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Thread: Review of my Bersa Thunder 9 Ultra Compact

  1. #1
    Senior Member Ryan H's Avatar
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    Review of my Bersa Thunder 9 Ultra Compact

    Well, its been approximately 5 months of constant carry and target use for this gun now, as well as some mild torture tests!

    It started when I decided I needed more than 6 rounds of .380 to carry overnight at work. The T9UC was a significant deal to me because it was somewhat of an "emergency buy", and I scored it new for $390 after tax with a box of Hornady XTP.

    The T9UC is a DA/SA semi-automatic 9mm (13+1 capacity) pistol made by a company named Bersa, out of Argentina. The Argentine police also use Bersa Thunder 9s (the full size) as duty weapons. The gun is a Browning design with an alloy frame and steel slide. The finish on the lower seems to be a type of anodizing, the slide has a spotty-looking blued finish that looks similar to phosphate treatment. The finish is by no means pretty at all.

    The safety operates by thumb, in the 1911-style "down/off up/on" manner. It is easy to manipulate while maintaining a full firing stance and grip.

    The slide lock and safety are ambidextrous, and the magazine release button can be reversed as well which makes this gun pretty suitable for all you wrong-handed folk out there. We swapped the catch out for my lefty buddy and he was able to manipulate the controls just fine. He even offered to buy it off of me!

    The pistol comes in a cardboard box with one spare mag, directions for use, and a single key to operate the integrated child safety lock. The key comes with the Argentine flag not-so-proudly attached to it, as it fell off during handling. I decided to leave the key alone since there is only one and I can't afford downtime if it gets lost. This is my only carry weapon now.

    This pistol has fired approximately 1,500 rounds now. Zero jams, zero malfunctions whatsoever. This is the first pistol I've ever had for both the "cheap firearm" class and "has never malfunctioned at all" class. My Kimber gave me issues from time to time, Taurus, Kahr, Ruger, you name it. I simply can't believe how reliable this gun is!

    After it was "broken in" with about 300 rounds, I started dropping empty mags in the dirt doing speed reload drills. I would pick them up, knock some sand out of them with my boot and reload them. Before I was done, there was sand ALL OVER the inside of the pistol. Still no problems! It shot this way through 600 more rounds before my hands had enough pain for the day. This was also in the sun all day. During breaks, the gun got so hot I couldn't touch it. Had to wrap a wet rag around it to cool it off a few times before continuing shooting.

    Gun was taken home, cleaned, inspected. Everything is fine albeit a scratched to hell and back mag well! The next week the gun went to the beach with me. It went in a gallon Zip-Lock bag and was tossed into the cooler. The problem was that upon going into the hot glove box of my buddy's truck afterwards, condensation took over. Inside and out. Got it home, stripped it down and cleaned it, the only rust I found was on the outside of the slide and a little bit on the recoil spring. It wiped right off and has not come back.

    Took it out again and fired another 50 rounds a few weeks later, still works like a champ.

    Round types it has fired:

    GA Arms 124gr JHP reloads
    Hornady XTP 115gr JHP
    Federal American Eagle 115gr FMJ
    Winchester White Box 115gr FMJ
    Speer Lawman 115gr TMJ
    PMC 115gr FMJ
    Federal 147gr Hydra-Shok JHP
    .. and LOTS of Federal 115gr FMJ

    Accuracy leaves something to be desired, however this is a short barreled 9mm under $400 USD. Groupings are about 8" @ 15-20 yards. I haven't outright bench tested it but thats what I get with a two hand hold at those distances and taking my time firing.

    The trigger pull in DA mode is firm and smooth, so smooth that you can't stage the hammer at all. Its just a steady pull backwards and a surprise "BANG"! The single action trigger is just that, a light single action pull. No complaints about the trigger mechanism at all.

    As far as concealability goes, this is a rather thick firearm but the grip is short and has no sharp edges. I am 5' 7" and 145lbs and have no issue concealing it while wearing a tight shirt. I carry it in a simple Uncle Mike's padded holster.

    In a nutshell, if you're looking for a reliable carry piece that won't break the bank, holds 13+1 rounds of 9mm in a concealable and easy to operate package, this is your ticket!

    Last edited by Ryan H; 07-13-2010 at 11:56 AM. Reason: Updated ammo cycled

  2. #2
    Member ODessa's Avatar
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    very nice review! I was actually looking at this peice before I bought my Keltec PF9. I wanted to get another for holstering in my truck, and this seems to fit my bill. I was considering Kahr but I completely forgot about Bersa! Many other forums give this gun a nice review as well. Thanks! Also good to see this gun isn't picky on ammo
    Iíll give up my gunÖ. When the birds donít fly!
    Iíll give up my gunÖ. When the ocean goes dry!
    Iíll give up my gunÖ. When politicians donít lie!
    -Iíll Give Up My Gun by Steve Lee

    A must watch for ALL Americans-Bill Whittle explains gun rights
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRAw3VWVyD8

  3. #3
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    Nice review and I agree with all you said. I have same gun in duotone finish. I have only 200+ rounds but all without any issues.
    Bersa gets lots of good press and reviews, but for some reason when people in gun shops talk about them it is not always recommended.
    I guess that has something to do with their profit margin in selling a gun at double the price.
    Bersa has a great support system with web site, forum--with LOTS of members who have seen a lot of small and large issues.
    I think Bersa is one of the best values in guns today and I would recommend them to anyone without hesitation.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Ryan H's Avatar
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    She's at 1,750 rounds as of last week and still ticking like a Rolex.

    Add 50 rounds of Federal 147gr JHP to the list of rounds it has munched down the tube flawlessly as well!

  5. #5
    Distinguished Member Scouse's Avatar
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    Good looking gun.

    Looks like the old Star Spanish pistols of 20 years ago. Works, a good thing.
    Be Safe.

  6. #6
    Sponsor brownie's Avatar
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    Nice review, not an unexpected report on the Bersa.

    First time I saw Bersa's in action was a class in Tenn. 3 years ago. Two women brought them as that's what they carried daily.

    Both guns ran 750-1000 rds total over 2 days without any problems from either of them. One girl cleaned hers sat night and sun morning the gun puked for a few mags till I looked at it and saw it was bone dry, no lube anywhere. We oiled it liberally and it ran all day without a problem.

    I've recommended and sold lots of Bersa's since then, if those little guns can run with the big dogs all day in my class, they've proven themselves more than worthy of consideration for C/C.
    The mind is the limiting factor

    Stay Sharp

    Brownie

  7. #7
    Distinguished Member Endangered Species's Avatar
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    Nice review, makes me want to check one out...
    "In routine encounters with law enforcement, a citizen should not have to weigh the likelihood that the officer will decide to shoot him dead. That's about as basic a standard for civilized society as one can muster."

    - Mark Steyn

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