The Unabashed Version of a Bersa Thunder 45UC Review

The Unabashed Version of a Bersa Thunder 45UC Review
The Unabashed Version of a Bersa Thunder 45UC Review

I have carried the Bersa Thunder 45UC for over a year and recently converted to the Glock G36 for EDC. The Bersa Thunder 45UC; however, is still carried on occasion and sometimes resides in a side pouch of my carry bag.

You might think that, since I own the pistol, this review is going to be highly subjective. After all, why would I dispute my own taste in firearms? I can tell you that a subjective review will not happen, as I am going to tell you every positive point and every not-so-positive point about the gun. Why would I cheat you to make myself look good?


• Model: TPUC45
• Caliber(s): .45 ACP
• Action: DA/SA
• Capacity: 7+1
• Barrel Length: 3.6”
• Front Sight: Interchangeable Sig Sauer type
• Rear Sight: Interchangeable Sig Sauer type
• Finishes: Duotone or Matte Black
• Grips: Checkered Black Polymer
• Construction: Alloy Frame/Steel Slide
• Safety: Integral Locking System, Manual, Firing Pin
• Weight: 27 oz.
• Length: 6.8”
• Height: 5.1”
• Width: 1.45”

The Frame: 

The grip is slightly chunky to some, but you can expect that out of a pistol with a staggered 7-round magazine that provides you with a 7+1`capacity of your favorite .45 acp ammunition. The grip is short and you will like the magazine extension if your little finger hangs off the grip. The gun, when loaded, has a good balanced feel to it and you know that you are holding a handgun of sufficient weight to drop your pants to the ground if you do not have a good belt to support its carry. 

An accessory rail is integral with the frame and provides you with a mount for your favorite accessories.

The matte finish of the frame is the gun’s weak spot for me. Apparently, there was a chemical reaction from the chemicals used in the plastic bag to ship the gun and the finish on the slide. This caused “splotching” of the finish. I have seen some bad examples of this on the web and should be something that you are aware of when you inspect the gun before purchase. On mine, the finish was just uneven on the slide. The finish on the frame was adequate but the finish tends to wear quickly, especially at all of the sharp points from rubbing in the holster or for other reasons. I keep a matte cold bluing pen busy painting all of the shiny spots. I keep the gun wiped down with a silicon-treated cloth. The alloy frame keeps the rust away and I have backed off worrying about it.


Moving rearward, the trigger housing is large enough for gloves and the serrated front of the trigger housing allows a good surface for those how like to rest a finger on it. The trigger is nicely curved and incorporates a built in over-travel stop. There is very little take-up in double-action mode until you feel resistance. From that point, you will pull on the 10-pound trigger for a another 0.56 (5/9) inches until the hammer drops. The trigger is smooth throughout the pull with no stack-point or signs of grittiness. In single-action mode, the trigger moves rearward with the hammer. When pulling the trigger, you will feel about 0.125 (1/8) inches of slack until the trigger encounters resistance. From that point, there is about 0.1875 (3/16) inches until the hammer drops with authority. The trigger rest point is where the trigger meets resistance when pulled in single-action mode.

A nicely checkered black polymer grip provides the handhold for the weapon. An indentation provides a rest for your weary thumb and positions the thumb so that operating the controls is within reach (with the exception of the magazine release button). A nicely arched grip helps mate the grip to the shooting hand. If you get the hand too high on the back strap; however, and if you have a fleshy web of the hand, you may experience a hammer bite as I have during fast fire (my shooting hand starting riding up on the grip). For that reason, I added a grip sleeve to help hold my hand in its rightful place on the gun. The grip sleeve adds a little extra dimension to the grip but it helps me maintain a constant grip when my hands are sweating or cold (the polymer grip manages to slip in my hand at times).

The grip removes from the gun as a unit. A single screw, located at the bottom of the grip, holds the unit in place. Removing the grip assemblies requires a word of caution. To remove the grip assembly, press the retaining screw inward with a small screwdriver and then rotate the screw 45 degrees counter-clockwise. You can then slide the grip assembly easily from the frame. The screw does not screw out in the normal fashion, and attempting to do so may damage the screw.

A “Combat Enhanced” serrated hammer allows for easy cocking or decocking of the gun manually and which help to keep the gun from snagging on clothing. (I prefer manually decocking the gun, as it gives me more control of the process.)

