MC1sc Proves A Big Surprise In A Little Package

MC1sc Proves A Big Surprise In A Little Package
During a three day training course at Gunsite Academy the author was one of 16 testers who fired more than 10,000 rounds from Mossberg’s first pistol in a century.

Mossberg takes the sub-compact 9mm to the next level in functionality and affordability with the MC1sc.

How the MC1sc is built for concealed carry:

  • Concealable 3.4-inch barrel and 4.25-inch height.
  • Comfortable 19.1 ounces.
  • Around a 1/8-inch trigger pull that breaks consistently.
  • Generous trigger guard allows for shooting with gloves on.
  • Durable stainless steel slide with DLC finish.
  • Safe Takedown System eliminates negligent discharge when disassembling the pistol.
  • Strong glass reinforced polymer frame.
  • 6+1 capacity, 7+1 with extended mag.
  • Reasonable starting MSRP of $425.

Mossberg started out as an innovator in the gun world. Their first gun — introduced in 1919 — was a somewhat radical in concept. Called the Brownie, it was a compact, four-barreled pistol, chambered for the 22 LR. Designed for trappers to use to dispatch their catch, it’s probably best described as a pepperbox or derringer. Mossberg manufactured more than 30,000 of these cool little guns, which initially sold for a whopping $5.00! (Used Brownies now sell for between $300 and $1,000.)

MC1sc 7

Mossberg continued to innovative through rimfire rifles, shotguns and centerfire rifles; most recently with their groundbreaking and great selling MVP line of rifles that accept AR-15 and AR-10 detachable magazines. Mossberg’s latest innovation takes them back to their roots. It’s the second handgun Mossberg has ever manufactured and it’s called the MC1sc, which stands for Mossberg Carry 1 Sub-Compact. It was specifically designed and engineered as an optimized solution to concealed carry.

To optimize concealed carry, those practicing the discipline must find a balance between several things. Sure you can carry and try to conceal a .44 Magnum revolver, and you can also practice with that revolver until your wrist gives out and your wallet is broken. Serious practitioners find equilibrium between handgun size, ease of carry, and shootability. If you cannot carry your handgun comfortably you simply won’t carry it. If you cannot shoot and operate it with efficiency, then, well, it probably does not matter if you carry it at all.

A Long Time Coming

Over 3 years in the making, Mossberg began by researching the market to discover what consumers were looking for in a concealed carry handgun. They knew pistols made up 44 percent of the firearms market, and that most had polymer frames. They also identified sub-compact .380 ACP or 9mm Luger pistols as having the largest opportunity for sales. With handguns is this venue carrying an average price of $533, Mossberg built their design parameters around a poly-framed, 9mm +P capable handgun, with a 2.75 to 3-inch barrel, single-stack magazine with a 6-round capacity, and a suggested retail of less than $450.

The grip on the Mossberg MC1 SC has wrap around pebbling and serrations on the backstrap.
The grip on the Mossberg MC1sc has wrap around pebbling and serrations on the backstrap.

Consistent with current trends, the Mossberg MC1sc does have a polymer frame. The grip — though short offers what might best be described as a two-finger hold — is very ergonomic. With a combination of a palm swell and wrap around stippling and serrations, it sort of sticks to the hand. An extra, extended capacity magazine, with a longer floor plate, lengthens the grip to an even more comfortable three-finger hold.

The frame has a generous trigger guard that will work with fat fingers or gloved hands, and somewhat surprisingly, a version is offered with a cross-bolt style safety. The trigger has the customary passive safety lever and a nicely audible and very short reset that you can feel. More importantly, the trigger is very crisp.

More Handgun Information:

Once the initial slack — common with striker fired pistols — is taken up, there’s some minimal stacking through about an eighth-inch of pull, and then the trigger has a very consistent break, which, according to my Timney Triggers pull gauge, measured at 4.5 pounds. Trigger over-travel, something that makes handguns difficult to shoot accurately, is minimal.

Each MC1 SC ships with two clear magazines. One holds six rounds and the other seven.
Each MC1sc ships with two clear magazines. One holds six rounds and the other seven.

The slide, which measures only 0.9-inch wide, is machined from stainless-steel and comes with a DLC finish. It has angled grasping grooves at the rear and front, and was remarkably easy to cycle; every member of my household — including my 11-year-old daughter — could manipulate it. The most interesting feature of the slide is the patent-pending Safe Takedown System (STS.)

A New Take On The Takedown

The STS is a major departure from anything you might have seen with regard to sub-compact concealed carry handguns. It works like this: With the handgun fully unloaded and the slide locked to the rear, you depress a recessed button on the striker cover on the rear of the slide. This allows the cover to slip out exposing the striker. The striker can then be pulled from the slide, rendering the pistol inert. Once this is done, simply grasp the slide, depress the slide lock, and slip the slide from the frame. Its takes only seconds, and the pistol can be completely fieldstripped without pulling the trigger.

