Bersa Thunder 380 CC (photo courtesy JWT for
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My first everyday all day gun was a 380 Colt Government. For a while, the .380 ACP was the cool guy’s gun. Small, discrete, and just powerful enough. Until it wasn’t powerful enough. Until apparently nothing less than a double stack 9mm could be trusted. Then, in 2008, that all changed . . .

Ruger bucked the trend and came out with the LCP, the coyote killing machine that launched the .380 back into common carry. Since that time, we’ve seen .380 ACP models emerge from most of the major brands, many of which abandoned the little capable caliber long ago.

Bersa Thunder 380 CC left side (image courtesy JWT for

Oh, baby Browning, Bersa never left you. Bersa came out with the Thunder 380 in 1995 and it’s been a successful mainstay of their line ever since.

Does this gun remind you of anything? Perhaps a smooth Scottish baritone and very particular martini? One desperate man, and apparently a whole lot of desperate women? Yup, the Bersa Thunder 380 CC is essentially an alloy-framed clone of the famed and fabled Walther PPK.

Walther PPK (image courtesy

The Argentinian company straight up copied the German wunderbabypistole. Same lines, same size, same make and function. This newer “Concealed Carry” version simply changes the finish and sights and one-ups the original sidearm for capacity.

The Concealed Carry Thunder 380 comes in either a matte black, like the test model, or two-tone black and brushed aluminum frame. It also features an ergonomic grip frame with finger grooves. A loaded chamber indicator is standard, as is a de-cocking lever. Neither version boasts a bright steel finish like the old school PPK. Nothing is bright polished, but the finish is smooth and even throughout. None of the sharp edges have been rounded but the elegant lines and great style that made the PPK a classic are still there.

Bersa Thunder 380 CC grips (image courtesy JWT for

The stock grips are cheap and plastic, but functional. They provide a good grip on the gun. They’re clearly made to not snag or rub on the body during deep concealment. They aren’t particularly attractive and they are surprisingly thin.

It’s ideal for IWB concealed carry, even in Texas summer shorts weather. I’d actually prefer this ccw to be a little thicker, as with a single-handed grip my thumb gets in the way of my trigger finger as it comes back.

Well ask and you shall receive. Bersa makes quite a few different grips for the tiny self-defense pistol, including a walnut set that’s just a tad thicker. Also, some in hot pink. Get what you need, Chef don’t judge.

Just like the legendary PPK it came from, the Thunder 380 CC takes down just as simply. Press down on the right disassembly lever on the right side of the pistol’s frame above the trigger guard, pull back on the slide, lift it up, forward, and off. It’s just that easy.

Bersa Thunder 380 CC take down (image courtesy JWT for

What you are left with is three parts: the slide, the return spring, and the frame, to which the barrel is attached. It’s a design not seen often in other firearms; one that’s withstood the test of time in over 80 years of production.

Unfortunately, the Thunder 380 CC does include a magazine disconnect.

For those of you not familiar with the worthless and dangerous “life saving” device, that means that the gun won’t go off if the magazine isn’t in the gun. With the magazine out, you can pull the trigger all you want, just ain’t nothing going to happen to the hammer.

Bersa Thunder 380 CC lock (image courtesy JWT for

The Thunder 380 also comes with a trigger lock built into the gun, and a tiny key in the cardboard box.

I think if you want to keep someone from shooting your gun, you should go ahead and lock up the gun, but I guess the trigger lock serves as a secondary line of defense should someone untoward get a hold of your gun when you are away.

As it is completely unobtrusive and never malfunctioned, I don’t see it as a problem and only a potential added safety feature.

Bersa Thunder 380 CC safety (image courtesy JWT for

Many of you will immediately recognize the slide-mounted safety and despair. In this case, it’s also a de-cocker. Unlike the Berretta 92 series it is on the left side only.

Also unlike the 92, since this gun is so much smaller, pushing the safety forward with your firing hand thumb is no problem at all. Putting it back onto safe doesn’t require any acrobatic dexterity or the use of your support hand either.

You can carry the semi-automatic Bersa Thunder 380CC in a holster with the hammer down and the safety off for immediate deployment. (That’s how I carried my 92FS in combat.) If you had additional safety concern, you could carry it in a holster with the hammer down and on safe as well.

Take note, at least on this particular pistol, I can have the hammer back and push the safety down so that it looks like it is on. In fact, it is not quite yet fully deployed and if you push it back just a little bit farther it decocks the hammer.

Me, I’d choose Inside the Waistband carry with the safety off and the hammer down. Carried that way, I’d feel completely confident there would be no negligent discharges, and I could still deploy the gun and get it a round on target quickly while under stress.

Bersa Thunder 380 CC reliability (image courtesy JWT for

I shot a total of 500 rounds through this gun. The first 440 were in a single outing. The only thing that slowed me down: The single magazine that shipped with the gun.

I shot both hollowpoints as well as FMJs and the Freedom Munitions RNFP (use coupon code “TTAG” for 5% off everything on the Freedom Munitions website) through the Bersa Thunder with no problems of any kind. I never had any issue loading the magazine or getting it to lock 8+1 into the gun. The magazine never failed to fall. The pistol never failed to cycle well or fully enter battery.

When it comes where it matters most, the little gun performed spectacularly. As always, I lubed the gun, this time with the Rem Oil available at The Range at Austin, prior to shooting. After that, I didn’t clean, lube or disassemble the gun until all firing was done. We had no malfunctions. Perfect reliability.