Controls, with the exception of the takedown lever, are ambidextrous and lay out nicely with the slide lock lever before the decocking/safety lever. The operating surfaces of the controls are wide and provide for a good thumb hold when needed.

The slide locks in the rear position on an empty magazine thanks to a well-sprung slide release lever. The slide release lever operates easily with a push of the thumb or index finger of either shooting or support hand.

The decocking/safety lever allows for safe decocking of the pistol. With a cocked pistol, pushing up on the decocking/safety lever allows the hammer to drop to the double-action position for firing double-action or for applying the safety. A hammer block safety stops the hammer in its downward travel. The decocking/safety lever allows the pistol be left in the “safe” position or pressed downward into the “fire” position. With the somewhat heavy and long double-action trigger pull, the pistol carries in double-action mode quite safely. In “safe” mode, the trigger “floats” and cocking the hammer is impossible. The decking/safety lever operates easily with the thumb.

The magazine release button is well integrated into the left side slide but easily accessible. The button slightly forward of the thumb and I have to change my grip slightly during reloads. However, I have found that if I cup the magazine with my support hand (left hand) I can reach the magazine release button with the thumb of my support hand and use the fingertips of my support hand to strip the magazine from its resting place. The magazine does fall freely upon pressing the magazine button. With practice, I have also been able to hold a spare magazine cupped in my support hand, press the button with the thumb of my support hand and allow the magazine to drop in the palm of my hand, position the new magazine, and slide it into place.

Magazines are metal and incorporate a friction-free magazine follower. A polymer, magazine base provides support for the pinky. The magazine requires no assistant to load (for example, an upLula loader) and the seven-round magazine loads easily.

Spare magazines can be on the pricy side. Blue Steel magazines from Bersa and Condors Flight are around $39.95 each with nickel ones running at $42.95 each. (As a comparison, magazines for the Glock G30 are $29.95 and $27.50 for the Glock G36 at The Glock Store). 

The Slide Assembly: 

Bersa45UC Slide Assembly
Bersa45UC Slide Assembly

The steel slide assembly’s matte finish has been a sore point with many and with me as well. Because of the cost of the gun, I really did not expect a top-of-the-line finish and I was not disappointed. The finish is proprietary; however, and is not just a surface finish; it is part of the metal and not just bonded. As the sides of my 45UC were splotchy in places, I started rubbing with some Flitz just to see if I could help the finish a little and ended using a Scotchbrite pad on the sides of the frame and a sanding block for highlights only. It is starting to look a little on the dark pewter side. It actually is adding a little character to the gun, a patina if you will, and I may continue with my effort. There are no signs of rust, whatsoever. The costs of refinishing would be greater than what the gun is worth and would not add value to it – except for appearance. Occasional wipe-downs with a silicon-treated cloth help matters.

The sights are typical style sights: a front dot and a rear outline. The sights are fairly large and easy to pick up and align. The front sight is fixed and the rear sight is drift-adjustable for windage. The front dot on my gun is wearing and I may put a dab of fluorescent red on it to brighten the sight picture.

Chambering a round raises a loaded chamber indicator above the slide. The indicator is tactile but unobtrusive.

The Thunder 45UC features an improved Browning Petter barrel locking system that provides reliable feeding and ejection. The external extractor grabs the fired casing from the chamber and a fine job it does. The chamber supports the case very well with little being unsupported. With a magazine inserted, the rounds align with the chamber at the topmost portion of the feed ramp to ensure positive chambering. The chamber faces downward, when not in battery, to assist in the feeding process. As the slide moves forward into battery, the barrel is firmly locked into place. Out of 600 + rounds (so far) through the gun, I have not experienced any FTFs using factory ammunition.

A dual-recoil spring assembly helps the recoil and returns the slide to battery in good order.

The slide guide is full rail with a full-length recoil rod to help in the accuracy department. Slide play is minimal and the barrel locks up with very little play. However, the gun does rattle slightly when in battery.

Takedown is very simple: (1) Safe the weapon (magazine removed and chamber empty), (2) With slide into battery, hold the slide and frame together, (3) Press the slide lock lever downward 45 degrees and remove slide from frame. To assemble; (1) Insert the slide onto the frame until the indent on the slide aligns with the slide lock lever, (2) push the spring-loaded slide lock lever up (it will snap into place, (3) Release the slide.

