Girsan's first polymer framed, striker fired pistols arrived on the scene in 2014, imported by European American Armory Corp. Called the MC28, this series of semi-autos sports many of the popular features favored for duty-size guns in this category. As of 2016, Girsan was exporting firearms to over 56 countries, including the United States.
For defensive polymer pistol fans, Girsan is now offering an affordable package, which includes an MC28 pistol shipped with an Ade Advanced Optics compact optic that's installed at the factory.
Over the last decade, few niches within the shooting market have been as competitive as striker-fired, polymer-framed 9 mm pistols. The majority of these duty-size semi-autos, to some extent or another, have been influenced by the Glock Safe Action design.
Although Girsan's MC28 series is described as a 'Glock style' handgun in the company's literature, it clearly takes the majority of its design cues from the popular Smith & Wesson (S&W) M&P series.
The external dimensions are similar enough to the S&W models that both will fit in the same holsters. But the MC28 is outfitted with features not found on the pistol that inspired it.
The MC28 is a recoil-operated 9 mm semi-auto pistol designed to accept double-stack magazines. The carbon-steel slide features a witness hole located on top, behind the barrel's chamber, along with front and rear cocking serrations.
The straight fluted 4.25" barrel is supported by an all-steel guide rod with a captured flat-wire spring. The metallic slide plate is ported for the red tipped cocked striker indicator. The 3-dot combat sight system is also metallic with the front sight inset into the slide and the rear sight mounted to a removable plate.
This particular pistol arrived with the rear sight removed and stowed inside the case. In its place is a factory-installed red dot reflex sight with the Girsan logo. According to the instruction sheet shipped with the pistol, the included sight is the Ade Advanced Optics RD3-009 Compact MINI Crusader red dot reflex, which sells for around $60 online.
Powered by a single CR2032 button cell battery, this optic is water-resistant, has an aluminum housing and six brightness settings, which can be adjusted using a single rubber button located on the left side. How much can one expect from such an affordably priced red dot? Time on the range would tell.
To compensate for the added weight of the optic, a set of angled weight-reduction cuts have been made at the muzzle end of the slide. This model's slide is finished with a flat dark earth ceramic coating that matches the coloring of the polymer frame. The other appointments, including the frame pins, sights, barrel, controls and interchangeable back straps, are all matte-black.
While the slide's lines are clean and crisp, the polymer frame is a bit more military-grade in regards to its exterior appearance. While it is certainly tough and reliable, not all of the mold marks have been removed and touch point texturing is minimal. In other words, it's not going to win a beauty contest, but it gets the job done.
A 2" long 3-slot accessory rail is molded into the dust cover. The squared off trigger guard houses an unmistakably Glock-pattern polymer trigger with an integral blade safety. Like other Safe-action type trigger strokes, the trigger's take up is a bit rough, but it gets better from there.
The trigger breaks with 4-lbs. 9-oz. of pressure instead of the typical 5-lbs. 8-oz. for factory triggers of this configuration. The break is clean and smooth with a short trigger reset that produces a distinctive click.
The swing-down takedown lever and left-side slide stop follow the S&W M&P design. The somewhat pear-shaped polymer magazine release button is textured for improved purchase. The grip frame features a 0.5" beaver tail extension to protect the shooting hand from slide bite.
Both sides of the grip are narrowed directly behind the trigger guard to make reaching the trigger and magazine release a little easier.
The mouth of the magazine well is beveled to allow for easier reloading. It should be noted that this model does not have a magazine disconnect safety. This means the pistol will fire with the magazine removed from the grip.
While other versions of the MC28 ship with three 15-round blued steel magazines, this version ships with just one. Two magazines would have been preferable, but considering the low cost of this optics-ready package, something had to come out in order to make room for the optic.
There are still plenty of other accessories included in the hard-sided case. Along with the rear sight plate and packet of optics maintenance tools, there is a set of three interchangeable back straps, a bronze bore brush, a cable lock and a protective cover for the optic.
