In the early twentieth century, a Swedish-American immigrant named Oscar Frederick Mossberg set up shop in Connecticut and began selling handguns. More specifically, a compact pocket pistol known as the Brownie that was very small, very reliable and quite affordable. Sales of the modestly priced Brownie helped keep Mossberg afloat during those lean early years, but as time went on Mossberg rose to prominence and then became one of the most influential arms makers in the United States.
The year 2019 marks 100 years in business for O.F, Mossberg & Sons, and to celebrate their centennial the company launched a brand-new carry pistol. Like the Brownie, this gun is compact, reliable and affordable. But, aside from family history, that’s where the similarities stop.
Mossberg’s newest pistol is the MC1sc, a striker-fired, polymer-framed, subcompact single-stack 9mm. But Mossberg was wading into some very crowded waters with the launch of the MC1sc. Virtually every gun manufacturer wants a piece of the CCW market, and every brand seems to have their own version of a compact striker-fired pistol for sale. If the MC1sc were to stand out in this field it was going to have to be special. It is special, and here’s why.
1. It’s Reliable: Most gun tests last a few hundred rounds—hardly a torture test for most firearms. I had a chance to shoot the Mossberg more than 1,200 times, and that type of abuse offers far better insight regarding a firearm’s durability. The result? The MC1sc performs very well, hanging with guns that cost considerably more money. After a 500-round break-in and test period I used this gun to shoot Gunsite’s Team Tactics course, which resulted in another 500 or so rounds of Federal Syntech ammo being run through the Mossberg in three short days and in dusty conditions. What’s more, several other participants in my Gunsite course were using the MC1sc, and this gun performed as well for them as it did for me. It also doesn’t seem to be as finicky about load selection as other subcompact 9mms. The Mossberg simply eats up and spits out whatever brand 9-mil ammo you feed it.
2. It’s The Right Size: The MC1sc comes with a 3.4-inch barrel and has an overall length of just 6.25 inches. That places it very close in size to other subcompact 9mms like the Glock 43, and that’s not bad company to keep. At just a few-hundredths over an inch wide, the Mossberg tucks neatly against the side of the body and is easy to conceal even under light summer clothing, and with a loaded weight of just 22 ounces your pants won’t be slouching and sagging when you tote this gun around. The MC1sc is not, however, too small to shoot comfortably. Sub really small, really light subcompact 9mms snap in the hand with each trigger pull, making fast, accurate follow-up shots difficult. But the Mossberg has just enough heft and size to sit firmly in the hand. The seven-round magazine offers plenty of space for very large hands yet it doesn’t make the gun too large for concealed carry under light clothes.
3. It’s Safe: There are scores of striker-fired 9mms from which to choose, but the Mossberg has one feature that truly sets it apart from the throngs of competitors: the MC1sc Safe Takedown System. Most striker guns require pulling the trigger to field strip the gun, but that’s not so with the MC1sc. Instead, with the gun unloaded and the slide locked back you remove a plate on the rear portion of the slide with the simple push of a button, remove the striker assembly, and release the slide forward and pull the slide assembly from the frame. It’s far safer and—once you’ve done it a couple times—just as simple as traditional striker-fired takedown methods. In addition, there’s also an integrated blade safety in the trigger, and you can opt for a manual crossbolt safety if you’d like.
4. It Checks All The Boxes: By now I have a pretty standard checklist of features that I expect to find in the best striker-fired guns. First, do they offer a good trigger? The Mossberg does: Its bladed trigger has a flat face and smooth 6-pound pull plus a short reset, with tactile and audible confirmation. Do the magazines work properly? Yes. Some may quibble with the fact that Mossberg uses polymer magazines, but so far I’ve abused the ones I’ve used thoroughly and they still work perfectly, dropping free from the gun when the button is depressed. Plus, being able to see the remaining rounds (without having to stare through pinhole-sized peep holes in the spine of the mag) is a plus. The finish? Superb. There’s nothing fancy about the gun whatsoever, but the Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) coating on the stainless slide has held up to rough handling and a lot of reholstering. I’ve even carried the gun in a belly band holster while running—a great way to increase a gun’s rate of exposure to corrosive perspiration—and the DLC coating has remained strong. We’ve already addressed the gun’s just-right size, but it also has a low bore axis and ideal grip angle. Ergonomics are excellent, and the entry-level white dot sights aren’t bad. A lot of new guns offer minimal model options and a dearth of accessories, but that’s not the case here. Mossberg offers models with different sights, manual safety options and a Viridian laser-equipped model, and DeSantis and other companies are already offering holsters.
5. It’s Priced Right: MSRP on the MC1sc is $425, which is considerably less than the SIG Sauer P365 ($599), the Springfield XD-S Mod.2 9mm ($524), and Glock 43 ($529). You can expect to pay less than $400 at many local gun shops for the Mossberg. That’s a good deal for a gun of this quality.
Will the MC1sc become the Model 500 of the striker-fired world? That remains to be seen. But one thing’s for sure—this American-made gun is well-built and offers a lot of bang for the buck—principles that have kept Mossberg firearms near the top of the sales chart for a century. If you’re in the market for a new carry gun, don’t miss the new MC1sc.