Range Fire:

Although I have fired this gun previously with several different types of ammunition without failure, I chose some ammunition that I have not fired through the gun for testing purposes.

  1. Atlanta Arms 230 grain TCJ (Range Ammo)
  2. Winchester WB 185 grain FMJ
  3. Georgia Arms 185 grain JHP

My primary carry ammunition for this gun, because of the short barrel, is 45 AUTO JHP 185 GR HYDRA SHOK by Federal followed by two magazines of 185 Grain Hornady HP/XTP.  I also have two magazines of 230 GrainWinchester Supreme Elite BondedPDX1 at the ready, if needed.

As my usual, the target was set at 7 yards. 

The course of fire for the day was that the first shot is double-action with subsequent shots single-action, unsupported, two-handed and slow fire. Additionally, since I have shot this gun many times, I had a reasonable expectation of what it would do, but with ammunition that I had never shot through this gun before, there is always that element of surprise. The target chosen for this test was the Official IDPA Practice Target by National Target.

I placed ‘Shoot-N-C’ targets in the head, chest, and abdomen areas for each round of fire.

Placing the sights on the center of the top target, I shot the first shot double-action and two more single-action for placement with the Atlanta Arms 230 grain TCJ (Range Ammo) and hit high on the first (double-action) shot. Reloading the magazine, I began to bring the sights down and 11 shots later, I was able to garner a reasonable shot group with the sights at the bottom of the center diamond. (Note: The hole at right is the hole made by the target holder). All shot were isolated to the head (although the utmost top shot was really close to not being on target – it was the first shot for sighting in) 

If you push the loaded magazine hard into the magazine well with purpose, the slide will go into battery and chamber the round. Apparently, this is by design and is a great help during combat reloads, as it removes the step of releasing the slide either by using the offhand to pull the slide to the rear and release or by pressing the slide release lever. 

The second round of fire went to the Winchester WB 185 grain FMJ in the center (chest) ‘Shoot-N-C’ target. Starting at center of the diamond, I had to re-sight for the difference in the ammunition and a6 o’clock hold gave a good group in the center of the diamond. If the BG looked like an IDPA Practice Target, he would have had a bad day.

The last course of fire went to the Georgia Arms 185 grain JHP and the lower (abdomen) ‘Shoot-N-C’ target. Since I was shooting the same weight of round as the second round of fire, I held the sight picture at 6 o’clock with the dots on the bottom of the center diamond. The Georgia Arms 185 grain JHP gave me an acceptable group, as shown in the far right picture. The BG would have had some serious bladder control issues. 


As my primary carry ammunition for this gun is the 45 AUTO JHP 185 GR HYDRA SHOK by Federal, I can pretty well guarantee that the results are similar to the Georgia Arms 185 grain JHP ammunition that I also sometimes carry and practice with. 

This gun prefers the 185 grain to the 230 gain round. It recoils straight back into the hand and ejected casings nicely up and to the right. It is quick to get back on target and the gun is capable of fast follow up shots. 

The gun functioned very well with no issues like FTFs or FTEs. I find the gun to be a natural pointer for me and have fired it one-hand instinctive shooting. I have had some good results using this method – not fantastic, but well enough to be generally acceptable. 

There was no hammer bite this session, as the Hogue slip-on grip really helped to keep my shooting hand in place.


The Thunder 45UC is accurate, reliable, and durable and is an excellent choice for anyone needing a tough, compact sidearm at a reasonable price. If you like external controls, the Bersa 45UC has them, well placed, mostly ambidextrous, and they work very well.

Aside from an occasional hammer bite (my fault), and which I still carry the scars, the Versa 45UC (or the Bersa 45UC Pro) will serve you well. (I am going to try to make a “beavertail extension” from Kydex to help prevent my hand from riding up too far on the back strap.)

Although the UC means “Ultra Compact”, the big hole in the barrel says it means serious business.

Check out a Federal P45HST Test w/the Bersa Pro 45 UC and see what the Bersa Pro 45 Ultra Compact can do with 8 rds. in 1.68 seconds.

