Girsan MC21 .45: Modern Ottoman’s Pistol

By Miguel C. Gil

For a nation whose official motto is, “Peace at home, peace in the world,” Turkey is steeped in martial tradition. Names like Osman I, whose expansion ambitions gave rise to the Ottoman Empire in the 13th century and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who is credited for founding the Turkish republic in 1923, are forever etched in world history.

Shades of a colorful past live on in modern day Turkey through its vibrant small arms manufacturing industry. The Girsan MC21 .45ACP, which we will examine in this article, is perhaps one of the finer fruits of this fast growing industry.

Gun details

Our test MC21 .45, courtesy of P.B. Dionisio & Co., came in a plastic gun case complete with two 9-shot magazines, two bore cleaning brushes, a small bottle of gun oil and the user’s manual. It was truly a welcome surprise to find a gun which out of the box, comes with such a well-appointed cleaning kit!

Girsan MC21 .45: This well-made Turkish pistol comes standard with a complete cleaning kit. (Photo by IGG)
Girsan MC21 .45: This well-made Turkish pistol comes standard with a complete cleaning kit. (Photo by IGG)

The Girsan catalogue states that the gun’s overall length is 7.8 inches, barrel length is 4.2 inches, overall height is 5.47 inches and width is 1.3 inches. It was obviously not intended to be a hideout gun but rather a full-sized holster gun. Still, with an empty weight of only 32 ounces (w/o magazine), the MC21 .45 was much lighter than it looked… thanks to its alloy frame.

Examining our sample gun closely, it became apparent that much care went into its construction. There were no visible tool marks on the surfaces and the engravings were deep and well-defined. A closer inspection revealed that the slide and the frame fit very well. Working the slide turned out to be smooth with no unusual resistance. These are all hallmarks of a quality pistol.

Its gaping wide magazine well funnels in the pistol’s thick magazines. The Girsan’s double stack magazine has a very pronounced taper towards the top, which is probably why it holds only 9-rounds. But this shape allows for very fast and seamless reloads!

The MC21 is a traditional double-action pistol, which means that when fired with the hammer down and with a round chambered, the first shot will be in double action mode and subsequent shots will be in single action mode.

Roman influences

The Girsan has a combination decocker/safety lever located towards the rear of the slide. When thumbed downward, this lever allows the shooter to safely bring the hammer down on a loaded chamber… which is the preferred way of carrying the pistol. When thumbed upward, it renders the trigger inoperable, thus putting the pistol on “safe” mode.

Big bore: The business end of the Girsan's .45 cal. muzzle can be intimidating! Its 4.2" barrel can best be described as being "Commander" length. (Photo by IGG)
Big bore: The business end of this Girsan .45 cal. can be intimidating! Its 4.2″ barrel can best be described as being “Commander” length. (Photo by IGG)

This decocker/safety feature is not unlike that found in Beretta 92 series pistols. In fact, most of Girsan’s earlier pistols, generically tagged Yavuz 16, are straightforward clones of the Beretta 92. While the newer MC21 has a distinct look, its internal workings are still very much Beretta inspired.

Shooting impressions

It was readily apparent that the MC21 was utterly reliable! It ingested round after round of P.B. Dionisio’s proprietary Bullseye military ball ammunition with nary a hiccup. Reliability is always at the top of our desirability check list!

While we were only shooting at the 7-meter mark, it was immediately clear that the Girsan had all the practical accuracy needed in a defensive pistol. The gun’s fixed sights were a bit on the small side, but they were adequate for the intended purpose.

Distinct look: The weight saving holes on the MC21's slide adds to its unique look. But internally its is still very much Beretta-inspired. (Photo by IGG)
Distinct look: The weight saving holes on the MC21’s slide adds to its unique look. But internally it is still very much Beretta-inspired. (Photo by IGG)

As expected, the first double-action shot strayed a bit from the rest of the group, which were shot in the single-action mode. But this is true for most if not all traditional double-actions pistols. What pleased us was that the double action trigger pull was smooth and not unduly heavy.

The grip of the MC21 was on the beefy side. This does not bode well for those with smallish hands… who may find holding on to the gun during recoil a bit challenging. But if the gun fits your hand to begin with, then there will be no problem.

In this writer’s opinion, the gun will be easily controllable to anyone accustomed to the .45 ACP kick.

Home defense?

The MC21 is probably at its best as a uniformed carry pistol or as a home defense gun. This is because its bulk does not lend itself to discreet carry.

The Girsan’s integral accessory rail makes it all the more suited for residential protection duties. Many home defenders appreciate the option of adding lights and lasers to their guns because most intrusions take place at night! The added bulk brought by these accessories is not a problem when concealment is not an issue.

By all indications, the Girsan MC21 .45 would make a worthy addition to anyone’s home defense battery.

PLAY: The MC21 .45 proved to be controllable despite its lightweight alloy frame. (Video by IGG)

*SRP of Girsan MC21 .45: Php43,200.00 (gun only)

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