Gun Review: Mossberg MC1sc Subcompact 9mm

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With the MC1sc subcompact 9X19mm, Mossberg has stepped into a crowed field of popular pistols. Subcompact 9mms have been great sellers, with the demand for easily concealable power showing no signs of abating anytime soon. With the MC1sc, the company often cited as the best value in shotguns presents a polymer framed, striker fired subcompact that’s familiar to most shooters, with a twist.

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There’s not much different in the MC1sc than you’ll find in other small striker-fired polymer framed pistols, save the takedown. For some reason I still can’t quite understand, it seems that some folks simply do not have the ability to unload a firearm. This defect has resulted in a number of individuals squeezing the trigger on a live round while attempting to field strip common striker fired pistols, like GLOCKs.

The Mossberg alleviates the fear of such a discharge by requiring the user to remove the striker from the pistol entirely before the slide can be removed from the frame.

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If you look closely, you’ll see that there is no takedown lever or pins in the frame. Instead, there is a sliding cover plate over the rear of the striker. Currently, it’s under license from Strike Industries. With the slide locked open, push in the Strike striker plate and the bright orange tail of the striker become visible. After that’s pulled out, the slide comes forward off the frame.

Because the small plate must be removed and then the striker, takedown is a tiny bit more complicated and a more delicate as well. It’s wise to do an even basic field stripping indoors, or other locations where you won’t lose small parts.

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The stainless steel slide and 3.4″ barrel of the MC1sc have been covered in a black Diamond-Like Carbon Coating. This dull finish is becoming more and more popular on a wide range of tactical and EDC style guns. It’s durable and functional. It’s not that pretty.

The frame itself is the familiar glass reinforced polymer with aggressive texturing on all sides of the grip. You’ll also find deep textures fore and aft on the slide.

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The raised magazine release is deeply textured as well, and can be swapped to either side of the pistol.

An interesting feature of this gun is its clear factory magazines. In the past, with other brands, clear magazines have had the reputation of being a bit flimsy. Mossberg has assured us all that this is not the case with these magazines.

Although I didn’t intentionally step on either of the supplied magazines, I did drop them to the range floor and to the ground dozens of times during the review. They showed no significant signs of wear or damage, and never failed to function properly.

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On the range, I found the MC1sc handles well, with the snappy recoil of most 9mm guns of this size and weight. This isn’t the gun I’d want to run a full course with, but it’s completely comfortable to put a 100 rounds or so down range.

I found it a little difficult to find the front sight at first. For some reason I had to pull my wrist up just about every time to find the front sight. Other shooters did not note this issue.

The MC1sc ships with two grips, one a flush fit 6 or the other an extended 7 rounder.  Of course, like all semiautomatic pistols with shorter than palm length grips, I had to shift my grip off the gun in order to get the 6 round flush fit magazine to fall. I never had any issues with the 6 or 7 round magazine’s releasing, and I never had them fail to seat, as long as I did my part.

At first, I thought this was a 6 or 7 round capacity gun only. The answer is yes and no. Using the 7-round “extended” magazine, I was able to load 7 and get one in the chamber. With the 6-round shorty magazine I was not able to get the magazine to fully seat with a round I the chamber and the magazine full. So this gun is a 7+1 or a 6, depending on the magazine.

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The magazine well isn’t beveled or funneled in any way, and there are some unfortunate catch points waiting to stop the magazine from inserting. I had 500 rounds to shoot, and only two magazines that held no more than seven rounds. That means a lot of magazine changes.

On several blind attempts when I was really pushing the clock, I got the angle of insertion wrong and ended up catching the magazine on the front of the well. Caught like that, it wasn’t going forward at all, and needed a quick reset. This is nothing that, if trained for properly, would be an issue.

Unlike just about every other pistol of its size, I didn’t have a last round slide hold open issue. I usually find it impossible to keep my firing hand thumb off the slide lock/release in a two-handed grip on these small guns, which keeps the slide from locking open on an empty mag.

For the MC1sc, the slide release was large enough to get to intentionally, but firm enough that it never got pushed inadvertently.  That’s a very welcome change.

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Like most modern striker-fired pistols, the MC1sc’s trigger scores a solid “meh.” The flat shoe includes the familiar safety blade, and this particular model broke at almost 6 lbs. The initial pull has some squishiness to it and a tiny bit of stack before the break. The reset is short and obvious.

I’m not exactly sure why, but pulling the trigger straight back while keeping the muzzle from dipping was a particular challenge with the MC1sc. It is a 19oz gun with a 5-6 lb trigger pull. Since little of that weight is forward of my hand, it’s understandable why it would be so difficult to keep the front sight still.