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Daryl Dempsey is an Oath keeper, veteran, ex-law enforcement officer and trainer, and an independent conservative libertarian that believes in the Constitution of the United States. He has over forty years of experience as a Technical Writer and Training Program Developer and has as many years devoted to the keeping and bearing of arms.
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good review


Very good review, look forward to trying the Bersa out.

Mighty Fine

I love my Ultra Compact Pro 45. Ive owned it just about 1 year now, and for such a short barrel, it’s really accurate from 7 to 10 yards.

I also own a Ruger P85 9mm which I’ve owned for 20+ years and though my grouping is pretty good, I’ve never gotten that pistol to shoot as accurately as I think it should.
But this gun has shot thousands of rounds through it & has only produced 1, maybe 2 misfires even though I use multiple types of ammo, fmj & JHP.
I can depend & defend my life on it shooting if I ever need it to.

But the “new” Bersa felt good from the very first shot.
I have only about 4 boxes (200) rounds through it and I’m already as accurate or a bit more with that then the old Ruger.

That said, in those 200 rounds I’ve had 1 Failure to fire & 2 Failures to Eject.
I am using fairly cheap FMJ ammo, and a dozen or so JHP defense rounds.

I was told it sometimes takes 500+ rounds before calling it “Broken in” so I’ll run several more boxes through it before I use it as my fulltime carry.
Hopefully it will become a bit more dependable after that.


I got an early model UC and loved the ergonomics and reliability of it. Sadly, the slide was very slow to chamber a round and when shooting steels I found myself waiting for the gun before I could fire on the next target. Ended up selling the gun. I regret that because now I find out there was only a single spring on my original version, rather than the two separate coils. The additional coil would have resolved any issues I had with it.

Now shopping for a new one.

Token Gimp

I gave my daughter a Bersa 380 for her 21st birthday about 7 years ago. It was a far better gun than my S&W version of the Walther PPK in SS. 


The review was great but I wish the author had mentioned what grip sleeve he’d used.

I’ve had my Bersa 45UC for about a year and have fire a couple thousand rounds. Mostly Federal 230 Ball, but a few Winchester PDX JHP’s, without any problems with either. The weight and size is perfect for CCW, worn either in a vertical shoulder holster or a BOB holster.I did change the sights to Fibre Optic which was a great improvement for my 75 yr old eyes. At 25 yds, the grou holds together at around 18″, although I usually shoot it at 7 yds (CCW). I also own a Springfield XD9 and a Ruger Magnum, and find the little Bersa a lot more fun, at least at close range. My background (a long time ago) is as an MP Instructor and Special Operations, so it stands to reason that I like shooting.

The Other Brother Daryl

The slip-on grip is the Qwik Grip for the Glock G19.


I have the Mini Firestorm 40 which is near identical to the 45 Thunder. I love it as a ccw in my supertuck. Same finish problems. Otherwise great piece, Great shooter.  I’m a plumber and have no problem carrying during work. No plumbers crack.

Mike Crews

I am old and slow with a prosthesis leg but I have really enjoyed carrying a small semi-a Thunder .380 Bersa .  It is so accurate at short range that with practice you can be assured of your shot 6 out of 8 times-every time.  The little .380 is a light round but for CCW or open carry it is a snug fit and can be counted on every time.  I have a great S&W .44 3 inch revolver (bounty hunter) for home (bedside) protection but the Bersa was so surprisingly accurate that I ended up keeping it instead of giving it to my daughter.  I ended up getting her one a week later.  The features on it reminds you of a semi that cost twice what I paid for the Bersa.  For my money and concern I would buy any size Bersa right off the shelf and trust it faithfully.  They are just good old-fashioned pistols.


I am thinking about buying one for house/car use!


I have had hammer bite every session until I filed the sharp inside edge of the blackstrap where the hammer meets it at full recoil, didn’t take off much just rounded the edge. I tend to shoot a couple hundred rounds a month and since the modification no more blood, a little irritation is all. My Bersa bite scar will now be a thing of the past.


Good suggestion, thanks. My bite scar is there to stay, but I sure hope not to repeat it. I’ve seen several people blame the bites on bad technique, but in my case I have large hands with simply enough skin/webbing between my thumb and forefinger that it is very easy for a bit to extend up against that sharp edge unless I carefully ensure I grip artificially low and then slide up to a more natural position with the Bersa. I hope rolling that edge off a bit will do the trick. Has anyone else done this or made or found a beaver tail extension as suggested in the article?


