Until relatively recently, the name “Mossberg” meant “shotgun” to millions of Americans. It isn’t that the company didn’t manufacture other styles of firearms. A quick Google search will net you some interesting old advertisements, including Hollywood icon and avid shooter Robert Stack endorsing O.F. Mossberg’s rifles in the late 1960s. But its truly legendary 500-series of shotguns — everything from the bargain-priced “Maverick” line to its USMC-approved 590 — defined the brand.

Over the last few years though, O.F.M. has reinvented itself through innovation in not only shotguns but also rifles and carry-oriented handguns. Mossberg’s initial 21st-century foray into carry pistols began with the MC1sc, which is a single-stack 9mm about the size of a Glock 43 and capable of running on G43 mags. Up next was the MC2c, which is a double-stack 9mm approximately the size of (though thinner than) a Glock 19 that takes proprietary steel magazines made in Italy by Mec-Gar. Both are excellent handguns, and I carry both with some regularity.

Anyone who follows the firearms industry closely will not be surprised by the latest from Mossberg: the MC2sc, a subcompact double-stack 9mm built to compete with the hottest platforms in the current market. I am referring to those “micro-compacts,” or double-stack 9mms that are thinner and more easily concealed than anyone could’ve imagined even a decade or so ago. Mossberg was kind enough to invite me and CCM Executive Editor Kevin Michalowski out to Gunsite Academy in Paulden, Arizona, to put this new addition to the O.F.M. universe through its paces.

SLIMMING DOWN. The double-stack MC2sc (top) is basically the same size as the single-stack MC1sc (bottom).

So … Just What Is It?

The MC2sc has the same basic dimensions as the MC1 but is double-stack, leading us right to its most important feature: 11-round and 14-round magazines in a pistol roughly the size of a Glock 43. The 14-round magazines are the units from the MC2c with a sleeve fit just above the baseplates. This is an exceptionally good design, as the sleeves not only allow a better purchase on the pistol but also are notched to make removal of a magazine while clearing a malfunction easier than on comparable designs. As with some of its competition, it is most easily concealed by carrying it with an 11-rounder in the mag well and a 14-rounder in a belt carrier. If, however, I will not be concealing the firearm I’m wearing, I always opt for carrying the bigger box in the gun.

Like its two predecessors, the MC2sc employs the Mossberg Safe Takedown System (STS), which allows the end user to completely disassemble the pistol for cleaning without having to press the trigger. This is accomplished by removing the pistol’s magazine, locking the slide all the way to the rear with the left-side slide stop and then removing the backplate from the slide with only slight pressure from the thumb. This allows the striker assembly to be removed and the slide to then be slid off the frame for further disassembly and maintenance. Reassembly is accomplished in the reverse order.

There is an interesting index point on the sides of the frame of which I am quite fond. As the world turned to the thumbs-forward technique so popular with competitive and defensive shooters, certain hot-rodders began stippling thumb-reference points on the frames of their pistols. In keeping with its design ethos, Mossberg picked this one from the universe of “what’s working with pistols” and incorporated it into the design.

Like its two predecessors, the MC2sc employs the Mossberg Safe Takedown System (STS), which allows the end user to completely disassemble the pistol for cleaning without having to press the trigger.

This is exceptionally handy for new and experienced shooters alike since it affords a factory version of an aftermarket mod that can help a shooter get up to speed on how to most effectively run a new pistol — the particulars of which he or she is still working out. Equally importantly, it gives the shooter a concrete reminder of where to place his or her trigger finger when not firing.

Though you may think that sounds minor, I can promise you it is not. It is a lot easier for the individual you’re instructing to follow direct commands than abstract commands, and “place your trigger finger on the rough patch on the frame” is a lot easier for a new shooter to do than try to figure out “don’t put your finger on the trigger until you’re ready to fire” on the fly. The unit I assessed did not have a manual safety, but there is a version with a crossbolt that will be available for purchase. All MC2sc models have an accessory rail and a reversible magazine release, and state-compliant versions are underway.

As with its brethren, the MC2sc has a slide that is cut for SIG No. 8 sights and is available from the factory with TRUGLO Tritium PRO night sights rather than the stock white three-dot units. This affords the end user a tremendous amount of leeway in exactly what type of sighting system he or she would prefer to use, all the way up to and including an optic cut on the slide. It will accept units designed for JPoint and Shield footprints as well as a few others. The Crimson Trace unit pictured here shot as well as I shoot any red-dot sight and is available as a factory option. And best of all, the optics mount does not require unusually high (also called “suppressor-height”) sights.

