It is rare in today’s gun market to find a
genuine bargain when shopping for a new handgun, particularly a
new semi-automatic pistol that is made of quality materials with
good craftsmanship. There are available many pistols that, at
first glance (and a distant glance at that ), appear to be a
good value, but turn out to be anything but. Usually these low
price pistols are made of zinc or some type of pot-metal, and
are too heavy, too soft, and too cheap of a weapon on which to
bet one’s life. We do not review such guns here at
Gunblast.com, as we believe that to do so would be a waste of
the author’s and reader’s time.
There are, at the other end of the price
spectrum, several good pistols that would do well for personal
defense. If you have a few hundred dollars to spend, you will be
well-served by many quality auto pistols on the market. Some of
the better European gun makers sell sleek double action pistols
that meet the size and weight requirements of a personal defense
pistol, but before you part with a few hundred dollar bills, you
should look at the pistol that is the subject of this article;
the Bersa Thunder .380.
Bersa has, for several years now, made what I
call a real "sleeper" in the auto pistol market. The
Bersa pistols have always been, in my experience, good solid
little pistols. I have owned a few of the Bersas in both .380
and .22 Long Rifle chambering. They have proven to be reliable
pistols in a portable, handy package.
The newest of the Bersas, called the Thunder
series, are every bit the quality of the predecessors, in a
smoother, more refined firearm. The Bersa Thunder .380 recently
received for testing is the best Bersa yet. This pistol is
well-finished in a matte blue, with satin nickel accents. Right
out of the box, the first impression is one of quality. The
Bersa has features not expected in a pistol anywhere near its
price. The finish on the steel slide very closely matches the
matte black alloy frame and the black checkered plastic grip
panels. The gun features a Rowel type hammer, seven shot
magazine with extended finger rest, and white-dot
windage-adjustable sights. The Bersa has a hammer drop thumb
safety that blocks the firing pin and also a magazine safety to
prevent accidental firing with the magazine removed from the
gun. It also has an extended slide release and a thumb operated
magazine release button. All of the controls are within easy
reach of a right-handed shooter’s thumb or a left-hander’s
trigger finger. At 23 ounces in weight, the Thunder .380 has a
solid feel without being too heavy for easy concealed carry.
For range testing of the Bersa, I assembled an
assortment of .380 ammo and headed outside. One of the first
notable features of this pistol is the trigger pull. It has,
without a doubt, the smoothest double-action trigger pull that I
have ever felt on an auto pistol, regardless of price. I wish
that some of the high-dollar European manufacturers could
produce a pistol with a trigger pull as smooth and light as this
Bersa. The feel is absolutely butter-smooth with a constant
force of about seven pounds. Also, the single-action pull breaks
cleanly with just a bit of over travel, at around three
Last month, a friend ordered a new .380 made by
a famous and well-respected German pistol maker. He got a good
price on the gun, paying just over 560 bucks, delivered. The
pistol was pretty to look at, but had a horrendous double-action
pull of over eighteen pounds. Perhaps they should send their
pistols to Bersa for the trigger work.
All ammo tested worked well. The Bersa fed,
fired, and ejected every round without a hitch. The feed angle
of the Thunder .380 is almost straight in, and enables the
weapon to feed the best hollow point ammo available. By far, the
best performing ammo in this pistol is the excellent Cor-Bon
90 grain jacketed hollow point. This Cor-Bon ammo averaged 965
feet per second velocity from the three and one-half inch
barrel, at twelve feet from the muzzle. The Cor-Bon also shot to
point of aim at 25 yards, and grouped just under three inches at
that range. With eight of these 90 grain Cor-Bons in the Bersa,
one would be well-armed for most social situations.
The Thunder .380 is relatively easy to conceal,
and has great handling qualities. The gun feels right at home in
my hand, and points very naturally. The Bersa handles recoil
well, due to the shape and texture of the grip panels and
grooved front and rear surfaces of the frame. The pistol also
has a hooked and grooved trigger guard, for those who prefer to
place a finger in that position.
Overall, I am very impressed with the Thunder
.380. It is a better gun than some costing three times its
price. I have seen these for sale in gun shops for around two
hundred bucks. That is a great price for a gun of this quality.
The Thunder .380 is a reliable auto pistol with great
ergonomics, controllable power, a perfect trigger pull, and an
exceptional price. Check out Bersa’s pistols online at:
The Thunder .380 is a true bargain in today’s gun market.
I highly recommend it……..and I’m buying this one.
Got something to say about this article? Want to agree (or
disagree) with it? Click the following link to go to the GUNBlast Feedback Page.