The Bersa Guide
We haven't reviewed every model of Bersa out there, but enough of them to get a feel for the brand. When we review other models we'll update this guide. A video guide is at the bottom of the article.
Bersa is most-known for their affordable Walther PPK/S-like gun, the Thunder .380. With more than 1 million produced that's not surprising, but the brand produces many other options that are worth considering. The "TPR" series of guns have impressed us enough that I carried the TPR9C for a while and the TPR9 is one of our home defense firearms. With Bersa USA now in existence I suspect we can expect more from Bersa in the future.
The Bersa line of pistols available in the US can be broken down into three basic families:
"Thunder .380" This is the classic line that most Americans know about. Blow-back operated, Walther PPK/S-looking .380 pistols available at an affordable price.
BP: The BP380 CC and BP9CC are polymer-framed, striker-fired single-stacks with incredible triggers. I was once able to empty the entire 8-round magazine in about 1.5 seconds.
TPR: Though the style lines of the TPR series has spread into some of the Thunder .380 line, these are aluminum-framed, hammer-fired DA/SA guns with a decocker. We fell in love with them for their incredibly-smooth double action and nice single action, especially for the price.
Bersa pistols are generally spectacular values and pricing has remained fair despite demand. As a result they (and their magazines) can be hard to find at times. When a shipment arrives to the US it's quickly gobbled up. I've done my best to find current pricing and availability, but for some you may just have to check back frequently.
A note about peculiarities: Some of the Bersa models have key safeties (use is optional) and magazine disconnect safeties. These features are part of the ATF's silly importation point system. When a pistol is as small and light as some of the Bersa pistols are they have to add "features" to make enough points to be importable (or have longer barrels, weigh more, etc). Some companies get around this by assembling the guns in the US, or starting factories in the US, both of which add cost. We can either have affordable pistols from Argentina with extra features or pay more for less.
These pistols offer a lightweight single-or-double-stack option. Aluminum frames help give the pistol a solid feel without adding too much weight, the double action is of course heavier, but not unreasonable and very smooth. The single action is crisp and light like a proper hammer-fired gun. Direct blowback operation help with reliability and simplicity, but at the expense of slightly increased recoil. The saving grace against that recoil is that these .380 pistols are large enough for a proper grip. Available in a wide variety of colors and priced from the low $200s to $300. A multitude of color options have been released over the years across the more than 1 million models made.
Thunder .380 Pricing and Availability (as of 1AUG22)
Starting at $289.99 at GrabaGun
Starting at $276.99 at Guns.com
Starting at $265.99 on Sportsman's Guide
The threaded-barrel option is loads of fun for suppressor owners. .380ACP is a naturally subsonic round so unlike 9mm there's no need to seek out specialty ammunition. The fixed barrel also means you don't need a Nielson device, just thread on your can and have fun. I suggest finding an increased-power recoil spring though to help negate some of the extra pressure.
Threaded 4.3" barrel model pricing:
Although technically a "TPR" series pistol, I snuck the TPR380 Plus (recently reviewed HERE) into this group as it replaced the other Thunder Plus model. Aside from changes to the slide cuts, the magazine release of the TPR 380 Plus is located in a more common location. Wrap-around rubber grips add nice texture and the 15+1 capacity is nice for such a small firearm.
TPR 380 Plus Pricing
As low as $268.98 around the web
BP380CC and BP9CC
These are some of the nicest-shooting single-stack polymer-framed, striker-fired guns on the market. The grip is super-slim, yet somehow not so slim that it's painful to shoot (like the old Taurus 709 Slim). The trigger is fantastic, if anything maybe a little too nice for carry, but that's a personal preference. Very easy to conceal and excellent on the range. The BP Series are also nearly identical between .380ACP and 9mm. The BP380CC is an extra delight to shoot as it uses a locked breech, not blowback like so many other .380ACP pistols.
Feature highlights for us with these pistols are the textured memory points for trigger finger and support thumb as well as an ambidextrous magazine release. Single-stack pistols may have fallen out of fashion lately, but they haven't fallen out of utility.
Sights can be swapped with Sig #8 in front and Glock in the rear.
$299.99 at Palmetto State Armory
From $275.99 at Sportsman's Guide
As low as $252.43 around the web
The TPR series are available in a variety of calibers, but the models we have are in 9mm. These are spectacular pistols for the money. Aluminum-framed, DA/SA, hammer-fired pistols are not inexpensive to make and so most other brands charge considerably more. To top that off not all double-action triggers are as smooth and consistent as a Bersa TPR. If you've ever been curious about learning the way (and advantages) of a DA/SA, the TPR line is a great way to start without breaking the bank.
An added point of attraction to the TPR series of pistols is the inclusion of slide lock/release and safety/decocker lever on both sides of the pistol. Regardless of which hand is your primary shooting hand, it's nice to have a pistol that can be used by the other side if needed.
Sights can be swapped with Sig #8 size which we have done on our TPR9 using a set from Night Fision. We like the Night Fision sights as they include a colored ring around the tritium for enhanced aiming in daylight and tritium for use in low light.
As low as $418.99 around the web
As low as $381.99 around the web
For a video look at these models see the supplemental video below or click HERE for our library of Bersa videos.