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It can be hard not to get caught up in the hype of handguns and the infinite wish list we all possess. I salivate all day long over the latest and greatest carry options to be had. Realistically though, I’m a 25-year-old mechanic starting a new career with a new wife and new bills. Because of my tight finances I had to be frugal with my carry decision. Sometimes it’s really hard to save up the extra couple hundred dollars to get that GLOCK or M&P. Which brings me to what I carry, a Bersa BPCC 9mm  . . .

I got it new for less than $300. I’ve had plenty of experience with the Thunder and wasn’t concerned with the reputation that comes with the South American sub-$300 gun. It’s thin grip fits my small hand nicely but it’s still long enough to get all three fingers on there which was a big plus for me. Eight rounds of 9mm golden Saber +P in the mag plus one in the pipe gives me confidence throughout the day. The trigger is a bit on the light side — 3.5 to 4 pounds — and there are zero external safties but the gun lives in the holster, period.

It had some issues when initially purchased, but after 2,000 rounds I no longer worry about reliability … it shoots every time I ask it to. With this price also comes with the comfort in knowing that if it has to take a trip downtown, my wallet won’t suffer. One day this gun will be upgraded away with a new one that doesn’t rust and doesn’t pit, has better safety features, and is a gun that I truly want. But until that day, I’m 100% willing to trust this gun with the life of myself and my wife.

(See the rest of the posts in this series here. Send your What I Carry and Why submissions with a photo to [email protected] with WICAW in the subject line.)

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  1. I remember the days of a pregnant stay at home wife and working 2 jobs. Money was very tight. I had sterling examples of the fire arms industry. Ravens, Jennings, very used H&R break top in .38 s&w.

    Compared to those and others like them the Bersa is a Mercedes. Don’t let the snobs tell you otherwise.

    • I really like the gun, the trigger is mushy and the slide and mag release are pretty rusty but I live in south Texas so that’s to be expected. I’d still really like to get a Thunder.

      • I was impressed by the Bondish Bersa .380. At the time I looked at them they could be had for way under 3 bills. But I already had a Makarov and since I’m tight with a buck I didn’t feel like adding still another caliber to my stock.

        • The bond-ish Bersas, (85, 90 series) I remember well, seeing them in the Bahamas in my youth, in either .32 ACP or .380.

          Honestly, after handling the so-called real deal Walther PPK/S, I dislike the slide bite it has a tendency to call.

    • It’s called, “taking care of business.”

      Sometimes money is tight, and you gotta do what you gotta do to provide for your family.

      It’s easy to talk crap on Internet about spending other people’s money. The “what’s your life worth…” comments are garbage.

      Broke people shouldn’t be looked down upon for doing the right thing with what money they have available.

      • I *like* Bersas that I’ve shot. I’m sure I’m not the only one? And yes, it’s a lot better to buy a reliable but not excellent gun and have money to pay rent and buy food with, than to spend an extra few hundred and be SOL come the rent being due. I generally don’t like remote possibilities (needing to shoot someone in self defense) get in the way of near certainties (needing to pay my mortgage)

  2. He has made an intelligent decision; buy the best gun you can afford and then practice with it until it becomes an extension of your arm.

    • Your caveat, “As long as it works when you want it to” is essential of any gun you choose no matter how simple, complex, cheap or expensive. And in fact, it’s all that matters.

  3. I /really/ like Bersa firearms, but always seem to be hesitant on getting one of their non Thunder380’s. Canik, and other competition make it tough. That and I like tinkering. Glock would be my bet so I could turn somehing into a racegun, or theow in a threaded barrel if I ever desired.
    (P.S. Daily carry a BT380)

  4. “Sometimes it’s really hard to save up the extra couple hundred dollars to get that GLOCK or M&P. Which brings me to what I carry, a Bersa BPCC 9mm . . .”

    Run what you brung.

    Don’t listen to all the internet clowns, they aren’t paying your bills.

    If that’s all you can comfortably afford, then it’s the right gun for you.

  5. Carry what you can afford…coincidentally this is the exact same gun I mentioned yesterday when folks said the NRA never rags on anything. They went on and on how this could be so much better if Bersa wasn’t so sloppy in finishing. Interesting how you had problems-I’d go with another South American gun-Taurus PT 709. Never a failure in 4 Taurus’. Even cheaper $. Prayers-and guns for “subjects”-in France…

    • The problem I had was constant stove pipes and what fixed it was removing the tiny ejector and cleaning all of the packing grease out of it. It was hell getting that damn thing back in but afterwards not a single malfunction.

      • Ha! Here I thought Taurus was the cosmoline champ. To be fair to both-they come from S. America in high humidity. Yes and I believe most of the Taurus hate comes from not cleaning the shite out of it. I am OCD about everything gun. Snap caps,working the slide and polishing.
        Honestly I have NEVER seen this model in the wild(seen plenty of Thunders-they seem way too large for a 380).

    • I was seriously considering a Taurus PT709 or Millennium G2. I found that the Bersa Thunder Pro 9 UC got great reviews. What tipped the decision toward the Bersa was parts availability. You can buy any part for the gun at a very reasonable price.