There are not multiple back straps with this gun, so the length of pull is set. For my size large hands, that left the grip a little small and my trigger finger well forward of optimal. I found myself gorilla gripping the trigger on the draw. That said, if this was my EDC, there’s no reason correct trigger placement couldn’t be trained in.

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Because of my challenge in keeping the sights down, shooting groups was a time-consuming process. I had to take quite a few breaks and practice on the bags before I started. I split it up between a couple of days. But if you are like me, the MC1sc will reward you with surprisingly small groups for such a diminutive 9X19mm.

Shooting off a bag at 25 yards, Armscor 115gr FMJ scored an average of 3″ five round groups over four shot strings. My best groups were actually with the Speer 124gr JHP, which printed closer to 2 1/2″ groups on average. If you take your time, it’s really impressive what some of these little guns can do.

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The sights on this particular Trial and Evaluation gun were nothing special. They come with the standard 3 dot option. However, one of the great things about any Mossberg product is the exceptional product support from the company. Not only can you usually buy spare parts for you gun straight from the Mossberg website (none for the MSC1 yet) but you can purchase magazines ($21), holsters, and tritium sights there as well. If you need more sight options, the dovetail sights fit the Sig #8 pattern, so any of those sights will tap right in as well.

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There’s no doubting the MC1sc’s reliability. I put the standard 500 rounds through this gun over about a week’s shooting. I shot 115gr FMJ’s from Armscor and Fiocci, as well as 147 and 124gr JHP’s from several brands. I never had any round fail to load, fire, or eject. It ran flawlessly.

When it comes to easy carry and concealability, the MC1sc is ideal. Have you ever held or shot the G43? The dimensions of Mossberg’s subcompact are almost exactly the same. Although it would not fit in my KMFJ G43 Kydex holster, many folks have told me it fits in their leather G43 holsters just fine. You can get perfectly fitted holsters from several manufacturers, as well as directly on Mossberg’s website.

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Mossberg has stepped into the waters with some already well established competition with the subcompact 9. Then again, that’s nothing new for Mossberg. The MC1sc rounds out the company’s everyman offerings with shotguns, rifles, and now an everyday carry pistol that can handle the tasks most Americans ask of their guns. Just as Mossberg has been known for, the MC1sc does it at a price point typically below the competition.

Specifications: Mossberg MC1sc

Caliber: 9mm
Capacity 6-Round Flush-Fit / 7-Round Extended
Safety: Integrated Trigger Blade Safety
Barrel Length 3.4″
Sight: White 3-Dot
Sight: Radius 5.4″
Twist: 1:16 RH Twist
Trigger Pull: 5-6 lbs.
Barrel: 416 Stainless Steel, DLC
Slide: 416 Stainless Steel, DLC
Weight: 19 oz (Unloaded), 22 oz (Loaded)
Length: 6.25″
Height: 4.3″
Width: 1.03″
MSRP: $421 (easily found on line from multiple dealers for $330 to $350)

Style and Appearance * * *
All function and not much form. The DLC coating is even and well done throughout, but it’s nothing special to look at.

Customization * *
You can swap out the sights easily, but so far, that’s about it. Look for more as the pistol becomes more widely used.

Reliability * * * * *
Perfection.

Accuracy * * * *
A subcompact shooting around 3″ five round groups at 25 yards still impresses the heck out of me.

Overall * * *
The Mossberg MC1sc is a solid performer, but doesn’t bring much new to the table other than the ability to field strip the pistol without pulling the trigger. It makes up for that with a bit more of a complex take down procedure and the greater possibility of lost parts. It handles well, right on par with the GLOCK 43 and other members of its class. The reliability is superb and the groups aren’t bad at all.

comments

  1. avatar Kevin says:

    My understanding is that Glock 43 magazines (without extensions) work in this pistol as well.

    1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      A little googlin’ says you’re absolutely right. Weird that it wasn’t in the review.

  2. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

    Field stripping should be able to be done in the field.

    1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      If that last pic is of the field stripped gun it looks very field-manageable to me. More parts to lose than a Glock for sure, but still not that big of a deal.

      1. avatar 900STX says:

        The whole field strip thing is a non issue.
        The back button comes off in your hand and the striker assembly has to be pulled out because its held in place under tension .
        The takedown procedure was one reason i bought the gun .
        I like being able to easily clean the striker and channel.

