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I have a decent amount of .380 that I bought for my TCP for practicing get off me drills for a backup gun scenario. I'd like to get a 380 for some plinking and showing the kids how to shoot a little bit of a bigger caliber. My local RK has 2 bersa 380s for 249 a piece. I have no experience with Bersa as a brand and wanted to get the communities thoughts before I made the purchase. So what's the good and bad to the Bersa?
 

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I have a Bersa Thunder 380, which I like fairly well.
It's a knockoff copy of the Walther PPK; that way I can pretend I'm James Bond.
I bought it for my wife, but she thinks it's too "complicated", (she thinks that about all semi-autos).

I was impressed enough that I bought a Bersa Thunder 22 to go along with it.
The 22 version does not like cheap bulk ammo, but does well with high velocity .22LR.
 

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Frame is aluminum alloy and prone to cracking. It's a step up from zamak but not a very big step. parts count is too high for something so small and cheap imo. Just way too much going on trying to fit da/sa into a pocket gun. Add in that most of these small parts are mim and you are just asking for issues. People love them but I doubt they are putting thousands of rounds through them. You can find older ones with steel frames but expect to pay an extra $100 for one of those. As long as you don't put more than a few hundred rounds through it, it should serve you well and be much more accurate than you would think.
 

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I had a Bersa Thunder .22 that was all steel and really liked it a lot. Eagle Imports, was the Distributor in the U,S, and had a point and click ordering system that was second to none for parts. I wish Taurus had been so user friendly. Bersa also had (at one time) three different repair and warranty stations in the U,S. that were not Bersa Owned but independent contractors who gave really good service.

I have not been on the Bersa forum since I joined this one and that has been about 14 years, but you might look it up and see what you can find out there and if members are happy or sad about the newer Bersa products and service.
 
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Bersa is an Argentinean Firearms Manufacturer started by Italian immigrants who formerly worked for Beretta, but strangely enough, most of their firearms are based on the designs of Walther and SIG.

By all accounts the Bersa Thunder 380, is a high quality, low cost alternative to the Walther PPK/S or SIG P232, from which Bersa clearly drew inspiration. Some have even gone so far as to say that it's an improvement on both designs since it includes some of the best features of the PPK/S and the P232, then added some modern refinements.

I nearly bought one myself years ago, but ultimately decided that I really wanted a Walther PPK/S, and that the Bersa Thunder/Firestorm 380 wouldn't scratch the itch.

The only bad thing that I've ever heard about the Bersa Thunder 380 is that the black oxide finish wears off extremely easily and thus you're better off opting for one of the "stainless" models with a Silver Cerakote finish.

I've heard a few scattered reports of frames cracking, but have my suspicions that these are freak occurrences or otherwise victims of irresponsible owners who loaded them up with some of Buffalo Bore's so-called ".380 +P" loads because apparently Buffalo Bore has tested said loads out of a Walther PPK/S without issue. Difference is, the Walther PPK/S has a Steel Frame, whereas the Bersa Thunder 380 has an Aluminum Aloy Frame, and the Walther PPK/S is your typical, over-engineered German Pistol design.
Besides, last time I checked Bersa firearms were backed by a Lifetime Warranty, so even if you do get a Lemon which cracks for no reason at all because you haven't irresponsibly attempted to turn a .380 ACP Pistol into a Poor-Man's 9mm Pistol with overpressure ammunition bearing an unofficial "+P" designation, you can always send it in for a replacement.
 

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I actually have two Bersa Thunder Plus pistols and one Firestorm 22. The Thunder Plus is very, very similar to the Thunder, except for the 15-round double-stack magazine. That doublestack mag means the grip is a bit wider than the single-stack version. The grips on the Thunder Plus are rubber instead of hard plastic, which I think the single stack Thunder has.

My first Thunder Plus I bought specifically for conceal carry. I'm a really big fan of DA/SA hammer fired pistols and the little Bersa just about checks every box... Very compact, hammer fired DA/SA, hammer drop safety, high 15+1 rnd capacity, and all metal construction. Very close to exactly what I was looking for.

