August 01, 2004

Guns > Range Report: Kel-Tec P3AT and Bersa Thunder (.380)

This week it's a couple of inexpensive .380 automatics. Both guns typically sell for between $200 and $250.

Bersa Thunder

thun380lt_mat_lg.jpgThe Bersa is a Walther PPK lookalike, and is a good-looking gun for the money. I knew I was going to like it as soon as I racked the slide to check the chamber. The mechanical fit and polish is very good. The safety, magazine release and slide release all work well and feel great.

Sites are a three dot arrangement, a little small but about right for a gun this size. The trigger has a double action pull for the first shot, and single action for subsequent shots. The DA/SA transition was better than average. Like the SIG P232 the trigger doesn't return all the way after the first shot, so there's no excess slack in the single action trigger pull. Accuracy was very good, and the gun was comfortable to shoot.

There's an integral key lock on the side. Most people will never use it, but it makes the gun legal to sell in states like California that require integral locks. The slide-mounted safety decocks the gun. The Bersa also has a magazine safety.

The Bersa didn't jam during the first part of the shooting, so I tried to make it jam by limp-wristing it with a thumb-and-middle-finger hold, and allowing it to recoil freely. I even tried firing it sideways and upside down. No problems. Then I decided to finish off the last magazine of ammo by shooting with my weak (left) hand and got one jam, probably due to a limp wrist (I admit it - I'm a lousy shot with my left hand).

Kel-Tec P3AT

P-3ATLeftsidesmaller.jpgThe P3AT is a remarkable gun in a lot of ways. Besides being incredibly inexpensive for a U.S.-made gun, it's extremely light (11 oz. empty) and remarkably small (6.6 x 5.2 x 0.77 inches). It's hardly any bigger than Kel-Tec's .32 pistol.

The P3AT is double-action only. Trigger pull isn't too bad, and is much shorter than that on the larger Kel-Tec P11. The rear sight is a white triangle inletted into the rear of the slide, and the front sight is an almost non-existent bump. Practical accuracy is fine at arm's length and OK for across the room, but questionable for down the hall. Results at 7 yards were very poor compared to the Bersa.

The only controls are the trigger and the magazine release. Because it's double-action only there's no need for a thumb safety. The slide doesn't automatically lock back after the last shot, and can't be manually locked back, so there's no slide release.

It's hard to get a good grip on a gun this small, and recoil tended to drive the gun a bit back into the web of my hand. .380 is a mild caliber, and the gun was controllable and not at all unpleasant to shoot, but a better grip shape would make the gun more user-friendly. The trade-off is that a more hand-filling grip would increase the width of this incredibly thin gun.

I didn't have to do anything special to the Kel-Tec to get it to jam. Out of 25 rounds each of Atlanta Arms reloads and Wolf ammo, it jammed six times. In every case the problem was a failure to extract and eject the empty case. In most of the cases the slide wouldn't cycle back, so I had to eject the magazine to clear the jam.


The Bersa is a fine gun at a great price. No one claims the .380 is a powerhouse, but it's decent, and it would be good for people who are recoil sensitive. James Rummel, Chuck Hawks, and GunBlast also have reviews.

The Kel-Tec is an incredibly light, small gun that would be ideal for concealed carry if only it worked better. From reading gun forums, Kel-Tec owners generally fit into three groups: people who have never had a problem, people who had problems but fixed them by doing some gunsmithing or sending the gun back to the factory for corrective measures, and people who had problems and either returned the gun or sold it off. If you're willing to go through the trouble of gunsmithing or returning the gun to the factory, the P3AT can apparently be made into a decent gun, but I'd be reluctant to recommend it to anyone without a lot of qualifiers.

If you want details of "fluffing and buffing" the gun into shape, visit the Kel-Tec Owners Group and Kel-Tec Range. GunBlast has a more favorable review.

 Bersa Thunder Kel-Tec P3AT
Weight empty23 oz. 11 oz.

Read more gun reviews

Posted by lesjones


The Bersa is a sweet little gun. A friend of mine has one. The only thing, and this happens to me, I don't think it happens to my pal, but when I fire it, the slide sometimes catches the skin between my thumb and index finger. Very reliable though.

Posted by: F-Stop at August 01, 2004

If you like the little Bersa, take a look at the Thunder 45.
I was impressed all over by the new Bersas and the 45 especially.