  3. avatar former water walker says:

    Once again as a relative newcomer to guns(8 years) I wonder out loud about the inability to unload a pistol with shooting yourself?!? I’ll keep my Glock clone takedown on my Brazilian pistolas. If you can’t avoid shooting yourself taking yer Glock(or Taurus) down perhaps you should stick to tiddleywink’s. Yeah this Mossberg looks OK. I can’t imagine no one will EVER lose the firing pin😄

    1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      It’s not an actual problem, it’s just something that people have decided to start bitching about in the last couple of years. Similar to using the slide stop/release button to release the slide.

    2. avatar Shire-man says:

      Some asshole put a hole in something he didn’t mean to and rather than man-up with a “my bad” and learn from his error he blamed the gun. Ironic thing is even the inanimate gun knows it can’t be cleaned while loaded hence the hole.

  4. avatar Vic Nighthorse says:

    Isn’t getting into the compact 9mm making business kinda like starting a Youtube channel or even a porn site now?

    1. avatar Manse Jolly says:

      Valid point.

      Think you would have to be an insider to figure out what management thinks though.

      I’m sure, like any company, there were those saying “This is BS, why are we doing this”

    2. avatar Jonathan-Houston says:

      Agreed. It would be foolish to take on Walden Books and B. Dalton Books and all of the other established book retailers by trying to sell books over the Internet, said just about everybody in 1995. Renting DVDs by mail? Another mid 1990’s stupid idea that will go nowhere….

      Fact is, for every Goliath in a given industry today, there was a David, or more, who brought down the previous Goliath who few thought would ever fall.

      No one remembers the Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, anymore, but back in the day, they ruled. In another generation, no one will remember Sears or Blockbuster, either, but they ruled in their day, too. If Mossberg thinks they have a product here with enough order qualifying and winning features for this market, I’d encourage them to take a shot, even if it’s crowded.

      1. avatar Mmmm mmmm good says:

        For your analogy to work, Mossberg would have to be dramatically different and better than the existing competition.

        Competition is good but I don’t see what Mossberg is bringing to the table that the many other makers aren’t doing already. It may be fine, but comparing it to what online retailers did to brick and mortar stores is silly.

        1. avatar Vic Nighthorse says:

          Yes, I should have said ‘doing so without some significant difference/advantage from/over established offerings’ which as the reviewer noted’ this offering doesn’t do. I generally aim for brevity but occasionally this happens when when one doesn’t spell everything out.

  5. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    I have a lady friend that owns one and have shot it,a better trigger than any Glock generation handgun. speaking of triggers it has a straight trigger from the box,no need to spend money to replace with a after Market trigger. It’s accurate and comparable in size to a Ruger SR 9 and just slightly larger that a Kel Tec Tec PF 9,what’s not to like.

  6. avatar Ranger71 says:

    I was at first excited about the announcement of this gun and was contemplating delaying my p365 purchase until the reviews were out, but then I read about the striker removal requirement and some not so great things about the trigger feel so I went with the P. To be honest, I know enough to not even consider a new firearm until they’ve been in public hands for at least a year so there is that. I’m prerty sure I’m more excited about the Yeet Cannon thing than this one now.

  7. avatar OldProf49 says:

    I suspect that the field stripping comments are just a little nitpicking. Although, it seems that some people take the term a bit too literally and attempt to learn how to field strip their pistol in the FIELD. Perhaps they’re related to the people who can’t learn what UNLOADED means, or the purpose of the 4 Rules. Many years ago I read a magazine article in which the author opined that no one would ever be able to make a “fool proof” gun. Thus far, he’s still correct. This new Mossberg sounds interesting, but I think I’ll stay with my tried-and-true belly guns (Oops! I meant “reliable subcompact semiautomatic firearms”.)

  8. avatar Hannibal says:

    I guess it might sell well to people that like the brand. Does seem like a strange market to enter now but there really aren’t that many open spaces in civilian small arms at the moment without making big investments to try and come up with something apart from the mold.

  9. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    Hmm… Meat Cannon 1?

  10. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    One of my best friends used to run firearms for the N. Florida Institute for Public Safety. He hates Glocks because you have to pull the trigger for disassembly. Most recruits have little or no firearms experience. Ironically he now works with the U.S. Marshall’s Office part time in the federal court house. They issued him a Glock 23. Anyway, we have so many Tubberware pistols already; why is Mossberg getting into this? They should stick to what they do best. Long guns.

    1. avatar endofthelaneway says:

      Thought it was sketchy patent infringement lawsuits.

  11. avatar Manse Jolly says:

    “For some reason I still can’t quite understand, it seems that some folks simply do not have the ability to unload a firearm”

    Take note Vlad…and some others.

