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Old November 2, 2012, 10:39 AM   #1
Join Date: October 16, 2012
Location: Mid-Western State
Posts: 37
Recoil spring for Bersa Thunder 380


My wife is having trouble finding a semi-auto that she can handle. She is a very petite woman (5", 100lbs) and either cannot pull the trigger or rack all that she has tried.

She is able to pull the trigger on the Bersa Thunder 380 without difficulty, but racking the gun is still at the limits of her strength (even with the various techniques I showed her).

So I'm wondering if anyone knows of a recoil spring that will fit the gun, make raking easier, but still allow the blowback to work reliably.

If not, any guess as to how much easier it will be to rack it after, say, 500 rounds?
cogito is offline  
Old November 2, 2012, 06:46 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 4, 2001
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You can't go lighter with a blow-back pistol because the only thing keeping the slide shut during firing is the mass of the slide and the weight of the recoil spring.

Go any lighter and it gets unsafe fast.

One trick is to build a "cocking shelf".
This can be as simple as a piece of brass or copper pipe that will fit over the muzzle of the barrel and will clean the frame on the bottom.
Mount the pipe to a wood board and mount it firmly on any handy surface or wall.

To use, simply grip the gun tightly and push the muzzle onto the pipe, then pull the gun back. This will force the slide back, cocking the gun and chambering a round.

If the gun has a slide stop, put an empty magazine in the gun and use the cocking shelf to lock the slide back. Then insert a loaded magazine and lower the slide.
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Old November 3, 2012, 01:18 AM   #3
Join Date: October 16, 2012
Location: Mid-Western State
Posts: 37
Thanks for the reply.

She loves the look and feel but the last thing she needs is a gun for personal defense that she can't fire in an emergency.

So, my plan it so take it to the range every time I go (2-3x per month) and just run 100+ rounds through it each time. Maybe after a few trips, she'll start to feel a difference.

Alternately, I can have her cock the gun before racking it -- never thought of doing such a thing before, but it would lessen the force needed (though not particularly a safe move!)

At least with this gun, she can (a) load the magazine without a speed loader and (b) pull the trigger... better than anything we've tried (above a .22lr).
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Old November 8, 2012, 01:25 AM   #4
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This wont help you with the Bersa, but Beretta made a .380 with a tip up barrel, no slide racking needed. I think it was a Model 86. Discontinued now, but I see them on GunBroker.
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Old November 8, 2012, 09:21 AM   #5
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Join Date: June 16, 2011
Location: Ohio
Posts: 1,497
The spring will loosen up after some rounds, but IMO the difference is negligible.

As Dfariswheel stated, a lighter spring in that pistol would not be advisable.

Has she tried grip strengthening exercises?

I have the CC model and it is quite stiff, took some practice to get accustomed to racking the slide on such a small frame.
"The best diplomat I know is a fully charged phaser bank" - Montgomery Scott
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Old November 8, 2012, 06:46 PM   #6
Join Date: May 31, 2012
Location: Seattle-ish
Posts: 58
While I own Bersas myself, my wife has the same issue. She can't rack the BP9cc and the FS22 is a struggle. What we found is that the Sig P238 has a pretty easy to rack slide. She is almost ready to buy.
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Old November 9, 2012, 09:23 AM   #7
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Join Date: January 25, 2009
Location: Liberty Twp, OH
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I would suggest you and your wife read the following article by Kathy Jackson - AKA Pax on this site. Racking the slide is something that is hard to explain effectively when you just know how to do it like second nature. The article puts it into plain language that may help.
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Old November 12, 2012, 12:35 AM   #8
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Join Date: March 16, 2010
Posts: 733
My suggestion is to ditch the bersa, and get her a locked breech blowback operated gun, of which there are plenty of choices. As stated above, on your bersa thunder the only thing keeping the slide in battery when you fire is the weight of the slide and the recoil spring, so by design they HAVE to have a strong spring. A gun with a locked breech delayed blowback system is kept in battery after firing by the fit of the barrel to the slide, and the recoil spring is only used to bring the slide forward, so its normally much softer than that found in a pure blowback system.

As an added bonus, a locked breech gun has softer felt recoil, you know she wont complain about that!

ANY delayed blockback operated gun will be easier for her to rack, and many have very nice triggers. My wife has difficulty racking the slide on some guns, but is able to do my S&W bodyguard .380 easily.

Also realize that a larger, heavier gun will be easier for her to rack. Unless this is for concealed carry, I would look at a full size handgun for her.
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Old November 15, 2012, 11:29 PM   #9
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Join Date: December 3, 2011
Posts: 558
I have to agree with dacaur. My wife's first gun was a gorgeous Bersa 83 (basically a thunder) and the only way she could use it was in condition 1. That's all well and good if everything works perfectly but as we all know if you cant properly operate a weapon you cant depend on it.

We ended up converting her to a 3" SP101 .357 Mag which she uses with .38 +P ammo.

Interestingly, I picked up a new deep conceal gun for myself that is locked breech and is easy to operate for both of us. It is a Sig P238. Pretty pricey, and you have to make sure to break it in and make sure you get a "good one", but if so it is a sweet heart. Mine has a good 750 rounds though it, mixed factory, reload and high power SD rounds with zero FTF/FTE. I gave the feed ramp a quick polish with a dremel and some mothers mag polish and made sure to clean and oil it well after each range session when I first got it and its been flawless for me.

In short, I feel your pain. The Bersa is an excellent gun and an easy one to shoot. Its a shame to give up on it but you really wont be happy if you try to lighten the recoil spring enough to make the slide easier to work. The good news is if you do have the cash to pick up a locked breech .380 you will find it even easier to shoot than your Bersa, believe it or not. I dont own a gun that I can put multiple shots on target with any faster than my P238. Those big Sig sights just seem to stay glued to whatever you are aiming at no matter how fast you fire.
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Old November 16, 2012, 12:51 AM   #10
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Join Date: October 3, 2012
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Well... since no one bit on the hard to find Beretta 380, how about a Beretta Tomcat? .32 ACP with a Tip Up barrel. Double Action / no slide racking. Im telling you, these Tip Up barrel pistols are the way to go, for someone with limited hand strength.
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