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Bersa Thunder .380 Plus review, shooting impressions, video Login/Join 
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FEATURES AND GENERAL SPECS: I recently ordered this rather unique little .380 from Classic Firearms for $250 plus shipping. It's a handsome double-stack, 15-shot .380 DA/SA blowback-operated pistol with somewhat modernized "Walther-esque" lines but with a functional external slide stop/release, a much better trigger, comfy, hand-filling grips, and (like it or don't) a magazine disconnect safety as well as a lockable trigger feature.

I chose the handsome “duo tone” with what appears to be either electroless nickel or similar appearance anodized alloy frame and a blued slide and controls. It weighs around 20 ounces empty and has a 3.5” barrel.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: I bought the pistol sight unseen and had never handled a Bersa, though had a positive opinion of the company due to internet osmosis. First impressions were very favorable. I didn’t read the manual and I was able to check the pistol and function, test the trigger and decocker/safety, and learn it has a mag disconnect safety pretty intuitively. I didn’t expect to see the “integral locking system” access on the left side of the frame, which I can personally do without, but as long as it doesn’t turn itself off without permission I can live with it. Big Grin

I can understand why some people want features like this and the magazine safety, and this pistol offers both. And the 15-round capacity magazine is welcome and IMO helps create a more pleasant shooting experience due to the necessarily wider grip frame.

FIT AND FINISH: There was some grease in the magwell, on the slide, and on the frame where the trigger bar rubs that made me think at first the finish was sub par but it all wiped off easily, leaving a well-finished and attractive pistol. The slide retracts very smoothly and nothing was obviously too sharp. The safety lever could use a tumble in some metal polishing media to break some sharpish edges, and its detent is fairly stiff, but is still usable. The mag release is a little stiff also. But IMO better too stiff than too mushy. The magazine jumps out with authority, even with the slide locked to the rear.

The grips fit the frame very well and feel like high quality rubber-like polymer with useful checkering on the panels and on the wraparound “frontstrap.”
The other surfaces are comfortable to handle and it’s generally a pleasant pistol to hold.

SHOOTING IMPRESSIONS: I checked the bore, lubed the rails and the outside of the barrel, and started off shooting a B-8 target at 10 yards offhand, with plated 95-grain target loads. I was pleasantly surprised at the lack of stinging recoil that other blowback .380s are known for, particularly the Walthers in my experience, which I find not fun shooting ball ammo and positively unpleasant shooting defensive JHPs.

I went through a few mags shooting paper and steel targets and had no issues hitting most of the time. The pistol hit a little to the right in my hands, and a tad low with the less powerful ball ammo, though it came up nicely when shooting full power JHPs from DoubleTap and Buffalo Bore.

All groups printed a little to the right but the sights are drift adjustable.

I shot one group each, rested, from 15 yards, which is both what I consider about the maximum a smallish defensive pistol needs to be asked to do and is about as far as I can see clearly with my current outdated prescription.

I understand one group really doesn’t tell you anything useful but it gives an impression and I don’t stock a ton of .380. Largest group was 3.3” with DoubleTap Tac-XP Barnes 80 grain lead free JHP, and the smallest were 1.4” with Buffalo Bore 95-grain +P JHP and my reloads of 100 grain Berry’s HBRN over 3.1 grains of W231 in mixed brass.

Recoil was sharp but not painful with the Buffalo Bore and DoubleTap +P JHP, though the Barnes load wasn’t bad and the DoubleTap “Match” FMJ and my loads were lovely.

I did get some abrading/stinging along the left edge of the extended tang (not really a beavertail) which has a sharpish edge, but only when I used a high thumbs-forward grip.

I had some failures to lock back empty after a dozen or so mags, and 2 pieces of brass to the head, but no malfunctions.

Overall it seems like very good quality for the money and it’s fun to shoot.

Here’s a video for any interested. https://youtu.be/f77kn9JQXag


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Posts: 2212 | Registered: February 27, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I had a Bersa 380CC 10 or 11 years ago that I really liked, and dumbly sold off.

It was very accurate and always went bang, I had a P232 around the same time and actually preferred the Bersa:




 
Posts: 26236 | Location: Pennsylvania | Registered: November 12, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks for the review. This is one I am looking at . My LGS has this brand in stock
 
Posts: 884 | Location: UP of Michigan | Registered: October 21, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I had a Bersa CC which I got used from my local gun shop. Brought it to the range after cleaning it the very next day.. put 130 rounds through it and it shot fine.

As I always do, brought it home to clean it and the gun got all bolloxed up trying to take it down. Brought it back to the shop and he couldn’t get it apart. He gave me back the money I paid for it toward a new Glock 42 which I love immensely.
 
Posts: 225 | Location: Florida Gulf Coast | Registered: October 17, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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My father had one of the Bersa-PPK look a like pistols, although I can't remember the model. It was an amazing little performer and was quite comfortable to shoot compared to the S&W PPK abomination he had.
 
Posts: 5028 | Location: Treasure Coast,Fl. | Registered: July 04, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I don’t have the .380 so maybe I should not post. However I do have their Thunder 9. Solidly built gun. No problems thus far. Probably too heavy & big for a pocket carry gun. I have not tried it as a pocket gun. I would not hesitate to buy 1 but have made a decision that 9MM is the smallest caliber I will stock ammo for.
 
Posts: 290 | Location: NW North Carolina | Registered: November 04, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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My wife's Bersa would stovepipe every 10th round but it could be her limp-wristing it. This is a 5 year old model.
 
Posts: 62 | Location: N. TX | Registered: June 22, 2019Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have owned 2 Firestorm 380s (Bersa) and they have functioned 100% every time. Gave one to my ex before we divorced and liked it enough to buy another.


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Posts: 769 | Location: Los Angeles, CA & Orem, UT | Registered: April 27, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I've got the .22 version. I like Bersas! I had the .45, but gave it to a relative.
 
Posts: 15294 | Location: Lexington, KY | Registered: October 15, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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