Bersa .380 vs Keltec P-3AT


November 1, 2007, 08:13 PM
I am curious as to if any of you could provide feedback on the concealability of the Bersa. I'm looking at both but am not quite comfortable with what I'm reading about the KelTec. I had a Taurus Millenium and found it to big and I don't want a repeat with the Bersa.Is it fairly concealable in a Jacket pocket or say a pants pocket holster if I was in just casual attire not ultra baggy jeans? I basically need something to be an alternate to my Taurus 1911 (Which I Love, Thanks Michael for your information on it.) Would the Bersa be a good choice have any of you who have one have any regrets?

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Jim Watson
November 1, 2007, 08:17 PM
I don't consider the Bersa a pocket pistol. And if I am going to wear a holster, it will be for something more powerful than a .380.

On the other hand, I still have my Kel-Tec .32 (predates 3AT) in my pocket from errands today.

P. Plainsman
November 1, 2007, 08:32 PM
You can probably pocket the standard Bersa Thunder 380. I've done it a few times using a DeSantis Nemesis holster. I'm a 5'10" man, average build.

Concealment that way isn't zero-profile -- it's obvious you've got junk in your pocket -- but the gun's concealed and it's not too bad. The one part of the pistol that really "prints" in a pocket is the pinkie extension on the magazine. If you could get a hold of the flush-fit Bersa mags (like the ones on the special Concealed Carry model), that would help.

The little Kel-Tec P3AT is definitely in a different category from the Bersa as far as concealment goes. Close to a true zero-profile gun. On the other hand, it's not nearly as shootable as the Bersa.

A good compromise might be the Concealed Carry Model Thunder 380 -- lighter, flush mags, smoothed edges. I bet it would pocket carry very well; better than the standard Thunder; yet give you a lot more "gun" to hang on to than the Kel-Tec.

See pic:

By the way, that link to the Bersa website erroneously lists the CC Model with the same 23 oz weight as the regular Thunder 380. In reality the CC Model is much lighter -- Bersa says 16.4 oz unloaded:

November 1, 2007, 08:52 PM
The Bersa Thunder .380 CC is significantly smaller than a standard Bersa. I have one with almost 1500 rounds through it. Pocket carry is its almost exclusive purpose. If I can carry something bigger, its an XD-40.

Here is what I like. It is small enough to pocket carry comfortably. It is very reliable. It is also both accurate and pleasant to shoot. I can easily fire all 9 rounds into a 2" hole in under 5 seconds. I can hit anything I aim at quickly at any distance out to 25 yards. I can fire as much as 100 rounds through it at the range and feel no fatigue. Try that with a P-3AT.

November 1, 2007, 09:32 PM
I recently moved from a (very cranky and unreliable) P-3AT to a Bersa T380CC. I've only got about 180-200 rounds through the Bersa but so far my description of it would pretty much parallel what scurtis_33471 wrote.

I have tried pocked carry with an Uncle Mike's Sidekick #3 holster (8744-3) and it seems to work fine but then I'm a bigger guy who tends to wear looser pants or pants with big cargo pockets.

In an IWB style holster it just vanishes.

After I've had it for a while I'll post more of a "range review".

The Amigo
November 1, 2007, 09:49 PM
Most counsealable and comfortable to carry P3at. Most easier to shoot Bersa.

I have a p3at with over 1500 rounds without a hiccup and still ticking.:D however I consider the keltec an im in your face gun and the Bersa a gun with a little more range.

Ala Dan
November 1, 2007, 09:53 PM
Contrary to other's post, I have experienced NO problems with the KEL- TEC
P3AT .380 or the Bersa Thunder .380; as both have worked flawlessly from
the "GIT-GO"~! :scrutiny: ;) :D

Accuracy with either is acceptable as a "defensive handgun". Even with the
P3AT's dimunitive size, I can keep a magazine full of .380's in an 8" pie plate
from 15 yards out. In retrospect, that's good enough to place a magazine
full into center mass at defensive handgun ranges.

