Pistol Review: Mossberg MC2c

Mossberg has improved on the MC1sc with a bigger, higher-capacity MC2C. How does it shoot?

Pistol Review: Mossberg MC2c

Mossberg surprised the firearms world in 2019 with the introduction of the company’s first handgun in 100 years, the MC1sc (which stands for Mossberg Carry 1, Subcompact). Doubters who asked “Does the market really have room for another striker-fired 9mm?” were proven wrong, as the affordably-priced MC1sc flew off shelves. My own testing of this gun showed it to be a well-thought-out design with an excellent trigger.

For 2020, Mossberg built on the success of the MC1 and introduced the MC2c (Mossberg Carry 2 Compact), in a larger size with expanded capacity. It’s got many of the features shooters appreciated in the MC1, with some important changes necessitated by the larger size.

“After the phenomenal success of our MC1sc pistol, we followed up with a compact version, the MC2c,” said Mossberg’s Linda Powell. “A great size for concealed carry, the MC2 offers consumers some enhancements that the market was demanding. Simply put, the compact size provides consumers with an option if they want a larger pistol with greater capacity that can comfortably be concealed.”

I spent three days shooting the MC2c at Gunsite Academy, which just might be the world’s greatest testing grounds for a handgun. Not only does Gunsite offer superb instructors from a variety of backgrounds, accommodating shooters of every skill level, but it’s also located in a dry, dusty desert environment. If you want to see if a gun is going to get gunked up with dirt and dust and experience functional problems as a result, this is an ideal place to do it.

Our group of 10 women, all experienced shooters, fired hundreds of rounds through the MC2c over three days in Gunsite’s Team Tactics course (more on that in the sidebar), running the Desantis Paddle Holster and Quantico Double Mag Pouch. We all found the gun pleasant to shoot, with manageable recoil and a comfortable, firm grip. Aggressive texturing on the grip makes sure that even hands slick with sweat or sunscreen won’t slip around.

The gun is built to conceal, with a 3.9-inch barrel and a total overall length of just over 7 inches, making it ¾-inch longer than the MC1sc. It’s narrower than you might expect out of a gun with 15+1 capacity — just 1.1 inches wide — thanks to a slim-design double-stack magazine. This is one area where the MC2 is different from the MC1. The MC1 famously used clear polymer magazines that made it easy to see exactly how full each mag was. The clear polymer wasn’t quite sufficient to handle the additional pressure from a double-stack mag, however, so Mossberg made the MC2 magazines out of coated steel for strength and durability. The gun comes with two magazines: a 13-round flush and a 15-round extended. The MC1, on the other hand, comes with a six- and a seven-round magazine. The MC2 doubles the capacity with a minimal increase in width and height.

Aesthetically, the MC2c looks much like other guns in its class, with that grip texturing and multi-angle serrations on the slide that allow for easier manipulation. In the hand, it’s comfortable to hold and to shoot, with an added palm swell in the grip and a 1911-style grip angle. The sights are low-profile to keep from snagging on clothing, and they come as an option of white three-dot or TRUGLO Tritium Pro night sights.

The magazine release is located where you’d expect, but it’s reversible for left-handed shooters, as is the optional crossbolt safety. This safety physically blocks the gun from firing. I tested the model without a crossbolt safety, but this option is available for shooters who feel more comfortable carrying a gun with a safety they can snick on and off as needed. On crossbolt safety models, the safety is located just behind and above the trigger, and as mentioned, it is reversible for left-handed shooters.

The best feature of the MC2c, in my view, is the trigger. Mossberg’s chosen a flat-profile trigger with a blade safety, and it’s better than you’d expect in an off-the-shelf pistol in this price range. The trigger pull is smooth and clean, with smooth take-up, a nice clean break at about 6 pounds, and a reset you can hear and feel. Quite frankly, this is a quality trigger you’d often have to pay an aftermarket upgrade fee for in other brands. It’s a beautiful thing to have a consistent, clean trigger pull you don’t have to think about at the range or in a self-defense situation.


There are lots of ways for a shooter to hurt themselves with a firearm — most (or all) of which involve breaking at least one of the Four Rules — but two situations in particular are specific to striker-fired pistols of this type. The first is when someone shoots themselves in the leg when something snags their trigger as they’re reholstering. The second is a negligent discharge when someone is disassembling their gun for cleaning — they fail to verify that the chamber is empty, and they pull the trigger as required for disassembly. Obviously, both of these situations are user error and negligence and not a design flaw of the gun, but regardless, rounds launched when they are not intended are always a major problem.

