This is a discussion on In Depth Photo Review: An objective presentation of the Glock 19 vs Bersa Thunder 9 within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Hi all, I'd like to present an objective, unbiased presentation and comparison of these two popular concealed carry pistols for your consideration. I'll present just ...
Hi all, I'd like to present an objective, unbiased presentation and comparison of these two popular concealed carry pistols for your consideration. I'll present just the straight facts and leave my own preferences regarding materials and action style out of it. You can judge those aspects for your own needs. The pistols being compared in this test are a late Gen 3 Glock 19 and a Bersa Thunder 9 UC Pro. Both were bought new at Academy.
I've had both of these pistols for a while now, and have really come to like both of them a lot. So much in fact, that if you asked me to pick a favorite, I couldn't do it. So, what we'll do is pit these two pistols against each other, aspect by aspect, and see which one comes out on top at the end. All aspects will be ranked out of a score of 10.
There are a lot of choices out there in the concealed carry world. Glock has come to be the household name for the quintessential carry gun for civilians, law enforcement and military. Bersa too, is a fantastic concealed carry choice and is the standard sidearm for the Argentinian military and police. Both handgun manufacturers have come to be known for their outstanding durability and accuracy. So how do they compare?
Let's start with something simple...the matter of choices. The Bersa and Glock in this comparison are both mid-sized firearms. Both are also available in a multitude of calibers in the same sized frame.
Bersa - 8
Glock - 10
The Bersa Thunder is available in the most popular caliber choices - 9mm, 40 S&W, and 45 ACP. This should be enough for most people. However, Glock does offer the additional options of 357 Sig, 10mm, and 45 GAP to shooters who wish to use them, and thus, it takes the edge in this category.
Once you've made your caliber choice, the unquestionable most important factor is how reliable the pistol is going to be. Both pistols have come to be synonymous with reliability...but how do they stack up against each other?
Bersa - 7
Glock - 8
Both pistols are insensitive to cleaning and the amount of lubrication applied. Neither are finicky in this area as they are both military grade pistols and thus lose no points for cleaning or lubrication related problems.
Late 3rd Gen Glocks and Gen 4 Glocks have been reported with a smattering of problems, and while Glock seems to have fixed them for the most part, I still deducted two points from the score as complete confidence hasn't been regained. However, my Glock 19 has lived up to the fame of Glock's unbeatable reliability. I have never had failures to anything, nor have I had ejection problems or any other problems. It has eaten cheap steel ammunition and all sorts of boutique hollow points as well. Glock walks away from this comparison with a high score of 8, only losing marks for Glock's recent problems with Gen 3 and Gen 4 models.
Unlike the Glock, Bersa has had no common problems with their Thunder series...in fact, quite the opposite is true. The internet is full of satisfied owners who will vouch for the the Bersas infallible function. Bersa loses no points for widespread problems. However, in practice, my Bersa was found to not like cheap steel cased Monarch ammunition which can be bought at Academy...while the Glock ate it and demanded more. It always fired, and never 'jammed', but occasionally the slide would lock back when a round was still in the magazine...as if it were empty. Upon switching to Winchester White Box and Remington UMC for practice ammunition problems ceased. It has no trouble cycling these or any other ammunition I have thrown at it, including boutique hollow points and dirty handloads. Bersa loses 3 points for not quite being able to eat anything, but still scores a high score of 7 for cycling and firing everything else thrown at it.
Both pistols fare well in this area, however obviously neither are what can be called match grade firearms - they are meant for self protection and are very accurate for what they are. The Bersa Thunder UC barrel is slightly shorter than the Glock 19's barrel. Both barrels feature polygonal rifling for increased accuracy. Both pistols also feature large, white sights and acquiring a target is easy with either.
Bersa - 9
Glock - 8
Perhaps it's the lovely SA trigger pull that the Bersa features, but I found tighter groups (on the order of maybe a half inch tighter at 10 yards) coming more naturally from the Bersa. Follow up shots were also slightly easier and faster to make, perhaps due to the fit of the pistol to my hand. I may also work better with the three dot sights on the Bersa rather than the U rear sight of the Glock. The Bersa and the Glock both have an extremely loud and easily felt trigger reset, and are virtually identical in shortness of length. Both pistols receive high scores as both will easily be more accurate than most shooters, but the Bersa does take a slight edge for the better groups I was able to achieve with it.
Comfort and fit is important. This is a highly personal criteria and therefore I will not create a ranking here. It's up to the individual shooter to decide which pistol fits them better. However, this does lead into the next category which can be more universally assessed.
