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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)


By Phil W. Johnston

The Thunder .380 controls are all in the "right" places. All are handy and easy to acquire.

This job is full of surprises. One of them popped up this week when we wrapped our hands around a new little .380 semi auto for a couple days of shooting. It's called the Thunder .380 and it's produced in Argentina by Bersa S.A. This little rig generates a lot of bang for the buck.

The Thunder .380 is a small arm, measuring but 6.6 inches overall. It weighs 20 ounces and is just over an inch and a quarter wide. It's available in two finishes--the attractive matte black of the sample as well as a satin nickel.

The little Bersa sports a dual-action trigger that allows the first shot from a magazine to be delivered double-action with the subsequent shots going single-action. The pistol features an exposed hammer that allows the hammer to be manually cocked, moving the arm into single action, instantly. Out of the box the trigger isn't bad. The single-action pull is around six pounds or so with little takeup and just a bit of creep. It's good enough to allow some respectable shooting. The double action pull, likewise isn't bad-probably about double the single action pull--but smooth and linear just the same. Operationally, the little Bersa has everything in the "right" places. The safety is located on the left side of the slide and it acts as a de-cocking lever when it's fully depressed. The safety engages the firing pin when activated, as well. The pistol also features a magazine disconnector or safety as well, unfortunately. While we understand the motivation for these things, we prefer a firearm that acts like a firearm, should the magazine be unavailable for some reason. Weighing but 20 ounces it doesn't make much of a club.

The arm is shipped with one seven-round magazine. Additional magazines are available for a MSRP of $33.95 and Bersa also offers a Thunder 380 Plus, 9 round magazine for $47.95. The magazine release is located on the left side of the receiver, behind the pivot point of the trigger. Depressing the release nicely ejects the empty magazine.

The slide release is immediately above the magazine--again on the left side of the receiver--and it is activated when the last round from the magazine is fired.

Typical of arms based on this simple design, the Bersa is a snap to field strip. After verifying that the arm is empty and dropping the magazine, one simply rotates the takedown lever (right side of the receiver) downward and then pulls the slide back and upward.



The recoil spring is coiled around the barrel and remains there during the disassembly process. It takes about two seconds to field strip the Bersa and about the same amount of time to put it back together.

The Thunder .380 sports good sights with one white dot up front and a pair of white dots at the back. The rear sight is adjustable for windage but elevation is fixed. Out of the box, the rig was in the black at 10 yards.

Because the Bersa and similar arms aren't designed as long range target rigs and most confrontations occur at the proverbial 7-10 yards, we elected to run this arm indoors at 10 yards for the entire session. The fact that it was near zero outside also had a slight impact on our decision!

At any rate, our ammo locker was getting low where the .380 is concerned, but we managed to come up with five loads that tend to mirror most of the ammo that is out there. We rested the arm on sandbags and again used our competitive shooting glasses to clear up the front sight.

BERSA THUNDER .380 10-YARD PERFORMANCE
LOAD VELOCITY/ES/ED at 15 ft. INSTRUMENTAL ENERGY at 15 ft. 5-SHOT GROUPS Smallest Largest Average


Read the rest here.
http://www.handgunsmag.com/featured_handguns/bersa_thunder/
 

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Nice review. At some point I'm going to have to consider another firearm to go with my suits for dress-up occasions. My current rig might be a tad too bulky. This .380 might work. I have to see and feel it and compare it to a Glock26.
 

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What's their track record like? Are they reliable?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I personally do not own the 380, I know people that own them and they love them. Many of the owners have converted from the Kel Tec to the Bersa line for reliability.

I am waiting for delivery of the Bersa Thunder 9mm Ultra Compact, should arrive sometime next week.

The 9mm UC is just a little larger than the 380 in the review.

Bersa 9mm UC
SA/DA
13+1 Capacity
3.5 in barrel
6.5 in overall length
and weighs only 25oz empty.

At less than $325.00 it is a great gun for the $$$

Trigger is smooth and it is accurate for me.
I'll post a range report when it comes in.

Thunder 9mm UC
 

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These are great guns, a well kept secret to a lot of us.
Bersa gets a bad rap because people tend to associate quality with price.

Bersa is manufactured in Argentina and the exchange rate still favors the
American dollar. That's the value, it is not a cheap gun.

For those of you interested you can log on to:http://bersatalk.com/default.aspx

Sit back and gain some knowledge about these firearms.

