A polymer-frame EDC pistol 100 years in the making

by Larry Case

Most of us don’t think about Mossberg when we discuss pistols. Rather, the name conjures images of the iconic Mossberg 500 pump shotgun. This shotgun, the only pump gun to give the Remington 870 a run for its money as far as popularity and number sold, is adored by many and belittled by some. The 500 is adored by thousands of fans who love its ruggedness and dependability and the fact that they probably grew up shooting everything from turkeys to squirrels and Greenwing teal with it. The scoffers will say the 500 Mossberg makes a good pry bar or something to drive trap stakes into the ground, but they cannot deny the shotguns almost bombproof toughness. I digress here to make the point that Mossberg has made some tough firearms.

A hundred years ago, O. F. Mossberg, two sons, and one employee set up a humble beginning to his gun-making enterprise in Hartford, Connecticut. The first venture was not a shotgun or a rifle but, oddly enough, a pistol—and no ordinary pistol at that. The Mossberg Brownie was a small break-action pistol with four barrels chambered for .22 Long Rifle. The firing pin retracted and rotated after each shot to move to the next barrel. Pretty heady stuff for 1919 and the first plunge by a new company into the gun making world. (I have often wondered what John Moses Browning thought of that pistol.) The Mossberg Brownie reportedly sold for a whopping five bucks and was considered a dependable shooter.

For whatever reason, Mossberg didn’t make another pistol for another hundred years, and now we have the MC1sc, a subcompact chambered in 9mm. Mossberg, no doubt, developed the MC1sc to compete in the robust subcompact concealed carry market, and it would appear that they have done well.

Nuts and Bolts on the MC1sc

Standard features have not been overlooked in the design of the MC1sc. The slide is constructed of stainless steel with a DLC (Diamond-Like Coating) finish, providing for reduction of slide friction and wear resistance. Aggressive, multi-angle serrations provide for ease of slide manipulation. The slide is topped with dovetailed-mounted, low-profile white 3-dot sights. The frame is constructed of a glass-reinforced polymer, which provides high impact and chemical resistance with high tensile strength and stiffness. The barrel is stainless steel and features a DLC coating and 1-in-16 twist rate. The MC1sc trigger has a flat profile and integrated blade safety, short tactile reset, reduced overtravel, and has a 5- to 6-pound pull weight.

Left to right: Mossberg MC1sc base model, crossbolt safety model, and TRUGLO night sight model.

The trigger on the pistol I received is crisp and has a smooth take up. I like the flat trigger and think most will, but that is one of those things that I personally feel is academic. For a self-defense style handgun, if you have a trigger that is not too heavy and the weapon goes bang every time you pull it, then it is a good trigger. The trigger guard is oversized for ease of access and comfort. All MC1sc models have a reversible magazine release located behind the trigger guard, and there is also a frame variant with a reversible cross-bolt manual safety available.

The MC1sc features Mossberg’s Clear-Count single-stack magazines. Constructed of a transparent, lubricious (smooth and slippery) polymer compound, the magazines offer low friction and high wear-resistance while providing quick, at-a-glance assessment of the number and type of rounds loaded. The magazines also feature easy-to-remove floor plates and high-visibility followers (a big plus for checking to see if the weapon is empty). Each model comes with a flush 6-round and extended 7-round magazine. I found the extended mag more comfortable, but this is probably personal choice. A plus here is that Glock 43 magazines will work in the Mossberg MC1sc.

Left to right: Mossberg MC1sc Viridian laser model, Centennial model, and stainless steel two-tone model (also available with crossbolt safety).

A quick word about the clear mags. Some of us may be wary about clear, see-through magazines in any weapon, and with good reason due to past bad experiences. I found the MC1sc mags to be durable and smooth-loading into the mag well with no problems. Let’s be honest, most of us take pause when we see a clear magazine and wonder if they will hold up. I didn’t drop any of these mags off the New River Gorge Bridge (near my home in West Virginia) but I did launch one down the rock covered side of Peters Mountain while hunting one day. After making the toss and then wondering if I would find it again, I did find it and saw no visible damage, and the gun fired and functioned with that magazine, no problems.

The MC1sc has the Mossberg STS (Safe Takedown System), which does not require the user to pull the trigger (unlike most striker-fired pistols) to dissemble for routine cleaning or maintenance. Mossberg is touting this feature, and that is OK, but I must think, “Is it really that hard to make sure you unload the weapon before field stripping it?” No doubt this makes the pistol a little safer. Rounding out the design is an aggressive patent-pending Mossberg signature grip texturing, added palm swell, and grip angle (similar to a 1911, according to Mossberg).

Important features in a subcompact handgun are size, weight, caliber, and ease of carry. The MC1sc has an overall length of 6.25 inches, weighs 19 ounces (with an empty magazine), and has a barrel length of 3.4 inches. I found the MC1sc easy to handle with no sharp edges to bite you and easy to slide in and out of pockets.

There are seven models available for the MC1sc. The standard model, a crossbolt safety model, a TRUGLO Tritium Pro Night Sight model, a Viridian E Series Laser model, a Centennial Limited edition, and two stainless two-tone models—one with the crossbolt safety and one without.


All the nuts and bolts and other goodies are important, of course, but if a gun doesn’t go bang every time you pull the trigger (especially a piece intended for self-defense), then it isn’t worth carrying. The MC1sc I tested functioned well in the firing tests I put it through with three brands of ammo (Aguila, Federal, and Hornady) and multiple shooters. The MC1sc experienced no malfunctions, failure to feed, or failure to eject during the testing. In all, about 400 rounds were fed through the MC1sc, some of it very quickly to get the pistol hot and see what it would do. Again, no problems. We neither cleaned nor lubed the pistol during the firing process. For a subcompact pistol, I think the trigger is excellent.

I must include a word about accuracy.

I am not sure that anyone, including me, expects much accuracy from the 25-yard line back to 50 with a subcompact pistol, but the MC1sc delivered it in spades. We shot very respectable groups and rang steel out to 50 yards. In truth, this pistol is meant for close encounters of the bad kind at very short ranges, but it is nice to know the gun will print at half a football field and probably farther, depending on the shooter.


The Mossberg MC1sc is a durable, reliable, small-frame pistol that no one should have a problem with for concealed carry. It can easily be stowed in a pocket or purse and retrieved smoothly with a minimum of hang ups due to the smooth contour frame. The sights are the standard three white dot configuration—some may not like the two rear dots being present, but this comes under personal preference. The sights, by the way, are transferable with Sig #8 front sights, which will give you a wealth of aftermarket options. Lay the MC1sc beside the GLOCK 43 and the Smith and Wesson M&P Shield and the uninitiated will be able to tell little difference at first glance.

The pistol grips easily in the hand, and I tend to agree with Mossberg’s claim that the grip is fashioned like the 1911. It points well and seems to help with recoil coming straight back to the forearm.

If the MSRP for the MC1sc is $425.00, we all know, if you look around a little, you will find it for less—about $100.00 less than the GLOCK, but the Smith M&P will probably beat it for price.

I would have no problem with the Mossberg MC1sc for everyday carry.

Larry Case hails from the mountain state of West Virginia, and has been a shooter, hunter, and outdoorsman his entire life. Larry served 36 years as a DNR Law Enforcement Officer, retiring with the rank of Captain. Although he leans toward shotguns, he enjoys all firearms and any kind of hunting. He owns too many dogs, not enough shotguns, and is forever looking for a new place to hunt. Larry loves to mentor new shooters and hunters. You can catch more Larry's entertaining perspectives at GunsandCornbread.com.

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