The Bersa Thunder 40 pictured here belongs to a friend who brought it to a group shoot and allowed me to put it through some paces. I was also able to watch him handle and shoot it. The gun here had around 600 rounds through it when I reviewed it. There had been, and remained after this test, no malfunctions with the gun.
Like all Bersa pistols, the Thunder 40 arrived in an unassuming pasteboard box with an extra magazine, locking key (more on that later) and an owner’s manual. When I removed it from the box, I wiped off the excess lubricant and gave the pistol a once-over. Fit, finish and workmanship seemed to be top drawer, and its matte black finish gave it a business-like appearance. As it is a Thunder 40, it’s chambered for the .40 cartridge and has a 10+1 ammunition capacity. The Thunder 40’s locking mechanism is based on the Browning/Petter design to foster reliable feeding and ejection. It has a traditional double-action/single-action (DA/SA) trigger that allows you to fire the first shot in DA mode before reverting to SA mode, unless it’s decocked. It has a number of features I want to go over, so we’ll review these from top to bottom.
The Bersa company, located in Ramos Mejia, Argentina is the heir of Ballester-Molina the well-known Argentine arms firm. Its founders migrated from Italy where they were involved in the Gardone Valley arms industry. By the mid 1990s, when the “Shall Issue CCW” movement caught fire, Bersa .380 pistols were in wide distribution in the United States and had developed a significant following because of moderate price, reputation for reliable function and likely, their resemblance to the Walther PPK.