Close
Results 1 to 4 of 4
  1. #1
    Paintball Shooter
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Location
    Longmont, CO
    Posts
    26

    Default Bersa Thunder 9 Ultra Compact - the good South American gun company

    I figured I should actually contribute to the forums rather than just lurking the classifieds, so here goes (yes I just put it up in the classifieds, but I wrote this a while ago and decided to cross-post since I feel like it's a decent overview of an underrated pistol)



    This is a Bersa Thunder 9 Ultra Compact, a double-stack 9mm with a name longer than the gun. It?s the subcompact version of the Bersa Thunder 9, which itself was a clone of the Walther P88. That was a little-known double-stack TDA 9mm from 1988, when the hammer was on its way out, the striker was on its way in, and the 1994 AWB was six years from making a capacity over 10 pointless for US civilian shooters. The Walther was discontinued in 1996, the Bersa?s descendants are still in production today, with the TPR9, the TPR9c, and the Thunder 9 Pro XT filling the mainstream duty-size pistol, the carry pistol, and the competition pistol niches respectively.



    But I?m getting ahead of myself. This is from the original generation, although it fits much better in today?s market than it did in the late 90s when the Ultra Compact (originally ?mini?) was introduced. The gun is fully ambidextrous, with the exception of the magazine release, which operates only from the left. Speaking as a lefty, though, the magazine release is what I care about the least. It even means that the problems some people have with grips being too big to hit the magazine release with their dominant thumb are obviated, I just hit the release with either my index or middle finger on my trigger hand and the magazine pops right out. The decocker/safety and slide release are identical on both sides of the pistol, and function just as well on both sides.

    That does make this a fairly chunky gun, it?s under 7? long but across the controls it is thick. That may impact carrying it, I haven?t tried myself. The safety does, however, make a nice platform to ride your thumb on for a good, modern, thumbs-forward grip.

    Magazine capacity is 13+1, the frame is an aluminum alloy, so it?s heavier than a Glock 19 or similar, but again, having never carried it I can?t say that I find it unwieldy. I do find the recoil quite manageable, probably due to the extra weight.



    The sights are a blocky U and Dot configuration, with white paint on front and rear sights. The newer generations use Sig sights, but even this generation still has tritium sights available. Newer models have dovetails, this one is a post like old 1911 or early CZ sights. Even with the short barrel, the sights make it easy to get good groups. Even from an at-best mediocre shot like myself.

    The safety doubles as a decocker, similar to a Beretta 92, but is frame-mounted. For USPSA, that?s just about perfect, since you can start hammer-down without having to pinch the hammer or roll your thumb out from under it to safely lower the hammer on a loaded chamber. Not that many people are going to use the compact model for competition, but that?s exactly what the Thunder 9 Pro XT was designed for.

    The DA trigger on this generation is heavy and long, but smooth. No sudden stacking, just straight back to the wall and bang. The reset is fairly average, close enough to a stock CZ I wouldn?t be able to tell you the difference. The smoothness (due to lack of a half-cock notch) puts it above a stock CZ DA in my opinion. The SA trigger when not fired from reset is long, I?d estimate about 6 pounds but I don?t have a trigger gauge so that?s just comparing it to what else I know the approximate trigger pulls for. Clean break, not a competition gun but easy to make hits with. The newer versions reportedly have a much shorter reset and takeup, but these guns are rare to find in the wild so I can?t speak to that.



    Takedown is simple, there?s a lever in front of the slide release that you rotate clockwise and just slide the barrel off the front. No need to pull it back to a certain spot and push out a pin, no pulling the trigger, just twist and pull. It?s a small thing, but it?s nice.



    The trigger bar goes along the outside of the gun similar to a Beretta 92, rather than inside like a CZ. The recoil spring is not captive, but is a double-spring design, with apparently different spring rates judging by the diameters and twist rate. Someone else can probably explain the purpose of this better than I can.



    The grips are wonky, and I still haven?t gotten them off. I understand it?s simple once you get used to it, but that little screw at the bottom is actually a cam. You twist it partway, it unlocks from the frame, and slides off the back. Replacement grips are not easy to come by.

    Given the cost that these go for new, I would say they?re an absolutely fantastic deal and if you?re interested at all you should take a look. I?ve put roughly 500 rounds through this one and only had one failure, which I attribute to the garbage Winchester Forged ammunition that I was burning through so I would never have to shoot it again. Most of that was S&B NATO-spec ammunition, and as I mentioned before the gun handled the recoil quite well. If you?re used to a polymer-framed gun, you would be surprised by how little recoil there is, that extra weight in the frame makes a difference. I also used Remington UMC, aforementioned Winchester Forged, Remington Golden Saber, and Hornady Critical Defense.

  2. #2
    If I had a son he would look like....Ben SideShow Bob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    SE Aurora
    Posts
    6,324

    Default

    I had one of these before the floods of ‘13 when the last I saw my safe, it was headed toward Nebraska.....
    I couldn’t complain about reliability or accuracy, I just couldn’t get used to the finger grooves on the frame.
    And I think Bersa realized that people didn’t like them, because their revamp (the TPR9C) of this pistol did away with the finger grooves.
    Last edited by SideShow Bob; 10-08-2019 at 19:27.
    My T.P. wheeling and dealing feedback is here.

    Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one, and it stinks more than mine.


    Yo Homie, That my chainsaw ?

  3. #3
    I'm the OPie of this thread Irving's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Thornton, CO
    Posts
    42,423
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    My little Brother had a Bersa Thunder in .380 and I couldn't hit a damn thing with it. That was before I learned to shoot though.

    Great post, by the way.
    Last edited by Irving; 10-08-2019 at 21:50.
    Minimize, minimize, minimize.

  4. #4
    Paintball Shooter
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Location
    Longmont, CO
    Posts
    26

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Irving View Post
    My little Brother had a Bersa Thunder in .380 and I couldn't hot a damn thing with it. This was before I learned to shoot though.

    Great post, by the way.
    Thanks, I appreciate it.

    The Thunder in .380 is more of a Walther PPK clone from what I've been able to tell. I have no opinion on them really, not particularly interested in .380 unless it comes with a tax stamp.

    These really are underappreciated little gems. I've learned to adapt to some of the more common issues lefties face with pistols (you can drop the slide almost as fast by bringing your hand under the frame and tugging slightly like you were doing a press check), but it's nice to not have to worry about it and just use everything like a right-handed person would. I'm considering getting a Grand Power P1 or Q1S next, which is a similar situation, full ambi everything. Although that's becoming more common on striker guns at least now, strangely still hard to find ambi slide releases on hammer guns. Maybe because most of them are old designs. If I do buy one I'll probably do a review on that next. They've gotten a decent amount of coverage for how uncommon they are, but a lot of people have never heard of them.

    The Thunder 9 Pro XT is very interesting to me, it's supposed to be a 6-7 pound DA pull with a 2-3 pound SA pull out of the box, which is a screaming deal when street price is under $700. Unfortunately it comes with 17 round magazines so unless you can get plugged magazines you're not finding one around here. I'll have to be satisfied with the SP-01 Tactical with Cajun goodies I bought on here I guess.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •