Bersa’s 9mm Pistol—A Great Buy

Bersa Thunder 9 Ultra Compact Pro

As a writer, I continually dig for information. I also test handguns to a degree that would not be possible if this were simply a hobby.

Bersa Thunder 9 Ultra Compact Pro
The Bersa Thunder 9 Ultra Compact Pro is a viable defensive handgun with good features. Courtesy of Bersa.

As a trainer, I see how handguns perform on the range. My students choose a wide range of firearms, and many show up with handguns that are not appropriate for the task of personal defense. Some—and most could afford better—have chosen the cheapest gun. Others choose a firearm too weak, and many have chosen a handgun they cannot control well. Among the best choices I have seen is the Bersa Thunder 9 Ultra Compact Pro. This handgun is a compact double action first shot handgun with a 13-round magazine capacity, a positive manual safety, good sights and features that mark it as a desirable defensive handgun. Yet, now, the handgun retails for less than $400. That is a fair price. I cannot state this more strongly—the Bersa is not a cheap gun. It is an affordable pistol designed as a service handgun and presently in service with police and military forces in South America. The pistol also carries a lifetime warranty.

Well known as a reliable handgun, the smaller Bersa .380 ACP pistols are well worth their price. The larger 9mm handguns are in my opinion a superior choice for the caliber, capacity and hit probability.

Author's Bersa 9
This is the author’s personal well-worn example. It has never stuttered.

The Bersa Pro 9mm (sometimes referred to as the Mini Firestorm or Thunder 9 in the past renditions) is an excellent design that builds upon proven mechanical features. The slide is similar to the SIG type, with a barrel hood that butts into the ejection port for lock up. The ejection port is large enough to eject both spent cases and to clear a full length cartridge or dud round. The frame is conventional aluminum construction. The trigger action is similar to the Beretta with an exposed drawbar on the right side of the frame.

The action is smooth enough for fast hits at conversational range. The trigger features a modest over-travel stop. A long double-action press fires the pistol. After the first shot, the slide cocks the hammer for subsequent single action shots. The single-action trigger breaks about just over five pounds. The safety is an excellent design. The safety lever is fully ambidextrous. Shooters may press the safety upward to decock (lower) a cocked hammer. The safety is on when up, and fire is down. A frame-mounted safety is much faster and more ergonomic than a slide mounted safety.

Bersa 9 Safety
In this illustration the safety is in the on or safe position.

The pistol’s frame features modest finger grooves. This gives a good fit when firing the pistol. The sights are good examples of combat sights. During the test period, the sights proved well-regulated for 115- to 124-grain 9mm Luger loads. The 147-grain loads struck slightly higher on the target in relation to the point of aim. I lightly lubricated the pistol before going to the firing range for this Shooter’s Log test program. I accomplished much of the test firing with a handload using the Hornady 124-grain XTP and enough TITEGROUP powder for 1,000 fps. This load has proven reliable and accurate in everything from the Bersa to an HK P7M8 and a semiautomatic UZI carbine. If the 9mm will not function with this load, which generates about 1,110 fps from a 5-inch barreled Browning High Power, it is probably sick! The Bersa draws smoothly and comes on target quickly.

During the firing test, the author and several friends and family members participated in firing the pistol for this Shooter’s Log evaluation. I should note that my personal example is an older handgun, and the finish has worn to a degree from use and carry. The pistol’s use has not been tabulated as well as some of the other long-term test guns but clearly this lightweight 9mm has well over 1,0000 rounds fired through it. There have been no malfunctions of any type. All who fired the pistol found it comfortable to fire. The slide rides lower in the hand as is the case with many double-action first-shot handguns, making the Bersa controllable in rapid fire.

Switching to Winchester’s white box USA with the 115-grain JHP, I settled down to be all I can be. Combat groups were excellent. Firing the pistol from a solid braced barricade, I found that given shot groups at 15 yards measured two to 2.5 inches when the shooter did his part. The Bersa 9mm is clearly accurate, reliable and a good buy. For the individual searching for a defensive handgun that will not break the bank—or a good reliable handgun regardless of price—the Bersa 9mm gets the nod.

Specifications and Features

Thunder 9 Ultra Compact Pro
Action DA/SA
Barrel Length 3.25″
Caliber 9MM Luger
Overall Height 4.75″
Overall Length 6.5″
Overall Width Width: 1.45″
Weight Unloaded 23 oz.
Sight, Front Interchangeable SIG Sauer type
Sight, Rear
Interchangeable SIG Sauer type
Grip Checkered Black Polymer
Capacity 13+1
Finishes Duotone or Matte Black
Construction Alloy Frame/Steel Slide
Safety Integral Locking System, Manual, Firing Pin

Click Here to Start Shopping Online at Cheaper Than DirtSo what are your thoughts and experiences with the Bersa 9? Share in the comment section.