Bersa Thunder 380 CC in line (image courtesy JWT for

Simply locking the slide back on a loaded magazine and it’s fairly obvious why the budget gun cycles so well. There’s very little angle on the round as it enters the chamber. The slide coming forward pushes the bolt in line with the cartridge and almost in line with the bore. Since the bore isn’t tilting, it’s part of the frame, there’s just not much to go wrong, so it doesn’t.

Walther has been well known for a good trigger for longer than just about any TTAG reader has been alive, so Bersa started with a good design in the first place with the PPK. I’ve shot the heck out of the PPK, and now I’ve shot a pretty good amount of rounds through the Thunder 380 CC, and the latter is every bit as good as the former.

Bersa Thunder 380 CC ltrigger (image courtesy JWT for

This little DA/SA especially excels in double action, with a smooth, fairly even and pull all the way back, with very little stack. The single action is a little disappointing, and the reset is not particularly fast or light.

All of those subsequent shots are in single action, and it’s that first shot in double action that’s so impressive. The gun feels good to shoot, and keeping the muzzle flat and still during the pull is just no problem at all.

Size wise, it’s 1″ wide, about the same as a Glock 43, and in length and width right there between a G42 and a G43, just maybe a little closer to the G43.

Given weight and size, I recoils a bit more than I though the little Bersa 380 would, probably because of the fairly high bore axis. Still, it’s a simple blowback operating .380ACP, so there’s not really much recoil to be concerned with in the first place.

Bersa Thunder 380 CC right side (image courtesy JWT for

Unlike most carry pistols of this size, the Thunder 380 CC is a true 8+1 capacity firearm. I had no problems loading the full round count every single time. Nine rounds in a gun this size is great, and plenty for EDC and personal protection. (If you feel you need more, consider the 15-round Thunder 380 Plus.)  But still, carry a spare magazine. Again, always.

Bersa Thunder 380 CC magazine (image courtesy JWT for

In this case, those magazines drop just fine, but without any bevel or funnel at all on the magazine well, they tend to get snagged pretty easily on the way in. Owners need to take special care inserting the magazine.

I took some time to drill magazine changes with this gun, and even still I had many times during speed reloads where the front lip of the magazine got caught on the mag well during insertion. Just a bit of file work on the internal edges of the mag well would fix this problem.

The pistol ships with just one magazine. Other’s can be purchased online from Eagle Imports for under $40. Take note, there is more than one Thunder 380, but just one Thunder 380 Concealed Carry, and only one magazine type fits it.


Bersa Thunder 380 CC sights (image courtesy JWT for

The sights are one of the very few disappointing aspects of this little pistol.

Sights might be too strong of a word, but I don’t think there’s any other word for these tiny little bumps on each end of the slide. Bersa’s website bills them as “extra-low profile” and man they ain’t kidding. They’re certainly snag free, but that front sight is so small that it is almost impossible to pick up in fast fire.

Both sights are so short that aligning the front sight between the rear sight is akin to seeing the last sliver of the sun before it sets on the horizon. The result is that, in fast fire, when I could visually see the front sight it tended to actually be just barely above the rear notch.  That caused all of my shots to end in tight group, just about 4 inches above the target at 15 yards.

Unfortunately, the sights are integral to the slide, so swapping them with your favorites from Crimson Trace or something else is out of the question, at least not without expensive machining work into the budget pistol.

On the other hand the general design of the gun is that just sighting down the bore will get you Minute of Bad Guy up to 15 yards or so, just don’t expect to fit your rounds center-mass that way. At least not at any speed.

Bersa Thunder 380 CC groups (image courtesy JWT for

Slowing down, way down, and getting the gun rested on some bags shows what this little gun can do, precision wise. It’s a lot more than I’d thought.

At 25 yards in single-action fire, off bags, the Freedom Munitions 100gr RNFP round shot 2 3/4″, five round groups on average. The Remington HTP 88gr rounds shot just a little bit worse, at 3″ on average. That’s far better than just Minute of Bag Guy, and proves that the gun is plenty accurate, if you have time to see the micro sights. 

Precision is one of the places I usually find budget guns give up a lot to their more expensive competition. Not so here. This gun hangs right in there with larger, much more expensive guns.

Bersa Thunder 380 CC box (image courtesy JWT for

The Bersa Thunder 380 CC is an impressive little carry gun. No, it’s not gorgeous. Especially not in-box. The worn cardboard box it comes in makes the Glock plastic lunchbox look practically decadent. But get past the packaging and you’ll find an great gun built on a great legacy and good workmanship.

As a matter of course when writing a gun review, I intentionally don’t look at the specifications or price of a firearm until after I have fully investigated it. I want the gun to stand on its own, and then let you decide if it is worth the money. I knew this was an inexpensive gun. I didn’t realize it was this inexpensive.

I can find the Bersa Thunder 380 CC through several dealers for less than $300. I don’t just mean online dealers. I found two local gun stores that sell this gun for about $280. On the used market, I can find them in a price range less than what it costs to take my family out for a nice meal. For a rock-solid reliable EDC that shoots fairly accurately, that’s an easy decision.

Specifications: Bersa Thunder 380 Concealed Carry

Caliber: .380 ACP
Action: DA/SA
Capacity: 8+1
Barrel Length: 3.2″
Front Sight: Blade Integral with Slide
Rear Sight: Integral with Slide
Finishes: Duotone, Matte Black
Grips: Checkered Polymer
Construction: Alloy Frame / Steel Slide
Safety: Integral Locking System, Manual, Firing Pin
Weight: 16.4 ounces
Length: 6″
Height: 4.6″
Width: 1″
MSRP: (none listed on website, but on Brownells for $279.99)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Style and appearance * * *
It has the classic lines of the original PPK. There’s nothing shiny, nothing polished, and the cheap plastic grips are cheap and plastic.

