View Full Version : Budget Gun Review: Bersa Thunder 380.

7/01/2009 11:00am,
Bersa Thunder 380


Type: Double Action
Calibers: 9x17mm Short/Kurz (.380ACP)
Weight unloaded: 560 gram
Length: 168 mm
Barrel length: 90 mm
Capacity: 7 or 10
MSRP: $250.00

This little guy actually has a fairly rabid following. it seems that everybody who plays with these things loves them. My own instructor admitted that he prefers his Bersa to his much more expensive Walther .380, and usually leaves the expensive piece at home. This is a VERY popular budget gun!

The Good:

Wee beastie: At just over one pound, this thing is a breeze to carry. It's fairly thin (not like a Kahr or Kel-tec, though) and easily rides on the belt or inside the waistband unobtrusively. Sitting, running, standing, this thing is feather light and pleasant.

Steadfast: The Bersa line has a great record for reliability. Like the Hi-point, this is a straight-blowback operator and as such suffers from very few mechanical failures. This weapon feeds reliably all the time; surprisingly so considering it's price.

Simple = reliable!

You can get a ten-round mag for the 9mm and .380 versions of this weapon. That is really good for a gun this size. Typically, capacity is the first thing to go when you shrink a weapon to this size, but Bersa has managed to keep a decent-sized magazine for this little piece.

Friendly: It's a .380, people. Recoil is non-existent.


Anemic: While 9mm and .45ACP versions exist, the most common and economic version is the .380ACP. This is not a round famous for it's stopping power. You are looking at a best-case scenario of 190 Ft-lbs from a high-powered, expensive load. This is not TERRIBLE, but when you consider a hot .357 can deliver four times that, you start to get an order of magnitude. Most .380 cartriges will net you 150 ft-lbs or so. That's it. Most 9mm gives about 65% more oomph, making the .380ACP the under-performer of the handgun world. It will still kill a bad guy all day long, but other rounds do it faster and more consitently.

The only way to get any kind of power is with expensive rounds...

Come closer, please!: This weapon fires a low-speed projectile from fixed sights that ain't too far apart. What does this mean? It's hard to hit stuff. This weapon will give you great service up to 7 yards, and after that...well, best of luck. This is not to say the weapon is inaccurate, but consistent accuracy with this gun requires far more skill and practice than others. If you are too far away to THROW this gun at the bad guy and hit him reliably, then you are too far away to shoot him.

Where'd it go?: Not a weapon for dudes with big hands. The little grip positively disappears when you grab it. It can make the weapon hard to control, and shoot comfortably. You really should try this weapon before you buy it. Many men will find it uncomfortable and jumpy.


Fashionista: I actually don't have anything negative to point out here. There are multiple caliber, grip, magazine, and finish options for this weapon. It is popular, so accessories are fairly plentiful. Not like 1911's or Glocks, but there is a fairly good variety of options for customization with this gun.

You're big-pimpin' now!

Secret Society: Bersa owners are a quiet but fanatical group. They don't brag much, and those who don't know have a tendency to scoff at the little import. The reality is that it is very hard to find someone who owns one who doesn't love it.

Mouse Gun: Nobody is going to think you are cool for sporting this. It's small, weak, and no action star has ever used one on screen. You are going to get flak for it's weak bullets, small size, and generally unimpressive looks.That being said, who cares?

People love this thing. It's easy to conceal and carry, it shoots reliably, and has some cosmetic options that other low-price weapons don't. It's tough to be accurate with, and may not deliver all the power you need, though. it's a personal call. You can get them in 9mm Luger and .45ACP, but this is the cheap one. Definitely try this one out before buying.

That being said, it has a great track record and a very devoted following. At 250 bucks, there are lot of worse options. Definitely a solid piece.

3/31/2010 11:03am,
The Bersa Thunder 380?

I felt it was a good buy for me.

I am not trying to stalk gang members in their native environment nor am I trying to hunt down psychos on the mean streets. [That's what my AK and Shotguns are for]

However, I am stalking the pawn shops and Gunbroker for some of the earlier ALL STEEL models of the Bersa Thunder pre-cursors.


3/31/2010 12:33pm,
My gf carries this one, and she loves it.