Posted by: Ogre at August 02, 2004

Just bought a used Bersa last week for $150. It's in good shape, generally tight condition. I took it to the range over the weekend and shot a few three inch groups freehand at 20 feet without trying too hard on the first three magazines. No jams, comfortable to shoot, no issues. I think I like it. Now I need to try it with some HP ammo to make sure it'll work with defensive loads.

Posted by: GT350sportster at August 02, 2004

i own a bersa thunder .45 great shooter, accurate and comfortable -- it did bite the first day at the range but it was because i use an incredibly high grip which a little dry fireing practice worked out by the time of my next visit -- Gripes - the pistol is not reliable due to what i belive to be an issue with the magazine, it fails to feed with all ammo at miss. times, a slight tug on the slide will feed the cartridge, reminds me of shooting a friends ruger p-series i.e. i feel the slide travle alot

Posted by: michael riley at August 09, 2004

I chose the Bersa Thunder because of my small hands. It's very comfortable to shoot and easy to operate. I have never experienced a jam in 2000+ rounds. This is amazing and probably not typical. I have not fed it +P ammunition, but I know that PMC 94g Starfire JHP feeds reliably. This is my current defense load.

Posted by: Bruce at August 21, 2004

Just bought the Thunder 45 1 week ago and shot about 250 rounds through it when the firing pin broke. Shot 100 day and night with it from back to the 25 so I am pleased with the accuracy but worried about the reliability. Anyone else had this problem? Thanks

Posted by: MPD432 at September 15, 2004

I purchased the Kel Tec P3AT (380) about a month ago and in 200 rounds only had about 2 or 3 jams which were easily cleared. I am pretty satisfied with the accuracy up to 10 yards. One way to help with the short grip is to install the Kel Tec magazine kit which adds one round (7 in clip) and makes the grip just a little longer which makes it feel a little more substantial in your hand. KelTec doesn't have the mag expansion kit on their website but if you call you can order by phone. Its very easy to install the magazine kit.

Posted by: Duke at September 16, 2004

I also have a Bersa .45 Ultra-Compact in the new stainless steel. Accuracy is single-hole, 5 rounds at 7 yards, using S&B 230 gr. Have you been doing a lot of dry firing the Bersa .45? They are incredibly reliable (just like the .380's), so I find it surprising to hear of the firing pin breaking. However, *anything* mechanical can break. Make use of their lifetime warranty and fear-no-more about this terrific pistol value!


Posted by: BersaManic at October 21, 2004

Thanks Manic, Got the pistol back with the explination of over hardened steel in the pin. Very understandable, so no quams there. Great pistol, I demo it to the rookie classes I teach for a back-up/off-duty weapon. Be safe....

Posted by: MPD432 at November 03, 2004

I have a new Bersa 45 and I am also experiencing Magazine related feed problems. Does anyone know of any fixes for factory mags?
Are there better aftermarket mags out there?
Mec-Gar doesnt make Bersa and Promag only makes up to the Thunder 9 so far.
Generally I carry the high dollar stuff for protection and get my yucks shooting fullsize steel frame EAA Witnesses at the range. Somehow I just couldn't resist this pistol, I hope I haven't purchased a 350.00 Ultra compact paper weight.

Posted by: Strange Brew at December 27, 2004

Affordable and reliable. What else needs to be said?
What I also like about it is its size is perfect for carrying concealed.

Posted by: StareDecisis at January 05, 2005

Kel Teh 380

Lots of trouble with 95 grain bullets. However, I ran 100 rounds of 90 grain PMC without a single malfunction.

Posted by: ejdavid at February 15, 2005

Kel Tec 380

Lots of trouble with 95 grain bullets. However, I ran 100 rounds of 90 grain PMC without a single malfunction.

Posted by: ejdavid at February 15, 2005

Kel Tec 380

Lots of trouble with 95 grain bullets. However, I ran 100 rounds of 90 grain PMC without a single malfunction.

Posted by: ejdavid at February 15, 2005

Kel Tec 380

Lots of trouble with 95 grain bullets. However, I ran 100 rounds of 90 grain PMC without a single malfunction.

Posted by: ejdavid at February 15, 2005

Kel Tec 380

Lots of trouble with 95 grain bullets. However, I ran 100 rounds of 90 grain PMC without a single malfunction.

