Mossberg’s New MC1 SC – Elmer Fudd Gets His CCW

Mention the name Mossberg to anyone at the range, and they will almost certainly have a mental image of a shotgun. Depending upon the individual, that image might be a long shotgun for hunting waterfowl or it might be the more tactical Model 500, but you can bet that mental image is not of a tiny polymer-framed 9mm handgun. That’s about to change!

The MC1 SE comes with two magazines – 1 6-round and 1 7-round with extension.

Mossberg is one of a handful of heritage firearm companies that are well established with a reputation for doing what they do extraordinarily well. The company has been around for over a century now and has established fierce brand loyalty among its customers. Those customers have traditionally been duck hunters or law enforcement. Mossberg is simply not a company that makes handguns. But you may not know that the first gun Mossberg made and marketed was a handgun – a small .22 caliber multi-barreled pistol called the “Brownie”. Fast forward to today, and Mossberg is once again offering a small handgun. Spoiler alert – it’s a helluva good one!

Mossberg is putting its own touch on the slimline 9mm subcompact.

Tossing one’s hat into the heavily competitive handgun market is challenging enough, but going straight for the slimline concealed carry dollar is downright brave. The marketplace is flooded with both well-established name brand pistols and ‘me too’ alternatives. The latter often offer a feature or innovation that the big boys don’t, but often at the sacrifice of overall quality or reliability. Mossberg’s decision to enter this ultra-competitive market may be interesting – but the outcome of that decision is even more interesting. The new pistol named the MC1 SC (SC presumably stands for ‘sub-compact’) is a combination of very familiar and distinctly different elements that combine to make one of the very best single-stack 9mm handguns I’ve used.

A version of the MC1 SE with gold accents is also available. [photo: Mossberg]

The MC1 SC is available in a variety of models, each with identical essential specifications, but with each variant offering something additional that might be of extra value to the buyer. I was provided with the base model pistol which has an estimated retail price of $425.00. That should translate to well under $400 at the counter. Additionally, you can get the pistol with a safety switch – and here’s where the gun starts to divulge its Mossberg pedigree – the available manual safety is a cross-bolt style catch located just behind the trigger.  

There are upgraded models with Tritium® sights provided by TRUGLO®, and one with an installed VIRIDIAN® laser. If bling is what you’re after, there is a model called the “Centennial” that celebrates 100 years of Mossberg with 24kt plating on the barrel and some other small parts. That one will set you back $686.00, but if you really want a pocket pistol with gold plating, I’m pretty sure you don’t mind the price.

All the edges and corners of the MC1 have been rounded and dehorned. The barrel also sports a nice chamfered crown.

The most sensible upgrade consideration would be to add the night sights, which will bump the price by $101. But the good news is that Mossberg uses a standard dovetail installation for both front and rear sight, which means you can defer that upgrade for later as the aftermarket starts to provide options.

The MC1 SC must be studied to be fully appreciated. This gun was designed to be a serious concealed carry pistol.

The MC1 SE is slim and light, just like we expect our pocket-sized 9mms to be. It is very similar in size and shape to the M&P Shield, Glock 43, and Walther PPS M2, just to name a few. So similar in fact, that I was tempted to try it’s fit in some holsters I have for those models. No dice. The great thing about Kydex is that it fits your gun perfectly if it’s made well. The bad thing about that is that it won’t fit anything else that is “almost the same”. The size and shape of the trigger guard are different enough that you’ll be in need of a new carry rig for it. Unless you prefer the softer style holsters, like leather or synthetic fabrics. I have a nice quality leather holster that accommodates it well, and I am happy to report that it fits perfectly into the DeSantis Nemesis holster – and then into the pocket – my litmus test for a subcompact.

The author’s litmus test for a pocket pistol is… a pocket holster! It must fit in the DeSantis Nemesis to qualify.

