Nice concise write up. Is it accurate?
Before I get into this, here is a photo of my Bersa Thunder 380. There are a few of them out there in different styles (and slightly different names), I speak only for this one:
Ok. I've gotten a few private messages about my Bersa Thunder 380 now, so I thought I would make a thread about it.
The gun, in general, is a decent weapon. It is very accurate, lightweight, slender, and easy to carry in just about any way. I have deep concealed, put it in an ankle holster, worn in IWB, and carried it in my purse. I am carrying it more often than I used to now, because it is begining to enter its "broken in" stage.
It isn't the greatest for IWB. It does tend to jam me in the ribs a little harder than my Sig P226 (which blows my mind), but it is doable. Great purse gun, great ankle gun.
It's a little hardcore on the safeties, but you get around that. I threw out the key. I use the one safety, I had the magazine disconnect safety disconnected.
My problem with the gun, and I understand it isn't a normal occurance, but one out of every few does have this same problem, is the magazine disconnect safety malfunctioned. The first time I took it out on the range, it made it through 30 rounds before it became a single shot. The gun read the magazine as not in the gun after the first shot, so I would have to drop the magazine and put it back to fire each round. I sent it to a gun smith, he easily fixed it, and I haven't even had so much as a jam or misfeed since.
The gun is a little tricky to break down and put together because of the fixed barrel, but with practice it becomes a breeze. If you stop cleaning it weekly like I was doing for a while, it becomes tricky again. Just break it down once a week to stay in practice. At least once a month.
Would I reccomend buying this gun? Yes, I would. It is a good, low cost gun that you don't feel too bad about strapping to your ankle. If you have the money, buy something else, though (unless it is an ankle gun most of the time, because you don't feel so bad strapping a $220 gun to your ankle, while a $550 gun you might worry more about down there). I would reccomend buying a Walther PPK or Sig P232 if you can afford them. But the Bersa Thunder 380 is wonderful on the range, cheap on ammo, cheap on maintaining, not ammo picky, very accurate, durable, and really is a good little gun.
Nice write-up... glad to see you're happy you took the plunge...don't freak if it FTF in the first few 100 rounds, it will break in. I trust my life with mine in my pocket in the summer mowing the lawn or walking around the block in shorts and a t-shirt when I can't carry a .40 or .45.
I'm still looking for some CorBon DPX in the local stores, I might have to order some before too long...until then regular CorBon's backed by a few FMJ's will work.
Great little shooter and even better on the user than a Wathler PPK/S
The SA trigger is better than a lot of auto's I've shot.
7 yards with my crap hands...
Yes, that isn't bad accuracy...
I almost bought one last year myself...
Oh, it is accurate, I'm always willing to give that much credit as fast as possible. Out of my three guns, it is the most accurate one. I'll try to shoot a target with just the Bersa one of these times and save it for you. I usually do all three on one because the first target is free. LOL! I'm cheap like that.
I have some 380 Extreme Shocks waiting right now. So far, not brave enough. I'll admit, my issue made me a little untrusting of the little thing, but we're getting there. I still don't carry it with a round chambered, which is unlike me. My guns are always chambered and ready to go, but I don't have that much trust yet. Soon, though. It's winning me over faster and faster. By 1000 rounds we should be almost best friends (the Sig is always my best girl).
I wrote this some years ago but it may still bear merit. Regards, Richard
"This is a review and comparison of the following pistols that I own and shoot. These pistols are the Bersa Thunder 380, Makarov, Sig P230, and Walther PP. I own the pistols reviewed and carry them on occasion. I am sorry that I do not own a Walther PP in .380; I used my 32acp version of the PP for this review.
Many feel the 380 is low on the power ladder but I feel as well armed with a 380 as a 38 Special in a snub nose revolver and I have more shots with the 380. The 32acp is a strange situation because its actual performance is much better than it should be.
All of these pistols are accurate and the reason for this is they all have fixed barrels. Accuracy from a fixed barrel is a known plus but failing to have a Browning style barrel increases felt recoil. What do I mean? I find my Kel-Tec P32 as easy to shoot as my Walther PP 32acp, which is a much bigger and heavier handgun.
Bersa Thunder 380
§ Caliber: .380 ACP
§ System of operation: Semiautomatic
§ Length: 6.61 inches
§ Height: 4.92 inches
§ Width: 1.34 inches
§ Barrel length: 3.5 inches
§ Weight: 20 ounces
§ Rear sight: Notched bar, dovetailed
§ Front sight: Blade, integral with slide
§ Magazine capacity: 7 cartridges
§ Grip: Polymer
§ Finish: Blue/ Nickel/ Duotone
§ After firing the last cartridge, the slide remains open
I have well over 500 rounds through my Bersa since I bought in March of this year. I find the factory plastic grips comfortable and the sights easy to see. My pistol has an excellent factory trigger and I shoot this pistol well. If I have any complaints about the Bersa, they are the decocker works in the opposite direction from a 1911 and the finish could be better.
