2nd Amendment to the Constitution of The United States of America

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

"I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians."
- George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Out With the Old, In With the New.

The Hi -Point is gone, here comes the Bersa!
Bersa Thunder .380 ACP

I have already posted about getting rid of my Hi-Point C-9 9mm pistol. It was not a bad gun, and my decision to part with it in no way is a mark against the Hi-Point brand. I just did not find myself reaching for it often. My Stoeger Cougar is a much better pistol in 9mm than the Hi-Point, just a fact. I originally wanted to pick up a 9 for "economy" shooting, yeah right. What the Hi-Point did do was fill a niche for me as a possible truck or summer conceal option if I opt to get my CCW license here in Ohio. Now the Hi-Point would of worked fine as a truck gun, but as a summer CCW choice, too bulky and heavy for that role in my opinion. What I used the proceeds of its sale towards was a Bersa Thunder .380 ACP. ".380! That has less stopping power than the 9mm it replaced!" True to a degree, in terms of raw force, yes. Depending on the load, and I will not bore you with tables and discussion of ballistic results in gelatin, some self defense rounds in .380 (such as the Corbon DPX) do approach some loads of 9mm in terms of effectiveness and realistic stopping power. And given that the majority of self defense shootings occur at relatively close range (5-15 feet), the power of the .380 does become a viable option. I have read, and agree, that the .380 ACP is about the smallest caliber to consider for serious self defense situations. Keep in mind you will not be bringing down cape buffalo and black bears with a .380. Still, any gun in your hand is better than a .44 Magnum in the safe at home when you need it. Look at the sales of Rugers new .380 LCP pistol and the sales of the Kel-Tec P3AT to convince yourself that .380 is carried and used everyday by thousands of people worldwide. In South America, and Argentina - the home of Bersa SA - the .380 is the largest caliber legally available to civilians (now that is a scary thought in an election year!!).

Anyway, as the Ruger LCP cannot be kept in stock anywhere and its sales are also driving the sales of the comparable P3AT, I chose to look towards the Bersa as an option. It has gotten rave reviews on Gunblast.com (one of my favorite sites) as well as a few other sites. All of the salesmen at Vances and another store all talked favorably of it. It was on sale at Vances for $229 so I gave it a go. First impressions are very good of the pistol. I bought the Duo Tone model which appears to be an aluminum frame and steel slide combo with black plastic hand grips (which are decent for plastic grips). It looks very nice, much like a Walther PPK....hey wait a minute...it almost looks exactly like a PPK!!...and also a Makarov PM!! Corect-a-mundo, they all share the same design lines. To tell you the truth, if the pistol is as reliable as people claim it is (I hope to fire and find out myself soon) who cares if it is a rip-off, clone, lesser known manufacturer or whatever. It costs less than half of what a PPK does and look at the quality my Stoeger has brought with a Turkish pedigree to my collection.

When I unpacked it after casually looking it over at the store and realizing this thing was gooey with grease and oil, I immediatly set about cleaning it off by disassembling the pistol. All went well and according to plan until I took off the grips to get at the frame, something that I do not think is an unreasonable idea especially considering the grips are each held on by a single flat-head screw. All was good until I tried to reassemble according to the directions. Wouldn't work. I tried for half and hour to get the slide back on the frame to no avail. I took it back to Vance's, explained the situation and they took it in the rear of the store to examine. After being asked if I took the grips off and worrying about voiding some type of service warranty and now having to pay for a repair (like I stated I don't think removing the grips is an unreasonable task to expect an owner to do once in a while) they got it back on for me. What had happened was that the magazine disconnect safety had come out of a slot on the transfer bar and was blocking the slide from being mated to the frame. All is fine now with it. Back to the pistol.

The Bersa Thunder is a direct blow back operated design, easily facilitated by the use of the "mild" .380 round (9mm x 17mm Kurtz). It utilizes a fixed barrel instead of a floating design as in a delayed blowback. This should contribute to accuracy results. It comes with a full set of "controls" that consist of a manual safety, take down lever, magazine release and slide lock. All of these are in easy reach and should not suprise anyone. The mag release is above the trigger and I find I have to turn the pistol slightly to press it. The pistol comes with a single 7 round magazine with a finger grove extension on it so most should be able to get a full grip on the weapon. The sites are a normal 3 dot affair and are very good for a weapon of this size and price. The trigger is a DA/SA set up with the first pull of the trigger a double action pull at around 12 pounds with each subsequent squeeze being single action at around 5 pounds. This is what I have read and dry firing feels about right for this info. The weapon sits in the hand and points nicely. The grips have a thumb rest on each side that actually works, and the backstrap is elongated to avoid having the webbing between your thumb and first finger get "bitten" by the slide - an issue my friend Greg has with his Makarov PM

It has 3 safety systems on it. First is a key lock safety that locks the action on an uncocked weapon. If the weapon is cocked it will allow the slide to move but the trigger will not operate and the hammer will not release. This is of no consequence since the use of this safety would be for when the gun is in storage and you want to lock it up to prevent its use by unauthorized persons, you would not lock in in a cocked condition in that case. The second safety is a manual (left side of the frame only) cross bar safety and decocking lever. The lever is very remincent of a Beretta F series safety as found on the 92 or 8000 series, but with much more force needed to decock the hammer, much more! I hope that this smooths out after a while as it is a brand new gun after all. The third safety is a magazine disconnect safety. Some people don't like these as they want the ability to fire the weapon if you had to in the middle of a mag change or if the magazine was dropped struggling for possesion of it with and attacker, but I like the opposite side of this argument. What if you are stuggling with an attacker and LOSING! Hey, I'm kind of a big guy (6' and over 250 lbs) but there are always stronger guys (and girls) out there that would definitely be able to get the better of me. I like to know that I may have the option of dropping the magazine and kicking it away and be beat with my pistol in lieu of being shot with it.

The pistol weighs in at around 23 oz. It is approx 6" long by 4" tall and about 1" wide. Nto bad for a conceal piece. As is my habit, I installed a Hogue Handall Jr. grip on it to further enhance the grip feel in my hand.

I'll do a further post on this piece after I have gotten it to the range.

It comes with a cheap lock, one of those "turn the screw" types, toss it....
...Use the included key lock
Hogue Handall Jr. grip on the Bersa
To dis-assemble, push down on the take down lever, pull the slide all the way to the rear and lift up, that's all there is to it
Disassembled pistol

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