November 1, 2007, 10:02 PM
I work in retail management and have found that where our location is it make me nervous as it is dark sooner with young employees especially female workers now that we are getting closer to holidays. I want something small to have on me or near me at much as possible. I have an awesome Taurus pt1911 in my car almost always for my own primary. But, you can't walk around with a 40oz. brick always. I like the Bersa and prefer something more tactically sound with range enough to hit a target at about 15yds. if need be. But I don't know how well it would conceal in my situation. I wear docker style pants with a tucked shirt at work. Do any of you have any thoughts. It sounds like the Kel-Tec is more practical in terms of concealment but I still like the Bersa sights and the DA/SA.

November 1, 2007, 10:19 PM
I've had both the P3AT (had it, traded it in for the Bersa) and have a Bersa T380 (Concealed Carry version) right now.

P3AT Pros and Cons:
The P3AT is the most concealable pistol in 380 or bigger I've ever seen, bar none. A spare mag is the size of about 5 sticks of gum. The gun is TINY (that's a good thing), put it in a #2 Uncle Mike's pocket holster and it'll print less than a small cell phone in your pocket would. They make a neat little belt clip (like a pocket knife might have) that can clip the pistol to the inside of your pants. Just about every other pistol (other than a NAA22) will be too big to do that.

Many people report having very reliable P3ATs, sometimes new out of the box, sometimes after some fluff 'n buff. Mine was a used P3AT and it jammed too much, which is the main reason I traded it in after a week or so of shooting it every day.

The P3AT has snappy recoil, which there's no getting around because the pistol is so small and concealable. I still have the scar on my right thumb where the tang kept hitting the same spot over and over. You probably won't want to shoot much more than maybe a box of 50 in one session with the P3AT.

I traded my used P3AT in and bought a NIB Bersa T380CC which I still have. The T380CC is a little bigger than the P3AT, but it conceals and carries just fine in an Uncle Mikes #3 or #4 pocket holster. It's a nice little gun with a few features that you normally don't find on $300 or less small guns, like conventional safety and DA/SA operation, a loaded chamber indicator, slide locks back on last round (the P3AT does not).

I like the Bersa T380CC, but mine is now the backup to the backup gun (#3 in my stable of carry guns, my preference these days is to carry either a 357 snubbie or a compact 9mm if I can over the 380).

The only cons IMO about the Bersa are that I think it's kind of lightly and a little bit cheaply made, despite the nice features it has. I'm not knocking it. But 1) for instance in order to seat a magazine by rapping the base of the magazine, the impact always causes the slide to pop forward if it had been locked back. my other autos don't do that unless I just slam the bejesus out of the magazine. Also 2) the magazine release button gets sort of stuck from time to time. It can be kind of difficult to get it to release a fully loaded magazine. And 3) occasionally after I rack the slide and decock the hammer, when I put the safety back to 'fire', the trigger does not always engage the inner workings sometimes unless the slide gets jiggled. For this reason if I do carry it, I always put the safety on 'fire' and verify that the trigger is engaged. I'd really hate to draw the gun in need and then find out the trigger was just flapping in the wind. Some people find the safety action lever to be really really tight and hard to operate. Mine was hard to use when I bought it, but after a couple of range sessions it eased up and hasn't been a problem on mine.

The pistol works ok, but imo it takes just a little fiddling and several hundred rounds to get used to it's pecadillos. I think these pecadillos are just because it's such a small and light pistol. The Bersa T380CC is pleasant and accurate to shoot. But, nice as it is and even with the devoted following it has (check out the Bersa chapterhouse sometime), it ain't a Rohrbaugh (spelling?)

Jim Watson
November 1, 2007, 11:43 PM
Dang, x, that must have been a very sad KelTec if you are putting up with that much crap out of a Bersa. They have a better Internet Reputation than that.

Shooters Plus
November 1, 2007, 11:51 PM
As mentioned, the Keltec will be easier to conceal and mine has not given me any trouble at all and pretty darn accurate for what it is. But I have to admit, it is not a very fun gun to shoot.

November 1, 2007, 11:53 PM
My Bersa had a couple feeding problems in the first hundred rounds and was flawless after that until around 1200 rounds. At 1200 rounds, it had a major mechanical failure. I sent it back to Bersa. They replaced the seer and several other parts, tested it and sent it back. I've put another two to three hundred rounds through it since and its been flawless.

