There are some guns you immediately like when you see them. The Bersa BP9CC was like that for me.
When I first read the press release about them before the 2012 SHOT Show, I thought “There is the pistol Glock refuses to make.”
I was able to land one of the first guns in the USA for this Bersa BP9CC review. Short story: I like this gun a lot.
Let’s not waste time and jump straight into my review.
The BP9CC is a polymer gun, Bersa’s first in fact, with a single stack magazine. It is thin, but maintains a mid-size height giving it more grip space than a lot of single stack pistols like the Walther PPS M2, Smith & Wesson Shield and Glock 43.
At less than an inch thick, it can tuck into an inside-the-waistband holster without adding much bulk. Yet, the gun offers a nearly full-size grip so your pinky isn’t hanging in space.
The gun is only available in 9mm, which for me is fine.
[Editor’s note: After this review was written, Bersa announced two additional caliber options: the Bersa BP40CC in .40 S&W and the BP380CC in .380 ACP. I encourage you to read my Bersa BP40CC Review if you are interested in a larger caliber self-defense pistol.]
With 8+1 rounds before a reload, you’ve got ample firepower for most situations. I try to carry a second magazine, so 17 rounds should be enough to get me home in all but the worst of scenarios.
At the 2012 SHOT Show, I was able to talk to an Eagle Imports representative about the gun. Eagle Imports is the US importer of the entire Bersa catalog of firearms, which are made in Argentina. More importantly, I was able to hold a BP9CC.
Ever pick up a gun and it just felt “right” in your hand? That’s the way this Bersa felt.
As I’ve mentioned, the Bersa BP9CC is a polymer-framed pistol. Many gun companies have been making plastic-framed guns for a while, but this is the first that Bersa has made. I guess they took a slower approach when entering this market to ensure they got it right.
The frames on these pistols can be had in one of two colors: black or OD green. The purists will like the black frame, while some of the more tactical or “I want to be different” crowds might veer toward the OD frame. While I am a bit traditional, I still really like the look of the green gun.
The slide on the BP9CC is made of steel and has either a matte black or a matte nickel finish. The sample gun I received was a black frame with a matte black slide.
My gun shipped with two eight-round magazines. The mags are single stack and loaded easily. With some magazines, you might struggle a little to get the last couple of rounds in. Not with the Bersa mags. From the first to the last, the spring pressure seemed constant.
The pistol ships in a simple, black gun box. The box is plastic and is designed to be used to store and transport the pistol. Included with the gun was an assortment of paperwork and a key for rendering the pistol inoperative through an internal lock.
The Bersa BP9CC sights are a non-typical three-dot set up. The front sight has a single large, white dot. The rear sights have two dots, but they are noticeably smaller than the dot on the front sight.
When looking at the pistol, I immediately observed the larger dot on the front sight and thought “Finally. Somebody gets it.”
Under stress, a variety of physical and chemical changes take place in the human body and eyesight is greatly affected. To use a front sight in combat, it needs to be easily seen. While a bright, non-natural color like neon orange or green might be better, the white dot’s larger size, as compared to the rear sights, reduces visual confusion and increases the likelihood of the shooter being able to use that front sight to put rounds on target.
The rear sight has a flat-front. Some people prefer a sloped front so it is less likely to catch on anything. I prefer a rear sight with a sharp front edge so that I can chamber a round or clear a malfunction with only one hand.
Many people will groan at this: the BP9CC has a magazine disconnect safety. That means if the magazine is out of the gun, the pistol will not fire even if a round is in the chamber. I’ve got mixed feelings on the disconnect safety, and see how it can be a benefit to uniformed police officers who have to deal with disarming attempts. But on a concealed carry pistol, I could do without it.
This may be of little consequence to many people, but a magazine disconnect hampers dry fire training. I use a Mantis X2 to stay fresh with my different firearms, and resetting the trigger with a magazine in the gun can be problematic. Please read my Mantis X2 Review for additional information.
Bersa includes a lifetime service contract with every BP9CC sold.