Customization * *
The sights are integral to the frame, and there are few aftermarket parts available. There are, however, several different models available that would fit most needs.

Reliability * * * * *
Perfect with any round.

Accuracy * * * *
With sub 3″ groups for a 3.2″ barrel and tiny sights, I got much better accuracy than I expected in such an inexpensive gun.

Overall * * * *
The overly diminutive “sights” and the lack of a beveled magazine well are the only significant issues. But the solid reliability and great accuracy of the little pistol propel this handgun to a better than average rating. At under $300, it’s an exceptional buy.

Ammo for this review provided by Freedom Munitions. Visit and use coupon code “TTAG” for 5% off site-wide on dozens of brands of ammunition, accessories, parts, optics, and more.

Check out other TTAG coverage of similar pistols:

Smith & Wesson’s M&P380 Shield EZ Performance Center Models

Beretta Pico .380 Pocket Pistol

The Best Pocket Pistols in .380 ACP For Concealed Carry (Sig Sauer P238, Springfield Armory 911 in .380 ACP,  Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard .380, Kahr CW380, Ruger LCP II, Taurus Spectrum)

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    • Never stopped for me.

      Maybe not the best stopper, but better than harsh words.

      Also easy to have one with you, all the time.

    • I have a Bersa thunder 380 plus. It has a 15 round Magazine. I really enjoy shooting it as I am 66 with arthritis. It is very accurate, and I have had no problems with it, Not one Malfunction. I personally am very pleased with it. I highly recommend it. I also have a couple of 9 MM’s one I also use for personal carry. I understand the 380 has less power than the 9 mm, but if you buy decent expandable ammo for it, it will get the job done. Love My bersa thunder plus.

  1. I suspect that it is also only a matter of time before the gospel of the 9mm’s supremacy is recognized for the faddish thinking that it is as well. History echoes a lot. Some of us have seen several cycles.

    • 9mm is superior to .380. The myth is carrying a .380 is signing your death warrant. I know guys and gals who carry .380s, including the Thunder CC, every day with confidence.

      • The 9mm is fine of course, but there is no data that I know of that proves that it is the best choice especially for everyone. The 9mm’s reputation as the best self defense cartridge is based on popularity, opinion and supposition not compelling results from scientifically rigorous studies. On the rare occasion that a new shooter asks me what I recommend I say “probably a polymer double stacked compact 9mm auto, but really you are probably almost as well served with anything mainstream that you choose.” If I had to bet I would indeed bet on the 9mm like most here. I carry a .357 and .45acp most of the time, though. I’ll bet that in 10 years, 20 max, there will be a new best cartridge. There was a time that it was heresy to say that butter was better for you than margarine too.

    • I recall years ago in the seventies the 9 x19 mm was considered a very poor defensive round, back in the day of the .45 acp , .44 mag. And .357 mag.
      One day the 9 x19 mm will be considered overkill and obsolete, a newer .22 light speed kill o zap bullet will be the new thang.

      • The best caliber is the one that your favorite, most reliable gun takes; if that’s a 9mm, .40 S&W, or a .even a .45 ACP, great. Emergency room statistics reveal that the highest mortality rate, by a slim margin, among shooting victims comes from .22 bullets. .22’s obviously are the smallest, lightest rounds in common use and they have the least energy (impact), but the guns that fire them are generally the easiest to handle and put/keep on target. Pick the right ammo (such as CCI HP’s in Mini-Mag or Stinger) and you’ll have expansion in the neighborhood of .40″. That, and you can probably get 4 or 5 shots on target before you could get 2 9mm’s in the same target zone. Bigger calibers are better if you truly have the strength and practice time to get and keep them on target, but if you don’t, you might not be stopping anyone.

  2. The Bersa Thunder .380 was my first handgun. The light .380 and all of the overdone safety mechanisms were crucial to getting the wife to sign off on it. Now she has a Glock. Call it an excellent gateway gun.

    • Got one, you’re going to like it. I use mine with a laser cartridge around the house because I’m able to thumb back the hammer and fire SA every shot.

      Pros: 15 rounds in CC. (Yes, the round has less power than a .454 Casull but I’d rather take one of my 14 next shots without having to recover and BG already winged) good weight, natural grip that doesn’t feel like you’re squeezing it to death with a three finger teacup grip. Left pointer finger can go in front of trigger guard to really stabilize.

      Cons: 1 magazine. Replacements are $54

      • Bersa Thunder 380 is first pistol I brought, used for range test part of Texas Concealed Carry License.
        It’s a good backup up for home defense and ranch weekend carry. We have grey fox and cayotes. Sister in law told me today she saw a fox kill and eat neighbor’s hen, when out for a walk this morning Hope it doesn’t come back to for the cock. The pair had left their owners property next to ours.

  3. Can’t understand why so many reviewers go right to Ruger as the reason for the revival of the .380.
    Kel-Tec’s P3-AT came out long before Ruger’s LCP, is reliable, accurate and affordable. In some ways the LCP is a copy of the P3-AT. Is it a gun-snob thing?

      • I think you guys are both right.

        The Kel-Tec P3AT created the new genre of the super light, micro, polymer, non-blowback .380.

