Soooo, dear ol' Dad decided it'd be cool to get a smaller gun that he could easily carry and hide away. Unbenownst to me, he recently picked up a Bersa .380 from Southern Ohio Guns, for all of $200. Since I remembered interest expressed in this little gun before, I thought why the hell not do a review? Here-goís.
First, I don't have big hands. Mine fall squarely on "average". I also don't generally like small guns, because there seems to be a gap between handgun grips falling on the larger side (as on full-sized guns) and on the smaller side (as on sub-compacts). The Bersa is a little smaller than the PA-63, and possibly lighter. However, that little pinky extender is very nice, even if the fingers feel a little cramped.
My hands on the gun:
However, for those whose hands are better described as paws, my dad has your sized hands (I think we took a comparison pic). If the gun felt slightly cramped for me
then it will definitely feel small for him
. That said, he really liked the Bersa. It has a pseudo-beavertail that solves a problem he had on the PA-63, which is the web of his thumb slipping into the "realm of pain". How he shot it and avoided the hammer every time was beyond me, but the thought made him nervous, and on the Bersa this problem was nonexistent. Cool, it passes the size test.
Dad's hands on the gun:
Size comparison (yes, my hands are
For those who care about weight... this would be a very, very easy gun to forget you were carrying. ;)
Here's a list of all of the good things about the little Bersa:
- Accuracy - If we did our part, it did its. We never thought to shoot past 14 yards, but at that distance it was still more accurate than either of us. At closer, more-likely-to-be-used-at ranges, it was more than accurate enough.
- Cool - Not in the "hip" way, but it's a hard gun to heat up. Even ripping through a mag (worth the look I got from the range guy) did almost nothing to heat up the barrel. Considering the neat little light show coming out of the barrel at every round, I was surprised the gun stayed as cool as it did.
- Price - For $200, it's awful hard to beat this gun. I firmly believe that your $200 is going a long way in this little almost-pocket-gun.
- Recoil - Mild at most; it took over 200 rounds to finally get us to where only a few rounds out of the PA-63 would. I don't really like shooting the PA, but the Bersa was very nice to shoot, and I can see why it's so damn popular.
- Single-Action Trigger - I don't know of the Springfield is spoiling me, but I both dad and I liked the single-action shooting of the Bersa a lot more than the double action (I'll get to that later). The single action pull wasn't 1911 nice, but it was definitely an improvement over the alternative.
A review wouldn't be "fair and balanced" without criticism, right?
- Double-Action Pull - This damn thing is annoying. It's workable, and can be trained, but it's no Glock trigger (which I still like, but I see why the "1911 guys" generally don't), and is best described as "mushy". With my dad's bigger hands, his first shots were usually off by a little compared to the follow-up single-action shots (I didn't have this problem as much, but can understand why he did).
- Dirty - This thing is a dirty gun to shoot. On the left side of the gun, there's a little gap just after the slide stop between the frame and slide, and your fingers (trigger finger and thumb, specifically) get dirty. This means little functionally, but it was worth noting.
- Safety Selector - It's backwards (like the PA-63). This means you flip it up to disengage the safety, which is a pretty unnatural movement for your thumb to do while drawing. It is also impossible to carry cocked and locked, as engaging the safety drops the hammer, so youíre stuck on a double-action pull if you plan on carrying safely.
- Teething - We shot a few different types of ammunition (I'll edit this later with exactly what), but it did NOT like Speer wadcutters. Supposedly, you're supposed to run a couple boxes of round-nose FMJ's through it, but we never managed to find any and the semi-wadcutters were all we could get locally. Hollow-points fed fine. I'll get the list of failures (over half a dozen, less than a dozen, I think) later.
Gratuitous "my work station" pic (doesn't include Glock or Bersa, ironically).
That little Buck Ghost Rider knife is growing on me, especially as a defensive tool, but I haven't used it enough to warrant its own review. ;)
I didnít have time today, but since I need to take some categorizing pics of the Bersa, Iíll put it side-by-side to the 1911, the Glock 17, and the PA-63 for size references.