Just how popular are compact size polymer-framed, striker-fired 9 mm pistols? Popular enough that companies that have historically been associated with other types of firearms have stepped up to throw their hats into the semi-automatic carry gun ring. This includes the century-old, family owned manufacturer Mossberg, best known for pump-action shotguns and quality rifles made available at fair prices.
In 2019, the company launched the MC1sc subcompact pistol, the first handgun the company has offered since 1919. The MC1sc is just about as small as a practical pocket-sized 9 mm pistol can get. It weighs in at 19 ozs., has a slim profile, an abbreviated two-finger grip that accepts 6- and 7-round single-stack magazines and a 3.4" barrel. It's been a popular seller for the concealed-carry crowd.
For 2020, Mossberg used the successful MC design as the foundation for a slightly larger and more comfortable to shoot compact version dubbed the MC2c. Although it only weighs 2 oz. more than the MC1sc, it has a 0.5" longer barrel, a 0.6" taller three-finger grip frame and holds double the ammunition with 13- and 15-round double-stack magazines.
Knowing that the market was already saturated with dozens of polymer-framed 9 mm options, Mossberg knew they would have to find a way to stand out from the crowd, and they did. I've shot a variety of these polymer-framed guns and I like many of them. But the MC2c made a positive impression on this reviewer.
When I picked up this pistol and pointed it down range, I had that rare experience of holding a semi-automatic that felt like it was custom made to fit my hands. It had that “just right” front-to-back distance and slim side-to-side thickness that made the grip feel like an extension of my arm. When a handgun fits this well, it lends itself to much more comfortable and controllable shooting. The grip frame of the MC2c has similar dimensions and shape as the eminently shootable Smith & Wesson M&P 9 Shield EZ pistols, but it holds 5 to 7 more rounds without fattening up the grip.
The low profile 3-dot sight system is metallic, not plastic, and it provides a clear, useful sight picture. The stainless steel slide is just 0.90" wide with beveled and rounded edges for easy holstering and comfortable carry. Customers can choose from a natural stainless steel finish slide for a 2-tone appearance or a matte black Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) coating like the slide shown here. The 3.9" barrel is treated to match the slide. The recoil assembly consists of a full length steel guide rod with a captured flat wire spring.
The black polymer frame's dust cover has a molded in 1.5" accessory rail for lights and lasers. Just behind the rail are textured touch points that provide a resting place for the tip of the trigger finger. The generous trigger guard is flattened and textured along the front edge to act as a finger rest.
Mossberg opted to give the MC2c a flat-faced trigger with an integral blade safety, instead of the more traditional rounded trigger. Flat-faced triggers have been popular in competition circles because the squared-off edges help the shooter to feel if the pad of the trigger finger is properly placed. I've shot defensive and sporting guns with these triggers and I have to say that I really like them. They're comfortable to use, even in extended shooting sessions, and they actually do help with proper finger placement.
The MC2c's trigger pull is typical of the striker-fired pistol breed. The takeup is a bit mushy with a firm stop before breaking cleanly at 5 lbs. 8 oz., which is spot on for the listed trigger weight. The trigger reset is distinctive with an audible click. The other external controls are found on the left side of the frame, including the slide stop lever and a textured magazine release button. There is no external thumb safety on this model but a version with a safety is available. And there is no magazine safety which means the pistol will fire with the magazine removed from the grip.
Some companies are opting to cover their grips from head to toe in aggressive, sandpaper-like texturing. While these grip configurations do have a place in the market, they can be abrasive to the hands and clothes of civilian self defenders. Mossberg made a solid concealed carry choice by mixing things up with the grip texture. The front and back straps of the grip frame have molded-in ribs and serrations. The sides of the grips are mostly smooth with strategically placed patches of aggressive texture. The result is just enough texturing for good purchase without feeling like you're holding on to the rough side of a sanding block.
One concern that some shooters have expressed with common striker pistol designs is the requirement to press the trigger as part of the maintenance process. Mossberg made dismantling the MC pistol line wholly trigger-free with a clever and simple solution. They incorporated a release button in the slide cover plate.
To take the pistol apart, start by removing the magazine and verifying the pistol is completely unloaded. Pull back on the slide and lock it in the open position. The slide cover plate is located at the back end of the slide just below the rear sight. Press the button in the center of plate and then press it down and out of the slide. This exposes the firing pin assembly. Lift the assembly out of the slide. Release the slide and press it forward off of the frame. Remove the recoil spring and barrel from the slide and you're ready to go to work. It's a simple process that's easy on the finger tips.
At the range, the MC2c was as well behaved as it was comfortable to hold. Felt recoil was moderate for a pistol in this class. The pistol was mechanically sound while being utterly reliable with all of the ammunition tested which ranged from practice grade to premium defensive hollow points. Firing 5-shot groups from a bench rest at 15-yards, Federal Premium's HST 147-gr. jacketed hollow point knocked out a best group of 2.47" with a five group average of 2.64". Federal's Syntech Training Match 147-gr. total synthetic jacket (TSJ) flat nose load, which is ballistically matched to the HST load, printed slightly tighter with a best group of 2.37" and an average of 2.45". Speer's new Gold Dot G2 Carry Gun 135-gr. polymer filled jacketed hollow point yielded a best group of 2.70" with an average of 2.86".
Many polymer pistols require blocky, chubby grips that are uncomfortable to hold or hard to get your hands around. Mossberg's MC2c proves that a slim grip profile and double-stack magazines are not mutually exclusive. I was sold on the MC2c for the grip shape alone. But I'm happy to report that the pistol's reliability, shootability and other features were just as positive to work with. This 9 mm offers a just-right size and ammunition capacity for concealed carry, home defense and enjoyable practice sessions at the shooting range. It's a very likeable option for a full range of hand sizes and skill levels.
Manufacturer: O.F. Mossberg & Sons
Model: MC2c (#89012)
Action: Striker Fired Semi-Auto Pistol
Caliber: 9 mm
Slide: 416 Stainless Steel, Matte Black DLC Coating
Sights: Metallic Low Profile 3-Dot, Drift Adjustable Rear
Barrel: 3.90" 416 Stainless Steel, Matte Black DLC Coating
Frame: Textured Black Polymer
Trigger: Flat-Faced Polymer with Integrated Blade Safety
Trigger Pull: 5 lbs. 8 oz. (As Tested)
Overall Length: 7.10"
Slide Width: 0.90"
Grip Width: 1.10"
Weight: 20.8-oz. with Empty 13-Round Magazine, 21.1-oz. with Empty 15-Round Magazine
Capacity: 13+1 or 15+1 Rounds
Twist: 1:16” RH
Rifle Grooves: 6
Accessories: One Extended 15-Round Magazine, One 13-Round Flush Fit Magazine, Lock, Owner's Manual