In my world as a gun writer/reviewer, any new firearm represents an opportunity to acquire a new gun, learn about and shoot it, and pass along my experiences. Many times, I greet a new handgun as “just another black gun” until I get a chance to get to know it. My reaction to the Girsan MC 14T when I first heard about it was different — way different.
My reaction was something along the lines of “Finally, a gun that meets the needs of people like me who struggle with racking slides, loading magazines, and other factors related to shooting a handgun because of arthritis, neuropathy, and other physical limitations.” For 10 years (starting 15 years ago), I was an active instructor teaching the Texas License to Carry course to 50–60 people a week. Students of all ages and backgrounds came to those classes, and many turned to me to help them acquire the handgun that would be perfectly suited for them to carry.
It was easy for the able-bodied, but inevitably some of the elderly participants were attracted to such guns as the Beretta Tomcat and Taurus PT22 or PT25. At the time I responded, “No, No. That’s not enough gun!” I’ve always been an advocate of at least a 9mm, while sometimes admitting that a .380 will do (when realizing the person would not be able to handle a nine). The Girsan MC 14T totally solves the dilemma of finding a gun the person could operate and still have a suitable caliber for self-defense.
MC 14T Features
The tip-up barrel is the key. To make the gun ready, you simply load the magazine (using a magazine loader such as the Uplula) and insert it into the gun. Then, to get a round in the chamber, press a little lever on the right side of the gun downward. When the barrel pops up, insert a round in the chamber, and press the barrel down until it locks in place. Your gun is then ready to go.
But there’s more to this gun — a lot more. Once you’ve got the gun loaded, you’re holding a gun that is artfully constructed and a pleasure to hold and shoot. I want to start with the grip. After the tip-up barrel, that’s what impressed me first and foremost.
The grips are ambidextrous, made of a composite material, and configured for both comfort and security. Diagonal lines create the texture. The grip has an indention on both sides that doubles as an easy ‘thumb access’ to the magazine release button, and a guide for the trigger finger to find exact placement with no effort.
Both the front and backstrap have vertical lines for added grip security. Those lines are a real plus in my book. There’s a beavertail to protect from hammer bite. The very top of the grip panel is recessed to provide access to the ambidextrous safety.
At the base of the grip is a lanyard loop. When a magazine is in place, the baseplate of the magazine serves as a pinky rest. All-in-all it’s quite comfortable, plus it looks good. The magazine is a 13-round model. Only one came with the gun, but more are available for purchase.
The trigger guard is raised in the back to facilitate a high grip on the gun. The mag release button operates positively. It doesn’t appear to be reversible which is interesting because the safety is ambidextrous. Neither the slide lock nor magazine release share that feature. That’s probably because the tip-up release lever for the barrel is on the right side occupying approximately the same real estate as the slide lock on the left side. The safety totally disengages the trigger when in the safe position.
Ahead of the trigger guard, which slopes up in front, is a Picatinny rail. The slide does have serrations for that rare time when you may need or want to rack it. Many people compare this gun to the Beretta 84, and I guess that’s a fair comparison because of the open side and tip-up barrel which are like the Beretta.
The only one of the Beretta Cheetah series that was a tip-up was the Beretta 86, and these are pretty rare. I’ve seen one of them at auction, and the bidding for it was around $2,000. Sights on the MC 14T are a three-dot configuration with the rear sight being drift adjustable and the front sight fixed to the frame.
To get the barrel to tip up, you press down on a lever that’s on the right side of the gun just above the trigger. The lever does not automatically return to its starting position but must be there for the barrel to lock in place. So, once you’ve released the barrel for loading, push the lever back up. After you’ve loaded the barrel, simply push the barrel back down until it snaps in place.
The gun is 6.8 inches long with a 4.5-inch barrel. It weighs 1.4 pounds. I’m sure there will be holsters made for it. However, in the meantime, I’m finding I can carry it easily in either the DeSantis Gunhide Vanquisher Medium to Large Frame Pistols IWB Holster or N8 Tactical OT2 G2 IWB Holster that I use for my SIG P365.
How It Shoots
I tried four different brands of defensive ammo in the gun, and it liked them all. My groups were tight, but when you look at the pictures, you’ll see a couple of flyers. It was kind of interesting how those happened.
If I squeezed tightly on the gun while firing, I got the flyers. If I eased off, however, holding the gun firmly but not too tightly, I found recoil was less and accuracy was better. You’ll just have to try it for yourself, but remember what I described. I found the sights easy to see and right on target.
The trigger is extraordinary. My wheeler gauge measured the double-action first pull at 10 pounds. The single-action trigger pull was just over 5 pounds. The double-action pull is sort of long, but in single-action mode the trigger is set pretty far back. It has about ¼-inch slack, then an easy break.
I could shoot this gun all day. Some reviewers complained about the beavertail, wishing it was slightly longer. They claimed they experienced some hammer bite. I never experienced that myself.
When it came time to clean the MC 14T, I was prepared to do a standard takedown but couldn’t find any levers or buttons used to release the slide. I consulted the manual for the takedown procedure. I discovered it consisted of tilting up the barrel and racking back the slide and that was it. Anything beyond that was not recommended by anyone other than a gunsmith.
Sounds simple, huh? Well, not exactly. I discovered two things when trying to accomplish this takedown procedure. The first was that after dropping the magazine and attempting to lock the slide open, I couldn’t. I simply could not pull or push the slide back to the position where I could push the slide lock up to hold it open.
I reinserted the magazine, pushed the slide back until it locked open by virtue of the magazine being in the gun and empty. Then, I tried to tilt the barrel up only to discover it would not budge with the slide open. So, when you get yours and you’re ready to clean the gun, tilt the barrel up, open the slide, remove the magazine. This procedure works every time.
I predict this is going to be a big seller. Girsan workmanship is already well known, and it shows in this gun as well. The fit and finish are first class, and everything functioned flawlessly. It is also a very attractive gun.
The .380 caliber was good enough for James Bond, and that was before we had today’s modern ammunition in which ballistics continues to improve. If you can shoot your gun well, the .380 will do what you need it to do in a defensive situation. And with reduced recoil, many people find they’re able to shoot a .380 better than they can a higher caliber.
Let me know what you think, especially if you’re one who struggles with slide manipulation and other factors related to shooting a higher caliber.