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Bersa Thunder .380 Review

Bersa Thunder .380 Matte Finish

Why the Bersa Thunder .380? Believe it or not, there are several well made, reliable handguns out there that wonít break the bank. As far as concealed carry pistols go, the Bersa Thunder .380 is one such pistol. This fixed sighted, 3.5Ē barreled, 7 round handgun takes its queue from the ever popular Walther PPK pistols. This Bersa handgun is designed primarily for self defense and boasts a few desirable features not found even in the Walther PPK. Since the Thunder .380 is designed as a defensive/carry weapon, we will review it as such. The Thunder .380 comes in matte black (seen above), Duotone and nickel as well as hammerless versions. On with the reviewÖ

The Good

  • Accurate: Like the Walther PPK, the Bersa Thunder has its barrel fixed to the frame. This just adds inherent accuracy to the pistol. Although very common in auto pistol design, floating barrels often lack the same consistency on target as a fixed barrel gun. Even though the Thunder .380 is a medium framed, short barreled auto, I was quite pleased with the patterns it can produce. It certainly can hold its own as a defensive firearm.

  • Reliable: I used my Bersa when I qualified for my CCW. I didnít suffer a single failure with the gun in the 300 rounds it ran through. I can comfortably say I can rely on this pistol if I needed it. I have yet to have a hiccup with mine. Also, youíll find the trigger to be quite smooth and honestly much lighter than on current Walther PPK pistols.

  • Safety: Hereís where I think it excels as a defensive weapon, particularly for a daily carry. The Bersa Thunder .380 has both a key safety and a decocker. The key safety is not incorporated into the Walther. If you have children, I think the ability to lock the trigger out is invaluable. In either a locked or safety engaged state, the trigger is disengaged and cannot be made to fire. Likewise, the ability to drop the hammer safely when loaded in cocked and locked (condition 1), and going to condition 2 is again an added bonus to a defensive handgun.

  • Concealability: There are smaller and lighter autos, but the Bersa Thunder .380 is a very concealable pistol. I carry mine in a Desantis Nemesis pocket holster. However itís perfectly suited for a fanny pack, purse, ankle or inside/outside waist rig. I consider mine to be a summer carry weapon. Unlike full size autos that need to be hidden under a coat or worn under a baggy shirt, the Bersa can be carried a number of ways that will not print on the wearer.

  • Takedown:Disassembly is as simple as simple could be. Pull the slide completely rearward, rotate the forward slide release, lift up on the slide and slip it off the barrel. 3 pieces and everything is there for easy cleaning.

The Bad

  • Aluminum Frame: Yes, it has one. And I say so what! Itís another debating point about long term reliability. Do I think the gun will wear more quickly than steel or polymer framed handguns? Sure. Should you shy away from Aluminum frames? Depends. If you plan to shoot tens of thousands of rounds through this pistol, then Iíd say look to a stronger framed gun. But, will it last a long, long time with average use? You bet. The Bersa line of pistols are all extremely well built and aluminum frames have been around for an equally long time. Donít be afraid to check one out next time you visit your local gun store.

  • Magazine Capacity:The base Thunder .380 only sports a 7 round capacity. However, the good news is there is a 15 round version available. The grip is thicker, but itís a fair tradeoff for firepower if thatís a selling point to you.

The Ugly

  • Finish: Iím not crazy about the Duracoated looking paint job. Itís well applied and sturdy, but give me a deep bluing any day!

Overall Rating

  • 3.5 out of 5


Besides the safety features and good handling, this gun is custom made for the light duty, very concealable role. For our lady shooters, this pistol offers an acceptable amount of firepower in a comfortably sized frame. If you carry often, this would make a great summer handgun.

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