I just bought the 45 uc pro. After 100 rounds first time out. No trouble at all with it. The hammer bite did get me. I then removed the grip and made a beaver tail extension out of Quick Steel. Then extended the beaver tail out and shaped it to match grip contour. It looks clean. Just some flat black krylon paint. I have not got to shot it. But the design should help this.

Jay F

A little late to the party but I am having the same problem. The lip is either rubbing the web of my hand or there is a small bur on there, but it ends up rubbing raw and then scabbing up the next day.
I was told to take some Emery paper (800-1200 grit) and gently sand the edges to smooth it out. Hopefully this does the trick as the pistol is a real gem.


I have one of this type of pistol the Bersa 45 ACP but this is a poor quality gun.

I only have 120 rounds of bullet fired on this gun but I almost got an accident when the barrel exploded when I am test firing it.

I am very dissappointed with this gun…it looks nice but it has poor quality.

Take note I bought this gun as brand new and have test fired it for 120 rounds when it happened.

Lucky for me, no one was hurt.

Based from the gun expert in the shooting range, the design thickness of the barrel is too small for caliber 45 pistol.


Looks like a +P+ round was used

Earl Lasko Sr.


Lee A. Paquet

“When pulling the trigger, you will feel about 0.125 (1/8) inches of
slack until the trigger encounters resistance. From that point, there is
about 0.1875 (3/16) inches until the hammer drops with authority.”
While I appreciate detail, this was a little excessive. Thanks for a thorough review but try to be a little more succinct in the future! Thanks.

Big Ed

I am sold on Bersa.. My first carry pistol was a Bersa Thunder .380 and I have bought several different pistols since then but I always switch back to my little Bersa. I just went and looked at the Bersa Thunder .45 UC at a local dealer that has one used on Gunbroker. It’s like new and appears to not have more than a box of ammo though it, so I’m hoping to pick it up at a 100 to 150 discount from new. Since the guy selling it is local there will be no shipping or FFL fees.
I just felt like I needed a little more punch, hence moving up to the .45
I like a hammer fired pistol with a real safety so I’m not a big fan of Glocks or clones.
I’ll keep my .380 for those times I am just running up to the 7-11 at night and just want something that fits well in my pocket.

Roy Korn

Ill gladly sell you mine for $350 once the replacement parts come in. less than 150 rounds through it, and I have an FFL lined up in NY state.

Big Ed

I picked up the UC45 on Gunbroker for $270 and have been using it for EDC ever since. It’s now more than a year later and I have not had one single issue with the UC 45. More than 2500 rds through it and not one issue.
Good luck to all….

Roy Korn

I own the Bersa Thunder 45 UC. I purchased this last August as my primary CC. Very accurate firearm with great feel, especially for us south paws with big hands. Now I will go into the facts of owning this pistol for over a year now. My first one (factory replaced once). After 200 rounds the Disassembly bar broke. I sent it in and it was replaced with a newer thicker component. After 3 months I started to notice a discoloration of the frame (appeared purpleish in tone). I contacted Eagle Distributors, and through CGW, their main gunsmith, they replaced the whole firearm without question. I do want to say they were fantastic and very, very helpful. My new pistol came and although the frame color is fine, I did notice some issues with the slide (as described in this review). I am fine with it, since it has little to do with function. I shoot roughly once a month (when time permits) and having other firearms, I do not generally shoot multiple weapons (cleaning time if done right takes time) so I do not get to shoot my Bersa all that much. (I also have a smaller summer carry weapon that is good for summer clothing). Since replacing my Bersa I put another 250 rounds in it. I will say this one although very accurate is not as accurate as my first (I did notice some blemishes in the barrel that cleaning is not removing). Well, I have to tell you this time the magazine release broke. The magazine catch bushing broke in two. I was firing winchester white box 230gr. I had to disassemble this at the range. I took pictures and contacted Eagle, and again, they are great (part is on its way now as I type this). Now I have serious concerns with this firearm. This was (and I type WAS) my main carry that I would rely on. A carry weapon should be one that you do not question, and I question this weapon now. Today, I am going to start shopping for a Glock 30. I do not generally like the feel of a glock, and had a stigma about plastic guns, but when two different pistols in just over a year have three separate issues, you begin to question. If you are looking for a mid framed .45 that is accurate and ambidextrous, this is a decent pistol for the price. If you want a carry weapon you can rely upon, look elsewhere. For me, I am eating crow and buying a glock. Might not be pretty, but atleast it will be there when I need it.