        The Ruger LCP copied the P3AT, and improved it a bit. It was also far more popular. The LCP is the gun that the masses carrying .380 again.

        I own both, and like both. The LCP is a little nicer. The LCP is in my pocket right now.

        • I don’t have any experience with the TCP. From what I hear, it is a little better than the P3AT and LCP (came out a little later too). Like the P3AT, the TCP suffers a bit from brand reputation. Kel-Tec, and Taurus are generally regarded as lower quality than Ruger.

        • I actually have a TCP in my pocket right now. It’s been a great little carry piece. I can’t compare it to the newest LCP’s but I’ve shot the TCP, LCP, and P3AT all in one range session and I prefer it to the other two. It’s the heaviest and the grip is the largest. The slide locks back. And the trigger is smooth and relatively light. The big downside to the Taurus is TCP’s have a false reset in the trigger travel. It’s never been an issue for me, but ‘ride the reset’ striker fire shooters seem to have issues.

        • My Taurus TCP was a very accurate pistol it suffered from magazines the made in Brazil jammed the last Rd every time, the made in USA worked flawlessly the Mecgar from Italy worked 75% of the time.
          But with the right magazine it could outshoot my Ruger LCP II accuracy wise.

    • I think it would be interesting to do a comparison between ths Bersa Thunder 380 and the new SCCY 380. I like my LCP 2nd series (not the LCP2 but the original with improved trigger) just fine but these two are tempting competitors.

    • What always amuses me is that when I mention the name Bersa to a lot of people. the only gun that comes to mind is the Thunder 380. It may surprise some of y’all to hear that Bersa makes many other fine models and always has – but none really has caught the public’s attention the way the Thunder has for several decades.
      Seems to me Bersa’s problem has always been marketing – they spend way too little on advertising in the U.S. and seem to rely almost exclusively on reputation and word-of-mouth to get them by.

    • I vote for Kel-Tec as the main force behind the .380 revival.

      I had fun with a Kel-Tec P11 in 9mm before the turn of the century – an interesting tale for another time. Then around 2003, a guy at the range was breaking in his P3-AT and asked me if I’d run a couple of mags through it for him as his hand was hurting. I fired one mag (ouch!) and gave it back to him. I was surprised when they started showing up in so many people’s pockets.

      Later, I adopted the PF-9, which despite being 9mm, was much more comfortable for me to shoot than the P3-AT.

      Now we have so many choices!

    • Keltec was innovative (like the Grendel before it).

      Unfortunately , it looked like it was made in the same factory that makes little toy green army men.

      The LCP was more polished in appearance and was backed by Ruger.

      The Keltec forums were the first I ever saw in the web, since all the Keltecs I was familar with needed tweaking to run right. Especially the P11.

      So Ruger flattered Keltec by slavishly stealing their design. And sold a jillion in the first year.

      I have owned both. I now have two Ruger LCPs. No comparison in quality as far as I am concerned.

  4. I’ve never had one of their .380’s but their MiniFireStorm 9mm has never given me a problem.

    Good review. Something to consider.

  5. I picked up a Bersa Thunder a few years ago for my wife, who was definitely not a gun person at the time. Found it to be very reliable and very accurate.

    Now I’m shopping for a new CC gun for me (the Mak PM is just too heavy with all that metal) and have been considering the Thunder CC. So thanks for the timely review!

    • Mak PM is a great gun. It’s the PP on roids. Simple, reliable and accurate. But it is a bit heavy for cc work without a good belt and holster. I use mine as a range toy and house gun.

  6. The popularity of the .380 declined because of the introduction of single stack and micro 9mm pistols. You now can get 9mm in 380 size package so why not go with the more powerful round.

    • I used to enjoy shooting a 44 mag, and .357 mag revolvers a LOT. Did it when I was in my 20’s and 30’s. Now I’m in my 60’s and suffer arthritis in both shoulders, both wrists and some fingers. Lots and lots of hard miles on me over the years. So the micro 9 mm’s hurt too much for me to enjoy shooting. That is why I like the idea of a .380…. and I’d even consider a .32 if I could find a decent one. I’m a large fella, so I can easily hide even a full size 1911 on my “expanded” waistline, which I have done in the past, but I’d like a smaller, lighter pistol sometimes, because hauling around a 1911 and a couple of magazines along with all the other good stuff that occupies my pockets gets heavy after a while.

  7. We’ve been shooting the .22 version for my whole life. Pre-trigger lock. AWEsome gun. Have had many a great outing with it.

  8. I too bought into the 380 hype-Taurus TCP. It ran fine but I’ll stick with 9mm…that thing is yuge for a 380.

  9. Had a SIG P250 compact .380. 15 round mags, no recoil at all. Could kick myself for selling it.

  10. Great article. Too bad it’s such a pita to get a ccp in N.Y. you folks are fortunate to have your right to carry unimpinged. Thank you for the read.

  11. 380 ammo costs more than 9MM with around half the velocity. One more reason that 380 should be forgotten faster than David Hogg.

    • Half the velocity? Please provide ballistics tables. The ones provided by Winchester and Remington say 80% of the velocity with similarly weighted bullets.

      • Forgive my faux pas, meant to state muzzle energy not velocity. Was busy rehearsing lines in the latest Crisis Actor setpiece drama, “David Hoggs Not Here” so I cannot be an encyclopedia on every crappy useless calibers statistics with such heady tasks at hand.

        For all you 380 lovers out there, just throw a rock, it will probably do more damage within 25 feet anyway.