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Comments (11)

  1. Which one does your wife prefer and why. I currently have a S&W MP Shield and shot a Bersa 380 today and really like it better than my MP Shield. Definitely has a easier trigger for me and less of a kick.

    Thanks, Dottie

    1. If I remember correctly #8 Sig Sauer sights work on The Thunder pro9Have had no Problem with what came with This gun. Bought the Thunder Pro9 for my Wife it is so easy to rack the slide. She injured her hand years ago and does not have a good grip or strength in her left hand. With this gun, it is very easy for her. I took her to numerous Gun shows and stores for her to try anything she could get to work for her. She is happy with the sights. She did very well with this gun at the Gun Range when we were being certified for our carry permits.

  2. The Bersa Thunder 9 UC (the model that preceded the UC Pro) has been my EDC handgun of choice for years, supplanting some very good Colt, Glock, Beretta, Ruger, and Springfield Armory semi-autos. Out of the box, it is simply the most reliable, simple, and accurate pistol I’ve ever owned. I’ve put thousands of rounds through it, with absolutely no FTFs or FTEs. Better than that, it doesn’t get.

    A few years ago, I made the mistake of trading away a Bersa Thunder 45 UC. I’ve just rectified that error by ordering its replacement, the Pro version).

    1. Love my Bersa Thunder 9 Ultra Compact Pro. (Although I do wish they’d shorten the name)
      It’s accurate, dependable, comfortable, reliable, easy to operate, fun to shoot, and attractive to look at. It’s the only semi-automatic pistol that my wife can EASILY rack the slide on. It’s extremely easy to disassemble. It can hold up to 14 9mm rounds. It doesn’t care what type, brand, weight of ammo you put through it. It NEVER malfunctions. Best gun I’ve ever owned!

  3. I own a number of Sigs and Bersas. The compact thunder 9 is an excellent reliable weapon. I also own the compact thunder in 45 ACP. This particular gun needed polishing of both the ramp and barrel seat to function as flawlessly as the 9mm. Being old school, I just prefer 45 for it’s raw stopping power.

  4. what about the full size pro 9mm shooting up tp 2′ low from p.o.a ? IS that true or are they an accurate pistol, thien i point at a target i want the round to go right were it’s supossed to, thanks for any insight.

  5. My wife and I own 3 Bersas, a MiniFirestorm 40, a Tunder 380 and a Thunder 22. They are all comfortable, reliable and second to none at anywhere near their price range.

  6. I’ve had this pistol for a few years now and can’t say enough good about it! I own many pistols of all makes and models including several SIG P226’s one of which is the Navy Seal Model MK25 and like all of them but the Bersa Thunder 9 Ultra Compact Pro is my 2nd most favorite only behind the P226’s if you don’t include the price in the comparison. At over twice the price the P226’s should be twice as good, right? Well they’re not twice as good but only very slightly better in my opinion, So back to the Bersa Thunder 9 Ultra Compact Pro, the fit finish and function on it is very nice. I have never had any feed problems with it no matter what i feed it. It breaks down very fast and easy. i also ordered a new slide, barrel, guide rod, recoil spring and mags in .40 cal and can switch from 9mm to .40 in a matter of seconds. I really like the ability to do that so easily. One other thing the Bersa has that you won’t even find on the SIG’s is a Polygonal rifled barrel that I think only HK is the only other pistol using those type of barrels. There are only 2 things negative I have to say about the Bersa, 1 is the cost of the magazines, they are quite expensive and not much to pick from in the aftermarket world, 2 is there are not many options in aftermarket grips, but if you are like me the grips on the gun fit my hand very well and have pretty good texture. So in wrapping this up, I would say without a question I would HIGHLY recommend one of these pistols because they are worth a lot more than the price especially compared to pistols costing much more.

  7. This is a great firearm. i own two myself, the thunder 380 for carry, and the thunder pro in 40 S&W.

    these can’t be beat for the price. solidly made. great shooters the 380 is a copy of a ppk and the pro 40S&W is a copy of a sig. both which cost twice that of bersa.

    these both have manual safety, and a hammer which gives you 100 times more control and safety, specially for carry.

    my requirements have always been , metal / alloy, hammer and manual safety.
    I don’t like trigger safeties nor polymer frames.

    why buy a Cadillac when the buick has all the same options and features at half the cost. specially when all these newer guns with hammers are going to striker fired and cheaper construction.

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