Before I shoot a test gun, I have a tendency to spend some time examining it and handling it to get first impressions and make mental notes of elements to consider when shooting it. While spending that quality fondling time with the MC1, I was very impressed with the quality of the pistol. I don’t find anything about it that hints to “low margin, high volume” marketing strategy. The attention to detail on this design is better, in my opinion, than on many exotic guns I test that cost four or five times the price. There is not a single blemish in the finish. Every part of the frame and slide has been either enhanced for maximum grip or de-horned and smoothed to be comfortable and snag-free. The serrations in the slide might be the best I’ve ever felt – cut sharply in a forward-facing sawtooth pattern, they hold your fingers like a magnet when racking the slide or performing the ever-tactic-cool press check, but are virtually non-existent in the other direction. This means they won’t add friction to the draw of the pistol from the holster or snag on clothing. Cut diagonally into the rear serrations is a wink to the Mossberg heritage, which I appreciated.

The slide serrations fore and aft are cut better than many guns costing nearly 10 times the price.

The polymer frame is of a high-quality composite, perhaps a glass-filled Nylon or similar. The texturing is interesting in design and very effective at providing very good traction against the skin without feeling abrasive or biting in. That’s no easy accomplishment. On close examination, the texture is an alternating pattern of “X’s” and “+’s” in neat little rows. 

The grip texture is a very interesting pattern – alternating the “x” and the “+” – and they are very small. But it works!

Mossberg has given us a flat trigger (polymer) with a safety blade that ensures the pistol cannot fire unless the trigger is actuated. The design is such that the trigger’s flat face should be vertical at the break, which has been found to aid trigger control and transfer more tactile feedback to the user. The magazine release button is good sized and also bears

Specs on the trigger are very standard for the class with a sub 5 lb. crisp break and nice reset. But the flat trigger sets it apart and makes it a dream to shoot.

the same texture as the enhanced portions of the frame. I found the mag release well placed, very easy to operate, and perfectly reliable. Being able to perform a quick reload in an emergency situation begins with having a magazine release that works perfectly and easily every time – this one does. It is also reversible, for the left-handed owner. Another control that I am quite snobbish about on handguns is the slide stop lever. I insist that if a pistol is equipped with such control, that control should also function as a slide release. Many don’t. Some barely do. This one works beautifully. It is also nicely tucked to the frame with a raised guard area around it to help prevent the user’s thumb from accidentally locking the slide back before the last round is fired.

Mossberg’s attention to detail can be seen in every element of the MC1 SE.

The base model sights are effective and good quality. Made of steel with painted white dots, they are low profile and provide a good sight picture for both fast action and slow aiming. The rear sight is of a snag-free design. The upgrade option night sights offer a rear sight with a squared front, capable of being used to work the action if necessary.


Quality materials and workmanship paired with a pleasing deign aesthetic are all well and good, but if you’re going to consider owning a small handgun for self-defense, it had better perform unquestionably. Despite the abundance of pocket-sized centerfire pistols on the market, the engineering that goes into making one both small and reliable is significant. The timing of the barrel lockup is critical and has far less travel distance for error as compared to a full-sized duty gun. So too does that shorter cycle distance squeeze tolerances for ejection and feeding. But there is no tolerance in my world for failures in an emergency. I tested the MC1 SC with hundreds of rounds of a variety of 9mm commercial ammunition – from the same stuff you’d buy on sale for range days, to the expensive defensive rounds you’d keep it loaded with for emergencies. Zero problems. Not just the absence of any malfunctions, but the absence of the slightest hint of a malfunction. No round “felt funny” being chambered. At no time did the slide ever break stride or tempo returning to battery. And the ejection pattern was so consistent I was tempted to put a bucket in one spot to catch the spent brass. The trigger feels exactly the same for every pull – and it feels great. I measured it several times and it was consistently below 5 lbs.

The Mossberg MC1 SE is one that every buyer needs to rule out before making a purchase – it ticks all the boxes.

Small 9mm’s can sometimes buck a little bit – a simple law of physics. But the MC1 SC felt extremely flat while I shot it – even during rapid bursts. The angle and texture of the grip frame, along with the telescoping dual recoil spring and guide rod assembly do an excellent job at absorbing most of that energy. And while racking the slide of a small 9mm pistol can be challenging for some with low hand strength, the serrations in the slide help with that quite a bit. The white-dot sight picture was very good and easy to acquire for fast shots. The sights are also good enough to allow the shooter to take a slow, carefully aimed shot and hit with precision. Beyond that, I found the Mossberg downright fun to shoot. I was only hampered by the limitation of loading 13 rounds at a time between the two magazines supplied. The MC1 SC will accept Glock 43 magazines – a huge benefit, but I wasn’t testing Glock mags and wanted to put all the rounds through the Mossberg mags (okay, I’ll confess – I tried them and they work).