The crossbolt safety is the MC2c’s solution to the first problem (and, as Gunsite instructor Mario Marchman reminded us repeatedly at the range, it’s always smart to reholster slowly, giving yourself time to recognize if something feels wrong so you don’t force the gun into place). The second problem is solved by a truly innovative take-down system that does not require a trigger pull to disassemble the firearm. A user just locks the slide back, clears the chamber, and pushes a small cover plate on the rear of the slide. The cover plate comes off, revealing the striker assembly. Pull the striker assembly out, then pull the slide back and ease it forward and off. The rest of the disassembly process is just like that on any other gun of this style. The real value here is that the striker assembly is removed with no pulling of the trigger — no chance for a negligent discharge — but it also has the handy side effect of making the striker channel really easy to clean.

How It Shoots

Hundreds of rounds of Federal’s Syntech ammo passed through the MC2s we shot during our course, with no ammo-related malfunctions to note. Syntech features a lead core bullet with a polymer coating (red or purple), and it’s specifically designed to produce less fouling, less heat and less barrel wear. Combined with clean-burning propellants, this all adds up to less time spent cleaning the gun at the end of the day. You can even get it in a handy Practice & Defend pack, which includes 50 rounds of Syntech for training and 50 rounds of Federal’s HST jacketed hollow point ammo for your concealed carry needs. The MC2 functioned flawlessly for shooters who did their part, and the good trigger on this gun contributes to its accuracy. Because this was a self-defense class, most of our range time was spent at 10 yards and under, but we did stretch out a good bit farther during shoot-off competitions, with good accuracy results. The MC2 is most certainly sufficient in the accuracy department.

Selling the MC2

The competition in the concealed-carry-gun market is fierce, but the MC2 stands out for a few reasons: The great trigger, the safer take-down system, the size-to-capacity ratio and the price. MSRP on the MC2 is $490 ($595 with the Tritium sights), which means you might see it on dealer shelves for less than $400. There’s no denying that consumers will find that an attractive price point, and Mossberg has made sure that this affordability doesn’t come at the cost of quality.

Though the MC1 is still selling well, Powell tells me that the MC2 is already outselling it due to the increased capacity. Our testing indicates that the consumer enthusiasm for this gun is well warranted. What’s next for Mossberg in the handgun arena? The company is tight-lipped at the moment, but Powell says, “We continue to look at enhancements to both pistols as well as expanding Mossberg’s offerings in the handgun category.”

Gunsite Courses

If you run a range or offer instructional classes, a trip to Gunsite Academy in Arizona is worth your time just to observe how a first-class instructional facility operates.

With ranges that accommodate everything from self-defense pistol to long-range (2,000 yards plus) precision rifle, Gunsite has something for everyone. More than 50 highly trained instructors from a variety of military, law enforcement, civilian and hunting backgrounds are available to teach just about anything a shooter might want to learn. The 250 Pistol class is one of the most popular, teaching students the “Modern Technique of the Pistol” that Gunsite is famous for, but more advanced classes are available for pistols, revolvers, bolt-action rifles, carbines, defensive shotguns and more. Specialty classes include things like Seasoned Citizen, Church Defense, Defensive 3-Gun, Hunter Prep and the Team Tactics for Two course that I took.

One of Gunsite’s strengths is its abundance of shoot houses and simulators, where students get to put range skills to the test in real-life scenarios. The Team Tactics for Two course includes lots of live-fire range time on paper and steel targets, but also lots of time in simulators using blue guns and simunitions (force-on-force training). In addition to marksmanship and safe gun handling, the course stresses communication between partners and how to move safely, position yourselves smartly, and get out of dangerous situations you might face in a real-life scenario. It’s eye opening. You might think you know what to do if you’re a close-up bystander in a gas station robbery, but the game changes when you’re in a simulation with real people shooting real guns (sims) back at you.

This is an ideal course to take with your spouse or a business partner you spend a lot of time with. If your store or range faced an armed threat, does your partner or most trusted employee know what to do? Do you have an established code word that means “danger?” Do you trust them to handle a threat without muzzling you or innocent bystanders? The Team Tactics course addresses all of this and more.

Gunsite’s open all year long, with an extensive class schedule and ammo packages available if you aren’t able to travel with sufficient ammo. Check them out at www.gunsite.com. The classes are invaluable for the skills you’ll pick up, but it’s also a chance to observe how a world-class instructional school is run.


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