Back in November of 2004, I reviewed the Firestorm
22 pistol. The Bersa Thunder 22 shown here is pretty much
identical, with different grips. This particular Thunder 22 is
also satin nickel plated, which is a worthwhile option for a
weapon that might be carried close to the body, or in a damp
environment. Like that little Firestorm, this Bersa is a dandy
pistol. Much like the Bersa
Thunder 380, which is a popular defensive pistol, the 22
operates in the same manner. The Thunder 22 would make an
excellent understudy to a Thunder 380, allowing the user to get
in a lot of inexpensive practice using low-cost 22 rimfire
ammunition, as opposed to the more expensive 380 ACP ammo.
Many folks frown at the thought of using a 22
rimfire for defensive purposes, and there are many more powerful
choices, but the first rule of a gunfight is to have a gun. Many
people, for whatever reason, cannot handle recoil, whether it be
from an injury or arthritis, many of the people who are most
likely to be victimized are least able to fire a powerful
weapon. For them, the 22 Long Rifle in a pistol that is easy to
fire is a good choice. Properly loaded, the twenty-two can do a
decent job, and this Thunder 22 allows the user to put eleven
holes into a target in about four seconds. Recoil is almost
nonexistent, and this Thunder 22 is easy to shoot fast, and
makes it easy to put those bullets on target.
Critical specifications for the Thunder 22
are listed in the chart below. The weights are listed in ounces,
and linear measurements in inches. The grip and frame widths
were measured at their widest parts. The maximum width is
measured across the slight ambidextrous thumb rests. The height
includes the sights and magazine base. The trigger pull on the
Thunder 22 was smooth in double-action mode, stacking before the
release. The single action pull is very good, with a smooth
release and slight overtravel. The trigger pull is listed as
pounds of pressure.
|Maximum Grip Width
|Trigger Pull SA
|Trigger Pull DA
|Trigger Reach SA
|Trigger Reach DA
Shooting the Thunder 22 proves that with any
firearm, and 22 rimfires in particular, ammo makes all the
difference. With cheap bulk 22 Long Rifle ammo, the Bersa would
not run reliably. I ordered in some quality 22 ammo from Lucky
Gunner, and the Thunder 22 ran very well after that. I had many
problems with the last batch of Federal bulk hollowpoint that I
bought, with misfires in several different guns. The CCI ammo
that I tried in this Thunder 22, along with Remington Yellow
Jacket, did very well. I had one failure to fire with the CCI,
and no other problems at all. The Bersa cycled the ammo
perfectly, and the slide always locked back after the last round
was fired. I particularly like the CCI Velocitor 40 grain
hollowpoint ammo. It achieved nearly 1000 feet-per-second from
the Bersa’s barrel, and was very accurate as well.
As I do with all
of my defensive pistols, I mounted a Crimson Trace laser on
this Thunder 22. This pistol uses the same Lasergrip as does the
Thunder 380, and it works very well for making hits upon the
target under low light conditions. The Thunder 22 has a pretty
good set of sights, with the rear being adjustable for windage
correction. The orange dot inserts make the sights easy to see
in good light, but when it gets dark and the punks crawl out of
hiding, a good laser sight is hard to beat, and I will not carry
a defensive pistol without a Crimson Trace laser. The laser
makes hitting the target faster and more accurate for me,
particularly if fired from an awkward position or under stress.
The Bersa Thunder 22 is a well-made pistol.
The Bersas offer some of the best values on the market today.
They are consistently priced below their competition, and they
have a good reputation for reliability. I have owned several
Bersa pistols, and get lots of email from satisfied Bersa users.
The Thunder 22 is not the most powerful handgun available for
defense, but it can serve well as a field pistol, for target
practice, and as an understudy to the Bersa Thunder 380. It can
also serve as a defensive weapon when needed. It will not bowl
over an attacker like he was hit with a burst of 50 BMG rounds,
but I know of no one who wants to be perforated with several 22
caliber holes. In the right hands, with a steady aim, the 22 can
do the job, when called upon to do so.
Check out the variety of Bersa pistols and
accessories online at www.bersa.com.
For the location of a Bersa dealer near you,
click on the DEALER FINDER at www.lipseys.com.
To order the Thunder 22 online, go to www.galleryofguns.com.
To order quality 22 ammo at good prices, go