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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I'm new to this forum, but not the website, which I enjoy very much. I'm getting my CHL soon and I've begun the long process of researching what may be a gun my life will depend on. If money was no object, this process would be much easier-I'd buy all of them
. But money is an issue and I need to find a handgun that is nice to carry and shoot, since my beloved SA XD 45 is a tad large for CC(I'm a small guy)...

Anyway, I've stumbled upon Bersa's Thunder series, and their 9mm ultra compact model looks like a great value. Does anyone here have any experience with these guns? The .380 models certainly have a good reputation, but I want to carry a 9mm...I chatted with a Bersa CS rep. who said that these guns are rated for +P ammo, which makes them even more attractive...
Thanks for your time.
 

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It's a decent gun (I have one) but I don't think it was as much a value as when I bought it. For three bills you can get other guns with much more value. I have an FEG PJK-9HP I bought for 225 and a Keltec P-11 I bought for around 250. A Makarov can be had for about 200 and CZ can be had for about the same price as a Bersa. The Bersa 380 is really nice but for a 9mm I wouldn't have purchase the THunder if I knew what I knew now. Ther ergos of the Bersa are good along with the materials, BUT, I don't like the sights, the gun has a lot of sharp edges, mags are SUPER expensive, and there is NO aftermarket support. Their customer service seems OK though.
 

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IMO Bersa/Firestorms are among the best values going today in pistols. I kept reading good things on various firearm forums about the Bersa Thunder 380, so visited www.bersatalk.com and got a bit more familiar with the B/F products.

I didn't want a 380, so I had my dealer order me a Bersa Thunder 9/Ultra Compact. I think the BT9/UC listed for around $440 or so, but I only paid my dealer $305 +7% sales tax for mine.

The BT9/UC is an excellent pistol. Using iron sights, (no lasers) the Bersa is as accurate as my all time favorite the Sig P239. I bought the CAT laser for it ($129), but later took it off as it made it too bulky for easy carry duty. My BT/UC has been 100% reliable and very accurate. I'm a lefty, and I like the ambi controls too.

The only downside I ever read about B/F pistols is the costly price of extra factory mags. I paid $50 (or so) for my extra mag from the importer, altho I find them available elsewhere online for around $40. My BT9/UC came with a single 10rd mag, and I wanted the standard 13 rd factory mag.

I see from some dealers where the 13rd mags are standard in some instances, and then in others the old 10rd'er is still the one that comes in the box. Unless you live in Kalifornia or some other wacko state you definitely want the larger capacity mag.

I also have a Firestorm FS22. It's a neat little "trail/plinker", looks like a cross between a Walther PP/PPK and also has been 100% reliable and VERY accurate.

I recommend the B/F line of pistols without reservation.

Someone else mentioned they prefer the P11 over the Bersa Thunder 9/UC. I also have a P11 and it's smaller and easier to carry cc, but is nowhere as accurate "further out" as MY Bersa. Having said that, I'm a believer in accuracy at self defense range (5-7 yards) so in actuality the P11 is certainly accurate enough at that distance. Both my KT P11 & my BT9/UC are excellent pistols, and I wouldn't feel undergunned with either of them.

After all the "hoopla" settles down I'll probably buy the KelTec PF9 (slim 9) due to be released for sale in the next couple of months. You might want to check that pistol out too.....

JMOFO:

Best Wishes,

J. Pomeroy
 

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And I should add that I have never been happy with the accuracy of the Bersa I have. Yet the HP and the MAK I have are tack drivers. If you don't have a MAK, GET ONE before the supply gets thin.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ive had the .380 and the .45acp both were well made firearms for the $200 and $300 I gave for each. Know a couple others that boguht the Bersa .380 on my suggestion as theyare 1. not 1000 round shooters needed a decent not so expensive firearm for HD.
THe. 45acp carried well,but it was repalced by a Colt CQB about a year later.
My Two cents says there are many $300 or less guns you could do worse by! However as joinwv pointed out the Keltec 9mm is not quite $300 these days yet.I had one and carried it for an entrire spring/summer season with nothing more than the belt clip attachement IWB. It was fluffed and buffed and trigger shoe was added as well. It is a good concealable 10 shot 9mm that has given as good as accuracy as my old G19 ever did!
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
And I should add that I have never been happy with the accuracy of the Bersa I have. Yet the HP and the MAK I have are tack drivers. If you don't have a MAK, GET ONE before the supply gets thin.
I've looked at quite a few Maks and I must say, they just don't blow my skirt up. There seem to be quite a few 9mms out there that offer more power in a similarly compact package. I agree that accuracy and value make a pistol endearing, but I'd rather not save the money on a Mak, only to find that the ammo is expensive, rare, and no better than .380acp...