RT
 

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i think (idk) the .380 and 9x18 makarov round may be the same in power anyone know? well i was shooting up in st augustine at some montiors and fire exstingiser ( need spell check lol ) the makarov round didnt even tip it , just dent at 15 yards anyone know the ballistic properties of the .380? :ak
 

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Bersa 380 fine pistol for the $ ftf MAY NEED A LITTLE POLISH 7100 rounds of FMJ
 

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MISPRINT 100 rounds
 

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The Besa 380 is a blow back actioin fairly snappy recoil fwiw
 

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I got mine when they first came out.
They were cheap.
Every gun store guru wanted to know why I wanted that piece of crap.

After I put the first 100 rounds through it I knew I had a keeper.:laughing

AFS
 

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Bersa 380

In the beginning, I bought a Walther PPK/S because I wanted a "pocket gun". Unfortunately, the PPK did not feed Hollow Points very well so I sold it.

Later, I bought a Bersa 380 and experienced feed problems. If you closely examine where the frame meets the barrel (on the feed ramp), you will see (and feel) a little edge there. Depending on how well the pistol was finished during the production run, this edge may be big enough to cause problems. The rounds were hitting this edge and ricocheting to the top of the receiver. This was pretty obvious from looking at the tips of the rounds and seeing the gouge made by the feed ramp edge. I sold the pistol and later bought another - after a CLOSE examination of this area. So, far the newer Bersa 380 has NOT had any feed problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
after a CLOSE examination of this area. So, far the newer Bersa 380 has NOT had any feed problems.
How many rounds did you put through the new Bersa? Any particular HP ammo work well?
 

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Bersa 380

So far, I have only put about 75 rounds through the new Bersa 380.

Experience seems to be suggesting that Remington JHP are the best. I now tend to use Remington in all of my pistols (380 & 9mm).

What was never intuitively obvious to me in all this time was that each manufacturer has a very definite pattern to the shape of their bullets and that is what seems to be the problem.

If I were to use an M9 (Beretta 92FS) with military issue 9mm, I'm sure I would never see a problem because hundreds of thousands of people have already proofed this weapon and its ammo over quite a few years.
 

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The .380's need a break in period of a couple hundred rounds of FMJ before you go loading HP's. Every gun is different however, most will handle Winchester white box from Wallyworld, Remingtion or Magtech all in FMJ.
Keep in mind that this is a blowback firearm and is prone to FTF's or FTE's if you limpwrist it.

The Bersa 9mm will eat anything straight out of the box. Mine has 1400 plus rounds thru it and it hasn't missed a beat. I just ordered a Bersa U.C. .45 to carry
Basically the same gun/frame as the 9mm.

RT
 

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Reliability

I have found the Thunder .380 to be the most reliable (excepting revolvers) machine I've ever owned. I have never experience any failures of any sort.
 

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i think (idk) the .380 and 9x18 makarov round may be the same in power anyone know? well i was shooting up in st augustine at some montiors and fire exstingiser ( need spell check lol ) the makarov round didnt even tip it , just dent at 15 yards anyone know the ballistic properties of the .380? :ak
The 9x18mm Makarov is a slightly hotter round than the .380 ACP. As far as the ballistic properties of the .380, they can vary widely depending on the cartridge and the gun it's being fired through. It is generally considered the bare minimum as a primary defensive round.
 

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During the colder days in Florida, when I'm am wearing jeans (as opposed to Cargo shorts, which have enough pocket room to carry an RPG), the Bersa Thunder 380 concealed carry model will nearly always find it's way into a Nemesis pocket holster.

I have fairly large hands and this firearm is small & flat enough to easily conceal in a jeans front pocket.....but still large enough to be able to get a decent grip on it and keep it on target.

It continues to prove itself to be totally reliable, as well as accurate at the 12 yards I shoot it at.

It's a good handgun that has a place in my stable.
 

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I have 2 of these little pistols. My carry holster is the Don Hume 721OT. I find them to be a good carry pistol (about 10 oz. more than the KT3AT). You can also pimp them up a little with Marschal Grips.
 

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Bersa .380

I had the Duo Tone. Heck of a nice gun. I wear a lot of dress attire so I used a Bianchi Triad ankle rig. This is a dependable nicely put together weapon. Never had one FTF or FTE. My Dad wanted a gun for the house, so the loving Son I am I gave him my Bersa. I wanted something my mother could handle in an emergency. Now I have the Taurus PT145 and the Taurus 24/7 9MM compact. I may get another Bersa Thunder .380 for the wife :dancingbanana. (shhhh really it will be to add to my collection)
 
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