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Bersa Thunder .380?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by k8ysv, May 3, 2004.

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  1. k8ysv

    k8ysv Member

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    I've been presented the opportunity to pick up a brand-new unfired Bersa Thunder .380 from a friend of mine for $200. I was considering it for a BUG or for carry on hot days and as a quick-run-to-the-store gun.

    I've read reviews which were all good, though most usually are. I was wondering if anybody had some real world experience or input.

    Thanks!
     
  2. shooter.45

    shooter.45 Member

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    I have one and love it. I shot it for the first time this weekend. SHot about 100 rounds thru it without a hitch.. Great gun for the money. And accurate too.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. 38snapcaps

    38snapcaps Member

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    Here's some real world experience for ya:

    Bought my first one one year and four months ago, it has 1500 rnds thru it with never a jam, I carry it.

    Bought my second one last December because my wife liked the first one, she has it for home security when I'm not home.

    One of the most comfortable and accurate handguns I've had.

    $200 for a new one is not a steal but a fair price, especially since you don't have to pay tax on it-Buy it!
     
  4. horge

    horge Member

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    Thunder 380 is very user-friendly.

    As you say you've read the positive reviews, I'll confine myself to the few negatives:

    1. The manual safety lever can bite you severely if you rack the slide with the safety ON. This is because the safety points downward past the slide (indeed, that is why the left grip panel has that relief cut out near the top). Persons with large hands or a loose grip need to be careful, or rack with the safety off..

    2. Beginners can experience difficulty racking the slide and manipulating the manual safety. These are break-in issues and are resolved over a week of dry racking and switching, or two live trips to the range. As a simple blowback design, the recoil spring is quite stout, so there.

    3. The 9-round mag sometimes offered with the piece can and will bite during a rapid reload. The polymer bottom holder extends rearwards to where it can pinch the heel of the palm against the magwell lip. If you have the 7-round mags, then you're gold. If you have the 9-rounders, either practice not getting bitten, or consider lopping off the rearward polymer extension (it is mostly superfluous, anyway).

    Compare the 7-round and 9-round mags:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    4. The steel trigger's overtravel stud nicks into the aluminium alloy frame with each trigger pull. This is a strictly-aesthetic issue, though. Easy to protect the frame with an adhesive pad.
    [​IMG]


    5. The DA trigger pull tends to impart a mild left-then-right wiggle to the muzzle (this is common to a lot of other pistols). Weakhand support and proper trigger-fingering (avoid over or under-engaging the trigger) can prevent this. Besides, only the first pull is DA (and only if you don't cock the hammer yourself), all subsequent trigger pulls off the current mag are SA, and those SA pulls are pure sugar.

    6. Beginners more accustomed to locking-breech designs can find that the Thunder 380 shoots low --but this is because of anticipating recoil (muzzle-flip, actually), which is much less pronounced than on a locking breech: the Thunder 380 has a low bore-axis. The recoil is snappish, all right, and it can trick the user into expecting significant upward muzzle flip ---but it ain't there, and so the hands can overcompensate, pushing the muzzle down excessively. Bent elbows and practice can alleviate it. A rested Thunder 380 is extremely accurate.

    7. The steel slide is a soft-ish investment casting, and there's a lot of MIM around (trigger, slide catch, etc.) although the only MIM part I have a problem with is the manual safety lever. All other MIM parts are nice and beefy thick to compensate, but the safety lever is slender and subject to breakage when severely mishandled. Overall durability-wise.. I've noted a rental with 4-5,000 through it and still runs smoothly. Stephen Camp's piece has under 3,000 through it and "it has yet to malfunction".

    8. There is scant option for accessorizing this puppy.
    :banghead: :banghead: :banghead:
    I've had to carve my own grips and try to DIY my own targetting laser (for dry drills only).

