June 23, 2022
O.F. Mossberg & Sons is an iconic name in the firearms business. You may know it from the justifiably legendary 500 shotgun, a tough-as-nails, reliable scattergun loved by generations of hunters and defensive shooters. Or maybe you’ve crossed paths with the excellent Patriot line of bolt-action rifles—some of the most accurate centerfires I’ve ever laid my hands on—or the innovative MVP bolt-action rifle that accepts AR-15 and other semiauto magazines. But perhaps you haven’t tumbled to the fact that the company makes handguns as well, a history going back to the founder’s first firearm created by his newly established company: the four-shot Brownie .22. Fast-forward 100 years to 2019, when Mossberg brought out the MC1sc, a subcompact single-stack 9mm. It was followed a year later by the double-stack MC2c, supplanting the MC1sc in the firm’s catalog.
Which brings us to the new MC2sc, “sc” for subcompact, which is smaller than its “c” predecessor. Its small footprint places it in what today we’re calling a micro-compact pistol while bringing the house when it comes to firepower and also offering the ability to install a red-dot sight on the slide. How small? It has a 3.4-inch barrel with cut-broached rifling, and the overall length is 6.25 inches. It’s 4.3 inches tall without a red dot, and width is 1.1 inches. Capacity is 11+1 with the flush base plate magazine and 14+1 with the extended mag. That 14-round magazine makes the Mossberg best in class in terms of capacity for standard-equipment magazines. Dimensionally, it is slightly longer than the Taurus GX4 T.O.R.O. (reviewed elsewhere in this issue), Ruger Max-9, Smith & Wesson Shield Plus, Springfield Hellcat OSP and SIG P365X, while shorter than the Glock G43X MOS. The MC2sc is also a wee bit heavier than all of these, but it has one of the shortest heights of the bunch. Regardless, we’re talking differences that are hardly significant—tenths of an inch and just an ounce or so. However, the MC2sc brings more to the party than just size and capacity. The stainless steel barrel has a DLC (diamond-like carbon) finish, as does the 416 stainless steel slide. DLC coatings are incredibly hard—hence the “diamond-like” descriptor—with excellent lubricity. This high-end treatment means the Mossberg is going to hold up well to the rigors of daily carry and reliably firing lots of rounds.
I love the slide serrations, which are on the front and the back. They’re not the big, wide cuts found on some other guns but rather numerous and narrow, and they have just the right sharpness to make racking the slide or doing a press check simple. The front of the slide and frame are beveled for easy holstering.
The steel sights are basic white three-dot. However, like the MC2c, the gun can be ordered with TruGlo’s excellent Pro tritium night sights—an option that adds just over $100 to the base sticker price. Mossberg opted for a direct-mount, no-adapter setup for red dots using the Shield RMSc footprint. This includes the Springfield Hex Wasp I mounted on the test gun, SIG Romeo Zero, the Shield and several others. It’s a footprint that’s a popular choice for this size of handgun. And there’s a reason for it.
“Our goal was to get a reflex optic as close to the bore axis as possible so that the user didn’t need raised sights to be able to co-witness,” said Mossberg’s Richard Kirk. “The Shield RMSc footprint allowed a deep milled slide cut where the user could mount an optic that’s not wider than the slide, and they can also co-witness low-profile sights.”
Co-witnessing is a big deal. Some shooters like to use the iron sights as an additional reference to pick up the red dot. But for me it’s all about the extra security of being able to shoot with the iron sights should the red dot malfunction or its battery die. And if you opt to carry the MC2sc without a red dot, I find standard-height sights a lot easier to use. My test sample did not have a manual safety, but a model with reversible crossbolt safety is part of the lineup. The slide-lock lever sits flush thanks to the subtle frame molding around it, but it isn’t as minimal as you’ll find on some guns.
That’s a good thing. While I’m typically a grab-and-slingshot guy when it comes to releasing the slide during a slide-lock reload, the Mossberg’s lever is big enough—and in the right location, at least for my hands—to drop the slide without having to shift my grip on the pistol. Mossberg did a good job with the magazine release, which is reversible. That process is well described in the manual. The release has kind of a horseshoe shape with raised projections that keep your thumb from slipping off the release. While it too has subtle frame molding to guard against an accidental mag drop, the button is easy to reach and depress. The polymer frame is glass-filled nylon and has an accessory rail, which is fairly unusual on micro-compact guns. The rail is notch-less like the SIG P365’s, and lights and lasers that fit a P365 rail will fit the MC2sc.
The forward portion of the frame has dished-out, stippled rectangles on both sides. These help you locate your forward support-hand thumb more consistently as well as provide a tactile clue that your trigger finger is properly indexed when your sights are not on target. The texture consists of the same raised projections found on the magazine release. It’s also the foundation of the dual panels on the sides of the grip. I really liked the feel of these panels, so I broke out a magnifying glass, and on closer examination I think I can best describe the projections’ shape as minuscule Phillips screwdriver heads.
