May 06, 2020
By James Tarr
Mossberg surprised everyone last year with its MC1sc. Not only was it the first handgun from that company in a century, but also was a surprising combination of looks, size, features, performance and affordability. Suggested retail on the MC1sc was just $421, which meant actual retail prices started with the very affordable number “3.”
The only problem with the pistol is the same problem shared by all subcompact pistols. Subcompact pistols are easy and convenient to carry, but they are more difficult to shoot and have reduced capacity. Enter the Mossberg MC2c. It’s still small enough to conceal, but it’s enough gun to handle just about any problem you might have.
Anyone paying attention should have been able to predict the arrival of this pistol. After all, the gun wasn’t called the MC1; it was the MC1sc for “subcompact,” indicating there might and probably would be different sizes offered in the future. The future is here.
Just like the MC1sc, Mossberg’s new MC2c is a polymer-framed, striker-fired 9mm semiauto. It has the same looks and features of the original, just sized up a bit. In this slightly larger form, it is vaguely reminiscent of the Ruger SR9, but the familial resemblance to the original MC1sc is unmistakable.
For the MC2c Mossberg has stretched the barrel from the MC1sc’s 3.4 inches to 4.0 inches and more than doubled the capacity. The MC1sc was fed by single-stack magazines, and each pistol came with one flush six-round magazine and one extended seven-round magazine. The MC2c ships with one flush double-column, 13-round magazine and one extended 15-round magazine. These magazines have metal bodies with lubricious coatings and bright orange polymer followers. They are made by Mec-Gar, the OEM magazine king.
According to my digital scale, with an empty 13-round magazine in place the MC2c weighed 22.9 ounces. The MC1sc accepts magazines designed for the Glock 43, so I was curious if a preexisting magazine could feed the MC2c. The answer to that question is no. This pistol uses proprietary magazines with an interesting feed lip design.
There are currently five versions of the MC2c planned: all black, two tone (black frame with natural stainless slide), with or without a crossbolt safety and an all-black model with TruGlo Tritium PRO Night Sights. All models of the MC2c have stainless steel slides and barrels, and the barrels and black slides have a DLC coating for corrosion resistance. For this review I obtained a sample of the basic black model with no manual safety.
Just like the smaller MC1sc pistol, the MC2c is aimed at the concealed-carry crowd. Overall, this pistol is 7.1 inches long and 4.9 inches tall. The big news here isn’t the height and length of the pistol but rather the width.
Even though it is fed by what I’ll call standard-width double-column 9mm magazines—they’re the same width as Beretta 92, SIG P226 and similar magazines—this is a surprisingly thin pistol. The slide is just 0.9 inch wide, and the rest of the pistol is pretty darn flat as well. The thickest part of the pistol is the palm swell of the grip, and even there the MC2c beefs out to just 1.1 inches.
While the Mossberg is 1.5 ounces heavier than the relatively new Glock 48, which I reviewed in the August/September 2019 issue, it is smaller in every dimension. It also holds three more rounds and is less expensive. I had a Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield on hand, and while the MC2c is an inch longer, it is exactly the same height as the Shield with a seven-round magazine in place and as thin as the Shield just about everywhere except for the palm swell section of the grip.
With the MC2c you get steel three-dot sights, and here it’s obvious the engineers and designers at Mossberg were paying attention to the little things, because the white dot on the front sight is larger than the dots on the rear sight. This means that when you are shooting, the front dot appears the same size or even just a hair larger than the rear sight dots. That’s what you want, so kudos to Mossberg.
The serrations on the slide are angled and nicely aggressive. The magazine release on the pistol is steel and sports the same type of texturing found on the frame. The magazine release button is sizable and rather prominent, which I like. It is also reversible.
As for the frame texturing, you’ll see two sections of texturing on either side of the grip frame. This texturing is raised off the surface of the grip and is nicely aggressive. As a huge fan of stippling every square millimeter of pistol frames, my knee-jerk reaction was, of course, “Why didn’t they texture the entire frame?” But if you read on, you’ll see what they did worked just fine. There are shallow finger grooves on the front of the frame, and both the front and back of the frame sport some mild horizontal texturing.
I really liked the textured areas on the frame just above the front of the trigger guard. Unlike the texturing on the grip, this isn’t raised but rather a dished-out area, meant to house the thumb of your support hand while you’re shooting.
The frame has a single-slot accessory rail for mounting lights or lasers, something not available on the original MC1sc. The pistol is big enough that it should fit most full-size lights
Just about everybody should be able to get their entire hand on the pistol with the flush magazine in place. A number of employees at my local gunshop examined the pistol when it arrived and had good things to say about the ergonomics. I paid close attention and didn’t see anyone who had issues getting their entire hand on the frame of the MC2c with the flush magazine in place.
