Why the Bersa .380? In a world where Kel-Tec, Ruger, Taurus, Diamondback, Magnum Research, et al were all in a race to produce .25 caliber sized .380's why would I be interested in carrying a larger .380 pistol? Because I didn't shoot the micro pistols well, that's why. Now, I realize the P3AT, LCP, and DB .380 are extremely close quarter pistols but, if I have the option, I don't want to wait until a committed attacker is at a polite conversational distance before I give him a reason (or 7 or 8) to change his intention.
In fairness to the aforementioned and very well designed micro pistols I was pretty fair with the first shot but invariably I could not squeeze off a follow-up round because the small pistol had squirmed way out of place in my hands and would be pointing about 70 degrees to the left of my original point of aim. I am certainly not of the mind that one .380 round is going to stop a dedicated assailant.
Now my first choice for a larger .380 would normally be the Walther PPK. Besides the James Bond coolness factor I have found that they are extremely accurate and completely reliable. There are those who claim that the newly manufactured models made by Smith & Wesson are trash but that has not been my experience and I have owned 2 of the S & W made PPKs. However, as much as I wanted a PPK I did not have a large enough pile of cash lying around for one.
The Thunder has gained a strong online following with very good reviews and, at the time, were going for about $290.00. When I made the rounds of the gun shops I found that not only was the Thunder available but a newer model, the Thunder CC (for Concealed Carry) was also in plentiful supply. The Thunder CC is slightly smaller than the Original Thunder as it is .6" shorter in length, .16" shorter in height, and .23" slimmer. All squared edges have been filed off and the pistol has a more rounded shape.
When I first viewed it I thought it was probably about the size of a Walther PP. And a comparison of the Thunder CC and Walther PP find that the Thunder is .7" shorter, .24" taller, .13" slimmer, and 7.1 oz. lighter that the Walther PP. In fact the CC is favorable in size to the Walther PPK and the Smith & Wesson J-frame revolver. The width of the Bersa CC is very comparable with other pistols designed for concealed carry.
In fact the width of the Thunder CC makes it very concealable in a waist band holster such as the Remora.
The Thunder CC is a traditional Double Action/Single Action pistol where the first round has a long, but smooth, 7 pound pull and subsequent shots are fired in the single action mode as the slide recoil from the first shot has cocked the hammer. The Single Action shots broke very cleanly at 4.5 pounds according to my Lyman digital trigger pull scale. The Bersa CC has a decocking lever on the left side of the slide along with a visible loaded chamber indicator.
As happens all too frequently these days the Bersa Thunder CC only comes with one magazine. The mag supplied has a flat base and holds 8 rounds however magazines for the original Thunder also fit the CC. With the original Thunder magazines you give up one round and gain a finger extension.
One of the other things immediately noticeable about the Thunder CC are the abbreviated sights.
They have certainly been chopped down however, as you will see in the targets below they are very usable and are easy to pick up when the pistol is drawn and a shot must be taken in a hurry. Of course I would like night sights but I cannot expect them on a $290.00 pistol.
So, Let's See the Targets!
Distances with FMJ Range Ammo
Defensive Rounds All Fired At 21 Feet
The Bersa Thunder CC .380 is a true Average Joe kind of firearm. Well made, reliable, accurate, and doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Average Joe recommends this pistol to anyone looking for a defensive handgun who is on a tight budget and can't handle the recoil of a .38 Special or 9mm round. As always however, Average Joe recommends shooting one prior to buying if at all possible; either through a friend that has one or a range that has one for rent.