The magazines are essentially transparent, making it easy to see how many rounds they contain.

The magazines are nearly transparent, which makes it easy to see the loaded rounds. But there are no witness marks or graduations printed on it – you’ll have to count them. My first impression of the mostly-clear plastic mags was that they seemed brittle, and I wondered about damage. But I am pleased that after hundreds of rounds of normal handling and use, they are holding up just fine.

Accuracy from the MC1 SC is on par with all the best pistols in this category. Standing and shooting off-hand from between 10 and 12 yards I was able to keep six rounds of SIG Sauer Elite Performance 124 gr. JHP V-Crown ammo inside 1 ½”. Why no formal pseudo-scientific test? Because I already know this gun can produce better groups from a vise than I ever could with it – and for a defensive pistol I want to know how well I can shoot it freestyle. I never took a single shot inside 10 yards with this gun and unless I was doing macho-mag-dump stuff, everything stayed in a fist-sized group. Excellent ergonomics and a much better than average trigger have a lot to do with that.

Defense ammo at defense distance: The SIG Sauer V-Crown 124 gr. JHP produced an excellent group off-hand at 12 yards.


When I first learned that Mossberg was tossing its hat into the single-stack 9mm saturated marketplace, I was neither skeptical nor excited. I have to admit I was fairly ambivalent about it – like the excitement of hearing that another car company is offering a “crossover” vehicle. I assumed that Mossberg wouldn’t put their name on a gun that didn’t work, but aside from that, I figured it would be a purchase consideration for the very brand loyal folks. Boy, did I underestimate this handgun!

Perhaps the one off-putting characteristic of the Mossberg is its takedown (or fieldstrip) method. It is a bit more involved than most (though not as involved as some) and might seem intimidating. In the accompanying video review of this gun, I’ll show you how to disassemble and reassemble the pistol – and you’ll see that it’s quite easy. Don’t let anyone scare you about that. I’m not a big fan of having the striker assembly removed and its channel exposed with every cleaning, as that’s how small parts get lost  – but it can be a plus if the user is careful with the parts and takes time to clean them too.

The astute eye will notice that the rear slide plate covers the rails. It must be removed for disassembly by pushing in on the “button” and sliding it off.

 Bottom line – I would put the Mossberg MC1 SC on the table with any and all of the industry leaders in this space and give odds to the others. If a slimline 9mm handgun is on your list – you can’t possibly make an informed choice until you’ve tried the MC1. It’s that good.

Fieldstripping is slightly more involved than most pistols of similar design, but is simple and requires no tools or trigger pull.

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{ 42 comments… add one }
  • RugerSturmer December 16, 2019, 10:07 pm

    My MC1sc went back to Mossberg for repairs, after waiting 3 weeks for the shipping label. The pistol often would not return to full battery after firing. I had to nudge the slide forward 1/8″ to 1/4″. I fired well over 500 rounds in about 7 trips to the range: Sig Sauer Premium Elite (the worst offender), Browning, Fiocchi, Federal Syntech & American Eagle (115 & 124 gr FMJ). I have 14 Mossberg magazines (1 6-round, 13 7-round), and the malfunction occurred with all of them. Most often it was between 2 & 5 rounds per magazine. Frequently it was every round in a magazine. Rarely I could actually get through a magazine with no malfunctions. Since getting it back, the malfunction occurs only about 8 times in 100 rounds; better, but not perfect. I also experience occasional failures to feed and failures to eject. I do like the MC1sc a lot, in spite of the malfunctions, so much so that I purchased a second one (hoping for better results). I like the grip and feel, the accuracy with which I shoot it, the take-down feature.

    • Mark June 27, 2020, 6:23 pm

      I had a similar problem with my mc1 a few drops of Lucas oil gun lube lube solved the problem. Well I hosed it down just shy of dripping. But it fires and cycles flawlessly again.