Posted by: ejdavid at February 15, 2005

Kel Tec 380

Lots of trouble with 95 grain bullets. However, I ran 100 rounds of 90 grain PMC without a single malfunction.

Posted by: ejdavid at February 15, 2005

Kel Tec 380

Lots of trouble with 95 grain bullets. However, I ran 100 rounds of 90 grain PMC without a single malfunction.

Posted by: ejdavid at February 15, 2005

I recently purchased a p3at 380 for a back-up for on duty use and a pocket pistol when off duty. I have had a lot of problems with pistol stove piping with 95 grain target rounds. It is very easy to conceal but the magazine release on this little gun is very sensitive as the magazine seems to pop out prior to firing all the loaded rounds. Simple to pop it back in and rack another round but it could prevent you from going home if your in deep kemshi. I like the design of the gun but it has not been very dependable so far. I intend to send it back to kel-tec to see if it can be made reliable. I will send you the results when I get it back and give a test run.

Posted by: jvolt1 at February 20, 2005

I traded a P32 in on the P3AT last summer. The dread .32 ACP rimlock was the reason for the switch.
So far, I have had excellent luck with the P3AT. It is quite accurate once you are used to the sights. Most people shoot very low until they learn to COVER the target with the front sight. I made an elevated rear notch sight from black polymer and glued it into place.
A little Dremel work, some Fishermun's Lure-Coat, and I have a 3-dot system that hits point of aim at 25'.
I have shot a wide variety of ammo, including a lot of reloads with no problems.
As to misfeeds, I have found that the only way to make the little gun misbehave is to limpwrist it. A lot.
I keep the slide rails greased and clean it after every 50-100 rounds, but have not done any extensive "fluff/buff."
In short, I am very impressed!

Posted by: David at March 01, 2005

I got the little gun back this week and it shoots like a dream. I am totally satisfied with this firearm and the service department of Kel-tec. I sent them a gun that was extremely unreliable, they sent me back a gun that appeared to be completely new with the exception of the serial number. Kel-tec sent me a letter stating that they had Polished the barrel and replaced the extractor assembly and the grip. I have shot approximately 100 rounds through it since I have had it back with not one single problem. Thanks Kel-tec you earned yourself a life time customer.

Posted by: jvolt1 at March 26, 2005

Kel-Tec pistols have never impressed me when it comes to accuracy and dependability, owned the P40 and P11 in the past and got rid of both because they were not reliable pistols. For this reason I did not conside the P3AT while shopping for a new .380.

Recentlly purchased a Bersa Thunder .380 Duo-Tone and so far it has been 100% reliable, accurate and very comfortable to shoot.

The only issues I have read about concerning the Thunder .380 are from people who are using the after market magazines produced by ProMag. The main complaint seems to be that the mags are not fitting in the mag well properly, requiring the mag release to be depressed in order to fully insert the mag into the grip frame.

For an inexpensive, reliable pistol in .380 caliber you cant go wrong with a Bersa Thunder!


Posted by: rimfirehunter at March 29, 2005

Don't mess around with a 380 for a backup if you really think your lfe may depend on it. The Thunder 45 is what you really need. And it is accurate, handles well, is well built, and concealable. And when it comes to backing you up why would you want to throw pebbles when you could throw a rock. How many rounds from a 380 will it take to stop a crack crazed madman. When your life is on the line, just one round from a 45 will do the job.

Posted by: Jim at April 11, 2005

I bought the bersa Thunder 380 in nickle and the only thing I do not like about it, is it has almost no custom parts besides grips and mags.

Posted by: Brian at April 20, 2005

I purchased my bersa thunder .380 a few months ago decided to retain CHL afterwards. Just after purchasing I took it out ran 100 rds of 95gr. through it, it did well. The next weekend I took it ran another 100rds through it. It did just as well. Took it again a few days later ran 50 rds. Qualified for CHL with a excellent group into chest and another excellent group into head. I have been taking it for the last three months at least once a month and putting 100 rds through it just to keep in practice. This piece is light very easy to conceal. Very easy on the wallet. It may be a small caliber but even if I was carrying a 45 or 9mm I would still probably unload the magazine on an assailant if it come down to it. So I'm sure the .380 7rd mag will be plenty of stopping power. If you think you can take 7rds from please let me know. Do I recommend the weapon. Yes highly recommend for conceal carry. Carry mine everyday!