Roy Korn

Ill add pictures

Roy Korn

the gripsleeve makes a HUGE difference

Roy Korn

My pistol broke again. This time the roll pin holding the safety came out. It is now being replaced with another new pistol. I will trade it in or sell it when it comes in. In the meantime, I bought a Glock 30. It really is a shame because I do love the way the pistol shoots, feels, and works, but reliability is paramount when it is your carry piece. If any one wants a Bersa Thunder 45 UC Pro brand new in the box, $350 + shipping buys it.


Reliability and dependability of any firearm carried or used as a home defense firearm is, indeed, paramount. My Bersa 45 UC Pro now has over 700 rounds shot through it without fail. I hope that the repair on yours fixes things. With that said, the Glock G30 is an excellent choice in pistols.


I’m sorry to hear about your troubles with the Bersa Thunder 45 UC. I still carry mine although the Springfield 4.0 XDs is becoming a favorite with me. The Glock G36 is an excellent sub-compact, but I felt it too wide for me to carry comfortably IWB.

The Bersa, which was featured in this article, now has about 900+ rounds through it without failure. It favors 185-grain ammunition although 230-grain ammunition functions without flaw.

Because it was an early version, and as mentioned in the article, the side of the slide developed a ‘patina’ (reminiscent of firearms of old after the bluing has worn) after some Ballistol and copper wool was applied to remove the blotching caused by a chemical reaction with the protective wrapper and the gun’s finish. This ‘patina’ just adds some character to the gun without affecting functionality. I have a second Bersa Thunder 45UC Pro that has not been affected by the “protective bag” problem. The remainder of the Bersa family (two Bersa 380 and 2 Bersa 9mm pistols) have also performed very well and trouble free.

I have learned to check the position of the rear sight, however. The Bersa Thunder 45UC was housed in a padded pistol case within my EDC bag. The bag fell about 2′ to the floor on one occasion. I took the Bersa to the range for a re-familiarization run and the rear sight had shifted slightly to the right due to the impact even though the pistol was well-protected. A quick drifting back to center solved the problem of rounds impacting about 1/2″ to the right of POA.

So far (the operative), I have not had to “eat crow” because of my praising the Bersa Thunder 45UC as a viable defensive tool and would still recommend it to those looking for a reasonably-priced defensive handgun.

Roy Korn

I am the person who wrote this article originally and wanted to give an update. After the last replacement, I took the Bersa and traded it in for $250. I did purchase a Glock 30 as a replacement and there is no question it was the correct decision. My Glock is now a couple years old, I have well over 3500 rounds through it and not one single misfire, ffe, ffl, not one issue. I am glad I decided to switch and recommend the Glock 30 over the Bersa whole heartedly. Today as with every day, my Glock is on my nightstand and I have no fear or question that it will do the job it is given. I am so happy I purchased a 42 for those summer shorts days. It too has never had one issue. My advice to those who are looking for a quality concealed firearm, stay clear of Bersa. Spend the Extra 100 bucks and get a Glock. There is no comparison.


No offense, but you are the author of the original “comment” and not that of the original “article” – that would be me.

I am sorry to hear about the demise of your Bersa. Mine is still running wild with no issues, although it is rarely carried these days and is now a “house pistol” of sorts.

My current carry is the Springfield XDM 4.5 in .45ACP, but it only became my EDC after experiencing the Springfield XDM 3.8 in the same caliber. I will be evaluating the Springfield 5.25 as a cold-weather carry option in the near future.

I do applaud your choice of the Glock G30 to replace the Bersa. I never believed that the Bersa would be a long-term investment and one that should be shot extensively and I hope that I did not imply that in my original article. The Bersa has its place and I leave it up to the reader to decide.

Thanks for reading the article and contributing to the discussion regarding the Bersa.


Thinking about getting a duo tone 45 ‘GOOD HONEST REVIEW .