics-compatible version. The Smith & Wesson Shield Plus is already available in an Optics-Ready version, and it accepts Shield RMSC-style mountings. This means the gun will accept sights like the SIG Sauer ROMEO Zero and Holosun 507K. I suspect the Taurus will be offered with a similar style of mounting options.

Controls

Safety

If you want to go into safety, then the Smith & Wesson Shield Plus is initially going to be your only option. This gun does have a thumb safety mounted on the right side if you order it from the manufacturer that way. The version I have does not have the thumb safety mounted. I was originally going to get the version with the thumb safety, but when I went to my local gun shop, the safety was so stiff, I couldn’t disengage it. I was disappointed with this. 

SW Shield Plus

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My shop had multiple Smith & Wesson Shield Plusses in with the safety, and they all had that issue. It was extremely stiff and hard to disengage. I’ve handled multiple Smith & Wesson Shields with the safety and haven’t had that issue. So this was somewhat of a disappointment.

Trigger Taurus GX4 vs SW Shield Plus

We’re going to compare each of these triggers separately, and then we’ll cover how they work compared to each other. 

Smith & Wesson Shield Plus Trigger

The trigger shield on the Smith & Wesson Shield Plus is an excellent polymer-style trigger that has somewhat of a flatter profile. It’s still a curved trigger, but the curve isn’t as much as traditional-style triggers. It has a Glock-style trigger safety, which departs from the previous Smith & Wesson Shield and M&P guns. I like the design of this one.

SW Shield Plus vs Taurus GX4 Shield Plus Trigger

The pull itself starts with a light take-up as you disengage the safety. You’re going to reach a wall, and then it’s going to have quite a reasonable light break. I like the way this trigger breaks. It’s immaculate — light yet predictable. You’re also going to have a reset that resets right back to that wall, zero creeps, and then the trigger breaks very nicely—no complaints about this trigger.

Taurus GX4 Trigger

The Taurus GX4 also has a polymer trigger with a Glock style trigger safety. This trigger has a much flatter profile than the Smith & Wesson Shield Plus. I also like the shape of this trigger shield. It has slightly less take-up, and once you pull through the take-up, you’re going to reach a wall that again has a very clean break. It resets right back to the beginning of that wall. It’s just a very clean break. 

Springfield Armory Hellcat vs Taurus GX4 Trigger

When comparing these two, I can’t decide which one I like better. I’m very impressed with both of these triggers. There is no winner when comparing the Taurus GX4 vs the Smith & Wesson Shield Plus. It’s going to come down to personal preference on which trigger shield you like better. The breaks and resets are almost identical.

Taurus GX4

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Slide Lock

The slide lock is one area where the Taurus GX4 has an advantage. The Smith & Wesson Shield slide lock is rolled sheet metal, and while it’s slightly easier to manually lock back the slide using these simple Smith & Wesson slide locks, it’s much harder to drop the slide. It’s just a much different design, and the rolled sheet metal design can be easy for your hand slips, despite the texturing. 

SW Shield Plus vs Taurus GX4 Slide Stops

The Taurus GX4, on the other hand, has a polymer overmold slide stop and it’s designed just perfectly. I can’t tell you how much I’m surprised that I like this design. It’s effortless to drop just using your thumb, and it’s also easy to reach for shooters with differently-sized hands.

The Smith & Wesson Shield Plus on the overhand is just a little bit farther forward. If somebody has smaller hands, it might not work as well for them.

Magazine Release Taurus GX4 vs SW Shield Plus

The magazine release on both of these guns is reversible. I like the magazine release better on the Smith & Wesson Shield Plus. The magazine release on the Taurus GX4 has a slightly sharp corner on the front edge. That can be a little bit annoying when pressing. It’s not a deal-breaker by any means, but it’s just not as lovely as the magazine release on the Smith & Wesson Shield Plus. 

SW Shield Plus vs Taurus GX4 Magazine Releases

Both of these magazines drop pretty reasonably quickly, but if you have larger hands take into account that your grip could stop the magazine from dropping free. These magazines drop free for me about 90 percent of the time without breaking my grip, but somebody with larger hands will probably block the magazine well all the time.

SW Shield Plus

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Magazine Well

There’s virtually no difference in the magazine well of these two firearms. Neither of them have any kind of interior bevel which helps you load the magazine. That said, your hands will likely extend down below the grip, acting as a funnel or enhanced mag well to make the gun quick to reload.

SW Shield Plus vs Taurus GX4 Magwells

Quality Taurus GX4 vs SW Shield Plus

From a quality standpoint, I’d say these two guns seem to be on par. I’ve been impressed with how much Taurus stepped it up with the quality of the Taurus GX4. So I can’t say there’s any real difference in quality, and it’d be hard to give an advantage to one gun over the other.

Taurus GX4

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Aftermarket Taurus GX4 vs SW Shield Plus

Right now, there are more aftermarket side options for the Taurus GX4, as we mentioned earlier, but the Smith & Wesson Shield Plus is going to have more options for things like holsters. That said, there still aren’t. Smith & Wesson changed just enough that the Shield Plus isn’t compatible with many old Shield parts.

Due to this, the aftermarket on these two guns is probably going to be pretty similar at the time of this article.

Aesthetics

SW Shield Plus vs Taurus GX4 X

Aesthetically, I prefer the look of the Taurus GX4. It has a more modern, sleek look. At the same time, the Smith & Wesson Shield Plus doesn’t look the best to me. The grip on the Smith & Wesson Shield series has always seemed to be a little bit big. It just seems a little bit disproportionate to the rest of the gun. That said, these are both decent-looking firearms but neither is going to win a beauty competition.

SW Shield Plus

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Shooting Taurus GX4 vs SW Shield Plus

Shooting the Taurus GX4, I was pleasantly surprised how well it shot. It’s a flat-shooting gun that has good ergonomics and helps to control the grip. On the other hand, these Smith & Wesson Shield Plus could leave a little bit to be desired when it comes to recoil impulse.

The Smith & Wesson Shield Plus has a higher bore axis and the recoil assembly just doesn’t do as much to dampen recoil. I was kind of disappointed to see that Smith & Wesson didn’t work a little bit harder when it came to that feature.

Price/Value

MSRP on the Shield Plus is $553 whereas it’s $393 for the GX4. At the time of writing this, the market is crazy and most guns are selling at or above MSRP. When demand stabilizes, the GX4 will regularly be available for $350.

Smith and Wesson has a more interesting approach to business, and for most of the year, the Shield Plus will go for around $500. When they run a dealer incentive package, it’ll likely be available for $440. That’s still almost $100 more expensive than the GX4. 

Dollar for dollar, it’d be hard to say the Plus is as good of a value as the Taurus GX4. If the ergonomics work better for you, then it’s probably worth it. If the best value for your dollar is your highest priority, then get the GX4.

Taurus GX4

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Pros/Cons

SW Shield Plus Pros

  • Great trigger

Taurus GX4 Pros

  • Great trigger
  • Sights
  • Ergonomics

SW Shield Plus Cons

  • Size

Taurus GX4 Cons

  • Shorter grip

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