Exclusive: Heavy Metal Favorites
Not everything should be lightweight. Especially guns. Elementary physics and good old common sense will tell you that the heavier a gun is, the better it will do at soaking up recoil and and getting back on target. And those are very important in a combat handgun. Once you start measuring handgun weight in ounces — meaning, less than 16 or so — you potentially decrease the shootability of it.
With that, meet the Bersa Ultra Compact Thunder Pro .45. Its aluminum alloy frame helps it tip the scales at only 27 ounces. But with 7+1 rounds of .45 ACP on board, you’re quickly back over the 30-ounce mark. That’s not necessarily bad, but for an “Ultra Compact” it makes for a chunky, heavy-feeling gun. The thing is, after just one session on the range, the Bersa quickly earned a spot on my list of Heavy Metal Favorites.
At the range, the Bersa ate up and spit out a variety of .45 ACP bullets and brass, including plenty of Remington’s Golden Saber rounds and Winchester’s basic jacketed hollow points. The gun neither hiccuped nor burped but performed like a rock star. Predictable, reliable.
While the controls took a bit to get used to, after just a short time I started to like them. Well, most of them. At first the safety/decocker — which you push up to engage — will scare you with a sharp snap as it lets the hammer down. Then it sweeps down, 1911-style, to release the trigger safety. When the safety is up or on, you can’t pull the slide back, which I like. But you can pull the disengaged trigger all the way back, which I don’t. The magazine release is solid and sure, a definite plus. Same for the slide release, which I generally don’t use. Both the safety/decocker and slide release are ambidextrous, which I like.
The three dot sights are decent with the big front sight taking the prize for most visible.
You can shoot the Bersa in single action but should carry it decocked and shoot that first round using the long but smooth double action stroke. Single action follow-up shots have a little take up but a very clean break. The trigger was so good I had actively think about each stroke in order to report this here. In other words, the trigger was so good it didn’t interfere with the shooting.
At 6.8 inches in length, 5.1 inches in height and 1.45 inches in height, the Bersa is compact but isn’t what I would call small. I’ll tell you how to carry it well on another day. This gun, however, retails for $406.85. Which means you can probably find it for less than $400. At that price, don’t be surprised if you’re suddenly into heavy metal again.
— Mark Kakkuri