Have you ever tried to use your non-dominant hand for cutting, writing or shooting? If so, you’ve probably found the task far more difficult than usual. Our brains are wired a certain way, but sometimes we must retrain this wiring. For gun owners, injuries or aging may often cause changes to how successfully we can use our tools and create a need for retraining. Luckily, many options exist in the market to help us overcome such challenges.
One of the more-interesting solutions is the Girsan MC 14T Tip-Up, a semi-automatic .380 ACP. With this design, Girsan has removed the need to rack a slide; plus, this firearm offers other advantages that should make gun owners take notice.
If you’re familiar with breech-loading guns of any type, you’ll find the MC 14T familiar enough. Press an ambidextrous button on the side and press down on the barrel. A gap will open up between the frame and barrel so you can place a cartridge directly into the chamber. And, though this design may be new to many shooters—at least in handgun form—it has been around for many years, including in Beretta’s popular Model 86 Cheetah and 3032 Tomcat.
Another attribute of this pistol is that, when it is open, you can see that the gun can’t fire. This makes it easy to check if it is loaded; also, the gun can be left loaded but open; you only need to close the barrel to the locked position to move the gun to a ready state.
Girsan also includes an accessory pad that fits on the bottom of a magazine. At the bottom of this pad is a built-in slot that holds one round of ammunition. If you choose not to have the chamber loaded, but to keep a loaded magazine next to it, you’d simply use that slot like a speed strip to pop one round into the chamber before inserting the magazine.
The MC 14T is available in a handful of color variations that fit a wide array of style preferences. Plain black, dark earth and two-tone black and gray are good options for those who like a more-subtle look; gold accents on the black-gloss-and-gold style offer a little dazzle; while the gold-plated and sangria options really catch the eye. (The “gold” is actually nitriding.)
So, how does it handle? The texturing of the composite grips on this gun was ideal for yours truly. I’m not a fan of near-zero texturing, but I also cringe when the stippling is too aggressive. The diagonal angle creates just the right amount of traction against un-gloved hands for a positive grip both during firing and when manipulating the firearm. There is a smooth indent where your thumb naturally falls, which also helps guide it to the magazine release, allowing full manipulation of the controls while your eyes stay on target. Using this smooth panel did bring my grip down a bit lower than I would have liked, but those with larger hands may not have the same difficulty.
Initially, I was concerned about how easy it would be to actuate the tip-up barrel design. To be blunt, I have fingers that more closely resemble Vienna sausages—the short, canned type—so I was sure reaching the barrel release was going to be an issue. Well, I was wrong, and my small, yet apparently mighty-enough, trigger finger easily reached the release. I experimented with releasing the barrel with the tip of my finger as well as with the flat portion right across my fingerprint and was able to release the barrel every time without strain.
When it came time to load the MC 14T, the process was similar to any other semi-automatic on the market. With the action closed, I first inserted the 13-round magazine with .380 ACP. I then released the tip-up barrel and inserted another round directly into the chamber.
After pressing the barrel down and locking it back into place, I cocked the hammer to the rear to send a few rounds downrange in single-action before moving on to testing it out in double-action. I was remarkably surprised at how smooth and easy each squeeze was while in double-action. I’m certain there have been many potential first-time gun owners who shied away from guns altogether because of a poor experience with extremely heavy slides or triggers—neither is an issue with this one!
There is also a half-cocked position, but, if you wish to carry half-cocked (literally), you should thoroughly train with a professional instructor first, not with “your friend down the street,” as Girsan amusingly warns in the manual.
Throughout the completion of group testing and velocity measurements, felt recoil was minimal regardless of which rounds were loaded, thanks in large part to the forged aluminum frame and steel barrel and slide. Often with guns marketed toward concealed-carry purposes, things are shrunk down and lightened to a point where they simply aren’t fun to shoot and, as we all know, if a gun isn’t fun to shoot, you’re not going to practice. Having a carry gun that can also double as a general recreation gun is a bonus, as not only will you naturally train more and become more proficient, but it’s also easier on the initial investment.
Additional features abound when it comes to the MC 14T. An ambidextrous external safety starts things off. This has a firing-pin-block safety, which allows you to pull the trigger all the way to the rear without the gun being fired. The expected slide stop and magazine release are found in the usual spots and are easy to manipulate. A fixed, white-dot front sight and traditional white-dot notch rear sight sit atop the gun, and if you’re the type who likes to accessorize your carry gun with a laser or flashlight, there is an accessory rail up front.
As you might imagine, the MC 14T is very easy to clean. Once you’ve removed the magazine, push down on the barrel release to ensure that the gun is unloaded. That gives you easy access to the barrel for cleaning, as well as plenty of room to oil up all the necessary parts just like you would any other handgun. There is no slide to remove, no recoil spring to bounce away and no more difficulty for your hands than in regular operation.
The Girsan MC 14T is a welcome addition to my collection. It is also a good gun to loan to my students.