Posted by: Mrjayjay00 at April 26, 2005

I have a Kel-Tec 380 that I carry as a backup gun. I have only fired about 200 rounds through it so far but have never had a jam or fail to fire. As far as accuracy goes, It's not great. However, Just two days ago, I qualified with both the Kel-Tec and my Glock 22 and shot only 10 points lower with the Kel-Tec. I was impressed. I also have a Bersa .22. Exact same as the 380 except caliber. Absolutely love it. Carry it for finishing shots when furharvesting. Recommend one to anybody.

Posted by: James at May 14, 2005

I bought the Kel-Tec P3AT about three weeks ago and it broke the second day I had it; after shooting about 35 rounds. The magazine lock/release broke and the magazine wouldn't remain in place. I sent it back to Kel-Tec and they fixed the problem and had the gun back to me in two and a half weeks. No problems so far... No jams, handling and accuracy are what one would expect. I'll be very please if things continue to go this way but I won't be giving up my Glock 26 any time soon...

Posted by: Steve at May 21, 2005

I just bought a Bersa 45 thunder. Typically, I hate automatices for a lot of reasons, including reliability. This one did not let me down. It is a jam-o-matic from the get go. The problems seem to be magazine related. New mags cost $48.

It sure looks good, carries beautifully in a small package with 8 shots. This is why I fell for it and decided to try an auto again. Now I have to drive an hour to the gun store, to probably have them tell me I have to send it to the factory, and hopefully see it in weeks or months from now. That is NOT why I bought the gun.

If anyone knows of a quick fix, I would appreciate input. Thanks

Posted by: Les at June 27, 2005

I looked at a KelTec yesterday, then read a lot about FTE and FTF problems in the G2, the only ones you can buy new now.

I went BACK to the gun store to BUY the KelTec (380) and found they ALSO had the Bersa. In researching the KelTec I also read a little about the Bersa.

I brought home a Bersa duotone for $250. The fit, finish and function is VERY VERY nice! I have not shot a round though it yet, but I did CCW it till I got home (Don Hume inside pants holster). It was very comfortable and I felt A LOT BETTER knowing I had the Bersa rather than the KelTec.

The Bersa is a REAL GUN, no mistaking! .380 is the least defense round I would ever go with. The weapon is large enough to feel GOOD in the hand yet small enough for easy CCW!

I am so thrilled I saw the Bersa before I pointed out the KelTec for the final buy! The good Lord was watching over me today!


Posted by: Andrew at July 01, 2005

I bought a Bersa 380 a few weeks ago and have fired 500 rounds through it so far. I've fired almost all the JHP defensive 380 mfgs in the gun. I started with CorBon 90gr and went through GoldDot 90gr, Hydrashocks, etc...I'm leaning towards the CorBon 90 grain as the best round. It feed well and had good expansion in clay. I had some issues with feeding problems when I fired Speer GoldDot 90 gr. The problem seems to have come from the bullet catching on the feed ramp into the barrel. It could have been my gun so I polished the ramp, but have not tried the GoldDots in it again. So do with that info what you will. I have fired almost all other defensive JHPs with no feed issues at all. For the price, this is a well made little shooter.

Posted by: Brian at July 13, 2005

got the kel-tec p3at a while back and it is nothing but trouble. Was told it would shoot h/p and it wont , fte every other round with ball ammo .Sent an email to kel-tec and said run200 rounds thru it to break it in . Did that with 3 different brands of both ball and h/p ammo costs over 60 dollars in ammo and still didnt work. Sent the gun back to factory with a letter stating all my problems. Atfer 4 weeks got it back with paperwork saying they polished the feedramp and that was all. Took it to the range today still wont feed h/p and had 3 fte out of 35 rounds of ball ammo . Now i have to decide wether to take it back to the dealer where i got it and maybe trade for something else or put it in the safe and let it draw dust. R.E

Posted by: r.e. at July 23, 2005

I just picked up the keltec it seems to be a very good pistol for carry. I have shot 50 rounds with out any function problems. However it is very hard to get a grip on.