      I think some Tauri are good dependable guns, but I don’t want to send one to Brazil if it has a minor problem. The Bersa runs great, but it is pretty wide and heavy to carry. Finish is OK, but the levers rust easily if you sweat on them. Rubs off with a little oil. BP9CC came out after I bought my gun. The reports of the very light trigger and no safety put me off. I dry fired one in a store and didn’t like the trigger at all. It didn’t seem really light but the pull just felt weird to me.

      • Gruney-they get repaired in Miami,Florida,USA. Never needed repair. I have no stock in Taurus and have never shot a Bersa. 709 is one of Taurus’ best reviewed guns…

  6. Looks like a reasonable choice. It also looks relatively small, which I like in a carry gun. S&W’s SD9 series is also a good budget option for a double stack, at around $300, and Rossi/Taurus revolvers (especially used) are an inexpensive option as well. I bought a used Rossi model 68 (38 special, 3″ barrel) about 3 yars ago for $125. It is a perfectly functional gun. I’ve only heard good things about the Bersa’s, esp. the Thunder .380.

    • The S&W SD9/40VE guns are great weapons for people on a budget.

      I had a .40 as my only HD weapon for several years, and it never failed me.

      Sold it to a buddy who, like me, at that time needed a cheap, reliable gun that wouldn’t take food off his kids plate.

      The trigger felt like closing the door on a rusted out Cutlass, but it ran like a top.

        • A bit on the large side for Concealed carry, but otherwise the second generation Sigmas are good guns (first gen had some issues). I’ve had a SD40 for years and can’t recall the last failure. It even runs the commie steel case ammo just fine.
          They are available dirt cheap online, $150-175.
          A lot of complaints on the long, heavy trigger, but I actually like it as there’s almost no relearning curve when switching from my revolvers to the SD.

  7. I’ll throw in another vote for “carry what you want.” You don’t even have to justify it to me on the basis of “what you can afford.”

    First rule: Have a Gun.

    With that said, I will add this. I held a Bersa (not sure what model) in a gun shop a year or so ago, and found it felt VERY good in my hand. It was extremely well balanced and just felt “good.”

    Didn’t get to shoot it, though, so I’d have to reserve judgment on if I’d buy one or not. But, they are definitely on my radar. I thought it would be a good one to add to the list for my wife to try.

    Carry on. Don’t let gun snobs inject doubt into your carry choices.

  8. Hear a lot of ragging on Bersa pistols. Personally I liked them when first got into guns. Thunder 380, Thunder 22, Thunder Ultra Compact Pro 9mm, like the 9 most of all. Initially trigger edges were too sharp, hurt to shoot after awhile, solved it with some redneck girl gunsmithing by taking a Dremel and smoothed out edges of trigger, back in business. One thing about any favor of the Bersa brand, keep the feed ramp clean! Reputation for Bersa being a jam o rama, due to dirty feed ramp, clean it every 600 rounds or as needed, Q-tips and Frog Lube/Cleaner does the job and helps prevent rust. Bersa brand is a good choice at very affordable price point, good for you for being thrifty.

    • The only people I hear trashing them don’t own one. Funny, that.

      I still somewhat regret selling off my Thunder 9. It was too thick and heavy to conceal, but it ran like Jesse Owens with every ammo I tried.

  9. I carry a Bersa Thunder .380 that I picked up during the rush of ’13 for less than 3 bills new. It’s been a great and reliable shooter. Only issue is a lost rear-sight screw that they replaced free of charge. I’m sold on Bersa. I’ve looked at the BP9cc several times and have only heard good things about them. Someday….

  10. If your tight on a budget, then there are other things to consider besides the price of the gun it’s self.
    Some folks buy a cheap or moderately priced autoloader $300/$400 range, and then run $500, to $1,000 worth of ammo through it to find out if it’s reliable??
    Sometimes, after this, they get several Failure to fire, stove pipes Failure to feed, and failure to eject, etc., etc.
    So now, they sell the weapon, and start all over again with a “more reliable” gun.
    Not saying that this is what you need to do, only an alternative.
    A person could buy a nice revolver, for say $500 to $800. Then put some rounds through it, and learn to use it.
    Sure, you’ve spent more on the gun, but you have something that you know will be reliable with out making the ammunition factories a little more wealthy.
    If you want to shoot a lot, then you can take up reloading. And, as you know, it’s a lot easier recovering your brass from a wheel gun.

    • You can still definitely get a lemon of a revolver. And there’s plenty of reliable autos for under 500. Hell, I can’t recall a failure to feed with my SR9c and that was like 350 or so. It’s not as nice as my CZs but it works and it’s easier to carry

      • You can get a lemon with “any” gun. My main point was that you can get a really nice wheel gun, and end up spending less money in the long run, because you don’t need to spend a fortune on ammo to see if it’s reliable.
        I recently purchased a Ruger SLR. I’ve only put a hundred rounds or so, through it, but I’m willing to stake my life on it.
        I saved the brass and bought some dies, powder, bullets, etc., and can now shoot it enough to get really familiar with it,and now I have only put about $450 into the gun and ammo, to prove the reliability.

