- BERSA Thunder 380
caption=BERSA Thunder 380 with satin nickel finish
name=BERSA Thunder 380
used_by=Ecuadorian Air Force
part_length=3.54 in (90 mm)
cartridge=.380 ACP (9x17mm Browning Short)
feed=7, 9, or 10-round single-stack magazine
velocity=1050 ft/s (Cor-Bon JHP)
weight=(unloaded): 20 oz. (560 g)
length=6.61 in (168 mm)
variants=CC (Concealed Carry)
Introduced in the late 1990s by Argentinian firearms manufacturer
BERSA, S.A., the Thunder 380 is a small semi-automatic pistolthat has enjoyed popularity due to its reputation for reliability, light weight and concealability, accuracy at short to medium range, and relatively low price.
Preceded by the BERSA Modelo 383 SA, Modelo 383 DA, Modelo 83 and Series 95, the Thunder 380 is part of the BERSA product lineup that also involves the Thunder 22, Thunder 22-6, Thunder 32, Thunder 380 Super, Thunder 9, Mini Thunder 9, Mini Thunder 40, and Mini Thunder 45. A variant of sorts is sold by another manufacturer,
Firestorm SGSof New Jersey, wherein the pistol is assembled from parts manufactured by BERSA and marketed as the 'Firestorm 380'. A further-lightened variant of the Thunder 380 called the 'Concealed Carry' model was also released by BERSA in the United States.
The popular Thunder 380 is intended for general civilian use. This conceptualization might be appreciated in the context of handgun use and law in many South American countries, where the Thunder 380 is quite popular, and
.380 ACPis frequently the most powerful cartridge allowed to civilians. Nevertheless, a number of military and law enforcement forces have included BERSA 380's in their tables of equipment, including the Ecuadorian Air Force.The Thunder 380 bears a loose resemblance to the Walther PPK, but is sold for about half the price.
The Thunder 380 has a light aluminium alloy frame that reduces weight for easier carry, and yet the pistol still retains enough mass to help tame recoil. The blowback, fixed-barrel design theoretically aids accuracy, and it seems the vast majority of Thunder 380 users report favorably on that matter. The nearly straight-in alignment of the chamber and the topmost cartridge in the loaded magazine seems to be responsible for the pistol's reliable chambering and cycling during use. The frame features a long rearward tang over the grips, effectively protecting one's thumb-webbing from hammer-bite or slide-bite. There is an abundance of safety features built into the Thunder 380: a slide mounted manual safety -and- decocker that blocks the hammer, a magazine disconnect safety that prevents firing if a magazine is not inserted, a long double-action (DA) first trigger pull, inertial firing pin, and some models have an integral key-operated
trigger lock. Some productions also feature an automatic firing pin block.
The cost of additional factory magazines is much higher than one might expect, but some third party manufacturers, such as Pro Mag Industries, have marketed alternatives (although of somewhat dubious reliability). There is a perception among many pistol users (particularly in the United States, the Philippines, and elsewhere) that a .380 ACP cartridge is not powerful enough to provide dependable and timely neutralization of an assailant. Others maintain that training and shot placement are more important than caliber.
* [http://www.geocities.com/bersa_thunder Bersa Thunder Resource Site and Forum]
* [http://www.gunblast.com/Bersa_Thunder380.htm Review of the Bersa Thunder 380 at Gunblast.com]
* [http://bersatalk.com Bersa Talk - Bersa Help site]
* [http://www.armas-modernas.com/2008/07/pistolas-bersa-thunder-380.html Review of the Bersa Thunder 380] (Spanish)
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