One nice touch that may be underappreciated by some is how much this set of interchangeable back straps changes the feel of the grip frame. Some companies provide a strap set with pieces so similar to each other that trading them out hardly changes the feel of the grip. The MC28's straps are distinctly different from each other with varying thicknesses and textures that really do fit a wide variety of hand shapes.
As I approached my time at the range with the MC28, I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical. Although the popularity of optic-ready pistols continues to grow, especially for personal protection, the guns and the optics can be fairly expensive. This optic and pistol combination costs less than some optics do when purchased separately.
Nevertheless, the MC28 pistol proved to be utterly reliable with all of the ammunition tested, including a range of practice grade and premium hollow points. As for the RD3-009, it provided a bright, clear sight picture and held zero throughout the testing process.
If a good semi-auto 9 mm is tapping out 3” to 3.5” groups at 25-yards using iron sights, and quality ammunition, then the gun and I are doing our jobs correctly. With a reflex sight, it’s possible to tighten up the groups even more.
Winchester's PDX1 Defender 147-gr. jacketed hollow point produced a best single group of 2.76" with a group average of 2.85". Gorilla's Silverback Defense 115-gr. solid copper hollow point printed a best group of 2.55" with an average of 2.69". The tightest shooting load was SIG Sauer's Elite Performance 124-gr. full-metal jacket which posted a best group of 2.24" and an average of 2.35".
When I was offered the opportunity to work with this Girsan pistol, I accepted, not knowing exactly what to expect from it. I haven't worked with Girsan-branded products before now, and budget-friendly imports can be something of a mixed lot.
Some of them offer real value at a reduced price while others fit into the ‘you-get-what-you-pay-for’ category. However, EAA has a reputation for importing solid, reliable products intended to be put to work by their owners instead of dwelling in a display case.
Based on what I saw at the range during these tests, I'm glad to report that Girsan's latest offerings fall into the first category of imports. This company is manufacturing pistols at a level higher than its price points seem to indicate by providing a useful balance of desirable features often reserved for more expensive models.
Cosmetically speaking, the MC28 is not among my favorite striker-fired guns. Its military contract role shows in its looks. But handsome is as handsome does, my friends, and the MC28 does nicely. It's loaded with features, has a better than usual trigger, the grip shape is truly adjustable and it arrives ready to go to work.
It's not just optics ready for less than $500, it comes with a red dot optic installed for a suggested retail price of $488.21. Additional magazines are available from the EAA website.
Specifications: Model: MC28SA-TV (SKU: 390140) Action: Recoil Operated Semi-Automatic Ignition System: Striker Fired Caliber: 9 mm Slide: Optics Ready, Weight-Reduction Porting, Front and Rear Cocking Serrations Slide Finish: Flat Dark Earth Ceramic Coating Barrel: 4.25" Fluted, Black Finish Frame: Flat Dark Earth Polymer with Interchangeable Backstraps Dust Cover Accessory Rail: 1.75" 3-Slot Picatinny Compatible Sights: 3-Dot with Removable Rear Sight Plate Optic: Girsan Dot Carry Red Dot Slide Release: Low Profile Magazine Release: Tear Drop Button, Metalic Trigger: Polymer with Integral Blade Safety Trigger Pull: 4-lbs. 9-oz. (As Tested) Overall Length: 7.60" Height: 6.75" Slide Width: 1.1" Grip Width: 1.9" Weight: 29.8 oz. with Empty 15-Round Magazine Capacity: 15+1 Rounds Twist: 1:10” RH Rifle Grooves: 6 Accessories: Red Dot Optic (Installed) with Tools and Hardware, Rear Sight Plate, Three Grip Inserts, One 15-Round Magazine, Hard-Side Carry Case, Bronze Bore Brush, Cable Lock, Owner's Manual MSRP: $488.21