Bersa Thunder Vs. Kel Tec P3AT

Bersa Thunder Vs. Kel Tec P3AT

This is a discussion on Bersa Thunder Vs. Kel Tec P3AT within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I am going crazy trying to decide which one of these I want. I want one for pocket carry as a piece to always have ...

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Thread: Bersa Thunder Vs. Kel Tec P3AT

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array Doc Holliday's Avatar
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    Bersa Thunder Vs. Kel Tec P3AT

    I am going crazy trying to decide which one of these I want. I want one for pocket carry as a piece to always have on me (except for work) and as a BUG. I love the styling of the Bersa but is it too big for pocket carry? I love the size of the Kel-Tec but I keep on coming across threads as I research these that are about 50-50 in favor or against these for quality issues. I want 100% reliability out of the box. Not something I am going to have to send back off to the factory to make right. My heart says Kel-Tec while my head says Bersa! Help!
    Why Ike, whatever do you mean? Maybe poker's just not your game Ike. I know! Let's have a spelling contest!

  2. #2
    Ex Member Array Pete's Avatar
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    Dec 2006
    I can't address the Bersa as I don't have one, I do have a Sig P232 but that's not similar enough I suppose.
    The Kel-Tec I can address, and if I compare the P232 and a P3AT the main difference is a lot of weight. Pocket carry is no problem with a K-T, I'm sure it is done with a Bersa but obviously it will print or hang more.

    Is this your IRS/BAG day gun?
    If so get both... You did say that Mrs. Holliday was being very generous.

  3. #3
    Array SIXTO's Avatar
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    Oct 2006
    I have said before that the Bersa is a great value... and so is the Kel-Tec. I think both are are the same when it comes to quality, I cant say that one is better than the other in the reliablity dept.
    I will say that the Bersa is far to big for pocket carry, and I think in most cases its to big as a bug.
    I would say that the KelTec is the better choice for what you want, just resign yourself to the fact you will need to break it in, as you should with any new pistol.
    "Just blame Sixto"

    I reserve the right to make fun, point and laugh etc.

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  5. #4
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    Array limatunes's Avatar
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    Well, I can't address the Kel-Tec, but I can address the Bersa as that was my very first gun.

    VERY reliable little gun. I've put box after box, after BOX of ammo through that thing, at one point in time 200 rounds as fast as I could pull the trigger with someone else loading the mags (there was a purpose to this I will get into in just a second).

    While it always fed and fired beautifully it had a small glitch in that at some point in time, after shooting a mag or two through it, the slide would not stay open after the last round was fired from a mag. I don't know how common the problem is in other Bersa's but my husband (an aspiring gun-smith) took it apart, worked on it and seemed to fix the problem. That's when we took it out to the range and put all those rounds through it to make sure the problem was fixed. It has never done that again.

    Now, in reference to the size for pocket carry, it's a thin gun, but it's not tiny.

    Here it is on top of my Kimber .40.

    It's certainly thiner than the Kimber, but just about the same length. I guess it would depend on what you are wearing as far as it's benefit as a pocket gun.

  6. #5
    Member Array Maverick7340's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    My wife and I both have a Bersa .380. I use mine as my pocket gun. I use an uncle mikes pocket holster with it. I have a leather pocket holster on order and I'm waiting for it.

    It hides well in my pocket. Even with jeans on.

    The gun is nice. It fits well in my hand and shoots where I aim. The recoil isn't bad and I can get right back on target.

    I hope this helps. Go with your head.
    Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway.

    John Wayne

  7. #6
    Senior Member Array cockedlocked01's Avatar
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    Is there a short Bersa, if not it gotta be a pretty large pocket to carry one in. The Kel-Tec over 1.0" shorter in length & height & thinner, not to mention less than half the weight.

    There's no comparison size wise. The Kel-Tec's much smaller & lighter. The 3rd gen. models seem to have the bugs worked out of it. Just break it in with good ammo & you should be good.

    Good luck!
    "Use human means as though divine ones didn't exist, and divine means as though there were no human ones." Baltasar Gracian
    Integrated Close Combat
    NRA Member
    Glock 19 & 26, Kahr CM9 & P45, Para P12, Kel-Tec P-32, S&W 442, & Dan Wesson 14-2.

  8. #7
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    Array buckeye .45's Avatar
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    My dad has a Bersa, it had a problem with the decocking lever being extremely stiff when new, but other than that no real problems. He is really pleased with the purchase. I've checked, and with jeans the way I wear them, I could pocket carry it, although its a little heavy for that.

    Bersa does have its new Concealed Carry .380 model, which I believe is DA instead of DA/SA. Also about 1/2 an inch shorter and significantly slimmer. They still go for under 300 around here, give them a look.
    Fortes Fortuna Juvat

    Former, USMC 0311, OIF/OEF vet
    NRA Pistol/Rifle/Shotgun/Reloading Instructor, RSO, Ohio CHL Instructor

  9. #8
    Senior Member Array Hivoltage's Avatar
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    I had a Bersa...Loved it. I had a Kel-Tec too...didnt like it too much, magazine fell to the ground every time I shot it. But I am sure they all dont do that!!
    Nothing Wrong With Shooting as Long as the Right People Get Shot.
    Clint Eastwood, Magnum Force, 1973

  10. #9
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    Array RETSUPT99's Avatar
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    I've Had A KelTec...

    for four years...the P-3AT was my first KT...then I bought the .32...then finally the P-11...