My only detractions are:
1) The safety is slide mounted. I prefer frame mounted safety mostly to keep the slide clear from snagging my thumb when racking. However, on the plus side, 380 is less powerful than 9mm and so the slide is noticeably easier to rack.
2) Fewer carry options. Because of the "Beretta-like" or more accurately "Walther PPK-like" hammer-drop safety, you can choose to carry it either hammer down, safety off; or hammer down, safety on. There is no cocked-and-locked carry option here. For me this wasn't an issue at all because I like the very firm DA first shot with much easier SA follow-up shots. So I always carried hammer down, safety on. It's easy to smoothly draw and flick the safety off with your thumb on the way up.
3) 380ACP. I suppose there's pros and cons here... The pro is that 380 isn't as powerful as 9mm, so racking the slide is easier. Tear-down for cleaning is pretty easy, too. The cons are that 380 isn't as powerful as 9mm, lol. I found that JHPs would get caught by the 3rd milk jug full of water, so I considered 380 "powerful enough". But unfortunately 380 is just plain more expensive than 9mm.

I was so happy with my Thunder Plus that when I found another one used and for a good price (less than two hundo at the time), I bought it. Neither of mine have had any problems whatsoever, although I'll admit that I haven't put a lot of rounds though my 2nd one.

Then, later on I found a Firestorm 22, also used and for a good price. It's a close cousin and a lot of fun to plink with. Mine seems fine with any old high velocity ammo I've tried feeding it.

All 3 are quite accurate. They share the same "barrel pressed into the frame" design where the recoil spring is wrapped around the barrel. I suppose that fewer moving parts makes for a more accurate pistol.

The Bersa Thunder series looks very similar to the Walther PPK, but they use a take-down lever instead of pulling down the trigger guard to remove the slide, and they have a slide release lever that the PPK does not. I get that the PPK has ultra-clean lines because it doesn't have those levers, but I like the controls on the Bersas better.

I ended up upgrading to the Springfield XDE 9mm when it first came out. Then to the Taurus TH9C when it came out. The XDE and TH9C share identical controls, but the TH9 has a double-stack mag for higher capacity than the XDE.
 

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I’ve owned a 380 Bersa Thunder for better then 15 years and it’s been my seasonal carry for many of those years. I like it a lot and even more so after I put on a set of wood grips. They made a big difference for me in the handling of the firearm. Sights could be better but then again, it’s not a target pistol. I haven’t had any problems with it at all. I’ve used it as a step up from the 22LR when teaching my teenaged grandkids firearm safety, handling and shooting. I did not mess with DA but I had them shoot SA. When they get more exposure to it and their comfort and confidence grow, I’ll show them DA.
 

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I have 3 of the Bersa Thunders- a Plus, a Regular T-380 , and a CC....had the Plus about 12 years. All 3 fine shooters. I carried that Plus for many years.
The ONLY issues I have ever had- 1) Fiocchi ammo stumbled a bit in them, and 2) ProMags I had issues with. Both Bersa mags and MecGar mags ran fine.

It is a common belief that the Bersa Thunder is patterned after the Walther PPK, but actually the guys that started Bersa came from Beretta...and the early Bersa design is similar to the old Beretta 70. But- yep still it does look like a PPK.

Anyway.....Bersa Thunder is a fine gun. I'll keep mine.
 

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The Bersa is awesome. I have one in 380 and one in 22lr. I love them!

That being said, there is NO WAY I would reach a kid to shoot with them! Or at least kids that I liked. That recoil of the 380 is brutal being a blowback. I would look for a G42 if I was needing to reach someone to shoot with 380. Softest shooter.

I do like the SCCY 380 also. I have the newer Generation 3 9mm and waiting for the 380s to get the same treatment. But the 380 I did shoot is very nice.
 
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The bersas are good firearms. My wife has a 380 for her EDC and it took about 100 rounds to break in from new. It shoots POA for her and it conceals nicely. The trigger is a bit rough but with only about 700 rounds through it, I'm not sure if it'll smoothen out.
 
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That being said, there is NO WAY I would reach a kid to shoot with them! Or at least kids that I liked. That recoil of the 380 is brutal being a blowback.
That's interesting. I always considered my Thunder Plus pistols to be quite soft shooters. I wonder if the wider grip of the Thunder Plus lessens the perceived recoil. I remember when I first got the Bersa, a buddy had a new Smith 9mm single stack... Maybe a Shield. Anyway, my Bersa was significantly faster at follow-up shots and significantly softer feeling in the hand. I attributed it to the combo of the grip width with the Bersa being slightly wider and the 380 vs 9mm.
 
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