November 1, 2007, 11:59 PM
I wear docker style pants with a tucked shirt at work. Do any of you have any thoughts.
Not all khakis are created equal. Original Dockers brand pants, in my experience, have large, deep pockets. I can fit a Glock 26 in one. It's heavy, but, it fits fine and is easy to access. I also have some Haggar brand khakis which have smaller pockets. The pockets are bigger than those on a pair of jeans, but considerably smaller compared to Dockers. The Glock 26 doesn't do as well there but a P3AT is just fine.

So, my recommendation is to wear the work pants with the smallest pockets and go to a gun shop or gun show. Ask if you can try pocketing the gun to see how easy it is to draw, how bad it prints, etc.

November 2, 2007, 12:14 AM
Get the Bersa CC model Its smaller and lighter than regular Thunder.
Come to

November 2, 2007, 01:29 AM
The bersa is an iwb gun, not a pocket gun like the p3at. if you're going to carry iwb you might as well step up to a 9mm gun.

November 2, 2007, 09:52 AM
I pocket carry the Bersa in a Galco pocket protector holster in cargo shorts all the time Its fine. You can't even tell I have something in my pocket. Its not quite as good in Khakis, because the shape of the pocket does not work well with the particular holster I'm using. You can tell I have something in my pocket, but you cannot tell its a gun.

November 2, 2007, 01:18 PM
Nothing compares to a 2nd generation P3AT for a true pocket carry. It's cheap and reliable. It'll hit an 8in plate at 25yds all day if you do your job. Get the DeSantis Nemesis for it.

November 3, 2007, 12:25 AM
I own a Kel-tec P3AT, and its awesome quite frankly. I have never had a jam, misfire, or any failure of any kind. It is not a fun gun to shoot. The recoil is sharp, and intense. I would describe it as a sting. However, the learning curve is short and with a little practice, it can be very accurate. This is a gun meant to save your life. I wouldnt trade mine for anything. Desantis makes 2 awesome carry holsters for it. I own both and love them. The insider and the nemesis.

I also own a S&W M&P 9mm, an AK-47, and a SS 6" GP100.

November 3, 2007, 12:32 AM
xsquidgator If you Bersa CC is having problems Come to we have a warrenty smith on board and he will make arrangements for you to have your warrenty work done. No need for these little problems. Fast turn around You and your Bersa deserve better.

November 3, 2007, 01:35 AM
I sent my Bersa to a warranty smith in PA and they took care of me very well. The gun was only gone a couple weeks and that was only because they had to order parts. They did great work and tested the gun before sending it back. I haven't had a problem since.

November 3, 2007, 07:26 AM
I have a 3AT and carry it every day. It is not a target pistol although I shoot it as well as my Springer. I have no problems with feeding, jamming, etc. and no one ever knows it's in my pocket!

November 3, 2007, 01:14 PM
Somewhere on one of the forums that I frequent, someone had posted photos of his new Bersa 380 CC (the small one) next to his Kel-tec P3AT. The photos were really helpful in getting a sense of how big the two guns are.

As soon as I find it, I'll post a link.


November 3, 2007, 03:01 PM
That would be me...
The post is here: Size comparison, Bersa 380 vs Keltec P-3AT (warning pic heavy) (

P. Plainsman
November 3, 2007, 04:08 PM
Ah, interesting. That comparison pic thread makes me feel pretty bullish about the 380CC Bersa. Looks easily as pocketable as an airweight J-frame snubby -- which is plenty pocketable.

I should get one of those things. But I also want a Firestorm .22 to plink with.

Wouldn't want to OD on little Argentine pistols ... ;)

November 3, 2007, 04:16 PM
At 23 oz, it needs a belt holster for all-day carry if you don't want to wear blisters on your leg.

Thats almost two Kel-Tecs!

November 3, 2007, 04:27 PM
Just for the record, 23oz -unloaded- is wrong (that's the weight of a regular T380, the CC model is quite a bit lighter).
On my "precision" scale the weights are...

Kel-Tec P-3AT
Magazine w/+1 extension
7 rds ammo in mag, 1 round in chamber (8rds total) = 12oz even
(Unloaded w/out mag the P-3AT weighs in at 7 & 3/4 oz)

Bersa T380CC
8 rds ammo in mag, 1 round in chamber (9rds total) = 21oz
(Unloaded w/out mag the T380CC weighs in at 16 & 1/4oz)

November 3, 2007, 08:09 PM
If you feel comfortable carrying a gun as large and heavy as a Bersa .380, why not jump up a caliber or two to 9mm, .40, or even .45?