    9. Some people don't like .380 ACP.



    Heres another of those reviews you've indicated
    An Absolute Beginner's Range Report: the Bersa Thunder 380

    I have a website devoted to the Thunder 380, if you're interested.
    Link is below

    hth,
    horge


    ***edittid fo speeling errosr, and i added gripe #9 ;)
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2004
  5. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

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    No need to post really, cos it's all been covered ..... but as ever I have to congratulate Horge on a masterly synoptic, with excellent pics.

    Kudos yet again!:)
     
  6. gbelleh

    gbelleh Member

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    Yes, others have pretty much covered it.

    My real world experience with the Thunder .380 has been hundreds of rounds without a hitch of any kind. My girlfriend uses it for a carry/HD gun.

    $200 sounds like a good price to me.
     
  7. RonGoode

    RonGoode Member

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    Buyit.

    And don't sell it.
     
  8. alwims

    alwims Member

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    I just wanted to echo P95Carry on this one. Check out horge's site. IMO, it's one of the best, well put together, sites of any gun make on the net. Be sure and check out the pics on his site. He's got 2 pics of mine on there, a Thunder380 and a Firestorm380.
     
  9. k8ysv

    k8ysv Member

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    Thanks for all the info, guys. Horge, excellent write-up and review and great site!

    I think I'll be picking the gun up from him. Not an especially great deal on it, but it's inexpensive to begin with. It's never been fired and is still in the factory cardboard box and wrap. I know he paid about 20 bucks more for it new plus tax (I was with him when he bought it).

    I'll take it and run!!!

    Thanks again all!
     
  10. eyz

    eyz Member

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    I've owned two, sold one. Easy takedown, ZERO malfunctions (something Kahr should strive for), very little recoil, $199 new at Academy Sports stores blued with fixed sights rubber grips or stainless plastic grips adj sights.

    gun store trade in value $125 (it's worth double that to keep it)
     
  11. Lobotomy Boy

    Lobotomy Boy Member

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    I've run somewhere between 1,000-1,500 rounds through mine and I enjoy the heck out of it. I don't have any practical excuses for owning the gun--I have other guns for HD, CCW, target practice, hunting--and ammo is relatively expensive: $4/100 more than 9mm for CCI Blazer at Fleet Farm and only $2/100 less than .45 ACP. Still, I bring it along on just about every trip to the range just because I like to shoot it. These guns are fantastic values.
     
  12. middy

    middy Member

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    Mine shot low for the 50 rounds I put through it. I have to take it out to the range and work on it some more, I guess. Also, it's not all that concealable. I wouldn't consider it a pocket gun like a .38 snubbie (unless you have big pockets). But, it is pretty thin and should be good IWB if you can find a holster that fits.
     
  13. Lobotomy Boy

    Lobotomy Boy Member

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    I'd think a holster for a Walther PP (not PPK or PPK/S) would work. The Bersa seems almost to have an almost identical shape to a PP I owned about 20 years ago.
     
  14. tzeazas

    tzeazas Member

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    Exellent Pistol

    The bursa 380 Thunder is an exellent Pistol for the price. They are build solid, reliable, accurate, great carry pistol and will eat all types of .380 ammo. Mine has not had any problems like FTE FTF ect, in over 500 rounds. They look slick too. I have two one has over 3000 rounds through it and still looks like as NIBI, I would get recommened the pistol for $200.00

    Tony Z:D
     
  15. kokapelli

    kokapelli Member

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    I have a Bersa Thunder and like it, but I think it's a little large for a BUG! The Kel-Tec P-3AT shoots the same cartridge, is way smaller and is only seven and a half ounces verses twenty ounces for the Bersa! The Kel-Tec is only .77" thick verses about one and a quarter inches for the Bersa. The Kel-Tec just disappears in your pocket and is so light you will forget it is there! Retail price is about the same for either one.
    -
    [​IMG]
     
  16. Lobotomy Boy

    Lobotomy Boy Member

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    The Bersa is also a little heavy for a pocket gun.
     