How does the Bersa compare to the compact Ruger 9mm pistols?

Please, keep the commentary coming, this will be an important purchase for me. I will certainly give a long and hard look at Kel-tec 9mms, but the 380s I've handled have had terrible(long, gritty heavy) triggers...

I might also add that I am fotunate enough to be a member at a local range where I can (and do) go shooting quite often.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Pardon me fo my longer post and adding another manufacture to the mix;

Ill speak again for the Keltec if its okay.

When I worked for Mike Nordel of Precision Shooters and we ran the gauntlent of DFW-Houston Gunshows,we sold many of the 9mm and latter the 32acp Keltec handguns.
The 32acp and 380 acp platform, in my opinion, is a point and shoot "pocket" pistol type of a set up.
The sights are ..well they just are not sights, but if a fella practices enoguh he can point and shoot at defensive distance ie, body space up to 10 feet. Its like pointing a finger so to speak.
Also be careful if you get one of those to check the laundry. We had a few guys that said the wife had found their "gun " in the laundry. I personally try to keep up with the hot and ready firearms in my home.
The P11/9mm is seriously a underated and much appreciated platform.
Think about it this way...for less than half the cost of new Glock you get a 10 +1 9mm.
Yes they a striker type weapon,Not realy in the DA class but for point of reference we can call it that.Strikers are not true DA handguns though. Yuo simply re completing the cycle.
One will find that adding the trigger shoe makes for a wider trigger and the finger pad allows for more pressure to be applied making it feel lighter than without the shoe.
Follow Keltecs do it yourself anyone can "fluff and buff" instructions and youll be amazed.
I fired 100 rounds of S&B through mine. I bought it from very good friend whom is a hangun guru and mainlya 1911 nut. He had dded all the bells and whistls. I put a slip on Houge rubber sleeve on it and with the 4 mags with the Mag shoe and I got to say that with the belt clip it didnt slide around and was so easy to carry during the hot 100 degree days of the summer.
I impressed myself even with my groups at 15 yds. I promise you could put a full clip inside Tennis ball circle and ive come close manya time save aflyer or two of putting them ina golf ball size circle. Not bad for 10 rounds and out of small 9mm platform at 45 feet if I say so myself.
Oh the weapon really liked the Corbons too!

So if we are talking $200 weapons...well the options I could only recomend would be
P11 Keltec, 9x19 10 plus 1 has some decent ie functioning sites.
Makarov...9x18 better not equal the .380acp
Thunder 380 9x17 not as well made as Makarovs

Go up to $250 try for a one of the CZ 82s. 13 plus of Makarov 9x18mm. The CZ 82 is the older brother of the CZ 83 whcih asa commercial CZ. They are medium sized handdguns but have very good sites trigger and of course well made. SOG, AIM and Military Gun Supply have the CZ 82s in stock.
In my area Makarov ammo isnt hard to ocme buy. $5.50 per 50 rounds.
Sog and AIM have it too. There are atleast a half dozne manufacturers to be found too and reloading dies,brass and such ar ereadily available.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you. I will give the Kel-tec another look. I've actually got my eye on the new slim sized PF-9, but I have no idea when those will appear in my local shop...the price cannot be argued with though. Recently I've also been turned on to the compact S&W .38 airlight revolvers as well. I had a chance to shoot one(a 442 I believe) and it was more controllable than I had predicted and actually quite accurate...I feel that both the Kel-tec and S&W have places in my carry rotation...