The slide also features dovetails, front and rear, for sights. The base model is shipped with low profile, three-dot sights, but a version with TruGlo night sights is available. Just as importantly, Mossberg chose to use dovetails compatible with Sig Sauer No. 8 sights. This means any aftermarket sight that will work with the SIG No. 8 dovetail, will work on the Mossberg MC1sc.

The striker plate at the back of the slide is easily removed and allows access to the striker for ease of disassembly.
The striker plate at the back of the slide is easily removed and allows access to the striker for ease of

The MC1sc is shipped with two magazines, and they are a bit different, too, because you can see through them. The Clear Count Magazine bodies are manufactured from a transparent, lubricous, polymer compound that offers low friction and high wear resistance, while providing easy — at a glance — ammunition assessment. The standard magazine holds six rounds and the extended holds seven. The magazine release, found in the common location at the base of the trigger guard, can be moved by the end user for left- or right-hand operation.

The Inaugural Field Test

For 2019, Mossberg will be offering four versions of the MC1sc. As mentioned, the standard model will come with three-dot sights and an optional cross-bolt safety, another will have TruGlo night sights, and a third comes with a green, E-series, Viridian laser that attaches to the trigger guard. The fourth version is the Centennial Limited Edition, which features an engraved slide with 24 karat gold inlays. Suggested retail for the base model is $425, which means you should see it across the counter for less than $380!

At that price point, the MC1sc is sure to get attention. The real question is, does it work? In early November I was one of 16 shooters who traveled to Gunsite Academy to put Mossberg’s second pistol to the test. The group included a host of folks who make a living telling the world about guns in magazines and/or on video. But most importantly, these shooters were former military, police and competition shooters, who know a good or bad gun when they see it.

The Mossberg 2019 MC1 SC (top) and Mossberg 1919 Brownie (bottom.)
The Mossberg 2019 MC1sc (top) and Mossberg 1919 Brownie (bottom.)

When we were first handed the MC1sc, we all were taken by how well it fit our hands. But at the same time, we were skeptical of the see-through magazines, which were so unconventional looking. Over the next 3 days, our group fired more than 10,000 rounds. And, we each used the same pistol all 3 days. This gave us an opportunity to make an honest evaluation of its shootability and reliability.

First, let me address reliability. I’ll not say there were no stoppages, but what I will say is that every stoppage I’m aware of occurred due to operator error. Errors such as not fully inserting the magazine during a speed load, or pressing the thumb of the shooting hand down on the slide stop preventing lock-back after the last round fired. The ammo we used for testing was a combination of Hornady Critical Duty and FMJ. But, I got a little adventurous and borrowed a magazine full of CCI shotshells from an instructor and the little pistol cycled them flawlessly. For what it’s worth, this is only the second 9mm pistol I’ve fired that was totally reliable with shotshells.

As for shootability, I did not expect a lot. After all, this is 19-ounce (unloaded) striker-fired handgun with a 3.4-inch barrel. I was surprised. I managed to shoot a clean score on the El Presidente drill in 10 seconds, and ran the Dozier drill in less than four. Headshots at 15 yards were not a problem, and hitting head-sized steel targets at even further distances became commonplace. In fact, as a group we were so enamored with how well the pistol shot, we went back to 50 yards and took turns ringing 12-inch steel gongs.

MC1sc Specs

The Mossberg MC1sc points well, feels good in the hand, and the trigger is ridiculously fine. All those things made getting hits during slow fire shooting at distance easy. And, combined with the superb trigger reset, shooting at a fast pace was very controllable and precise. From an operation and manipulation standpoint, I consider the Mossberg MC1sc as good as any pistol of this size that I’ve fired. Based on price alone, it’s in a class by itself.

Mossberg took their time bringing the MC1sc to market and it paid off. The pistol finds a great balance between concealability, shootability, and just as importantly, affordability. But that should come as no surprise; Mossberg has been doing this with firearms since their inception. They’re a company founded to provide dependable and reliable firearms to everyday folks — working man guns, at working man prices.

If I was going to find a flaw with the pistol, it would only be in its name; MC1sc sounds a bit technical and, well, dry, for a gun so useful and representative of 100 years of fantastic firearms manufacturing. I think they should have named it the Centennial to represent a century of continuous firearms production, from a family owned business that has clearly stepped into the new millennium, with what will likely be the best new gun of 2019.

For more information on the MC1sc, please visit

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the 2019 Concealed Carry issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.


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