        • JWTaylor, not that youre a leftist, but you employed a common leftist trick, ignoring the one fact pointed out (the price of 380 ammo is higher than 9MM) and attacking my contention that 380 ammo has 40% less energy than 9MM.

          If 380 is so great, why arent all the cops carrying it?

        • Slightly more expensive. Is $10-20 for 1000 rounds cost prohibitive? You better be looking at a used hi point c9 if $20 breaks the bank

          Police don’t use .380 because they open carry so size is not an issue.

          Don’t get me wrong, I like the 9mm better than .380 and to my mind it’s a superior round. But if .380 is what someone wants to carry, it’s (still marginally) a free country and chances are it will do the job fine.

  12. The 380 cartridge has plenty of power! I once saw James Bond shoot down a helicopter with it! It was totally real! 😉
    If I ever were to carry a gun chambered in 380 I’d use Underwood or Buffalo Bore ammo. And get the 15 rounder!

    • Actually, James Bond carried a pistol chambered for the .32 ACP. That is what ‘M’ said when he presented Bond with the pistol – and took away his Beretta. “Walther PPK. 7.65 mil with a delivery like…”.

      • If I could get someone to make me a custom hybrid holster for my FN-1922 in .32 acp, it would be my new ccw gun. Crazy accurate.

      • Tbe “real Bond” would have carried a BHP. That was MI-6’s standard issue pistol in tbe Bond era.

  13. with the european ppk clones selling used for over two hundred, why not this? the plastic stuff works fine, and i’d rather have a 938 than a 238 (keeping in mind that the 238 is dimensionally smaller- enough to matter for some) but for an all metal fixed barrel hammer fired this looks really good.
    of course the cz, feg and bulgy (east german also, but spendier) walther copies are chambered for 9×18 which, in theory, closes the gap towards 9mm some.

  14. “Which means that you could carry this firearm in a holster with the hammer back and the safety on without concern.” JWT, would you please clarify? Are you saying that this Bersa may be carried Condition One? I would imagine that if the hammer is back, when the safety/decocker goes on it automatically decocks the hammer, as with the Walther PP/PPK series.

    For history buffs, when Walther debuted the PPK in 1930, it was in 7.65×17, or .32ACP, and in beautiful blued steel.

    • A. Daniels,
      Thank you very much for your question and point of clarification. I was about to answer yes, you can have the hammer back and safety on, based on my recollection as well as a photo I have of the gun with the hammer back and what appears to be the safety on.
      When I looked at the gun to verify this I found that, in fact, there is still another 16th of an inch or so to go on the safety, which when then fully depressed decocks the firearm.
      I have edited the original post, and included a note about this. Thank you very much for your attention to detail.

  15. “the Bersa Thunder 380 CC is essentially an alloy framed clone of the famed and fabled Walther PPK”

    The original Walther PPK was so good that it inspired the development of many pistols (good and bad), like this Bersa Thunder as well as the Makarov, the P-64 and the FEG PA-63, and let’s not forget the Interarms and S&W versions, but none ever equaled the precision of the German original. Sigh.

  16. If you only carry one mag with your edc you’ve never heard of Murphy.

    Pray to whatever gods you believe in that Murphy has never heard of you.

  17. Bersa used to make a 32 ACP version of the Thunder as well. They still might for the domestic/world market. But it’s been discontinued in the U.S. for some time (for obvious reasons – 32 ACP no longer being a popular round here).

  18. Thumbs down. The people that designed the hammer are complete Morons and they will lose a lot of sales on this gun because of the idiotic hammer that cannot be thumb cocked on the draw. Its what most people desire when they have a double action/single action gun.

  19. I will throw in something else most people are not aware of. I often wondered why the German Army in WWII rejected the .380 in favor of the .32 acp. it was simple the .32 acp would penetrate a military helmet while the .380 bounced off. Without adequate penetration no matter how big the caliber it will fail in a defensive situation. By the way the .45 acp bounced off military helmets too while the 9×19 did not but that is another long story.

    The .32 acp also in most guns does not have the vicious recoil the .380 has. I have shot Walther .380’s and even FN .380’s in the winter when my hands were cold and the recoil stung worse than shooting a big Smith & Wesson .44 magnum. I am not joking one bit.

    On the other hand the .380 is rimless while the .32 acp is semi-rimmed and can suffer rim lock if the magazine is not loaded right.

    So in conclusion next time some Moron who can only repeat what the Moronic gun writers have blathered over the years about the .32 acp its not any less deadly than the .380 and in cases where more penetration is needed it is superior. Now don’t you feel like an idiot for not buying one of those mint Walther PP .32 acp surplus pistols that came flooding into the country in the 80″s and sold for only $200 bucks back then. They bring over $600 now.

    Moral of the story: Test guns yourself so you can laugh your ass off at the average Gun Writer Articles.

    • Vicious recoil of the 380acp. Armor piercing mouse guns. Do you ever wonder why no one takes you seriously?

      • Yes because with 6 decades of experience I know what I am talking about and you are a laughable bullshitter.

        • You’ve worked for soros for 60 years?

          You’ve never owned, fired, touched or been in the same room with a gun. You’re a liar. And not a good one either.

      • Ok JW now pay attention here is todays firearms lesson. The Majority of .380 guns are simple blow backs. This gives you a sudden, violent slam to the palm of your hand. No its not the end of the world in normal summer weather but try shooting these guns (as I mentioned before) in the dead of winter when your hands are cold. The Smith 29 has very wide huge grips not to mention the fact that the gun is way heavier to boot. It takes more time to get the gun recoiling rearward that a .380 that weighs way less. The result is I would rather shoot 100 rounds out of a Smith .44 mag than 25 rounds out of a .380 on a cold winter day. Now is this way over your head. Better yet borrow both guns off of someone, I know your too cheap to buy any of them, and try it some time.

