Bersa Thunder 380 pistol - concealed carry gun
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  • Now, the Bersa is available in heavier calibers, but I like these just fine in
  • Heavier calibers are available, but this design was made with the
  • I understand that argument, but I kind of disagree with it
  • You might not find that the Bersa Thunder 380 is your ideal carry pistol, but you should consider it


    • by HawgWyld

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      So, you’re thinking about a concealed carry license and find yourself asking one question time and time again — what pistol will make a great concealed carry gun? Researching that question can lead to nothing but confusion as there are a lot of choices and a lot of opinions as to what pistol might best suit your needs.

      Well, I’m here to save you some time — the Bersa Thunder 380 is a fantastic concealed carry pistol. Is it the best choice out there? That’s up for debate but I do feel confident in saying that the Bersa Thunder won’t let you down.

      Before getting into why the Thunder 380 is my choice for my primary concealed carry weapon, let me get a bit into the history of this pistol. The Thunder was, evidently, meant to be an affordable weapon aimed at international concealed carry license holders. The pistol, manufactured in Argentina, is quite clearly a clone of the Walther PPK. And, yes, you are familiar with the PPK. That is the pistol that Adolph Hitler allegedly did himself in with in the bunker before the Allies could get to him. It was also the pistol carried by James Bond in the earlier movies following the spy’s exploits and, as such, has become downright iconic.

      Fortunately, Bersa modeled the Thunder after the PPK and have retained the pistol’s time-tested reliability. A major difference is that the PPK


      was traditionally chambered in .32 ACP while the Thunder was upgraded to handle a more substantial .380 ACP round. Some might argue about the stopping power of a .380 bullet, but keep in mind that it is an improvement over a round that was considered good enough for police and military use.

      Now, the Bersa is available in heavier calibers, but I like these just fine in .380 for reasons I’ll mention in a bit. It is worth noting that the .380 ACP is the largest caliber available to civilians in Argentina, so this gun was built to take advantage of that round and it can be considered the natural match to the Thunder. Heavier calibers are available, but this design was made with the .380 ACP round in mind and it shows.

      So, what do you get with a Bersa Thunder? A light, compact pistol with a single-stack, 7-shot clip. This pistol is ridiculously reliable and the recoil is extremely manageable. The pistol is easy to conceal and happily chews through whatever ammunition you want to feed it. Hollow points have given some pistols fits, but my Bersa has never complained. Am I confident this gun will work flawlessly and could save my life one day? Absolutely — the Thunder is a joy to use.

      And, you can pick one of these up new for $300 or less. The Bersa Thunder is an absolute steal at

      that price.

      As for specs, you get an aluminum frame that weighs in at 20 ounces and has a 3.5″ barrel. The folks at Bersa were good enough to give this one a fixed barrel and that helps with accuracy. The sites are pretty solid, too, and I truly appreciate the safeties built into this pistol.

      Concealed carry enthusiasts will tell you that a pistol is next to useless unless you carry it with a bullet chambered and ready to go. If that is true, you need a gun that won’t go off on accident and the Bersa has you covered in that regard. The primary safety here is a manual decocking switch that drops the hammer and blocks it from striking the firing pin. It is an easy enough matter to sweep that safety off with your thumb and be ready for action.

      Also, there is a heavy trigger pull when the gun is in double-action mode. “Double action” mode, of course, is when the hammer is down and you fire the pistol by pulling the trigger and forcing the hammer to cycle. You get about a 12-pound trigger pull in that mode, so it is hard to fire the pistol unless you do it deliberately. In single-action mode, the trigger pull is a lot lighter. The way the pistol is designed, you might start in double-action mode, but each shot after the first puts the ...


      • Bersa Thunder 380 pistol - concealed carry gun
      pistol into single-action mode — great for repeat firing. Additionally, this pistol will not fire if the magazine is missing and there is a lock that can disable the gun completely (I hesitate to even mention that — most people just leave it unlocked and get rid of the key because totally disabling a firearm is and extreme move).

      Also, this gun is very easy to break down and clean. You can easily take this weapon down in just a few seconds and with no tools. That means you can field strip this weapon if something goes wrong. More importantly, it is essential to take down, clean and lube your pistol regularly if you are dealing with a weapon that could save your life. The Bersa is simple to break down, so you will be encouraged to care for it properly.

      Now, there are some criticisms of this weapon. Again, there are people who don’t like the .380 ACP as a defensive round. They will claim you need something with more “oomph” than that. I disagree. If you carry this thing with a full clip and one in the chamber, you have eight shots. If you hit someone in a vital area with one of those shots, it’s game over for them. My advice is to get the fastest-moving hollow points you can find so as to generate the force necessary for deep penetration and shock.

      A

      real advantage of that .380 ACP is the recoil is typically manageable for that round. That goes double for this gun. The recoil is so manageable that you can shoot it all day long without getting a sore hand. It is a joy to shoot and people who are smaller or just scared of recoil may find the Bersa Thunder 380 to be the perfect gun for them. That light recoil also means this gun is easy to keep down on your target for follow-up shots.

      Also, there are people who criticize the 7-round clip. The notion is that a higher-capacity clip would be much better. I understand that argument, but I kind of disagree with it. A single-stack clip means the design of the handle is thinner and that is exactly what you want in a conceal carry pistol.

      A valid criticism is that the switch that blocks the hammer (the main safety, remember) is set up for people who are right-handed. If you are left-handed, then that safety could be uncomfortable to operate. Do they make a left-handed version of the Thunder? I’ve never seen one.

      So, there you have it. You might not find that the Bersa Thunder 380 is your ideal carry pistol, but you should consider it. Why? It is affordable, concealable, accurate, light, reliable, safe and offers mild recoil. If you are researching concealed carry pistols, the Bersa Thunder 380 deserves your attention.




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The review was published as it's written by reviewer in September, 2015. The reviewer certified that no compensation was received from the reviewed item producer, trademark owner or any other institution, related with the item reviewed. The site is not responsible for the mistakes made. 1214091648980430/k2311a0914/9.14.15
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