Bersa Thunder Combat Plus

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Bersa was founded in the 1950s by Ercole Montini, Benso Bonadimani, and Savino Caselli. The company, which is based in Argentina, got its start manufacturing parts for a company by the name of Ballester-Molina (a company which is now out of business). They did eventually begin designing their own guns starting with a handgun called the Luan which was based on a Ballester model. It wasn’t until 1994 that they came out with the Bersa Thunder series which is comprised of various calibers and two designs, one blowback and one locked breech.

Today the Thunder series is quite possibly the company’s most popular line of handguns, and for 2016 they’re coming out with a new addition: the Bersa Thunder Combat Plus. So what makes it different than the original Thunder Combat? It’s been redesigned for improved ergonomics and greater accuracy, and it’s a double stack.

The new pistol is chambered in .380 ACP just like its predecessor. It’s 6.5″ long, 4.7″ tall, and 1.35″ wide. The barrel is 3.5″ long. It weighs 20.5 ounces empty. Capacity is 15 +1 and it’s a Double Action/Single Action, giving shooters options. It has a slide-mounted manual safety and an integral locking system as well as other safety features. The gun features an alloy frame and steel slide and has a matte black finish with olive green grips. Rear sights are fixed combat sights while front sight is a dovetail.

MSRP $419. Take a look online at https://bersa.eagleimportsinc.com/bersa/thunder-380-combat-plus

From Bersa:

“The popular Bersa Thunder 380 Combat has been given a double stack for
more capacity, creating the Bersa Thunder 380 Combat Plus. Firearms
enthusiasts can now shoot longer between reloads with this 15-round
pistol. The Thunder 380 Combat Plus features a redesigned slim slide
release for a lower profile, a rounded trigger guard and smaller
beavertail for easier carrying and holstering and larger slide
serrations and ergonomic rubber wrap for that perfect day at the range.
The u-shaped combat rear sight provides optimum sighting for low-light
situations while the micro-polished bore with sharp, deep rifling
provides greater accuracy. With an integral locking system and a
decocker, the Thunder 380 Combat Plus provides the ultimate safe
concealed carry.”



katie.ainsworth

Katie is an avid shooter, hunter, military journalist, and Southern girl. Firearms are her passion whether at the range or on a spot-and-stalk after a big buck. She’s a staff writer at The Firearm Blog and writes about guns, hunting, and the military for various publications both online and in print such as Outdoor Life, Handguns, and Shooting Illustrated. Shoot her a message at ainsworth.kat@usa.com


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  • Twilight sparkle

    Looks good, the only things not to like are the built in lock and the magazine disconnect.

    • adverse

      I set mine to fire, and lost the key. The magazine disconnect is easily removed.

      • Twilight sparkle

        My key is floating around somewhere, I would remove the disconnect but I kinda like how it kicks out mags.

  • De Facto

    Looks good. I’ll believe it when I see it. I’ve been looking for the original Bersa Thunder plus (Also had 15+1 capacity) for ages and never have been able to find it.

    • BearSlayer338

      Have you tried ordering one from a dealer?
      I know buds usually has them if you want to buy online.

      • Jwedel1231

        Buds Gunshop is the cancer that is killing local gun shops all across this country.

        • JK

          Still have to pay the transfer fee.

        • Duray

          Actually, that would be the internet age in general. Good luck getting that genie back in the bottle.

      • De Facto

        I can easily find the single stack Bersa Thunder, but the Bersa Thunder Plus isn’t in stock on Bud’s, never on gunbroker, and I’ve never seen one in the wild. I know they exist, but can’t find one to save my life. I want to at least handle one before trying to special order it.

        • supergun

          For some reason these pistols are very rare. The magazines are almost impossible to get.

      • supergun

        Thunder Plus are usually out of stock. Very rare pistol. Kinda like the Five Seven pistol.

        • BearSlayer338

          My LGS can usually order anything you want even Coonan .357’s.

          • supergun

            You can get the Bersa Thunder Plus if you are patient and diligent. I did my research and got the Five Seven at a very good price on line. Just have to do your research, be patient, and be diligent. That is part of the fun. Looking for that rare hard to find firearm. Only in America.

    • supergun

      I was looking for a gun that my wife could easily shoot and not struggle with the slide. I ran across a used Bersa Thunder Plus that a lady owned. Had been fired one outing. It looked brand new. I bought it. Will not sell this jewel. Have not seen another PLUS anywhere in my city. Magazines are extremely rare. Found 2 by accident in a little Country crossroad gun shop during the heyday gun panic back in 2012. Haven’t seen anymore of those except at gun show where they were pushing $90 each. This is an awesome gun. Very accurate. Recoil is minimal. Has a decocker also. Love this gun.

  • Maxpwr

    Bersas are such great value and I’ve had great success with all their products so far. This one looks just as good as the rest, but what I like most about the standard Bersas for value is that the rear sight is adjustable for windage with a screwdriver so while they aren’t “target pistols”, it’s nice to have that adjustment. This COMBAT model does away with the screwdriver adjustment, but I’m sure is satisfactory at home defense distances.

  • Zachary marrs

    When i think of a combat pistol, a .380 bersa is the first thing that pops into my mind

    • Bart

      From a practical perspective, this gun would be kind of comparable to a CZ82/83 or Beretta 84.

      I think .380’s generally don’t make sense with a higher capacity double stack. You might as well just get a double stack 9 (like a Glock 19 or something). Also, since this gun is a blowback, recoil is probably nearly the same as a more powerful 9X19. The single stack Bersa Thunder .380 is a good small thin carry gun.

      The place where this gun makes a lot of sense is in certain Latin American countries that won’t allow civilians to own anything larger than a .380. That is probably the main market.

      • Zachary marrs

        This is clearly a combat handgun.

