Our family's growing

Our family's growing

This is a discussion on Our family's growing within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I posted this on another forum, and given the subject thought you guys might like this. Enjoy. Soooo, dear ol' Dad decided it'd be cool ...

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Thread: Our family's growing

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array BAC's Avatar
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    May 2007

    Our family's growing

    I posted this on another forum, and given the subject thought you guys might like this. Enjoy.

    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-go’s.

    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 normal sized):

    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 you’re 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 didn’t have time today, but since I need to take some categorizing pics of the Bersa, I’ll put it side-by-side to the 1911, the Glock 17, and the PA-63 for size references.
    When I get to snap new pictures in a slightly better manner than camera-phone-at-the-range, I'll probably post them in my photography thread I started a while back. Overall impressions: positive. Great gun for the price, but it probably wouldn't be my go-to piece.


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array deadeye72's Avatar
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    Feb 2008
    Central Mississippi
    Very nice.

    Judging by the glass bay walls in the photos, I would say you have some real unsafe idiots using that range.
    Glock 27

  3. #3
    Member Array STITCH's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
    Not to shabby!! They look pretty nice to me!

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  5. #4
    Member Array ChuglyXJ's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
    Quote Originally Posted by deadeye72 View Post
    Judging by the glass bay walls in the photos, I would say you have some real unsafe idiots using that range.
    My thoughts too.

    I've heard good things about the Bersa seams to be a nice gun.

  6. #5
    VIP Member Array JimmyC4's Avatar
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    Apr 2006
    I'd say those big paws of your Dad's ought to be wrapped around something hefty like a Glock 21 or a SIG P220!
    "It's a big gun when I carry it, it is also a big gun when I take it out” – Clint Smith

  7. #6
    VIP Member Array BAC's Avatar
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    May 2007
    Heh, that range has seen much better days. It's seen its share of idiotic/inexperienced shooters, burglaries, and a fairly recent hostage-turned-suicide situation that made national news. It goes without say that the range masters there are very, very watchful.

    Although, seeing one of those holes caused by an aforementioned inexperienced shooter experiencing a big-bore revolver for the first time was... priceless, to say the least.

    Quote Originally Posted by JimmyC4 View Post
    I'd say those big paws of your Dad's ought to be wrapped around something hefty like a Glock 21 or a SIG P220!
    For fighting, sure, but he prefers the G17 over any other; he can afford to shoot it more, and the gun is pretty natural for him to use (as is often the case for big-handed folk and Glocks). The whole point of this gun was because he wanted something that he knew he could hide very well, but that wasn't any smaller than a .380 (this was after looking very long and hard at the 9mm Bersa). Only issue is now we need to get more mags, and Bersa mags aren't cheap.

    He likes shooting my Mil Spec well enough, but he likes his Glock. I don't blame him; neither of us remember the last failure it had (a couple thousand rounds, easy), and after it performing well for me at a handgun course we both trust it.


  8. #7
    Member Array diablo111's Avatar
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    Apr 2008
    Spanish Fork, UT.
    Been thinking about picking one of those up (looks like I will)...thanks for the review!
    If you own a handgun and your state law allows it, please carry.

  9. #8
    VIP Member Array MNBurl's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    I just picked up a Bersa 380 so I could make holsters for it. Great little carry gun. It shot great this weekend.

    "If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking" - George S. Patton.

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