        • I already own 2 model 29s and probably 10 .380s. My 9 year old daughter can shoot the 380s all day long.
          Whatever meds you are on, keep taking them.

        • your hands are cold and frail because you are old, but probably still manly enough. thus it may seem easier to hold a heavier gun that will take longer to move and will remain in your larger hand, than a lighter .380ACP gun that you cannot grasp properly due to frailness.
          the young, they have the opposite problem, if at all.

      • And notify your buddy the Gun Free School Zones (the coward who is to chicken to let others reply to him) that I always am greatly amused when he mentions his Bogey man Soros and his dreamed up Soros Conspiracy baloney. He has blamed Soros for everything from causing hang nails to the imminent invasion of Klingon’s from the planet Kripton but when was Gun Free School Zones ever playing with a full deck.

        • I hit a nerve, didn’t I, cisco. And when did I have any control over who replies to what? It ain’t my site. Or are you involved in another of your conspiracy theories?

      • Jw tayor you never fired a .380 in your life or you would not be making a damn fool of your self in front of thousands of people who do own and use them. Here is some more info. The recoil is so hard on some plasticky blow back .380 guns that I have seen more than one person post a picture of his cracked plasticky frame after firing less than 200 rounds out of his gun. Again its from the sudden violent recoil of a small blow back pistol. In my younger days I warped the frames of two steel framed guns, an FN 1955 and and Browning 10/70 with just 1 box of hot loads fired through each gun. In contrast in those years I fired the equivalent of plus p loads so hot it swelled the cases up so much they would not go into the shell holder for handloading. They were fired out of an FN High Power and did not hurt it a bit. But it was a locked breach gun. I have fired hot loads out of a locked Breach .380 and it did not crack or warp the frame nor did it have the hard recoil of the blow back .380 guns.

        Next time since you have zero experience with various .380 guns listen to the experts before yapping off and making a fool of yourself.

        And tell that Moron Gun Free School Zone that if he clicks on the two boxes below post comment people can reply to his comments. I see you didn’t either on this last post. Chicken out too? Obviously.

        • Clicking on Reply and then making a comment too hard for you, brainchild?

          I repeat. You’ve never owned, touched or fired a gun. You’re a human and civil rights violating nazi on the payroll of soros.

  20. Took my CHL with Bersa 380 Thunder. Passed with a respectable score. Personally I liked it. Does it jam? Yes if you don’t keep the feed ramp squeaky clean. But it’s good practice clearing a jam, getting back to the sting of rounds for series of shots to qualify.
    Gave it my sister in law. Kinda miss it at times 🙄

  21. Wife has a Bersa Thunder 380 and likes it a lot. BUT she now also has a S&W M&P Shield 380 EZ and loves it even more. We’ll keep both but it’s hard to beat the Shield.

  22. Legit, I am waiting for the day that a manufacturer comes out with a full sized double stacked .380 that holds 20 rounds standard (the overall case width is slimmer than a 9mm luger). Yeah, a guy can dream.

    • Samurai, the closest you’re going to find is a CZ 83… 9mm Browning (.380 ACP) with a 12+1 capacity.

  23. I put Sig night sights on mine. The machining was cheap. Just a couple triangular files and a little time.
    Not a hard job at all.

  24. I put Sig night sites on mine. Machining was done with a couple triangle files. Just takes a little time.

  25. I put Sig night sites on mine. Machining was done with a couple triangle files. Just takes a little time.

  26. My first cc was a Bersa Concealed Carry .380. It was chosen based on price, more than anything else, but I soon discovered what a nice little gun it was. When I bought mine, the sights were black (not with the dots, as now), so I just painted the sights and all was well. I was particularly impressed by the DA trigger. Later, I got a Bersa UltraCompact .45 ACP (having gotten most of my pistol training in the USMC on M1911A1s, I am partial to that caliber) and found it to be a fine pistol, too – only disadvantage for cc is that it’s 1.5″ thick. But the price is right, especially for newbie shooters. Later I moved on to more expensive pistols, but I still have a soft spot for my Bersas.

  27. I think the standard Thunder or the Thunder Combat would both be a better choice. They have the traditional PPK style hammer and more importantly have larger, more useable sights.

    If you are on a budget or just like the PPK/Makarov style of gun, Bersa makes a quality product. Their larger caliber offerings are supposed to be pretty nice too, although the Thunder is the only one I’ve examined. I just can’t see buying a .380 this size to CC. There are plenty of reasonably priced 9mm pistols that are similar in size. These days I think the .380 really shines in pistols like the LCP II that are ideal for pocket carry or deep concealment.

    I have given real thought to the .22lr Thunder though, because I like rimfire pistols with a little more substance than some of the plastic and aluminum models that feel like toys. I would really like to see JWT review one.

