Bersa is well known for its line of compact and full sized pistols of all flavors. One of the best sellers for the company has been its series of .380 Thunder and Thunder CC pistols that have long been favorites of CCW holders, undercover law enforcement, and private security forces worldwide. In recent years, the competition has grown. Let's look at the Bersa .380s when compared to some of the "other guys" popular in the country.
The People's Champion:
In this corner, our main contender, the Bersa Thunder .380 is a compact blowback-operated semi-automatic pistol. Its overall length is 6.61" with a 3.54-inch barrel. Overall weight is 20 ounces unloaded. It has an 8-shot magazine standard, with optional 7, 9, 10, and 15-shot magazines also available. The weapon is chambered in .380 Auto and is manufactured by Bersa in Ramos Mejia, Argentina. The suggested retail is about $300 but they can often be had for about $200 used. It is popular with many international law enforcement agencies and is issued to officers of the Ecuadorian Air Force as a personal weapon.
Vs. The Walther PPK
The venerable Walther has been around for almost a century and was long the sidearm of choice for such operators as the German Army's officer corps, and the fictional James Bond. The Walther is only narrowly smaller (at 6.1-inches overall) but is also slightly heavier 23-ounces than the svelte Bersa. Visually pleasing, it's a dead ringer for the Bersa in the looks department but the price of a new one is right at $500. For that, you can buy a matching set of two Bersas.
Vs. The Ruger LCP
The Ruger LCP (Lightweight Compact Pistol) is a subcompact, .380 ACP pocket pistol introduced in 2008, borrowing almost all of the useful features of every .380 design ever made. It is the cutting edge of the tiny, ultra-light defensive pistols on the market at just 9.4 ounces and 5.16 inches overall. However, the Bersa, while larger, offers usable sights whereas the LCP only alludes to such. The Bersa also costs less, has more magazine and finish options, a reassuring metal frame (I've seen a large dog eat a LCP frame), and most importantly, has a warranty. Ruger publicly states that they do not have any warranty.
Vs. The Kel-Tec P-3AT
The P-3AT is a locked breech, double action only .380 ACP pistol designed and manufactured by Kel-Tec since 2004. The gun is much smaller than the Bersa at 11-ounces and 5.2-inches overall. It also comes in a wide array of colors and finishes. The Bersa has a bump over this, as its barrel is 3.54-inches long and provides a marginally longer sight picture. Like the comparison with the Ruger and Walther, the Bersa .380 also offers a larger magazine capacity over the 6-shot mag of the P-3AT. The Kel-Tec, while cheaper than most other competitors, is at about the same price as a Bersa.
Many people talk smack about a Bersa .380, but when you compare it to the competition, things become a little more interesting.