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Girsan MC 14T Tip-Up: Open Top Classic .380



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Girsan Updates and Brings Back an 80's Icon

The Turks have a long history of producing guns “inspired” by other manufacturers, combined together with some licensed clones endorsed by the designers themselves, along with others that are straight-up rip-offs of iconic models. The Girsan MC 14T imported by EAA is a slightly modernized version of the Beretta Model 84 from their Cheetah line of blowback handguns.

When Beretta introduced the 80 series handguns in 1975, they did so with two models, a .32 ACP christened the Model 81 and bigger version in .380 ACP, both using double-stack magazines. A year later, they launched the Model 86, a single-stack with eight rounds in the mag but which also incorporated the tip-up barrel of the Tomcat backup pistol.

The MC 14T combines both the double-stack mag and .380 chambering of the 84, with the easy loading feature of the 86, which Beretta added to their catalog as the 84 FS (and is the rarest of the Tomcat pistols). Girsan brought it back, and if you’re a lover of the classic open-topped slide duty guns from Val Trompia, you may want to cast a beady eye over this Turkish variant.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Any notions you may have of this being a low-quality knockoff are quickly dispelled as soon as you pick the gun up — machine work on the slide and barrel are excellent.

White, 3-dot sights are fitted, and the rest of the slide is very Italian, with an open-top design that celebrates its centenary this year. Due to the combination of blowback action with its stiff recoil spring and there being not a lot of slide material to grab onto, manipulation is a bit awkward — so being able to load the first round directly into the barrel via the tip-up feature is appreciated.

To do this, the user simply presses down the barrel release lever located on the right-hand side of the frame, located roughly where you’d expect an ambi slide release, and the spring-loaded barrel pops up. The actual slide release is operated by the right thumb if you’re a righty or your trigger finger if you’re cack-handed.

The MC 14T can be carried in one of three conditions: cocked and locked with a single-action first shot, hammer down and safety off for double action, or if you’re one of those types who favor both a belt and suspenders to complement your 5.11 tuxedo, hammer down and thumb safety applied, which disconnects the trigger from the rest of the clockwork.

Discounting the last (dumb) option, either of the other two are perfectly viable, as the double-action trigger pull is smooth, with just a tiny bit of stacking toward the end of the stroke allowing the user to stage the trigger if they wish, or else pull straight through to drop the hammer. Single-action carry is facilitated by discrete, but easy to manipulate twin safety levers and a 5.25-pound pull with a crisp break.

Once the first round has left the pipe, there’s about a ¼ inch of reset to send the next one on its merry way.

Those with larger hands will find the grip a touch on the short side, but the included 13-round magazine has a finger rest incorporated into the baseplate, which locks the pinky in place. There’s no checkering on either front or back strap, though there are a series of machined grooves to give some additional purchase, and the well made, hard plastic grip panels feature fairly aggressive diagonal striations.

In contrast, the dust cover area of the slide feels unfinished, as if it emerged straight from the casting tree, though it does offer three Picatinny rail slots to mount the compact light of your choice. We tried bolting up a full-sized SureFire X300 Ultra, and the forward rail slot is located a hair too far toward the muzzle — something of an oversight which really should be corrected, as there’s plenty of material to accommodate it.

Girsan retained the elegant, sweeping trigger guard of the early Model 84, before Beretta succumbed to ’80s movie fashion and incorporated a squared-off and hooked trigger guard, ruining the pistol’s lines.

They’ve also included a lanyard loop, as found on the original Beretta 92, which while utterly superfluous for the average user, at least isn’t positioned in such a way to deliver a stab to the palm during a reload. Unlike the Italian guns, the MC 14T’s magazine release is reversible for left-handed use.

The Girsan apes the Italian gun’s takedown procedure — which is to say, don’t. Unless you like Ruger Mk2 levels of frustration, it’s better to just clean the parts you can access with the slide locked to the rear, hose the rest out with brake cleaner, and re-oil.

ROUNDS DOWNRANGE

Despite being chambered in .380 ACP, the Girsan is very nearly a full-size pistol, and feels like a CZ 75 in terms of grip dimensions. Its aluminum frame balances well, and the various grooves front, rear, and sides do a decent job of controlling it during recoil, which is much sharper than you’d otherwise expect due to its straight blowback action.

With it’s fixed barrel, accuracy is very good, and we had no problem making headbox hits on demand at 25 yards. Although our supply of .380 ACP ammo on hand was limited, there were no stoppages during several range sessions — again, the fixed barrel means that feeding is very straightforward, and empties are flung out of the gun with enthusiasm, despite the lack of an ejector.

Would we carry one? Nope. While the design is elegant, reliability and accuracy are everything we’d need, and workmanship good, the MC 14T is a copy of an ’80s product and the world has moved on in the past 40 years. It does allow anyone with diminished hand strength to manipulate a semi-auto by virtue of the tip-up barrel, but it’s bigger than ideal for a carry gun and has only 13 rounds of a marginal cartridge in the magazine.

If your circumstances require you to trade capacity and power for the ability to run the gun without having to rack the slide, then the MC 14T is worth a look, but for most of us, there are better options out there.

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