Bersa BP9CC Specifications
- caliber: 9mm
- magazine capacity: eight rounds
- magazines included: two
- action: short DAO, striker-fired
- barrel length: 3.3”
- overall length: 6.35”
- width: 0.94”
- weight (unloaded): 21.5 ounces
- sights: three dot
- line of sight: five inches
- MSRP: $429 (much cheaper here)
I was eager to get the BP9CC out on the range. I carried with me a rolling case full of 9mm ammunition and ultimately ran 436 rounds through the gun before I ran out of time and had to leave.
During the initial trip, I found the gun was fun to shoot – being able to get a full grip on the gun had a lot to do with that. I also found the gun to be more accurate than I had expected.
On that first outing, I had only two malfunctions, both of which were likely part of the break-in period, firing dirty ammunition or some combination of both.
For the first 300 or so rounds, the Bersa was 100% reliable. I was shooting some really dirty Winchester white box stuff from Walmart that left a lot of build-up in the gun. Frankly, the gun was thoroughly dirty and could have used a good cleaning.
Somewhere after 300 rounds, the Bersa experienced a failure to feed when a 147 grain Speer Gold Dot nose-dived on the feed ramp. About 75 rounds later, a second failure to feed (same exact problem) happened when shooting Federal HST 124 grain +P.
As I suggested, It is possible that these problems were caused by the build-up of gunk or just being part of the break-in period. Regardless, I wanted to get more time at the range with the Bersa before I trusted my life to it.
I subsequently took the BP9CC back to the firing line multiple times. I’ve shot another 2,500+ rounds through it: a mix of FMJ and JHP loads from a range of manufacturers including loads at standard, +P and +P+ pressures.
I’ve purposefully taken slow shots, and at other times emptied the magazine as quickly as I could pull the trigger. Neither had any adverse effect on reliability.
However, I have found the gun likes to run clean. When I take the gun to the range after a standard cleaning, it runs with 100% reliability until the 400-500 round mark. Then a few malfunctions will begin to creep into the shooting. Once I give the gun a cursory cleaning (including the feed ramp), the gun returns to 100% reliability.
A few additional observations:
Trigger – The trigger was relatively light in the full double-action pull with a slight to moderate amount of take-up. The reset was very short and very easy to feel. Follow up shots were smooth and fast, in part because of the surprisingly good trigger.
My initial impression of the trigger was that it was very good for a striker-fired pistol.
That doesn’t mean the trigger is perfect. Out of the box, it is a bit gritty. Not awful, but not perfect either. As I spent more time shooting the gun, the grittiness smoothed out some, but it never went away completely.
When pressing the trigger very slowly, you can feel the imperfections. However, when you press thr trigger to the rear in a single, smooth motion the feel is much better.
My only real gripe with the trigger is that you can get a very slight pinch if your finger rides on the lower edge of the trigger face. My finger did ride there,
and I was pinched ever so slightly on multiple shots. It was not enough to bother me, but it is something to be aware of. People with meaty hands may have more of a problem.
Sights – Much as I had anticipated, the front sight was very easy to pick up. Follow up shots were easy to put on target because that front sight really jumped into my vision. I enjoyed having a large white dot front sight that still used a standard post-and-notch style sighting system.
I like two things about the rear sight. First, the front of the rear sight is a relatively flat surface, allowing me to use it to work the slide on the edge of a boot, belt or table in an emergency.
Second, it uses small white dots, which contrast nicely with the large, bright white dot on the front sight. My eye is naturally drawn to the front sight when shooting. In a stressful encounter, having sights like these could be an advantage.
One thing that I don’t like about the rear sight is that it is plastic. In 99.9% of situations, this is perfectly fine. But, I would much prefer to have a metal sight on the rear.
As I mentioned above, the rear sight can be used for operating the slide in an emergency situation. A metal sight is much more likely to survive the repeated abuse of training these methods.
Fortunately, standard-sized Glock rear sights fit the BP9CC. Replacing the stock rear sight is relatively easy and you have a large number of options from which to choose.
Bersa uses a SIG SAUER type front sight.