        Sigs, glocks, 1911s, Berettas are just wannabes, bersa is the real deal

        In fact, bersa is gonna win the MHS program

        • JK

          380 is gonna be the new NATO round.

          • Zachary marrs

            I heard they are switching out our nuclear arsenal with .380 fmj’s

          • Edeco

            Also .380 will be used for the deck guns on Zumwalt Class destroyers.

          • Zachary marrs

            The death star laser was actually a .380

    • J-

      Except Bersa are made in Argentina, and Argentina like Mexico, Italy and other countries prohibits civilians from owning guns in calibers that are used by the military. That means that 9mm (and I think .45 ACP) is out.

      • Zachary marrs

        Why would they let civilians own the vastly more deadly. 380? Madness

        4 out of 4* delta seals use bersa

        *The fifth one used a glock, but got killed because his pistol wasn’t combat ready

      • Frank

        *citation needed

  • TVOrZ6dw

    I look forward to seeing some live fire testing of this pistol. I love the looks, and wonder how many James Bond films would have ended after 15 minutes if he carried one of these with its extra capacity.

  • adverse

    Bersa Thunder .380 had for 6 years. Accurate out of the box at 25 yards, JHP/FMJ does not care, keeps on shooting. Be aware, with any firearm, magazine cap plus one in the pipe can cause stove pipe jam. The Bersa Thunder .380 claims 7 in mag and one in pipe for 8 rounds total. Try it, but don’t bet on it. 6 and 1 works fine. For the price, I’ll be getting the Combat Plus as well.

  • Paul White

    I regret selling the Bersa .380 I used to have. Sweet shooting little gun, but man, 9mm is more economical to shoot and better for most practical uses. But JEEZ that gun was surprisingly accurate and really soft shooting

  • gunsandrockets

    Did they have to fatten the grip width to accommodate the larger magazine?

    • Tothe

      Website says standard Bersa Thunder is 1.3″ wide, and this model is 1.35″. Not too bad.

  • Kjk

    I like my bersa Thunder 389cc. Although I do question the metal /coating they use. My slide stop / hold open stopped working after 500 rounds unless I physically hold it up. Was always 100% reliable but idk how much of a beating it could take.

  • AznMike

    Is this just an updated version of the Plus? They’ve had this on their website for years, heck, I’m pretty sure I remember seeing this at my LGS.

  • I really like my Bersa. It’s an old Model 23 in .22 LR made back in the 80’s. I like it better than the Walther P22. It’s a heavy hunk of steel, but that helps accuracy, and it’s super accurate. I could do 1.5″ groups at 21 feet with SA first shot. It doesn’t like anything less than 38 grain bullets though. Reminds me of a PPK!

  • Gabe

    I have a Thunder Plus, which is similar as it’s 15+1. Unfortunately, the sample I got broke in less than 60 rounds. The slide stop failed causing the slide to randomly stay locked back after firing. Sent it back and got it repaired, these guns are a very good value but if you get one, do not trust your life with it until you have tested it.

    Once I confirm mine is functional, it’s getting sold off.

  • Jwedel1231

    I would be buying one right now if I knew of a way to make the safety-decocker a decocker-only, a la Beretta 92 “G” conversion.

  • robocop33

    I bought a Bersa many years ago and it was a great little gun and I regret selling it. A lot of people bad-mouthed this little gun as a cheap South American gun that was inaccurate and cheaply made. Mine was very accurate and functioned very well.

  • robocop33

    Actually, it really looks like a East German Makarov 9×18! That is also a great little firearm but unfortunately under-powered.

    • MR

      Yup, I’m waiting for one that looks like this, but in 9mm. Bersa’s 9mm offerings just don’t have the same look.

    • Bart

      I think it looks a lot like a CZ82/83, at least from a superficial standpoint.

    • J-

      My sister convinced me to give mine to her. She’s recoil shy and a 9mm was just too much for her. She loved the 380, and with 15 rounds of Hornady Critical defense, she loves it as a home defense gun. Under powered is relative, better a double stack 380 than nothing.

  • Full Name

    ” got its start manufacturing parts for a company by the name of Ballester-Molina” A.K.A Ballerina Molesters

  • Ben Loong

    I really wish I knew a place that would let me try out the Bersa at a
    range. I know multiple stores that sell Bersas, but none that have any
    range guns.

    I’ve had the Bersa Thunder and the BP models on my shortlist of
    potential purchases for a compact .380 for a while now. I’ve long wanted a compact blow-back automatic in .380, and besides
    the as of yet unreleased mini-1911s that Armscor and Metro Arms have come up with,
    they’re pretty much the only .380 pistols I’ve found here that I like
    and aren’t ridiculously expensive because of import costs.

    Eventually, though I just got an officer-sized 1911 for my compact back-up piece when I realized that standard ball .380 ACP here actually costs exactly as much as .45 ACP, and the latter is way more popular with more readily available choices for defensive rounds.

  • RenHoek

    If they made this in 9mm I would be all over this…

  • jrdeahl

    I have 3 of the Bersa Thunder series pistols. The only complaint is they don’t make the fixed barrel models in 9mm.

    Other than that they are great guns for the money and work well above their price range and are above average guns.

  • maodeedee

    Apparently these are well-made guns. But too big and heavy for a 380 and DA/SA triggers suck.

  • RPK

    I have the original Bersa Thunder Combat and a FireStorm model, both in .380ACP. No complaints about either firearm. They fire any ammunition available, no issues. One thing which is not mentioned in the article is if the handgun comes with one or two magazines. A standard Bersa magazine is about $33.00 each, so I can only imagine what a double stack magazine might cost. My original Thunder Combat came with two magazines where the FireStorm only had one in the box. Great weapons!

  • CavScout

    My life is worth more to me than buying a Bersa.