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Reviews : Arsenal

Bersa BP 9 CC Pistol

Affordable, concealable, and shootable, this new polymer pistol was built for off-duty and backup carry.

April 19, 2012  |  by Paul Scarlata - Also by this author

Photo: Michael Hughes
Photo: Michael Hughes

Editor's note: View our Bersa BP 9 CC photo gallery for extended coverage of this pistol.

It's likely that many American shooters have never heard of the Argentine firearms manufacturer Bersa, but I believe that is about to change. And with good reason.

Bersa has a proud history. The company was founded in the mid-1950s by three Italian mechanical engineers: Benso Bonadimani, Ercole Montini, and Savino Caselli. Montini worked for Beretta in Italy before he emigrated to Argentina. Initially, the three Italian engineers produced parts for the now defunct Argentine arms manufacturer Ballester Molina. Then they went out on their own to start Bersa.

In 1959 Bersa introduced a .22 caliber pistol, the Modelo 60, which later evolved into the Modelo 62. Both the Modelo 60 and Modelo 62 were produced from a modified Beretta design and both sold extremely well.

As the company grew, it produced many pistol models in increasingly more powerful calibers. Finally, in 1989, Bersa developed and marketed its first full-size combat pistol, the Modelo 90, chambered for the 9mm Parabellum cartridge.

The Modelo 90 was followed in 1994 by the company's most popular models at that time, the Thunder line. Thunder pistols had steel slides, alloy frames, double-action/single-action triggers, and slide-mounted decocking/safety levers. The Thunder 32 and Thunder 380 were blowback designs while the Thunder 9 and Thunder 40 featured a locked breech short-recoil system. Both the Thunder 9 and Thunder 40 came with high-capacity magazines.

Today the Thunder 9 is the standard sidearm of the Argentine Armed Forces, Argentine Federal Police, Buenos Aires Provincial Police, and a number of other South American law enforcement agencies. But U.S. law enforcement officers have never shown much interest in Bersa handguns.

Polymer-Framed

Bersa—like many handgun manufacturers—has come to the conclusion that it needs a polymer-framed lightweight pistol to gain acceptance in the North American concealed market. The result is the (Bersa Polymer 9mm Concealed Carry) BP 9 CC, a pistol designed for concealed carry for off duty or backup.

The BP 9 CC is similar in both looks and function to many of the market's most popular compact polymer-framed pistols. It has a steel slide with a square profile that reciprocates on four rails integral with the steel "slide guide" insert in the frame. The drift adjustable sights are made from steel and feature a three-dot system. At the rear of the ejection port is a loaded chamber indicator that provides both a visual and tactile indication of the pistol’s condition.

Ergonomically, the BP 9 CC is well designed for concealed carry. It is a striker-fired design, which means there is no external hammer, while its double-action-only (DAO) trigger does away with the necessity for external safety levers. In fact the only external controls are the trigger, ambidextrous magazine releases, and slide stop lever. The result is a smooth, snag-free exterior, which is just what you want on a handgun that is designed to be carried and drawn from concealment.

The BP 9 CC features grasping grooves that allow the shooter to retract the slide even with wet hands or when wearing gloves. On the right rear of the slide you will find the Integral Blocking System (IBS). But more about that later.

Thanks to its polymer construction the BP 9 CC's grip is only 0.92 inches wide. A Picatinny-type rail on the dust cover allows the user to mount lights or other tactical devices while textured "finger locator" pads are positioned above the trigger guard to help remind the shooter where to place his or her trigger finger when not actually firing the pistol.

A single-column, eight-round magazine is retained by ambidextrous magazine releases and has an extended base pad to provide a full, three-finger purchase on the pistol. Magazines fall free loaded or unloaded, slide forward or locked back.

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