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Old 03-16-2009, 09:06 AM   #1
 
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CCW Bersa Thunder?

Well gentlemen you were so helpful on how to carry for a woman, I wanted to ask your advice on a purchase. I own a CA 38 special, a Walther P22 with laser but now I am thinking instead of a 9 or a 40, I would like a little Bersa 380. I cannot stand purses and this is so small it can be carried so easily. Of course, the price is also nice. Let me know your thoughts.



Thanks
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Old 03-16-2009, 09:43 AM   #2
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CCW Bersa Thunder?

Hello Ms. reelgirl,



Mr. Camp's website has a number of favorable reviews of the Argentine-made Bersa Thunder .380acp semi-auto pistols, for example:

http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/BestBuys.htm



Those full-size .380s are nice to practice with. I'm no expert at all by any means, but as a civilian CHL in a relatively low-risk threat environment, I think a .380 pistol paired with good ammo, perhaps the Hornady "critical defense" 90gr. FTX jhp, and plenty of regular practice, that it could be a viable and relatively inexpensive carry option. Do give some thought to the holster design and where you will carry the pistol with a view to drawing it smoothly. Try to test shoot one and see what you think. I have seen some folks with very weak hands and fingers have a hard time with the blowback operated auto-pistols like the Walther PPK, SIG .380, and Bersa, while others can rack the slide with ease. I think a Ruger LCP or Keltec mini-.380 might be very concealable, but a bit more difficult to shoot well. The price on Ruger's LCP has really gone way up recently too because of brisk sales. Good luck with making your ccw selection.

I'm sure other folks will chime in soon with recommendations.

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Old 03-17-2009, 06:58 AM   #3
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CCW Bersa Thunder?

The Bursa is a great gun for the money, no doubt. I have looked at it several times myself and it took quite a bit of willpower to put it back down and not pull out the plastic.



Lately, though, with all the ammo price increases and availability problems, .380 has been very hard to find. I was talking with a guy the other day in my local shop that ad been all over the state looking for .380 ammo. He found 2 boxes there but was having no luck elsewhere. Just something to consider.



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Old 03-18-2009, 06:11 AM   #4
 
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CCW Bersa Thunder?

Thanks so much. I went to my weapons class the other night and the instructor said there is no ammo for it. The Sheriff department runs the range I use and they don't have any ammo for it. I think I will wait or get a sub-compact 9mm. I just really liked the size for concealment.
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Old 03-18-2009, 06:23 AM   #5
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CCW Bersa Thunder?

I really don't want to discourage you, Reelgirl, but I know the ammo shortage in that caliber is a factor. Perhaps things will loosen up in a few months if supply catches up with demand. It's a big if, though.
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Old 03-18-2009, 06:32 AM   #6
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CCW Bersa Thunder?

Howdy Reelgirl,



I am certainly no expert maam. But since you are asking for opinions, I will offer mine to you. First I think there is no such thing as a "magic bullet or caliber". Unless the round is placed properly on the threat/target, I do not expect it to seriously incapacitate and stop the threat the person poses. So to me shot placement is more important than caliber used.



But as a former homicide detective and long time firearms instructor, life experiences have caused me to form some opinons on various calibers too. I personally feel the .380 is at best "marginal" for self-defense. Most federal agencies and many local agencies have banned it use as a back up weapon in recent decades, simply because it was not an effective incapacitator in deadly force situation.



I remember my agency banned it use as a back up weapon, within one week of DEA doing so, back in the late 80s if I recall correctly now. A DEA agent undercover, armed only with a .380 was forced to employ deadly force. He made several good hits on the bad guy, who eventually died, from bleeding out. But before dying the bad guy was able to shoot and kill the DEA agent. The immediate effect post shooting of this agent was that DEA banned the use of this caliber for any purpose. My agency then quickly followed suit, as did many others.



The effectiveness of JHP bullet designs have improved a great deal in the ensuing years, to include the .380acp projectiles. But that said maam, I still consider the .380acp to be at best a "marginal caliber" for self-defense purposes. I personally feel you would be much better armed with at least a 9mm caliber. Just my opinion, but that is what you are asking for too.



Just wanted to give you something to think about in making your choice.



twoguns
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Old 03-18-2009, 05:51 PM   #7
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CCW Bersa Thunder?

Reelgirl---



Quick question: what kind of platform are you looking at? DA, DAO, SA? There are a lot of good guns out there, but you were interested in ease of concealment/carry, and price is always a factor. I'd recommend the Springfield EMP, if you're interested in a compact 1911 pattern pistol, but they cost $900 and change.



I have to second TwoGuns and others on the .380---not just the availability of ammo, but its effectiveness. Not to get into the old argument about calibers, but I wouldn't go smaller than a nine.



Good luck. Keep looking. And keep shooting.



All the best,

David



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Old 03-19-2009, 05:27 AM   #8
 
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CCW Bersa Thunder?

I think this would be the time to listen to some very knowledgeable people. I think I will abandon my thoughts on the .380 and follow your advice of a subcompact 9mm. But since I am so interested in all guns, I probably will buy a .380 for the range...



thank you so much, Dede
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Old 03-19-2009, 09:36 AM   #9
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CCW Bersa Thunder?

Well, my wife is a tiny person at barely 5'2". She also has to dress "professionally" and that doesn't mean LE-type work where a fiream can be worn openly or if inadvertently exposed, it is no big deal. It is true that dedicated carry involves changes to the wardrobe. It is also true that this can imply different things for men and women. But realistically, day-to-day carry for her involves a gun that is the last thing you'd want to have, other than no gun at all, of course.



All I'm saying, is that there are compromises. Some folks are entirely unwilling to compromise on calibers that strike them as particularly inadequate. Many dislike "mouse guns" that are talismans rather than more effective pistols. But there is something to be said for a firearm that can "always be with you 24/7" regardless of dress styles, weather, and other considerations. Good luck making your choice.
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Old 03-20-2009, 09:26 AM   #10
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CCW Bersa Thunder?

First, let me state that a Bersa appears to be a pretty well made gun for the money. You could do much worse.



However, I am opposed to the 380 as a defensive gun. It is not only expensive to shoot, not very effective regardless of magic bullets but in blow back guns (as opposed to locked breach designs) the recoil action is actually stiffer!



The 38 SPL is superior in a revolver and the 9mm in a pistol. What most find so attractive in the 380s is the size of the pistols. In today's shops it is not hard to find a 9mm that is about the same size like the Glock 26. The problem with the G26 is that it is fat and heavy when loaded. There are some alternatives such as the KelTec PF-9 and Walther PPS but they also have some draw backs. The SA EMP is a great gun if somewhat costy.



A good 5 shot 38 revolver is hard to beat for a concealment gun in the personal defense mode. You can now get them very, very (almost too) light. Alternatively, a nice S&W 3rd GEN single stack 9mm LadySmith comes to mind if you can find one. As I recall they are tiny little single stack 6 shooters with aluminum frames.



In many ways I prefer the 22 LR to 25, 32 or 380 guns. At least you can afford to practice and the effect on targets is about the same.
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