One of the clerks at the shop had complimentary things to say about the MC1sc, and his only negative comment concerned the “complicated” takedown process of the pistol. The MC2c features the same takedown process for cleaning and maintenance, and I don’t think it’s complicated, just different. You’ll note that there is no takedown lever, making this pistol is as smooth and snag free as any similar-size pistol on the market.
Mossberg calls its disassembly process the Safe Takedown System or STS. To take it apart for cleaning, first lock back the slide, remove the magazine and ensure the pistol is unloaded. At the rear of the slide you’ll see a button. That’s the striker cover plate. Push it in and pull downward. With the plate out of the way, you’ll see the orange polymer housing of the striker assembly. Pull the striker assembly out the rear of the slide.
All you have to do now is lower the slide stop and the slide will come off the front of the pistol. Because the slide stop has a low profile, it’s best just to grip the slide and pull it back slightly and the slide stop will drop out of the way. Assembly is just as simple; just reverse the order of the same steps.
On my first trip to the range with this pistol, I brought a bag full of assorted hollowpoints to see if I could make the gun choke. The Mossberg ate everything I fed it, from SIG’s 124-grain V-Crown JHP with its big cavity and near +P performance to Black Hills’ 115-grain TAC-XP +P load to Hornady’s 147-grain XTP Custom load.
The face of the trigger is flat and somewhat wide. This not only looks good, but also flat triggers help you pull the trigger straight back, keeping your sights on target during the pull. The spec for the trigger pull is “approximately 5.5 pounds,” and my sample measured out at 5.75 pounds. It wasn’t a particularly short or crisp trigger pull, but it was consistent, which in combination with the wide, flat trigger allowed me to shoot the pistol well.
One thing I observed was that every different type of ammunition had a palpably different recoil impulse. Whether this was due to the pistol being light, slender or both, I could tell the difference between every kind of ammo I put downrange. That isn’t as common as you’d think.
My favorite ammunition in this pistol was Hornady’s 115-grain XTP Custom load. Out of the MC2c’s four-inch barrel, it does just about 1,100 fps and is very soft shooting.
Not just that, it hit exactly where the sights were and was the most accurate load tested. I’ve done gel testing with this load, and it generally penetrates about 12 to 14 inches at this velocity and expands nicely. Combine this with a cartridge that recoils gently, so you can shoot faster and more accurately, and you’ve got a winner.
I was chewing one-hole groups in the target offhand at seven yards. And it wasn’t just the Hornady stuff. I destroyed the center of that target with everything I put through this gun. We’ve all shot pistols that didn’t fit and then had trouble hitting the backstop, much less the target. And then there are pistols that just click. The MC2c just seemed to fit my hands, and I found I could shoot it like it was a much bigger, heavier pistol.
The pistol has a relatively low bore, and I found it pointed naturally for me. I was concerned that because the texturing didn’t cover more of the grip my hands would slip on the Mossberg’s frame, but I didn’t have any problems.
Still, if I were going to carry it, I would probably fill it with standard-pressure loads as I found the gun was much easier to control in rapid fire. I’ve got enough miles under my tires to have learned that good shot placement and follow-up shots are far more important in a pistol than caliber, ammo brand or bullet type.
I’m writing this on the day a bad guy in a trenchcoat pulled out a shotgun in a crowded Texas church and started shooting. Several of the churchgoers were armed, and the man who took him down did it with a head shot on a moving target at roughly 40 feet. Because this is the kind of thing that happens all too regularly, if you’re going to carry a gun, carry enough gun to handle this kind of problem. This Mossberg is enough gun, and yet it’s small and light enough to have with you when you need it.
One of the guys at my gunshop expressed the sentiment I’d bet a lot of you out there are thinking: “Oh, great, just what we need. Another polymer-framed striker-fired 9mm.” But I would argue the opposite is true. There is a fierce competition going on between firearms manufacturers for the money in your wallet, and because of this the winner is you.
Dedicated concealed-carry pistols represent the hottest pistol market segment, and competition drives manufacturers to offer more features and performance to the consumer for the same or lower prices. The MC2c gives you a reliable, concealable, shootable, made-in-America pistol with steel sights, all-stainless-steel construction, good ergonomics and double-digit capacity. All for a price lower than most of its competitors.
- Type: striker-fired semiauto
- Caliber: 9mm
- Capacity: 13+1, 15+1
- Barrel: 4.0 in. stainless steel
- OAL/Height/Width: 7.1/4.9/1.1 in.
- Weight: 22.9 oz. (13-round mag)
- Construction: polymer frame, DLC-finished stainless steel slide (as tested)
- Sights: steel 3-dot
- Trigger: 5.75 lb. pull (measured)
- Safety: trigger lever; optional manual crossbolt safety (not tested)
- Price: $490
- Manufacturer: O.F. Mossberg & Sons, mossberg.com