Firearm: Girsan MC9 T (MSRP: $661)
I really don’t want to open up the whole “competition will get you killed in the streets” argument here with the MC9 T, because first off I don’t buy into it, and secondly I think competition is a fantastic way to hone your skills while testing your gear. Girsan’s MC9 T is designed for the competitive crowd, there’s no denying that – one look at the lightening cuts in the slide, magazine well funnel and custom trigger will tell you that.
However, the pistol is about the same size as a Smith & Wesson M&P full-size, Glock G17 or FN509, all of which we’ve featured on “I Carry” previously and are eminently good concealed-carry options. In the case of the MC9 T, you get a few slick upgrades and the ability to add EAA’s proprietary FAR-DOT red-dot sight for an MSRP about that of a plain-jane pistol. That’s a great value. If you’ve been thinking about getting into competitive shooting, the MC9 T presents an affordable option that can also serve as a concealed-carry pistol.
With a 4.6-inch barrel, overall length of 8 ¼ inches and a weight of 25.6 ounces, the MC9 T is on the larger side for concealed carry, but still certainly possible. Again, remember that the slightly longer barrel means greater sight radius for more precise shots, and is the part that is easiest to conceal. The grip is the harder part to conceal -- you might opt to remove the magazine well funnel for daily carry. The MC9’s grip lends full support when shooting, always a good thing. Controls are ambidextrous, there’s a manual safety should that be a concern, and the MC9 T comes with interchangeable backstraps to better fit it to your hand.
Whether you’re curious about competitive shooting or simply looking for an upgraded firearm without the upgraded price, the Girsan MC9 T is a solid option. Match-grade components, a lifetime warranty and red-dot capability at a price near or below that of stock options from other manufacturers give plenty of reasons to check out this competition-ready pistol.
Holster: PHLster IWB Floodlight (MSRP: $124.99)
We’ve brought back PHLster’s excellent Floodlight holster for the MC9 T, because there aren’t a ton options for it right off the bat. We’ve extolled the Floodlight for its versatility – the holster indexes off the attached weaponlight, rather than any particular pistol. Models work with either the Streamlight TLR1 or the SureFire X300, and as long as your handgun has an accessory rail on the dustcover for either of these lights, you can use the Floodlight confidently. 1911s, SIG P226s, Glocks, M&Ps, it doesn’t matter – if the pistol accepts one of the two lights, you’re good to go.
The Floodlight comes ready for standard inside-the-waistband carry as well as appendix carry with the included ModWing to help tuck it into the body. There’s a separate outside-the-waistband model available as well. Floodlights come with pull-the-dot loops and polymer belt clips that can be mounted on either side of the holster for right- or left-handed shooters. Retention can be adjusted as needed, and slight differences in slide widths can be managed with the shock cord that connects the two halves of the holster.
Knife: CRKT Bivy (MSRP: $69.99)
With a pistol and holster setup that’s this versatile, we needed a knife that was equally suited for a wide variety of tasks. CRKT’s Bivy is an interesting take on the multi-tool—rather than the standard Swiss Army knife style or mid-folding Leatherman, the Bivy looks like a slightly chunky pocketknife. A standard 3-inch 5Cr15MoV-steel blade with tanto profile and partial serrations can be employed with a thumbstud and held open with a liner lock, but there’s more.
Flip the Bivy over, and three small tools are accessible: Flathead screwdriver with bottle opener, hole punch and slim Philips’ head screwdriver. Again, that’s not all. On the scale opposite the blade you’ll find a lever that actuates the needlenose pliers/wire cutter tool. Featuring single-hand operation, this is an amazingly useful and helpful tool to keep in the pocket. There’s even a pocket clip, although in one position only.