Posted by: poole at August 08, 2005


Posted by: olsen2330 at September 09, 2005

If you want an outstanding concealed carry gun that's smaller, thinner & weighs less than the Bersa .380, but in 9mm, get a Kahr. Superior craftsmanship and performance/accuracy. I've also had experience with some Kel-Tecs and will soon buy a P-3AT for maximum concealability in 'certain circumstances'. As you should with any firearm and especially a Kel-Tec, I intend to put about 300 rounds thru it (or until it breaks), send it back for whatever it needs and then carry it confidently. It's too bad, but it seems Kel-Tec's approach is to crank out volume of mediocre quality and then provide an excellent product once it's been returned for repair. I had a P32 with a patch of corrosion/pitting in the barrel (they replaced the barrel, of course), the hammer spring broke while carrying it in my pocket (pulled it out one day and the hammer was flopping around loose!), have a Sub 2000 in Glock .40 S&W that had a terrible trigger (about 12 pounds!) and a front sight that was 'rotated' a few degrees to the right. K-T gave it a pretty nice trigger and put a new barrel on with properly aligned front sight.
If you don't mind a bit more weight, the Seecamp LWS 380 is slightly smaller than the P-3AT, is a real quality piece of machinery, but is about twice the price.

Posted by: Larry at September 19, 2005

The Bersa is definately a better buy. These guys seem to have the lowest price -

Posted by: John at October 23, 2005

I purchased my Kel-Tec P-3AT a while back and have fired a few hundred rounds (Winchester .380) through the gun without any problems while keeping a paper plate size grouping at 7 to 10 yards. I'm a lefty and have had no issues with the mag release. I'm very happy with my gun and would suggest a Glazer or Fangface bullets for carry rounds.

Posted by: Joe J at October 27, 2005

I need help! My Bersa 380 jams constantly. I've taken it completely apart, cleaned it thoroughly, and reassembled as directed. The first time I shot it it did not jam at all. The second time I had two jams during 50 rounds of shooting. Today it jammed so many times I didn't even shoot the whole 50 rounds. When I look in the breach it looks like it is trying to load two bullets at once. I am clueless as to what to do. This is an awesome firearm otherwise and, except for this problem, I would highly recommend it to other women whose hands are too small for other weapons.


Posted by: Elaine at November 06, 2005


Posted by: AL. FORREST at November 08, 2005

I got my bersa thuder 380 from a girl friend of mine who didn't want it around 3 weeks ago. Since then I have fired 150 rounds through it with no jams. It is my first gun ever, and first I am shooting. I can hit bulleyes all day from 5yard range. It's an amazing little thang, I am glad to have gotten it for free. I thought it was a beretta prior to getting it and was upset that I got a cheap gun. But after reading about it, and shooting with it, I am looking to buy a new one. Keep this one for range practice...

Posted by: Seg at November 22, 2005

I had a kel tec 380, nothing but problems. I've had two Bersa thunder 380's. Both were outstanding in reliability, and quality for the money. I highly recomend these to anyone!!!!

Posted by: wade barnett at November 27, 2005

Some people need to realize guns are mechanical things. Of course some will be lemons and some wont. My Kel-tec .380 is a great little pistol but like all pistols it needed a break in period. My point is you can't judge all pistols unreliable because YOURS is unreliable.

Posted by: Scrawl at December 03, 2005

Update!!!! I hated to get rid my old kel-tec 380 because I loved its size and "carryabilty". It was the ultimate "ankle gun". But I will not keep an unreliable gun so I traded it off to something better. But lately I've been reading about the new "2nd generation" Kel-tec 380 and about the changes they had made to it. So I decided to give one a try. So far my new "2nd generation" 380 is working perfectly! I am very pleased with this new model and will keep it as long as it doesn't start jamming like the old one!

Posted by: wade barnett at December 11, 2005

What is the best front pocket inside the pocket holster for the keltec 380?

Posted by: Tony Richards at December 14, 2005

I just bought teh Kel-Tec P3AT .380 (Dec 2005) it is the second gen with the hard cromed slide. I LOVE IT. I have a Glock 23 and a S&W J frame .38 special. I love the Glock because it is the most reliable gun on earth. THe Kel-Tec is not a Glock. But, Golck does not make a gun I can carry in the front pocket of a pair of dress slacks. I have fired 200 rounds through my P3AT (UMC and Magtech)with only one FTF. The FTF round was Magtech and it had a good dent in the primer. I think it was a dud round. I am a fairly good shot with a pistol but certainly not the best I know. Yet, I have found the P3AT to be great. At 30 feet (10 yards) I can but all 7 (6+1) in to the 2 center rings in a standard Silhouette almost every time. Bottom line, buy one. If you keep it clean, don't limp rist it or shoot cheap ammo it will be a great gun.