These panels don’t wrap all the way around the grip. On the frontstrap and backstrap you’ll find stacks of elliptical panels containing vertical serrations instead. They give the gun some visual appeal, but more importantly, they make the gun really well behaved in your hand without abrading it. The safety-blade trigger is flat, and it has a full quarter-inch of take-up followed by a bit of creep before breaking. On my sample the pull was a pound lighter than its 5.5-pound spec, and it was consistent from pull to pull.
There’s a molded-in overtravel stop at the back of the trigger guard, and the guard is roomy enough to accommodate all but the bulkiest of gloves. On a frigid High Plains day I shot the gun with three different thicknesses, and only my big waterfowling gloves posed a problem. The MC2sc incorporates Mossberg’s Safe Takedown System. To disassemble the gun, drop the mag and lock back the slide. Ensure the gun is unloaded. With the slide still locked to the rear, push in the slide cover plate button and pull down to remove it. I found using a non-marring tool like the end of a plastic gun brush to be easier than doing it with my finger or thumb. Grasp the slide firmly to control it and press the slide lock lever to release the slide, guiding it forward. As the slide moves forward, the striker assembly with its yellow plastic sleeve can be plucked out. Remove the slide. That’s it. No trigger pull required. Once you get the hang of pushing in the cover plate button, the STS works really well, and not having to pull the trigger is an extra safety measure many will appreciate.
The gun ships with an 11-round flat-base magazine and a 14-round extended magazine, and both are made of steel that is coated for friction reduction. They have orange followers and are stamped “MC2” on the front. I’m a fan of brightly colored followers because they give an additional visual cue as to the gun’s condition. The magazines have witness holes that are numbered at 5 and 11 on the flush-fit magazine and 5, 10 and 14 on the extended mag.
The big magazine’s extension continues the grip’s serration pattern. A small cutout in the magazine’s base plate provides a place to dig in with your fingernails in the event a mag doesn’t want to drop free on its own.
However, there were no such issues when running the MC2sc through a series of drills. Yes, your little finger will tend to trap the magazines during speed reloads because the grip frame is so short, but if you’re mindful of this, the mags slide in and out of the well with ease. I didn’t have a ton of ammunition on hand, but the MC2sc functioned with all of it—full metal jackets, synthetic jackets and jacketed hollowpoints. It’s surprisingly controllable for such a small gun, especially when used with the extended magazine. Various rapid-fire exercises at 10 yards brought all A-zone hits, and the gun performed well on shoot/move drills, too. I think a lot of this is due to the pistol’s 18-degree grip angle. As someone who shoots 1911s a fair bit, this angle is familiar to me, and the MC2sc points naturally—like a much larger handgun.
I also like the slight palm swell, which allowed me to get a full hand wrap on the grip. Further, the trigger guard is nicely undercut, enabling the high hold that helps manage muzzle rise. The trigger worked great throughout the drills. It has a nice, short reset, and you’ll have no problems hearing it and feeling it. I had a CrossBreed outside-the-waistband holster that fit the gun close enough for government work, and the MC2sc drew nicely and holstered easily. The holster isn’t one I’d choose for daily carry when light clothing is called for, but I wore the rig under a wool-shirt covering garment and hardly knew I had it on. I’d expect that in an inside-the-waistband holster this would be a really easy pistol to dress around, especially with the flush-fit mag.
As you can see in the accompanying chart, the MC2sc produces great accuracy, and overall I don’t see how you could go wrong with this gun. But what makes it stand out? After all, there are plenty of well-built, reliable micro-compacts out there. Capacity, for starters. All those rounds in the extended mag could mean the difference in a fight for your life. As Kirk mentioned, the deep red-dot slide cut allows co-witnessing with regular sights, which not all pistols can do. The Safe Takedown System is certainly going to appeal to many folks.
I especially like it for its excellent shootability. It handles well and is easy to conceal. The DLC coating on barrel and slide—both of which are stainless steel—are also a selling point to me. And last but not least, it’s an American-made pistol offered at a price practically anyone can afford.
Mossberg MC2sc Specs
- Type: striker-fired semiautomatic
- Caliber: 9mm Luger
- Capacity: 11-, 14-round magazines supplied
- Barrel: 3.4 in. DLC-coated stainless
- OAL /Height/Width: 6.25/4.3/1.1 in.
- Weight: 19.5 oz.
- Construction: DLC-coated 416 stainless slide; glass-filled polymer frame
- Trigger: 4.5 lb. pull (measured)
- Sights: steel 3-dot (as tested); Shield RMSc-footprint slide cut for red dot
- Safety: trigger blade (tested)
- MSRP: $556
- Manufacturer: O.F. Mossberg & Sons Inc., mossberg.com