    I now carry Kimbers or a G-36, but I still like the .380 or the .32 for those lightly dressed times around the house.
    I to like the .380 of the three because of wanting a little more bullet...

    I have never had a problem with any of my KT's...ever!

    I actually have my P-3AT in my pocket right now...

    Stay armed...stay safe!

    Proverbs 27:12 says: “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.”

    Certified Glock Armorer
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  11. #10
    me is offline
    Senior Member Array me's Avatar
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    my Kel-tec had some FTE issues until recently, shortly after putting 200 rounds through it this problem has seemed to clear up. My 17 year old sister shot it on friday at the range and even though she did (Once or twice) limp wrist there were not failures, Please Note the ammo being shot was Silvertips as I was evaluating them for carry to replace the SXT it had run, as they are too hard to find, it now carries silvertips in both mags.
    Last edited by me; March 14th, 2007 at 10:27 PM.

    "The world is filled with violence. Because criminals carry guns, we decent law-abiding citizens should also have guns. Otherwise they will win and the decent people will lose."

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  12. #11
    Member Array ATT_Turan's Avatar
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    I have and carry both guns, and consider both to be well-made and reliable. I personally find the Bersa to be much too large and, more importantly, too heavy for pocket carry. I know they have a concealed carry version with a shorter slide, and I don't know how much difference that would make, but with the regular-sized gun I'd say keep it on your hip and put the P-3AT in your pocket.

  13. #12
    VIP Member Array NCHornet's Avatar
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    Do a search with my username and you will see you and I are having to make the same choice. I have asked many of the same questions you are. The fact is you are looking at guns that are on the low in price wise and many times you get what you pay for. Flame away, the P3AT just doesn't feel like a quality firearm in my hand, nor does it appear as one. Can they be made reliable? I believe they can with some F&Bing or a couple trips back to the factory. There is no gun that is promised to be 100% out of the box, but as you have surely found out some are better than others. I too did not want to mess around with failure issues. You are also comparing apples to oranges between the Bersa and the P3AT, they are not in the same catagory as far as size goes. If both of them will work for you, and you want a higher quality firearm, I suggest you look at the SigP232, about the same size as the Bersa. I have one and it is a fine pistol, 100% relaibility with all types of ammo. For another option of the P3AT look at the Seecamp or NAA Guardian. I just bought a NAA Guardian in 32ACP a couple days ago. There isn't much difference, if any between the .32 and .380 is a 2"+ barrel. Feel free to PM me with any ?
    For those that have the P3AT and it has worked for you, fantastic, I wasn't trying to say they were junk like a Lorcin or Cobra, I was just saying like the OP they weren't for me and my needs.

    Here is a pic of the Guardian

    Here is the P232
    When Seconds Count, The Cops Are Just Minutes Away!!
    Carry On!

  14. #13
    Senior Member Array Steve48's Avatar
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    I like both but I carry the P3AT a lot more. Steve48

  15. #14
    Distinguished Member Array craze's Avatar
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    I bought my girlfriend a Bersa thunder for Christmas. I have been very pleased with it. Great little shooter and has been 100% reliable out of the box. For my taste it's a little big for pocket carry but its thin and would make a great IWB carry.

    As for the kel tec I don't own one but from what I've read on forums like this it seems the latest production ones are pretty reliabe out of the box. Earlier examples got very mixed reviews. I do think they are ugly and almost look like a cheap toy gun, but thats OK as long as they work and it seems the new ones do.

    If you want an all round gun thats a pleasure to shoot and look at the Bersa would be my hands down choice. If pocket carry is the most important factor the kel tec may be the way to go.
    "Some people go to bed with Lucifer..........then cry, cry, cry when they don't greet the day with God."

  16. #15
    Distinguished Member Array Gideon's Avatar
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    I have both; have shot and carried both a lot. My Bersa has been perfect but it'll never be a pocket gun unless you're a tall/big guy wearing dockers or something similar with larger fuller pockets.

    Compare the KelTec to the NAA Guardian and at least you're comparing apples to apples.

    As far as reliability, there's no such thing as a name that runs 100% of the time out of the box. Guns are manufactured which means there's going to be the occassional problem. Certain names have better statistics and revolvers tend to do better than autos be even they are perfect (I know!)

    So comparing the KelTec to the NAA Guardian or the seecamp, you're main difference is weight. Now if we were talking the first generation Keltec I'd say we're also talking reliability issues with the design which is why they changed the design and now you have a second generation.

    Still I think you'd have to give the reliability factor to NAA just by a bit. Bottom line is both companies stand behind their weapons. Now back to the weight....

    In a true pocket piece, weight and thin are the two keys. Keltec takes it in this category.

    Is it pretty? No, does it fire well? Mine does and is surprisingly accurate out to 10 yards.

    If you can afford both, buy both, run them through their paces until you're satisfed. If you can't, buy the Kel-Tec and if you have to send it back, it's not such a big deal. There are guys here that've send Kimbers and even SIGs back.

    If you don't mind the weight, go NAA Guardian but don't be too surprised if you have some issues. If you really want the lightest, thinnest pocket piece currently available then go with the kel-Tec....

    God Bless

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