  28. I have both the Bersa thunder cc and the Walter PPK/S
    The Walther is a finally made chunk of steel that is heavy and very finicky about ammo
    When you feed it Golden Saber hollow points or Winchester white box target ammo it functions fine
    I’m certain my grandchildren will inherit it from my children it’ll still be working 100 years from now
    The Bersa is lighter, has a slide release and will function with any kind of ammo
    You can tell it is cheaply made and the finish of both models I have had is very poorly applied
    I have Crimson trace laser grips on both guns and they both soft shooting and are extremely accurate
    Laser sights negate the problem with the Bersas miniature sites,
    Hits are easy out to 30 feet in bright sunlight
    I carry the Bersa in my carry rotation inside the waistband at 3 o’clock In a Remora holster with a spare magazine
    I never carry the Walther as it is just too heavy
    My wife keeps it in her desk drawer as a home defense gun and we enjoy taking it to the range for target practice
    The Bersa with the Crimson trace is exactly half the price of the Walter with the Crimson trace, so I won’t cry if it is ever stolen from my car when I enter a gun free zone

    TL, dr The Walter is a heavy finely crafted gun, great for target practice and home defense, the Bersa is far superior for concealed every day carry

  29. The version with the nickel finish was my first carry pistol. I still have it, but I haven’t shot it in years. However, using it to bifircate an armadilllo with three shots late one night helped bolster the viability in my mind of both point shooting and hollow-point .380ACP rounds for defensive purposes.

  30. The Thunder 380 is a lightweight, generally little self-loaded gun arrangement loaded with the famous .380 ACP bore made by Argentine guns. One of my cousins bought it and works well.

  31. Crimson Trace makes a great set of laser grips for the standard Thunder 380. The screw on the adjustable rear sight tends to walk out if you don’t lock tight it down. The magazine safety bar is easily and safely removed without affecting function of the pistol. And finally, this little gun is actually more reliable than the PPK because it has a shallower feed angle.

  32. When ever I sight in a gun, I put the target on a 55gal Drum. If the bullet doesn’t penetrate the barrel, I get rid of the gun. So far, all my pistols in the .380, 9mm and ..40 cal. Leave large holes in the drum. If these calibers can penetrate a steel drum, they would surely put a hole in a human. I shoot at 10 yards, so the results might be different at longer range, but I would say for CC and Home protection, 10 yards should be adequate. So, why is the 9mm supposed to be more effective than a .380?

    • I can’t tell if you’re being serious.

      The 9mm is about twice as powerful as the .380.

      In the 9mm you have a wide selection of defensive ammo with bullets that both expand significantly in soft tissue and penetrate adequately. In .380, not so much–it’s the Hornady XTP, or the old Federal Hydra-Shok that I’m not even sure they still make. Or FMJ, if you want to be sure the bullet will penetrate adequately in a straight line and don’t care about deformation.

      9mm destroys more soft tissue and its higher velocity makes it likely to shatter bone in a way that generates sharp bone splinters as secondary missiles and pushes them into soft tissue away from the direct path of the bullet, something the .380 just doesn’t have the juice to do. 9mm bullets expand more and penetrate more.

      Of course, any weapon we pick up for concealed carry is necessarily a compromise. Any handgun is a last-ditch emergency weapon we use to fight our way back to the rifle we shouldn’t have put down. If you’re talking about home defense, if you’re talking about a scenario in which you’re backed into a bedroom with no other exits and no way out, to fight for your life, if that is what we’re talking about here, if you’re not using a long gun, you’re doing it wrong. And no, not a pistol caliber carbine. The gangbangers aren’t going to give you style points for making your last stand with a pocket pistol. Neither will the cops, when they get there the next day.

  33. A tale of 2 Bersas. I purchased 2 Bersa Thunder .380 cal pistols. The first, worked perfectly. Very accurate, no feeding or ejecting failures. The 2nd was not accurate. Consistently shooting at least 6 inches right of the aiming point. This was true with multiple shooters. The rear sight could not be adjusted. Contacted Bersa, they gave me an address to send it to. I decided to take it to the range one more time before I sent it off for repair. On the 2nd magazine, after the last round was fired, the slide locked in the open position, however, I could not get it to unlock. After making certain the gun was safe, I pushed on the slide lock release lever, without success. I decided to disassemble the pistol and found the problem. After removing the slide, the slide lock lever fell off. It seems strange to me that after all of these year producing these guns that one gun could perform so well and the 2nd could just be a paperweight.

    • A relative of mine bought a Bersa in .380 about twenty-five years ago. After a few hundred rounds the slide jammed solidly in place halfway back. When he took it to a gunsmith, he learned the ejector was very soft metal, not even heat treated, and had peened badly enough to get stuck in its slot in the slide. He got it fixed and sold it off. He got a stainless Walther PPK made in Alabama, and shot many thousands of rounds through it with no problems, so long as the ammo was roundnose FMJ or his reloads with cast bullets that had the same profile. Granted, this was a sample size of one, and not the same model, but still.

  34. the best caliber or gun is the one you have with you when there is a bad guy standing in front of you!! “firepower is fine, but accuracy is final” (Wyatt Earp)

  35. Ive been carrying the thunder for years with no worrys at all. Its my everyday all day weapon. Remember the 380 round is just as affective as any other round. Shot placement is Everything!!! Know your Weapon.

  36. 380 stopping power? Imagine being impaled on a length of 1/4″ re-bar. Think that would stop you? 380 hard ball will easily pass clean through a man, so it’s the same thing and with the same effect.

    This review was of the CC model … the other models have MUCH better sights on them!

    My Thunder 380 Plus is a lot of gun. At any price.

  37. I love the idea of the Bersa My friend loaded me his to polish and take to the range. It either stovepiped or FTF or FTE every 5 shots. When I was in the lobby I met a gentleman that said he had the same problem with his 2 Bersas that hes owned for years. They are the coolest gun but Ive heard nothing but bad reviews. seeing your review has confused me. I love the feel and its DA/SA with a decocker like my Berretta Couger.. I guess Ill have to trust your review and see if the new ones are better.. Can you tell me if you’ve heard about the problems I mentioned? Thanks in Advance.