  • Mehul Kamdar December 16, 2019, 9:28 pm

    I bought an MC1 from Academy Sports in Houston, and got a much more attractive price than was mentioned here. The little pistol is absolutely reliable and sweet. I did have the issue that one gentleman mentioned about ir printing high and to the left, which I found was because my hands are slightly larger than average. It took a little practice and I can now shoot to potentially defend myself at the ranges at which I would need to, just like the reviewer says. In any case, it was wonderful buying a budget priced but superb 100% American pistol. Mine will accompany me when I need to take it along. I have nothing but praise for Mossberg for a job brilliantly done.

  • Richard Gee December 16, 2019, 6:12 am

    After using the Mossberg for a while – I have now sold my Glock.
    I lreally enjoy the MC1 sc. It works great for me. I love the feel and the accuracy. It is light to carry, and I have now found a number of new holsters available.

  • Jim Parker December 16, 2019, 5:52 am

    I have two words for you: Model 36.

    Ok, well that’s a word and a number. I know it’s only 5 shots, but most belly-to-belly gunfights don’t need more than two or three shots max. The bully expects to have the drop on his victim, realizes he’s the one who’s bleeding and can’t believe the fight is over. A .22 suffices for that purpose. Ditto .25, and .32 cal.

    Taurus, Ruger and Rossi make very suitable M-36 substitutes.

    Mossberg’s piece is a suitable alternative for somebody who prefers semi-auto format. Ditto Glock, and a really long list of others.

  • 9mm September 2, 2019, 7:50 am

    While l like the look of this gun in size other than thickness guns like SR9c or P99c are very close in size but carry 10+1 but it’s comparable to the Shield or 43 wishing mossberg could make a double stack version 10+1 and keep the grip height around 4.5 inches to 4.75 inches also if the trigger guard was undercut would have been nice but my Sig P365 with 12 round magazines makes for a very small package that shoots very well and very concealable even with the 12 round magazines grip height is only 4.75 inches if the Mossberg is purchased with the optional night sights your getting in to Sig P365 kind of money that the Sig comes with standard don’t get me wrong I’m not knocking this new Mossberg if it could be purchased for 300 dollars it would be a good buy but you have to remember you can purchase a Ruger SR9c new now for the very low 300s that is very close in size with more firepower shoot straight in Tampa Florida had Walther P99cs on sale 6 months ago for 339 I’m sorry I’ll take either over this Mossberg but that’s my opinion other people’s choices may very

  • J.F. Ridgeway May 16, 2019, 11:45 pm

    My previous comment noted a very heavy trigger pull. I must make a correction. With cleaning and use the trigger pull is now down to 6 lbs. I am hoping that continued use will bring the pull down to 5 lbs or below.

    I have ordered a laser sight which will correct the sighting problem. At my age (85) a laser is VERY helpful and I have one on all of my carry guns.

  • J. F. Ridgeway May 16, 2019, 8:37 pm

    I bought the Mossberg MC1 based on your fine review. However I suspect that Mossberg furnished you with a “cream of the crop” pistol. Mine is well made and disassembles and reassembles as described. The “accuracy” is good as far as grouping, however mine shoots 2″ left and 2 inches low at 15 feet. The sights are centered. My biggest problem is with the trigger pull. It is neither smooth and crisp as you describe nor under 5 lbs. My Wheeler trigger pull gage only goes to 8 pounds and does not trip the trigger. The initial pull is light until it hits the stop then at takes significanly heavy and significant rear movement before the striker fires. I would guess that the trigger pull exceeds 10 pounds. My Glock 43 is much better!!!

  • SA Miller May 14, 2019, 7:43 pm

    A very interesting article and pics. I enjoyed the video presentation also. I think I’ll stay with my Taurus G2C. Best value in the market for my benefit. Thx.

  • JCitizen May 14, 2019, 5:33 pm

    Seems like a great pistol – but I already have a great .45 pistol the same size, or even smaller, and it is just as controllable if not better. I”m a one CCW pistol kind of guy. But I can certainly recommend it for those that don’t have a good belly gun yet, and especially if they want a USA made weapon.

  • WILLIAM FAULK May 13, 2019, 10:00 pm

    Want one Where & When may I purchase ??