Recoil – With even the stoutest +P+ loads, the BP9CC was very easy to control. In fact, I daresay it was the easiest to control of all of the compact 9mm pistols I have shot. The closest is probably the Kahr CM9 with the extended seven-round magazine.
While the operating system of the gun plays a large role in the felt recoil, I think the Bersa’s grip design was a huge factor in the gun being so controllable. The frame is narrow, yet the grip filled my hand enough so that a had full control of the gun throughout the shooting process.
Accuracy – Accuracy from the Bersa BP9CC was awesome. Between five and 15 yards, I was eating out the center of the targets. Slow fire put bullets through the same ragged hole at five yards and at 15, the gun would easily put all rounds into a 3″ group with very little effort.
One of my range sessions included some training time with Paul Carlson of the Safety Solutions Academy. After spending some time shooting the gun, Carlson made this video on the gun:
During my initial range trip, my chronograph was not working. Since that time, I replaced the old chronograph with a newer, more reliable one. These are the velocities I obtained from the Bersa pistol.
|Blazer Brass 115 gr FMJ||1056 fps||285 ft-lbs|
|Federal BPLE 115 gr JHP +P+||1134 fps||328 ft-lbs|
|Federal Champion 115 gr FMJ||1060 fps||287 ft-lbs|
|Hornady Critical Duty 135 gr||961 fps||277 ft-lbs|
|Hornady Critical Duty 135 gr +P||1063 fps||338 ft-lbs|
|HPR Ammunition 115 gr JHP||1030 fps||271 ft-lbs|
|HPR Ammunition 124 gr JHP||935 fps||241 ft-lbs|
|Federal HST 124 gr +P||1102 fps||334 ft-lbs|
|Liberty Ammunition 50 gr JHP||1952 fps||423 ft-lbs|
|Perfecta 115 gr FMJ||1033 fps||272 ft-lbs|
|Remington UMC Target 115 gr MC||1054 fps||284 ft-lbs|
|Remington UMC 115 gr JHP||1068 fps||291 ft-lbs|
|SIG SAUER Elite Performance 115 gr FMJ||1062 fps||288 ft-lbs|
|SIG SAUER Elite Performance V-Crown 124 gr JHP||1004 fps||278 ft-lbs|
|SIG SAUER Elite Performance V-Crown 147 gr JHP||895 fps||262-ft-lbs|
|Winchester White Box 115 gr JHP||1039 fps||276 ft-lbs|
Performance measured with a Competition Electronics ProChrono Digital Chronograph at an approximate distance of 15' from the muzzle of the pistol. All measurements are an average of five shots.
The Bersa BP9CC is a pistol that I really like. It fits great in my hand, is fun to shoot and is extremely accurate.
Reliability was good – if you keep it clean. You should clean any gun you rely on for self-defense after every range session, so this may not be an issue that you even encounter.
At the end of the day, I liked the gun enough to buy it. It’s not perfect, but it is a fun shooting gun for the money.
Holsters for the BP9CC are a bit sparse right now. However, I am talking to several small holster shops and hope to report back soon with some non-generic holster options for Bersa owners. (Ed. note: There are a variety of good holster choices on the market now. Check out my list of BP9CC holsters by clicking here.)
For what its worth, the BP9CC is the first Bersa I’ve owned. I was never very interested in the company’s iconic Thunder line, but this polymer gun is great. As a long-time fan of Glock, it would have been nice to see this gun developed by them, but they failed to do so.
At less than $400 at my local gun shop, this gun stands to be a big hit if people give it a try. If your local dealer doesn’t have them, Guns.com has them in stock and starting at $246.
I fully disclose any potential biases that may affect my reviews.
The gun used in this review was sent to me as a loaner from Eagle Imports (the US distributor of Bersa firearms) for the purposes of a review. No request was made – nor none offered – for a positive review. At the end of the review period, I purchased the gun because I liked it so much. The purchase price was made at a discount since the gun was now used and not new.
Bersa did not offer or provide any money or other consideration for the publication of this article.
I have no business interest in Bersa, Eagle Imports or any firearms manufacturer.
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