    ‘just sayin

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      Good bet that Vlad plays with his gun when all by himself.

  12. avatar Red in CO says:

    Ok, serious question here: I have 2 gen 4 Glocks and neither of them require a trigger pull to remove the slide. Was that something you had to do on the older Glocks?

    1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      You’ve never tried it then? You certainly do need to decock the gun before you can remove the slide, and the trigger is the only decocker.

      1. avatar ‘liljoe says:

        Red, could you describe in detailed steps what you do to field strip your guns?

        1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

          Or maybe more relevant, do they go back together and function afterward?

        2. avatar Red in CO says:

          Step one: verify that the magazine is gone and the chamber is empty by slightly pulling back the slide, enough to expose the chamber but not enough to reset the trigger. Step two: pull the slide back just so, pull down on the takedown lever, and push the slide off with my other thumb. And Eric, you may wanna check the arrogance at the door Yes, it functions 100% upon reassembly, I’ve repeated the process dozens of times and I shoot it a couple times a month and fire several thousand rounds a year. You’re mistaken, get over it.

        3. avatar ‘liljoe says:

          I actually do that too, but you do fire at one point in the process. When you clear the mag you pull the slide back to check and/or clear the chamber. The gun is then cocked and the trigger needs to be pulled. Or you have gone shooting and finished the last round and the slide is locked back, when you release that slide the trigger is again cocked and needs to be pulled before you can do the half slide back and pull down of the takedown lever.

          Hope that made sense 🙂

        4. avatar jwtaylor says:

          “and push the slide off with my other thumb.”

          That should not be possible without pulling the trigger.

        5. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

          “enough to expose the chamber but not enough to reset the trigger”

          There you go, you’ve already pulled the trigger to decock it. You just skipped mentioning that step for an unknown reason.

          It wasn’t arrogance, it was humor. Cool your jets.

          Edit to add: Maybe I should make perfectly clear that my comment “do they go back together and function afterward” was intended to joke that maybe he was using a sawzall or something to do the disassembly.

  13. avatar " keep your filthy paws off my dead guy" possum says:

    Yeah but can you run over it with tanks, throw it from orbit,,use for bullet backstops, spelunk in a volcano, cover it with dry ice and keep on shootzing. HiPoint 4evr

  14. avatar enuf says:

    Mossberg’s earliest origins are in small revolvers and semi-auto pistols, beginning as a designer for Iver-Johnson. Their own pistols came later, with rifles and shotguns well after the company was successful as a pocket gun maker.

    I’m glad to see Mossberg expanding their brand like this, in a way going back to their earliest gun making roots. Hope it sells well for them.

    1. avatar "keep yur paws off my dead guy" possum says:

      Wish I had more money, I’d buy one at least of everything from every American gunm maker. it’s One of the bulkheads that keep the 2A boat afloat .

  15. avatar Specialist38 says:

    Amazed to see the amazement of those questioning why Mossberg would enter the tiny 9 market.

    As Mossberg doesn’t receive any of the profits from the sale of a Glock 43, P365, or Walther PPS, they want to make some money off this hot market.

    Otherwise, every other manufacturer would still be making metal framed guns and marveling at the sales of Glock pistols.

    Glock or Smith May be your favorite but someone out there has been waiting for this to be their favorite. Options are good and we are blessed (or cursed) with many pistols to choose from.

  16. avatar Nanashi says:

    Huh, Military Arms Channel got one and it was a mess.

    1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      Well, MAC tries and sometimes that’s what counts.

      Gun’s good though. 🙂

  17. Last I talked to our local Mossberg rep(whose actually a Mossy employee), they were backordered close to 25,000 units so I’d say they are doing okay!

    It’s actually a really nice gun and the G43 mag compatiblity was a no-brainer! One less thing to have to worry about making or contracting out when introducing a new SKU.

    I won’t sell my G43 or P365 for one but if someone asks me for a recommendation under $400, this will be towards the top of the list.

    The takedown is goofy yes, but it’ll attract new gun buyers and that’s not a bad thing!

  18. avatar David Barnes says:

    $309 at Kentucky Gun Company seems to answer a lot of the questions in the comments above- only 1 review on their website and it’s 1 star but unclear whether the FTF issues were ammo induced or pilot error. But majority of re4views I have read seem to indicate that this is a valid competitor to more established pistol manufacturers at an extremely competitive price.. Still agree that the first year purchase can be risky- have a Kimber Solo that never leaves my zip code. But price may increase after this pistol has more history and I believe Mossberg will stand behind it.

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