There are number of guns just about the size of the Bersa with a lot more umph. Even Bersa themselves now makes basically the same gun in larger calibers.

November 3, 2007, 08:46 PM
Mostly I carry a SIG 229. Sometimes I want something a little smaller. (A fully loaded SIG 229 is 42.5oz)

November 3, 2007, 10:42 PM
OK, here are some examples - these guns are shorter and lighter than a Bersa CC:

Kel -Tec PF-9
18 oz. fully loaded

Kel-Tec P-11
20 oz. fully loaded

Still shorter, but only slightly heavier:

Skyy CPX-1
9 mm
22 oz. fully loaded

Kahr PM40
23 oz. fully loaded

Kahr PM45
.45 ACP
24 oz. fully loaded

November 3, 2007, 11:16 PM
Yes Bobo, but I already have the T380CC and I like it so there we are.

P. Plainsman
November 4, 2007, 05:42 PM
... deleted ...

November 4, 2007, 08:06 PM
I carry my Bersa in my front pants pocket, with a Demantis pocket holster for J frame. Most of my pants has large front pocket. It fit very nice, and not noticeable. With regular pants pocket, it barely covers the gun, still works though. Bersa is a good inexpensive pistol. I just don't like the way it shoot.

November 4, 2007, 08:30 PM
They're 2 very different guns, IMO. The Kel-Tec is virtually invisible with all types of clothing. It's a deep cover, short range, CCW pistol or BUG. The Bersa is a more substantial gun.

But, IMO, for the size of the Bersa, you could carry a more powerful gun. The same is not true for the Kel-Tec. There's really nothing that small that is as powerful.

November 6, 2007, 10:48 PM
I love my bersa.380. It's my CCW. It will do the job, don't let people tell you different. I am plannng on buying one for my wife and a 9mm for a second gun.

November 7, 2007, 02:06 AM
I just bought a Bersa Thunder .380 today. It feels good in my hand and is a relatively concealeable pistol. I have other larger caliber pistols, but I was looking for something smaller that was still fairly stout.
I have a tweaked SA MilSpec, an SA EMP, a CZ 75B, a Walther P1 and a S&W 19-2 for handguns. The Bersa fills a niche for me.

Jim E
November 7, 2007, 10:44 PM
I've been pocket carrying my Bersa .380 CC since I bought it last January. I really like this gun. For about ten years prior to this purchase my concealed carry guns were a Glock 26 and/or a S&W 642. The 642 was also pocket carried.

The Bersa CC is very flat and is as easily carried in the front pocket of my jeans (and shorts during summer) as the 642. I use an Uncle Mike's pocket holster.

I'm very pleased with this gun. Can't find anything wrong with it. Easy to shoot, reliable, and inexpensive. The CC (concealed carry) version is often a little more than than the standard .380. Mine was $255.00 out the door at my local shop.

November 8, 2007, 02:07 AM
I posted about buying my Bersa on another gun forum where I spend a bunch of time. Everyone there had excellent things to say about them.

November 8, 2007, 04:17 AM
Both are in my safe, but I now only carry the Kel-Tec.

2nd gen, it's been very reliable.

I don't imagine myself pulling a concealed weapon from my pocket unless the BG was in my face. The ability to hit a distant target is a mute point.

Also mute would be my personal comfort level with recoil in such a social situation.

Concealability is my primary concern with CCW, and since we are referring to the same caliber in each handgun, smaller is better.

The Bersa Thunder is large enough and heavy enough to pull your pocket open on some styles of shorts/slacks. Someone behind you can look down into your pocket and see the butt of the handgun. This has happened to me.

The Bersa is a bit wider than the Kel-Tec and placing it in a pocket holster only adds that much more.

November 14, 2007, 11:38 AM
At 23 oz, it needs a belt holster for all-day carry if you don't want to wear blisters on your leg.

The Thunder .380 CC weighs 17.5oz, not 23. I've pocket carried it all day long on many occassions and practically forgot it was there.

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