  • WILLIAM FAULK May 13, 2019, 2:55 pm

    Wany one Where & When may I purchase ??

  • Lon May 13, 2019, 2:07 pm

    Oh looky, another 9mm sib compact (yawn).
    I’m still waiting for someone to make a Glock 19 sized 45 acp with a 3 finger grip.

    • bob November 14, 2019, 10:07 pm

      they did. it’s called a Glock 38.

      the .45GAP has the same ballistics as .45ACP but 9mm length.

  • SuperG May 13, 2019, 11:18 am

    Seems like a nice weapon. Not enough for me to trade in my shorter Beretta Nano though.

  • Tony May 13, 2019, 10:16 am

    Ok, another great review of what should be a decent pistol.

    Now, if only Mossberg would ship them to the distribution network so that we(ffl’s) could put them on our shelves for sale.

  • M/C Mann May 13, 2019, 10:11 am

    What I also like besides agree with what others said is that this pistol is AMERICAN made, not imported from a country like Serbia as Springfield Arms is doing with the sub compact that they are putting their name on that’s made by a firearms company in Serbia.

  • kerry purcell May 13, 2019, 9:57 am

    what does elmer fudd have to do with this ?

    • Tony May 13, 2019, 10:16 am


    • Bob May 13, 2019, 8:42 pm

      Clearly a new way to “kill da wabbit”.

    • srsquidizen May 15, 2019, 7:34 am

      Enjoy being young–it doesn’t last forever.

      Elmer Fudd hunted “wabbits” with a shotgun in old Warner Bros. cartoons drawn by hand and actually funny (as opposed to computer-generated and politically correct).

  • CLARK BUSH May 13, 2019, 9:22 am

    Excellent review, very thorough and well done.

  • OutdoorsGuy May 13, 2019, 8:56 am

    Alright, after a cup of coffee and a walk with my dog, I took time to watch the video accompanying this review and, true to my word, I offer my humble apologies to Justin Opinion for most of what I said in my earlier post about this review. In MY defense, it is quite true that “A picture is worth a thousand words” and my “picture” aka, the video showed me that Justin was misinterpreted by ME in my earlier post!

    That video explained much of what I was not so sure of from reading the written message of the review and I stand corrected in my earlier judgement of what Justin’s message was really saying. But, I STILL can’t account for the Elmer Fudd title?? I hope that there was a hidden joke in there somewhere ………

    • Joel Lowery May 13, 2019, 9:47 am

      I think the Elmer Fudd reference is because Elmer was ALWAYS a shotgun guy and Mossberg was ALWAYS a shotgun company. Now they have a pistol, so Elmer can have one, too. Just my .02 worth.

    • Justin Opinion May 13, 2019, 11:22 am

      When I think Mossberg, I think shotgun. When I think shotgun, I tend to picture the hunting type. And when I picture that, I picture Elmer Fudd. Sorry, that’s who I grew up with! So, as another comment has suggested – I speculated that now poor Elmer, being very brand loyal, can get a pistol for self-defense use. Partly, it’s just my wacky sense of humor – but it also alludes to the fact that there are many brand-loyal buyers who will be open to this category of handgun because a company they have long trusted makes it.

  • Emil Lach May 13, 2019, 8:56 am

    …would love love to see how the safety looks.

    • I Love Liberty May 14, 2019, 2:11 pm

      I sold my Glock pistol because it had no external safety. The pistol would be more interesting to me if it had a safety other than a similar Glock pistol safety.

  • James May 13, 2019, 8:43 am

    Nice article , would have been nice to list the width ( since it is supposed to be “slim” ). For single stack CC pistols , it is something people like to know ( along with the weight, which you did list ). Nice looking pistol . So sad they came late to the party ( as Colt did with their rehash of the .380 in XSP/poly frame model) . Everyone has been cloning Colt’s .380 design for years and making plenty of sales. And in 9mm to boot. Even though i prefer 9mm ( Kahr) , i will NEVER sell my Colt Gov’t Pocketlite St. Steel .380 acp , just wish it had better sights.

    • Justin Opinion May 15, 2019, 6:26 pm

      I apologize – that dimension should absolutely have been included – my bad! I put a caliper on it at the widest spot (slide stop control) and it measures 1.057″ by my caliper.