        • I spent about 150 rounds over a weekend working on the kinks of this gun and what solved it’s stove pipe malfunctions was full disassembly and thoroughly cleaning. The rest of the ammunition through it was for myself not to solidify the gun. I actually prefer revolvers myself but I am currently without my .357.

        • Mattb
          Yeah, a 357 is always a good choice. You can shoot 38 specials in it, and 357 for when your packing.

  11. I almost picked one of these up to try but ended up getting the shield mostly for easy to find mags and a higher resale. The shield can be had for about the same price right now. I paid something like 330 for mine.

  12. I like the SCCY for similar reasons. It is not the ideal pistol. I also have a Beretta PX4. The PX4 is a better built gun, more attractive and has a manual safety. I do like the manual safety feature. But I put a laser / flashlight combo on it so it is a bit large to carrry now. So the PX4 is delegated to bedside duty while the SCCY goes with me. The SCCY functions great for me. Eats what I give it and goes bang every time. Accuracy seems decent. My youngest daughter, who just turned 40, fired it for the first time when I visited her in Nevada. First time ever for her to fire a pistol or any weapon. She did fine with it and was able to get decent groups at 15 yards or so. Whatever the furthest distance the target would go down the range. She tried a few close up shots to start. Then moved the target further downrange and kept doing that. At the end of the session her groups were still in a 6 inch circle in the middle of the target with one or two errant rounds. Pretty decent shooting for the first time and for someone that probably weighs 110 pounds. Showed her all of the basic safety rules first and she followed them religiously at the range. Afterwards she said that she had a great time. Her hubby has several pistols that he keeps for self defense but she has never fired them. At least she has some experience with a firearm now. Now if she can get her hubby to take her to the range with his pistols and practice, that would be ideal.

  13. Mechanics with small hands have a decided advantage over mechanics with bear paws when working in tiny areas.

    (I *really* wished I had small hands when tearing my Civic si down to the block…)

  14. Really wanted to love the BP9CC. Tried two different ones, could not get either to run consistently. Stove pipes and trigger assembly pin vibrating out. But the ergonomics were just right for me.

  15. I had one that I was going to do a TTAG review with. It ran flawlessly…. for 300 rounds. Then it catastrophically failed, and it cost me close to 80 bucks to replace ‘under warranty’. I have no idea if mine was a fluke or not but it ruined bersa for me, probably forever.

  16. I’ve had both the BPCC and Thunder Pro Ultra Compact both in 9 mm and liked them both a lot. They fit my hand, they are reliable, and the BPCC is thin and makes carrying a little easier. I liked the Thunder a bit better because of the external safety. I think the Thunder Pro is a great looking gun too. I wish I had not sold it but I’ll buy another one someday.

    Nothing wrong with a Bersa.

    • Also have a Bersa Thunder Ultra Carry 45acp. It’s an economic carry option that’s been dependable and absolutely reliable with nearly 500 rounds through it. Down side, recoil is obnoxious. Rock solid on a budget.

  17. No experience with them, but just from reading the comments it looks like with Bersa you either get a winner that runs perfectly or a dud that is a no go for self defense.

    It is a sharp lookin’ gun though

  18. The first pistol I ever bought was a Bersa Thunder .380 CC with satin nickel finish. I haven’t shot it in a while, but it never failed to fire. The tiny CC integrated sights were the worst part, being nigh unusable, but having bifurcated armadillos with it at night it seems to point-shoot darn well.

  19. the BP9cc is the single stack Steyr never made. Wilhelm Bubbitz design, same size as the Shield w/ 8 round mag but much better trigger out of the box: I bought myself one for xmas this year, 1000 rounds later I had exactly 1 hiccup & that was when my friend’s limp wristed roommate was shooting it. There is a video on YouTube where a South American shooter gets off 24 shots in 10 seconds: really sweet short reset for double taps / double double taps.


    Upon the expiration of the one-year Warranty, and for as long as this Bersa firearm is owned by the original purchaser, Bersa S.A. offers to service and repair any defects or malfunction in this Bersa firearm –excluding the finish, grips, sights or magazine –without charge.

    Requests for service should be submitted in writing, together with proof of purchase and the firearm (insurance and shipment prepaid by the purchaser) to an authorized service center identified on the website. Return shipment and insurance shall be paid by Bersa, provided the service is covered by this service contract.

    This service contract is only extended to the original purchaser and shall be waived if the defect or malfunction was caused by neglect, abuse, careless handling, unauthorized ammunition, ordinary wear and tear, unreasonable use or failure to provide reasonable and necessary maintenance as set forth in the instruction manual.

    Please complete and return the enclosed original purchaser registration card, found in your firearm’s box, to assist us in providing this service to you. If you require assistance in connection with this service contract, please contact:

    Eagle Imports, Inc.
    1750 Brielle Ave., Unit B-1
    Wanamassa, NJ 07712


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