The flat-faced polymer trigger breaks right in the 5.5-pound range and was designed to run minimal overtravel and offer a very crisp and tactile reset. The texture on the grip frame is less aggressive than on past MC models, though still more than aggressive enough to allow for solid handling with wet hands — which was fortunate since it was a very dry 108 degrees out at Gunsite when I tested this pistol. My only defense was to constantly pour water down the front and back of my shirt and into my hat in an attempt to keep my core layers wet, so I spent a decent amount of the assessment with wet hands.

Another Home Run

Like the other two Mossberg pistols I’ve assessed out in the unforgiving Arizona desert, the MC2sc ate no-nonsense 9mm rounds without complaint and, in the hands of competent shooters, was up to most any task you could ask of a 9mm. Nothing — neither the incessant hammering of an intense two-day course of fire with +P ammo nor the fine desert sand — caused any malfunctions of which I am aware. Like its predecessors, this is a pistol that I can wholeheartedly endorse as an EDC piece. In a world that can so often be so unpredictable, few are the day-to-day companions as faithful as a reliable, easy-to-carry pistol. And as with everything else from the company that I’ve handled, this little Mossberg is in for the long haul.


O.F. Mossberg & Sons: Mossberg.com
Gunsite Academy: Gunsite.com

More Gun For The Money

Image by Heritage Auctions, ha.com

Born in Värmland, Sweden, in 1867, Oscar Fredrik Mossberg emigrated to the U.S. in 1886. By 1892, he was employed by Iver Johnson’s Arms & Cycle Works and patented several firearms designs. He also worked for other gun manufacturers, such as the J. Stevens Arms & Tool Company and the Marlin-Rockwell Corporation, until he started his own company with his sons, Iver and Harold, in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1919.

The first gun O.F. Mossberg & Sons produced was a semi-automatic top-break .22 pocket pistol. The elder Mossberg filed a patent for the gun and licensed his design to the C.S. Shattuck Arms Company. In 1962, O.F. Mossberg & Sons introduced the Model 500 pump-action shotgun, which was the company’s most successful gun because of its low price and high quality. After Oscar F. Mossberg died in 1937, Iver Mossberg became president of the company. O.F. Mossberg & Sons is still family-owned-and-operated and producing reliable and affordable firearms 100 years after being established.

— Frank Jastrzembski, Associate Editor

These Troubled Times

I feel I would be remiss were I not to address the current firearms and ammunition situation. We conducted our assessment with Hornady’s Critical Duty 135-grain +Ps with Flex-Lok bullets and low-flash propellant, which are billed at 1,100 feet per second. Neil Davies, Hornady’s marketing director, stressed that though this was not the kind of round that most Americans would typically carry (Hornady’s Critical Defense line is far more popular among non-law-enforcement markets), that’s what he had on hand for the event out at Gunsite.

“Us and those like us, we’re making all the ammo we can,” he said. “We’ve got SKUs that are two years backordered.”

It isn’t just the ammunition business either. Gunsite CEO Ken Campbell addressed the group of assembled writers and explained just how different the last year and a half has been for America’s oldest continually operating shooting school.

“We’re seeing more and more of the ‘I’m a liberal and I don’t want anyone to know I have a gun’ kinds of people.”

The event was held in early June 2021, and though Gunsite served a record number of students in 2020, enrollment numbers were already 200 above all of last year’s numbers combined. In March alone, the school burned through 165,000 rounds of 9x19mm ammunition, and April and May were the same.

Mossberg itself has been weathering similar challenges.

“I’ve never seen our factories dealing with everything we’ve had to,” said John MacLellan, Mossberg’s vice president of sales and marketing.

The company was one of the manufacturers hardest hit by the jump in demand for firearms (since most any Google search by an uneasy prospective first-time gun buyer will advise that a 12-gauge pump shotgun is just about ideal for home defense). In fact, the guns that we were assessing were initially slated to be released in 2020, but demand for Mossberg’s core products caused the manufacturer to push back release dates so it could concentrate on what was in highest demand.

It is difficult to even guess when the gun-and-ammo industry will return to “normal” — whatever that will be — but it at least feels like the four years of glorious (what the industry called) “Trump-Slump” pricing were just that … four years.

— Ed Combs, Senior Editor