Each pistol has a very different nature of operation, with the Glock being a striker fired DAO and the Bersa having an external hammer DA/SA mode of operation. Your ranking may be different based on your particular preferences.
Bersa - 10
Glock - 5
The Bersa takes top marks here because it really offers a lot more options and true versatility compared to the Glock. For example, the Bersa comes straight out of the box with 100% fully ambidextrous controls, including the safety/decocker, slide release, and reversible magazine release making it significantly more friendly for lefties. I did not factor DA/SA or the external hammer into this consideration as this is a preference that will vary amongst shooters.
Additionally, the actual release of the magazine is significantly more positive on the Bersa. When the release is pressed, the magazine literally flies out of the well...in fact, if held upside down, an empty magazine will pop up several inches when released. The release of the Glock's magazine on the other hand, is much more leisurely as it slowly falls from the well. This, coupled with the Generation 3 Glock's small and somewhat hard to press release compared to the large, easy to locate and press release on the Bersa make reloads faster to accomplish with the Bersa. Gen 4 Glocks now feature a larger magazine release.
Frame mounted controls on the Bersa are easier to find and operate based on feel, being larger in size.
For older arthritic hands, the Bersa is significantly easier to operate. The external hammer allows one to cock the hammer before racking the slide, making for a very light and easy to work pull.
Size and Ease of Carry
Size does matter...in a carry gun.
Bersa - 7
Glock - 7
I gave both equal rankings here. The Glock is larger in every aspect of size except for one...width. The Bersa is slightly larger in this regard.
Both conceal virtually identically. The Bersa will print less due to it's shorter and more rounded grip, but the Glock will be more comfortable to carry IWB due to it's flat sided nature and slightly thinner grip. In the end, they score equally overall.
Both carry enough ammuntion to do the job, but...
Bersa - 7
Glock - 9
I consider a 10 to be 17 rounds of 9mm, but that would only be found in a full size 9mm.
As you can see, the two magazines are exactly the same size, but for some reason, the Bersa's only holds 13 rounds whereas the Glock's holds 15. Bersa may want to study up on this and see if they can squeeze in those extra two rounds.
Fit and Finish
Both pistols are finely machined weapons. You won't find rough casting or ugly marks on either.
Bersa - 7
Glock - 9
Bersa did a fine job making this gun, as I mentioned earlier it's well built all around and solid. It also features a tennifer treatment to protect against corrosion. High marks for that addition in a carry gun. As you can see, Bersas also feature dual recoil springs. Everything is well polished inside, with a mirror shiny feed ramp and smooth internal components.
Glocks have always been well built, inside and out. Nothing wrong to find here, with similarly shiny feed ramps and smooth internal components. The Glock is also tennifer treated. In the end, while the tennifer treatments of both pistols are nice, the Glock's is better...and that's what gives it the edge in this category.
Price and Value
Both of these guns are relatively inexpensive concealed carry options.
Bersa - 10
Glock - 8
The Bersa Thunder 9 UC Pro is available for $430 NIB. For this price, you get two magazines, polygonal rifling, fully ambidextrous controls, tennifer treatment, and outstanding reliability and accuracy in a military grade pistol. The Glock is available for $530 and features all of the above less the ambidextrous controls. Both are a great value but the Bersa is the undisputed king here.
Ease of Take Down
Bersa - 9
Glock - 8
The Bersa is so easy to take down that it literally can be done with one hand. Pop out the magazine, flip down the take down lever, and off the slide comes. It's so brilliantly simple. The Bersa only loses marks for the dual recoil springs...which can sometimes be a very minor annoyance during reassembly. The Glock's recoil spring is a contained unit and goes back on with no drama. However, the Glock requires a few extra steps and forces you to pull the trigger to disassemble it. While it's also extremely simple, it does lose a few marks here.
Bersa - 6
Glock - 10
You could literally walk out your front door blindfolded and chances are you'll run into a gun shop that sells Glock products. Aftermarket is excellent with a variety of sights, lasers, holsters, grips, magazines, barrels, triggers, and anything else you could think of for your Glock. Top marks here.
Bersa has a very limited aftermarket. There are holsters available, but not a significant amount...however, it regains some points due to the fact that the Bersa Thunder 9 fits perfectly in holsters made for the Glock 19, which opens up your options significantly. Options for components such as barrels, triggers, etc. is extremely limited if not non-existent in some regards. A score of 6 may be somewhat generous, but there are magazines, holsters, sights, and grips available for the Bersa.
And now we've reached the end of the review. So how did they stack up?