  17. horge

    horge Member

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    Yes, the Thunder 380 isn't a pocket pistol.
    I think a Kel-Tec P3AT pretty much tops that category, once it's been worked over for reliability. However...

    I think the reason for the Thunder 380's popularity is that most consumers AREN'T looking for a "backup gun" (BUG) or a "pocket pistol", or any of the dozen pigeonhole categories we've imposed on the market.

    Throw those pigeonhole categories, those mental constructs, out and...

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The Thunder 380 is simply a

    fairly light (but not overly light),
    fairly small (but not overly small),
    ridiculously reliable,
    easy/fun shooting,
    cold-nads accurate,
    high-actual-ROF,
    high-controllability,
    beginner-friendly,
    inexpensive

    pistol.



    **Perhaps** a number of consumers are simply looking for a "pistol".
    One that's reliable, accurate, and easy to use and master.


    :)
     
  18. Heraclitus

    Heraclitus Member

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    I once had two of these, but sold them for something in a much bigger caliber. It's a great little gun, though, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone looking for an excellent CCW at a fraction of the cost of most excellent CCWs.
     
  19. k8ysv

    k8ysv Member

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    Well, the size is not too big a deal for me as I'm a BIG guy. 6'4" and upwards of 300#. I can pretty much use a Commander size 1911 as a BUG :D

    That said, I've been in a "keep and eye out for" casual kinda mood concerning a smaller pistol but one that was still comfortable for me to shoot. I looked at the P3AT and my hands are too big for it. Neat little gun, but not what I was looking for.

    Also looked at the Walther PPK. My ex girlfriend had one (because it was James Bond's gun) and it was OK, but not really worth the money they want for one. The Kahr was a possibility, but still up there in price. Plus, this presented itself.

    Good news is, I picked up the Bersa from my buddy today, and managed to get him to come down to $175. Now I just need another magazine and I'm set!

    Range report will be forthcoming if anyone's interested. I'll probably get to the range tomorrow.
     
  20. rde

    rde Member

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    Bersa = :)
     
  21. buy guns

    buy guns Member

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    do you guys think this would be a good gun for a beginner who has never shot before or would a .22 be better?
     
  22. horge

    horge Member

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    Bersa Thunder 380 for a first gun?
    Sure worked out fine for me and me wifey :)

    If you want to play it safe, go to a range that will let you rent the Thunder 380 and a slew of other pistolas. Then you can choose and purchase, based on hands-on, personal experience!
     
  23. birddog

    birddog Member

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    An emphatic: Do it!

    [​IMG]

    I've now put 1100 rounds through mine, and I love it. A few FTE's after many many rounds at the range, but not enough to worry me and they were mostly with Wolf ammo. I carry the Bersa with me nearly everywhere, including photo safaris (see above) and even while hunting, unless I am in bear country, where I carry my 629.

    It's a light, fast, reliable gun. It's fun and cheap to shoot, and easy to conceal. I'd highly recommend it to anyone.

    As a side note, I'd also like to give high praise to Horge's excellent resources on the Bersa. I've printed them and when I first learned to field strip the Bersa, I relied on Horge's pictures, not the owner's manual.

    Enjoy.
     
  24. Lobotomy Boy

    Lobotomy Boy Member

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    I think a .22 is the best choice for a first gun, but only if a person really wants to develop his or her shooting skills. A casual shooter who doesn't plan to spend hours and hours shooting at targets would be okay with a .380 or 9mm or even a .45 ACP, provided he or she had proper training.
     
  25. jval

    jval Member

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    Over 500 rounds through my Bersa 380 and not one glitch. However, be careful about non-Bersa Mags (like ProMag). Some shooters claim success, but I bought two and had to force them up into the magwell. I did not go any further, just returned them and paid the high prices for extra factory mags.

    By the way, I'm a new reloader. About 100 of those 500 rounds were my first attempt at reloading. Seems that the Bersa will digest all sorts of rounds without problems.
     
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