My pistol came with one magazine but I bought two extra ProMags from CDNN at a very good price. These magazines lack the finger extension found on factory magazines but that is not a big deal to me. I am sure the Bersa Thunder is one of the best buys available in the current handgun market.
§ Type: Semiautomatic, fixed barrel, straight blowback
§ Caliber: 9 x 18 mm.
§ Length overall: 6.29921 inches
§ Weight: 23.47 oz.
§ Barrel length: 3.66142 inches
§ Capacity: 8
Another current best buy is the Makarov pistol. These were the pistols of the Soviets and they are built like T34 tanks. I own three Makarovs and I like them, two of these are East German (EG) and the third is a Bulgarian. The Makarov is a little bigger and heavier than the other pistols in this review but with a good holster, carry and concealment are not an issue.
To me my main concern is the small factory sights that come standard on Maks. I replace the sights on my Bulgarian with Novak Night Sights and it is now a dream to shoot. A word to the wise is sight replacement is not cheap. This runs between two and three hundred dollars. With the current price of Maks, you may consider the Mak as a point and shoot gun if you so desire. I can squint and do okay with the factory sights on my EGs but the Novak's are a joy to use.
The triggers on all thee of my Maks are good with the nod going to the EGs. I do not feel unarmed when I carry a Mak. The Mak is a lot of value for the price.
§ Type: Semiautomatic, fixed barrel, straight blowback
§ Caliber: .380acp
§ Length overall: 6.6 inches
§ Weight: 20.8 oz.
§ Barrel length: 3.6 inches
§ Capacity: 8
My Sig P230 is a used stainless steel pistol that is in very good condition. I bought it used from a dealer I respect; the dealer said it was a police officer's back up gun and used little. My impression of the P230 is it ranks up there with the best but it should as it costs a lot.
This compact pistol came with a problem. The gun jammed the first time I shot it and continued to jam. The jams were like no other I have ever seen before. The spent cartridge ejected properly but the next cartridge went straight at the top of the chamber and lodged there. To make matters more interesting the third round then faced downward at the front of the magazine. I am bull headed and kept trying to figure out the cause of these jams. I tried all types of ammunition including full metal jacket bullets. Nothing helped the situation.
I called the shop I bought the pistol from, the shop owner said bring the pistol in, and he would make good on it. I put off taking the 90-mile drive and continued to ponder the situation. I asked anyone with Sig experience ad called the manufacturer. In the end, I ordered a new recoil spring, magazine spring, and magazine from Sig.
I installed the springs and I did note the new springs have much more power than the old ones. I took the Sig P232 to the range and guess what happened with the first round? A jam just like the prior jams. I cleared the jam and reloaded the pistol. Before I fired the next round I remembered something the Sig gunsmith said to me: "Hold the pistol high and with a firm grasp." I tried this and the jams are now gone. Lastly, the P232 is accurate shooting orange sized groups from a modified Weaver stance at 10 yards.
Walther PP 32acp
§ Type: Double Action
§ Caliber: 32acp
§ Length overall: 6.81102 Inches
§ Weight: 21.9268 Ounces
§ Barrel length: 3.89764 Inches
§ Capacity: 8
My Walther PP is a West German police trade in excellent condition. This pistol is the one all other compacts are judged by. My PP exudes quality and shoots to point of aim. I have only one complaint with Walther PP pistols and that is the bite the web of my hand. A final note on Walthers is they tend to hold their value better than any pistol I have owned.
After evaluating the four pistols, my conclusion is all will serve you well but the true sleeper is the Bersa Thunder 380. This little pistol has great sights and a very good trigger. In the end, it is my choice over the Makarov due solely to its superior sights. The Bersa is one-third to one-half as much money as the Walther or Sig pistols. It is a truly great buy.
Avoid Taurus products like the plague! Why? They have no customer service.
Thanks for the posts.
Now Richard that is one fine report. It lets us look at the different qualitys of the guns involved. Thanks.
This is my trusty Bersa Thunder 380 and the second photo is the holster I use with it most by HBE. regards, Richard
Good reviews, Richard. Show us some pics of your Makarovs.
Nevermind, Richard. I just found the pics on your thread. Nice!!!
Last edited by Charlie; 07-29-2006 at 10:33 AM.
I attempted phase two of the test on my Bersa today and it was deemed inconclusive due to bad ammo. The first round misfed real bad (the whole casing went into the barrel) and several more just didn't even fire. I would have deemed it a failure due to how bad that misfeed was, but the dead ammo made me decide it needs to be attempted again. I used Fiocchi ammo, which has been having problems lately, but sadly it was all I could get at the range today. Of course, I used my S&W 686 also and put 357 magnum Fiocchi through it to much the same outcome. Several rounds just didn't fire at all, which I have never had happen before with this gun. So I am assuming it was bad ammo and the test will be attempted again with a different brand.