Posted by: Sam at December 26, 2005

Hey everyone,
I was just browsing the site and saw the reviews on the Bersa .380. I am new to the firearms realm, but I just had the chance to shoot the Bersa .380 yesterday,matter fact this is my third time shooting a gun in my 34 years of living. I loved the weight,slim frame and the control of the Bersa .380 handgun. It was very accurate, I shot a 100 on the target from 25 feet according to the owner of the range.

I still have not purchased my first weapon yet. Im still swaying between the Glock 27, Glock 30, Bersa .380. or the new Bersa 45

I know I hear that stopping power is important, is there a huge difference between the Bersa 45,Bersa thunder 9 and Glock 30.

Thank you for your responses.
Future Law Enforcer

Posted by: MasterD at December 28, 2005

I also recently purchased the P3AT. I took it to my local range, fired 125 rounds of CCI 95 grain without a single problem the gun works flawless for me. Maybe I was fortunate to get one of the good ones.....? I do feel however that Kel-Tec should have named this 380 the STINGER, only because after a while it does do a number on the hand, it stings a little. As far as the narrowness of the gun, I came up with my own solution since there are no grip makers for this gun. I wrapped electricions "RUBBER" tape around the entire grip (even behind the trigger) which made the gip a little wider and easiser to hold and shoot. It doesn't look that great, but it handles well for me. I do have one other idea I'm going to try. I'm going to see if I can get some industrial straingth two sided tape along with homemade rubber "Packmry style" grips to see if this will stick to the plastic of the gun. NOTE: HEY PACKMRY COMPANY....IF YOU GUYS ARE READING THIS, MAKE A SET OF GIPS THAT WILL STICK TO THIS GUN, I KNOW YOU'LL MAKE A FORTUNE!!

Posted by: Mike at December 30, 2005

I need to add One More Thing....if you can, get the finger extention for the clip, it helps the grip.

Posted by: Mike at December 30, 2005

I'am haveing A hard time finding the Kel-tec PA3T around the Dallas, Fort Worth area. If anyone is from around here that knows of A dealer that carries this gun, Please let me know.
I dont mind out of town sellers either, I have A FFL dealer that will accept the delivery for me.

Posted by: Brad at January 03, 2006

Disreguard previous post from me. I found A dealer in Houston with the P3AT. It's on its way.
Testimonial to come...

Posted by: Brad at January 05, 2006

I bought the 380 Bersa a couple of days back, for my wife, and we tried it the first time yesterday at the local Sheriff's Public Safety Training Center.
It jammed like Hell. We were really disappointed with it after all the good press everywhere.
The experts at the PSTC said there were a number of reasons. Bersa's need a lot of use, the ammo might not be a 'good one' for it. Etc. We used the ammo you have to use there because it is a clean type. It was actually American Eagle Metal cased 95 g.
The guy said they would be getting CCI Blazer in Total Metal Jacket at 95g in stock soon too, and to try that one.
Does anyone use the American Eagle type without problems?
Any other related comments will be appreciated.
It is a nice looking gun and small. The recoli is just about the limit of what my wife will tolerate. Actually she said that the S and Wesson model 19 ( a 357 magnum, although we only shot 38 Special through, was a dream
to shoot. But thats not the best concealed carry I think.
Thank you folks.

Posted by: Dennis at January 07, 2006

Hey Mike, Check out (Hogue Handall Jr.)-Google it. for your Kel-tec grip wrap, They have one that fits the P3AT--32 and 11. Works great with the plus one mag with finger extention.

Posted by: Brad at January 07, 2006

Thanks Brad, I'll see if my local gun shop has one in stock.....I'll check it out.

Posted by: Mike at January 08, 2006

I bought a P3AT and could not get it to fire 2 rounds in a row without a jam. I sent it back to Kel-tec and they returned a totally rebuilt pistol within a couple of weeks. I have since fired hundreds of rounds without any issues. I went from hating this pocket pistol to falling in love with it.