Yet again I go looking for one gun and suddenly find myself budgeting for two... ::)
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Lol the 442 is a nice Revolver. I dont know why but I like the .38spcl round too...guess because for allthsoe years it served as apolice and at times military round but is still quite affordable can get the job done and a simple hoot to reload for!
 

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Doc the MAKs can be had for less than 200. There is NO 9mm in that size or price range to compare it too. Ammo is NOT rare OR expensive. It can be found very cheaply and the Russian Brown Bear or Silver Bear 115gr rounds at 1000fps is, in my opinion, quite a bit more powerful than any .380 round. It is superbly accurate and reliable and handles superbly. I have found no other gun with that combiantion of attributes for such a cheap price. I will agree that quality varies depending on manufacter. I handled a Russian Mak the seller wanted 250 for and it was not impressive. I paid 199 for my Bulgy Mak and it is beautiful. The Blueing is perfect and the trigger is smooth and light. It also point shoots better than any gun I've ever handled, especially in rapid fire. East German Maks are considered to be the nicest but they are more rare and also more expensive. All Maks are becoming more rare and this is why I say that if you don't have one, you should get one. There are always haters and nay-sayers about any gun but I doubt you would be disappointed with your mak after you shoot it.

When I bought mine, I bought a box of ammo and walked downstairs to the firing range. The gun was still full of grit and cosmoline. I fired the first magazine at about 7 yards and resulted in one ragged hole of 8 rounds. Impressed, I backed the target up to the 25 yard line and fired two magazines. I can cover the 16 round group with my hand. I have never had a FTF or FTE with it either and it has become one of my favorite guns. It's not the most glamorous gun but it flat works.
 

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AND it is slimmer, more accurate, simpler, more reliable, and cheaper than a Bersa 9mm. I mentioned I own a Bersa 9MM compact and while it is an OK weapon, its not nearly the gun that my MAK is. In my opinion that is.
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
John, your mak sounds like an impressive weapon indeed. I have not been able to find any Mak ammo for less than 13$/50rds. Most I've seen online and in my area seems to hover in the 15$/50 range. That makes it quite a bit less economical to shoot for me than 9mm. Granted I don't reload, nor do I have any interest to. I simply don't have the time to commit to it. However your gushing praise for your bulgarian model is enough to get me to keep my eyes out for one the next time I venture out to a gun show. Where are you finding Mak ammo so cheaply?
 

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I believe that there is a brief shortage right now due to various conflicts around the world. I know of two local shops that carry cheap 9X18 ammo. I don't fire hundreds of rounds through my MAK so I haven't been so caught up about the price of ammo. I shoot my FEG Hi-power much more. I have less than 300 bucks into mine and it is one of the sweetest shooting, accurate, and reliable guns I've had. If I could post pics here I would show you pics of both of my beauties. Less than 500 bucks spent and scored two sweet shooting guns.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Im still paying $5.50 per 50 Wolf and $100/1000.
Had some Hungarian stuff for awhile. Hope CorBon comes out witha DPX for it. Scuttlebut was theywere but I havent seen any.
Joninwv mentions 115gr Brown bear and I actually carry it now over the Hornady for the heavier bullet as my CCW/CHL load.
Also there are the Polish P64 for about $139 in my area. These are smaller than the makarov and are not a "Polish Makarov as some adds mention no more than the CZ 82 isa Czech Makarov. Check the link for ammo that sgphoto gave you as theysell fireamrs too and had the CZ 82s for $229 a few weeks back. Its likely over but still $249 isnt bad for a serious
look at the CZ 82 if you decide to go with a the 9x18mm round.
Its as well built if not better and does allow more mag capacity. Im considering a trade for one right now but I just dont know if I ned a another 9x18mm.
SOG and MGS have them as well.
Youve gotten a lot of good advice here from everyone here and you have the main page with all the Budget gun articles that Stepehen has written and he does put his time in test and range prior to wriitng these. Good luck on whatever you choose!
 

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I used to use the Hornady load but I went to the range one day and when I was firing my XTPs I had two failures to fire. It took two pulls of the trigger on two rounds to get them to fire. I blame a dirty firing pin (I never cleaned the cosmoline out of the firing pin channel. My Fault) But I found the silver bears and they are a stouter round anyhow. I haven't had any issues with them.
 
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