Bersa - 80/100
Glock - 82/100
With scores this close, it's no wonder I had a hard time choosing a favorite! Both are excellently matched but it does look like the Glock trumps the Bersa, even if just slightly. However, Glock fans and other handgun enthusiasts should definitely keep an eye on this fantastic 9mm entry by Bersa.
An intruder will be incapacitated by tear gas or oven spray, but if shot with a .357 Magnum will get angry and kill you.
Colt Python 6'' .357mag & 4'' Trooper
NRA Pistol Instructor
SC CWP Instructor
I like what you've done, although a lot of what you said (as you acknowledged) is subjective. It was an enjoyable piece to read, though.
I have a very strict gun control policy: if there's a gun around, I want to be in control of it.
Subjective, yes. The only area where I would disagree is where you dinged the Bursa for the slide locking back. Two things cause the slide to lock back: the mag follower in an empty mag engaging the slide lock, or the shooter's thumb. Seeing as you stated there were still rounds in the mag, I'd tend to place the cause on the shooter's thumb.
But again, any rating is subjective. I think either would be a fine choice.
Retired USAF E-8. Lighten up and enjoy life because:
Paranoia strikes deep, into your life it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid... Buffalo Springfield - For What It's Worth
Funny... the Bersa UC9 I had was one of the most accurate (in my hands) pistol also.
Very good review.
To me, if specifically comparing the 9mm version of both, then what is the relevance of other calibers available in that frame size? Consider that Bersa also has a single stack 9mm now as well as several 380 models (regular thunder 380, thunder Plus with 15+1 capacity, and the 380 CC) and it opens up a whole new arena of debate. That would pretty much even it up or tilt several points the other way.
Considering the length of the slide rails on the Bersa (5 times the length of the Glock) compared to the Glock, I'd give a little more weight to Bersa, perhaps offset by the longer barrel of the Glock. Metal frame and all steel components of the Bersa is worth a point or two. The matte slide finish on the older Bersas was nothing to write home about, not as familiar with the new ones. Bersa slides are also readily available in nickel finish as well. As for the grips, the Bersa grips are removable and you can readily get custom wooden grips that are either thicker, thinner, or have left hand or right hand thumb support designed specifically for you. So grip options would be a small advantage to Bersa as the Glock grip (Gen 3) is not adjustable without a major frame mod. For me, a major advantage in ease of takedown is being able to remove the slide without having to pull the trigger. The Bersa does have a key lock mechanism on the frame, which may be pro or con...I've never engaged mine nor had an issue. Bersa magazines are also expensive, but they have a metal mag follower and not plastic. The BIG advantage Glock has over the Bersa is the readily available stock of accessories and after market and OEM options.
I have an older Bersa Thunder 9 ultra compact (before the PRO came out) and it is a great gun...but trying to find different sights, holsters, etc. for it is a pain. Fortunately for me bone stock is fine.
How do these additional variables shake out the score? It just depends on what is important to each individual user.
In the end, Glock is a very high standard by which others are measured for professional organizations as well as civilian. For Bersa to even be considered as closely comparable I believe says a lot about them. They have been under-appreciated for a long time. Good review that covers a vast majority on the spot. Hopefully it brings the Bersa line-up to the attention of a lot of folks that would otherwise not give it a glance.
Know Guns, Know Safety, Know Peace.
No Guns, No Safety, No Peace.
You can't mill a Bersa for an RDS:
nice review, but the Glock 26 is more comparable to the Bersa Thunder 9UC. Actually carry both in holsters designed for the Glocks 26.....So from the pics, you have 13+1 in the Bersa, and 12+1 in the Glock.
Glock 26 with factory 12 round mags and a Pre-Pro Bersa Thunder 9UC
Kimbers are the guns you show your friends....Glocks are the ones you show your enemies.
It's obvious that you put a lot of thought and work/effort into your comparison and review. That certainly is apparent. Nicely accomplished.
Thanks for the review.
Have Fun and Shoot Straight !!
A very enjoyable read. Lots of interesting info. You did a great job!
a very good job. though i do agree with zonker1986, that the G-26 seems to be a closer match in size.
my only question: what about price? (both list and street)
... and less than 4 years ago one could get a new BT9UC for $100 less. I got mine at Buds in Dec 2008 for $316, followed (2 weeks later) by 17-round BT9HC for $325. Wonder how much you would pay for a new G19 back then?The Bersa Thunder 9 UC Pro is available for $430 NIB. For this price, you get two magazines, polygonal rifling, fully ambidextrous controls, tennifer treatment, and outstanding reliability and accuracy in a military grade pistol. The Glock is available for $530 and features all of the above less the ambidextrous controls. Both are a great value but the Bersa is the undisputed king here.