Why You Should Consider the Bersa Thunder .380 for Everyday Carry

I have carried many pistols over the years, but the one I always seem to come back to is my Bersa Thunder CC. The Bersa is a single stack .380 that holds 7 rounds in its standard magazine plus 1 in the chamber.

Advantages of the Bersa .380

Price

An everyday carry pistol is going to be out in the rain, it’s going to get wet from sweat, tossed into work bags and generally banged around.  I don’t want to spend too much on a gun I know is going to get beat up from daily carry around the farm.

Safety

I have carried both automatics and revolvers where the only safety feature was a heavy double action trigger pull. Carrying a gun with a round in the chamber that has no actual hammer block makes me uneasy.

In contrast, the Bersa has multiple safety features. 

  • Thumb lock safety
  • Hammer block
  • Heavy double action trigger pull,
  • Loaded chamber indicator
  • Magazine safety that prevents the gun from firing when the magnetize is removed
  • Built-in trigger lock/key

 

 

A close up look at the thumb safety and loaded chamber indicator.

The trigger locking key

The size

An every day carry gun needs to be just the right size, not too big and not too small. Unlike some of the smaller .380’s, the Bersa is big enough to fit comfortably in my hand without being too big to conceal. Samantha tells me she likes the Bersa better than some of the smaller micro .380s because it is actually big enough for her to feel like she has a decent grip.

The materials

This is not a plastic gun. I’m not a big fan of the modern polymer framed pistols. Yes, they work well enough, but they tend to look and feel top heavy. I don’t find it likely that the plastic frame will hold up for the 50 or 100 years a steel gun will if properly maintained.

A reputation for reliability

The Bersa has a reputation for being a very reliable design that can handle any ammo from the cheap imported steel case ammo up to the high powered +p. Since its introduction in 1994, the Bersa Thunder has proven that it is made to last for tens of thousands of rounds.

Con: Name brand mags are expensive

One issue with the Bersa is it only comes with one magazine when you should have at least 3, unfortunately, the brand name spare magazines are $35 a piece which is more than a magazine of that size should cost. There are two aftermarket manufacturers ProMag and Mech-Gar.

The ProMags are about $17 a piece and don’t work reliably. I have tried them in two different Bersas, and the results were the same. The Mech-Gar is about $24 and seems to work just fine.

Bersa .380 Options

The Bersa comes in 3 different styles that vary in materials and cost.

All blue steel

This is the least expensive model costing just a little over $250.

Steel upper and an aluminum lower

 

The duo-tone is the middle of the road option and should cost about $300.

 

Nickel alloy upper and aluminum lower

The version with nickel upper can be a little harder to find and cost a little more at around $350.

Bersa Vs.The Walther PPK

When I got my first Bersa, I thought I was just buying an Argentinian knock off of the Walther PPK, and in some ways that is precisely what the Bersa is. But there are real differences besides price when it comes to the Walther and the Bersa CC.

The Bersa has a smaller hammer, smoother hammer spur, and more rounded lower profile sights to make for a smaller overall profile than the Walther. The Bersa also has several additional safety features like a loaded chamber indicator, built-in trigger lock, and removed magazine safety.

The Walther is made with higher quality metal and has finer machining, but personally, I can’t justify paying more than double the price.

Conclusion: The Bersa .380 is a great value for the materials and craftsmanship you get. Any comparable offering from other manufacturers is twice the price.

Samantha carries my original Bersa .380. After she kept taking mine I gave in and bought a second one. She carries the duo-tone version while I carry the nickel upper and aluminum lower. After three years of regular carry, both of us are happy with the Bersa.

Matthew Biggers can be reached at matt@samanthabiggers.com

 

 

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