  • George dorr May 13, 2019, 8:37 am

    Just got my carry permit ,is this a good gun for a first time buyer?

    • Richie May 13, 2019, 10:16 am

      There are many YouTube videos dealing with your question. The only advice I would offer is don’t obsess about the capacity and caliber. By far the most important aspect of carrying a gun is understanding the laws about using it in a self defense counter. It’s boring reading, but not knowing it can ruin your life.

  • Old OutdoorsGuy May 13, 2019, 8:23 am

    First of all, let’s get this out of the way right quick!

    “Mossberg’s New MC1 SC – Elmer Fudd Gets His CCW”

    When I first read this I thought, ” ELMER FUDD’S CCW??? ….. OK, just another wannabe pistol “Ex-Spurt” trying to get a name for putting his opinion in print”. I almost clicked to another feature in the email but I am a Mossberg fan since childhood [Yeah, when all they had was long barreled shotguns.] so I took a chance at having my “review rage” take me to a dark place and I was very pleasantly surprised at what I read!!

    My only disparaging afterthought is, after all, and I do mean ALL of the positive remarks and judgement calls you sensibly made about Mossberg’s first jump into the SC shark tank, and the methods you used to come to your conclusions for some of your reactions which were so common sense, am I to assume that you would put it last overall in a list of comparable SC’s for ALL but one point of your ENTIRE review???

    “Bottom line – I would put the Mossberg MC1 SC on the table with any and all of the industry leaders in this space and give odds to the others.”

    GIve the odds to the others? for all but this one point???

    “If a slimline 9mm handgun is on your list – you can’t possibly make an informed choice until you’ve tried the MC1.”

    That is exactly how I read those last couple of sentences!! Now, if I am misreading something here, which I do oft-times in my rush to see what the outcome of a review will be, I will apologize and give credit where it is rightfully due. But, if you mean, by the results of that review, that this new CCW SC firearm is, overall, nothing more than a very small anchor, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF being a “slimline” style weapon, in a limited sub-field of Sub Compacts, then I stand by my very 1st gut opinion of “nothing but a wannabe guy with an opinion”!! BTW, to back MY opinion, let me be clear;

    “Opinions are like A$$holes, ……. everybody has one and they are ALL good for one thing only, keeping skid marks out of your under drawers!!”

  • Gerald Santomassimory May 13, 2019, 7:12 am

    Great review and photos! Thank you!

  • Kaniksu Kidd May 13, 2019, 6:54 am

    This is an excellent, thorough evaluation of this new pistol from Mossberg. Strong work! Now, if they’d just make it in .45 ACP LOL!

  • lukeum jones May 13, 2019, 6:32 am

    that was one of the most well covered comprehensive downright straight-up review i have come across in a long time did i mention i’m liken that sub-compact mossberg gotta get one n get that after market goodies to move on this one thanks n well done justin!

  • DEBORAH CIESLEWSKI May 13, 2019, 3:59 am

    i like the new Mossenburg hangun, i definitely will buy on. its compact but not double action or is it. I do like the way it looks and price wise not bad.

  • Richie May 13, 2019, 3:57 am

    You failed to include something like, “Talon grips will be available soon.”

  • Porcellino Mathew May 12, 2019, 3:42 pm

    Can u ship to California & I want to buy one

    • MB May 13, 2019, 9:34 am

      Unless it micro-stamps, it will never be available in Kommiefornia. Nowhere did author state this was on the Cali DOJ roster or Mass approved. You are just going to have to move.

    • JD May 13, 2019, 9:36 am

      😂😂😂😂😂. The only things that anyone should send to California are illegal immigrants and homeless. You have the best weather for them, plus free health care. Fruit and wine are the only things we want back, nothing else should be left out of the state.

      • Jimbo May 26, 2019, 3:08 pm

        Mister “laughs-at-his-own-stuff” five times:
        Why would you ever need fruit from Cali, you sound fruity enough already. Jealousy is an awful color, it never looks good on you.

  • Jonathan Nasman May 12, 2019, 11:44 am

    Great article! I enjoyed your video also! I may have to rent this one at the range and play with it a bit. It may be added to my carry rotation. I wear scrubs and pocket carry.

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