  38. I have two bersa thunder, 1 is a .380 and the other in a .22. Having read the advise of a well known guy writer ( and former leo ) to not trust a firearm until you have 500 rds though it. So at 350 rds, my bersa 380 locked up tight, cleared it, took it to a gun smith and got it back a week later and it locked up tight again after 4 rds, the gunsmith had it close to month that time. Something about a pin working it’s way out of the slide and against the trigger bar.Haven’t shot it since. The .22 version will shoot a 2 in group at 35 to 40 ft, by the time of the 3d mag, the 2 in group move all around the target face. I purchased these two guns because of the style and looks, they fit my hand and they had the decocker for carrying locked and loaded. I like both handguns, but.

  39. Had my Bersa Thunder .380 Dura-Tone since 2005, like it, keeping it. Loaded with hydra-shok 90 gr. Accurate out of box at 25 yards (from support). One thing, the mag holds 7 rounds, 7+1 and it will jam (stove pipe). Not a pistol/mag problem, just an advertising error. Should be, 6 in mag, one in chamber. Home defense main firearm is a 12 gauge pump. The Bersa is just the most portable firearm.

  40. I have shot many guns over a 20-year military career and in my private life. I carry a 45 ACP a 357 or my 9mm depending on the weather and coat selection. I cold weather carry in the pocket with my sub-compact 9mm Springfield. Summertime I wear an appendix carry lite holster with my 357 magnum. I carry extra speed loaders in my cargo pocket. My wife sewed a stiff leather insert into each front pocket, no more printing. The 45 ACP I carry on extreme days. When I have to travel a long distance. I carry the 45 ACP. I also keep an AR-15 pistol under the back seat in a bench lock safe seat, along with 4 extra magazines. I carry extra magazines for every firearm I own. I train often with real-world scenarios. I practice home invasions- carjacking and dining out scenarios. My wife is into the gun life also we train together hard and often. In ending the world is full of the worst, be ready with your best.

  41. I bought a RIA Baby Rock last Fall of 2019. The mags did not work. I sent it back and the mag was replaced. The gun ftf, again. I traded the cute, little, head ache gun for a Bersa Thunder. The Bersa had three dot sights, so, I could see what I was shooting at. It fit my hand, shot great, and was not snappy. Yes, snappy. 380 pistols are snappy. The Bersa was not snappy, which was a pleasant suprise to me. Buy a Bersa and enjoy it at the range. Just because a gun is expensive doesn’t make it good.

  42. Point Blank range to 30 feet? A Bersa 380 will stop any two legged or four legged threat with two rounds in the T Zone and one in the heart/ spine Fifteen feet is the distance you want to stop the threat, “cold”, in it’s tracks. Who needs an elephant gun to defend ones self from human beings? I don’t. 357 Mag/ 44Mag, yeah, that sounds impressive, but the shooter… shoot, on target, those high recoiling guns?

  43. Alfie thanks for that heads up on the pin working. I have heard mention of that before but which pin is..Will check my little Bersa for that possibility…Bill

  44. Bought a chromed CC Bersa .380 at a pawn shop. $175, tax included!! Came with case, papers, trigger lock key, and that one spent case. Just one mag.

    Went out using Winchester white label FMJFP and CCI Gold dots. With the Winchesters at 5 yards (checking to see if the fixed sights shot POA) it put all 8 rounds into one ragged hole! And get this, right were the sights looked!! Holy cow! I did this with three mags full and then went to CCIs. The gold dots opened the group a bit but not much!

    Later I got two new Bersa mags for the CC, I call the gun CC now, and Fiocchi ammo (FMJ). Groups not quite as good as the Winchesters and it shot a bit high. Maybe an inch high, big deal!

    In all I’ve put about 100 rounds through the gun with all three mags. NOT ONE JAM!!!

    Excellent! Total cost, including two spare mags, $237! No, it ain’t my Kimber Classic Stainless MK 1 nor my Glock 26, but it is an excellent little carry gun!

  45. Jis bot my 1st CAL gun fer my Gson for comp shoots. Saw this Bersa at Pro Shop and cried when cup’ola in front me sucked it up. Hope they fail om reg. James Bond was no fool.

  46. Bersa has been manufacturing handguns in one form or another for more than 60 years. (They used to make rifles and shotguns at one time as well.) The ‘Thunder’ series .380 has more in common with the Beretta 70 than the PPK, as the company founders had worked for Beretta in Italy before moving to Argentina. Bersa is the firearm of the armed forces and national police in Argentina, and the Air Foce in Ecuador. The .380 has a large following in Latin America, where .380 is the ‘largest’ caliber available to the general public in most countries.

  47. There you go again. “Ruger bucked the trend with their lcp.” Horse crap! Ruger bucked the trend by copying Kel-tec’s P3-AT. All you Ruger kiss arses really amaze me.

  48. Picked a bersa 380 thunder up yesterday I ordered on-line. Total price 280 bucks
    including ffl dealer charge. Thought it would be a good choice for conceal carry.
    It is not for me. It is heavier than I imagined and no where near as concealable
    as a ruger lcp. It functioned flawlessly thru a few clips and was as accurate as
    I can expect considering my abilities. The gun is exactly the same size as a
    ruger ec9s. Its cleaned and oiled and in my safe and for sale. The manual
    that came with it was the most abbreviated I have ever seen.

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