Posted by: Wizard at January 28, 2006

I finally got my Bersa 380 after waiting 5 weeks for my store to reorder after the Christmas buying frenzy. After viewing this site and seeing everyone rave about the the little gun, I had to experinece shooting it myself. When I took deliver of the gun for $199.99, my wife took one look and could not wait to go to the range and shoot it. We fed 200 round of winchester ball ammo without a jam. Accuracy was phenomenal and comfort was good. My only complaint is the limited amount of aftermarket grips for this gun. The Hogue handall is ok but requires lots of trimming to make it fit good. Also the aftermarket magazines are expensive $35.00 and seem to require breakin. Next to my 45 Glock, this a dream gun for the price and the fun.

Posted by: leonard at January 30, 2006

My recent purchase of the Kel Tec P3AT (P380). After reading many post on this and other sites, I had some serious concerns of the little p380 I had already purchased. However, I have put over 100 rounds through this awsome little gun with absolutely no problems. I even used the notorious white box winchester target rounds with no probs. TWO THUMBS UP to Kel-Tec

Posted by: Steve at February 04, 2006

I own 4 Bersa 380's and 2 P3AT's (one 1st gen. and one 2nd). I have not had any problems with any and agree that both/either are excellent for CC. To respond to a few inquires I have read on this site: you can find "finger groove rubber grips" for the Bersa at for 24.00, a worth-while investment. Improves the feel and accuracy of the already excellent Bersa. You can get the "plus one" magazine extension for the P3AT, but a cheaper and more effective way to gain good feel and grip on the P3AT is to pay $5.00 for a Bersa finger-groove magazine bottom and put it on the P3AT magazine. You can see them on E-Bay (where I got the idea, their is also instructions on how to do it) and buy them from (I'm a customer, not connected with either gun or any website/company, just a .380 fan!). Good luck and happy & safe shooting.

Posted by: Derek at February 05, 2006

HOLSTER for your front pocket for the p3at and the p-32 by kel - tec. I reccomend the Galco front pocket holster. i love mine

Posted by: ben at February 15, 2006

I own both the Bersa Thunder 380 and a P3AT and love them both for different reasons. The Bersa is a joy to shoot and is pretty accurate and the recoil is nil to me. The P3AT hides well and beats a .25 for power in the same or smaller package. My P3AT doesn't like Wolf ammo but then again my Bersa doesn't as well. Both of them work well with 95 grain loads. I have not done anything other then clean them after shooting. Best bang for the buck I have found

Posted by: Rick at February 17, 2006

Further to my findings on the Bersa 380 with atrocious jamming. I returned it to Bersa - they said there was nothing wrong. My wife and I then tried it at the PSTCenter again expecting exactly the same. This time they had gotten in the CCI Blazer ammo instead of the American Eagle.
The gun performed without any jams>
My wife has now claimed it and loves it. She has given up the Kel Tec P32 as she thinks the Bersa Thunder 380 is far superior,

Posted by: Dennis at February 21, 2006

I've carried my Bersa 380 for over a year. I need good concealment and the size of the gun works perfectly. I trust the stopping power of the Cor-Bons for self defense. It goes to the range with me at least once a month with a box of shells. Although I've never had it jam on me, intentionally, my 12 year old can make it jam often. He holds it loose in his hand and it'll jam that last round. I've held it loose and it'll do the same thing for me too. I'm going to try the .45 and hope it's as good as the .380 as far as dependablity and accuacy. You can't beat the value of this company.

Posted by: mike f at February 22, 2006

i want to buy one of the bow

Posted by: beckley boy at February 22, 2006

yes, the Bersa is doing well now with CCI Blazer and is firmly my wife's. So the Kel-tec 32 ACP is redundant here. Anyone want to make me an offer? It cost me $239 a few weeks back and has fired less than a box of 50 rounds.
I'm open to a swap - what have you? Obviously we will need to go through an FFL.

Posted by: Dennis at March 02, 2006

I was looking at getting this Kel-tec for my wife for home defense. Her fingers are so short that it's the only gun I've found so far small enough for her to use.
After reading all of this though I'm concerned about it jamming on her.
Any suggestions for something that small, but more reliable?

