A forgotten classic that deserves a good home if you find one, the Bersa Mini Fire Storm is better known today by its son, the Bersa Thunder Ultra Compact. However, there are a few slight differences in this pistol and those who do not know about the gun often turn their nose up at it. Those who do know, love them.
(Walther P88 Compact)
In 1988, Carl Walther GmbH of West Germany introduced their P88 series of short recoil operated, locked breech semi-automatic pistols. Bersa, long known for Walther-esque design emulations, about the same time came out with the Mini Fire Storm, a smaller version of the same gun that was about an inch shorter yet still remained a 14-round capacity in a 23-ounce package. Expanding on the P88 concept, Bersa produced not only a 9x19mm version, but also a 40S&W and a 45ACP, which Walther never did. By 1996, Walther ended their production but the Bersa Mini Fire Storm picked up about the torch about this same time.
The Mini Firestorms themselves were imported into the States in the late 1990s and early 2000s until they were replaced by the Thunder series, which is marginally different.
These guns are standard double action first shot, single action follow-up, whose safeties include manual, firing pin and decocking. These compact beauties are built with integrity for precision shooting. Great to carry and easy to conceal, the Mini Firestorm offers the dependability and performance that one would expect from a higher priced firearm. Mechanical superiority is your assurance that this gun won't let you down in a pinch. Unlike many designs out there, the inner slide rail runs the entire length of the gun. Accurate, reliable, and well proportioned, the surface controls are easy-to-manage.
The pistol shipped with either 10 or 13 round magazines depending on when/where they were sold, but you could also use the full size 17-round magazine if you are OK with it hanging out of the grip. They were sold in matte black finish, dual tone, and nickel.
(Field Stripping a Mini Fire Storm)
In independent field tests run in 2010 with 1000 rounds of 9mm FMJ without cleaning, the gun suffered only two failure to ejects that cleared with immediate action drills, zero failure to feeds, and went bang 1000 times.
- Caliber: 9x19mm Parabellum/luger
- Operation: semi auto, link free locking system, DA/SA
- Overall length: 6.53-inches
- Width: 1.46-inches
- Height: 4.76-inches
- Weight: 23-ounces
- Barrel Length: 3.25-inches, with six RH Grooves
These Minis are beautiful guns that are sweet shooting and provide a good deal if you can find one. You often come across them in used condition in gun stores and shows for about $275-$300. They will be roll marked 'Mini9 Fire Storm' on the slide and those models with original plastic grips will have 'Fire Storm' embellishments on them.
Bersa had a lifetime service contract on the original owner, so look for the warranty registration card in the box if you find one. If not, contact Eagle Importers for any warranty work with your fingers crossed. Eagle has a link up for the spare parts with no less than 57 different springs, pins, levers, etc. listed by name and picture.
Gander Mountain Still has their web link to the gun up, with a retail of $299, but don't look for it to become active again as Bersa has replaced these with the Ultra Compact as already noted.
Not a lot of holsters made just for it, but most holsters that fit the Kahr K40 will work with the Mini Fire Storm, as will any holsters for the Bersa Ultra Compact.
Nevertheless, if you can find one, for a good price, buy it.