Posted by: greg at March 06, 2006

All of this talk about BERSA and you want a KEL-TEC for home protection? Generally speaking, Concealed Carry is a different topic than home protection. However, the single-stack magazine of the BERSA (or FIRESTORM) would be ideal for a ladies hands because the grip in thinner than almost all 9mm, 40 cal, 45 cal, etc with double-stack magazines. Get the "finger groove grip" that I mentioned in a posting above and go with the BERSA 380. Find a range and have your wife test-fire one first, to be safe. Awesome and inexpensive. I used to be offended when dealers would say "BERSA .380 is ideal for ladies." They are right, but it does not make it a wuss gun by any means. They were reflecting the hand-to-grip feel concept. Add some Hydro-Shok hollow points, and feel same all night long...

Posted by: Derek at March 09, 2006

Just bought a Kel-Tec P-3AT today for concealed carry purposes (only .45 ACP with hollow points for home defense, naturally). It is a "2nd generation" version, though. Took it out to the range and shot some pretty cheap American Eagle 95 gr ball ammo through it too. Performed well without any jams whatsoever. Recoil was completely manageable. Fairly good group at 10 yards. Only complaint is that I have big hands and a strong grip and this thing is tiny. Would like to try the grip extender, but am hoping this doesn't impede the concealment. Any other thoughts?

Posted by: Greg at March 19, 2006

How can I tell whether my just-purchased P-3AT is a "first" or "second" generation pistol? Thanks.

Posted by: Bob at March 20, 2006

I too would like to know how to tell 2nd from 1st gen p3at's?
I purchased mine in late 2005 and have had only one fail to feed problem during 100 rounds of PMC 90g FMJ ammo. The failure was on the 2nd mag. Most of the rounds were fired by my 13 year old son. He is a little less than average size for his age and absolutely loved shooting the gun. He did not complain any about recoil so for those adults on this site that are complaining...get a .22 Cal? 13 year old shoots my duty Glock 22 and black powder .45 new army and doesn't complain much about recoil from those either. Maybe he is just tough.

Posted by: Kevin at March 20, 2006

I had heard from someone who wasn't quite sure himself that 2nd gen started with serial numbers beginning with "HAA" and above, but I'd like to see if anyone who really knows can confirm that or correct it. Thanks.

Posted by: Bob at March 21, 2006

I have a Duo Tone Bersa Thunder .380 and have not had a single jam. If Illinois ever passes CCW it will definatly be the one I use. (I'm not holding my breath on Illinois ever doing this though =( )

I would like to see more aftermarket grips especially from Houge that are made for the gun itself. I use Houge on my 1911 and my Ruger GP100 and think they would sell ALOT of them to Bersa owners considering the lack of grips for this great gun.

Posted by: Bryan at March 28, 2006

I'm in the middle of purchasing a P3AT and was curious about the 1st vs. 2nd gen models myself. I found this reference to be helpful:;action=display;num=1118894836

Posted by: Brian at March 29, 2006

I've had the P3At for couple years now and love it. Not a fan of the Bersa which seems overpriced, and inferior in nearly every way to a makarov.

I question the test as Les says the kel-tec "Results at 7 yards were very poor". My skill is not nearly as high as Les yet I can put rounds in a pin tin at 15 yards all day. Me thinks he got a dud as a mine hits fine considering its barrel length. feeding works fine (maybe 1 roudn in few hundred FTEs but usually due to limping it). Howeve ri had th eP-11 and even after all the tricks including a trip to Kel-tec it could feed with any ammo.

Posted by: hmmm at June 03, 2006

any of you that don't like the kel tec .380?
I will take the best offer to sell.

Posted by: Jerry Buckner at June 03, 2006

I have purchased all 3 Kel-Tecs in the last 3 months. P11, P32 and P3-AT. All are phenomenal although the P11 needed a short break-in. Now its perfect. The 2 pocket guns have been perfect from day one. I F&B'd both before shooting, a half hour process, militec'd both, and installed Handall Jr's. Couldn't be happier, all are phenomenally accurate out to 15 yards and flawless. And most of all, sooo easy to carry and conceal. Easy to shoot, especially the P-32. Now carry the P3-AT 24/7 with Corbon DPX. And what about price and lifetime warranty? What a deal.

Posted by: GHM at June 06, 2006

Purchased a new P3AT (2nd Gen) three months ago, and so far have been extremely pleased. Have fired mixed mags of 700 rounds of Winchester FMJ, Magtech and Corbon HP, with no failures of any kind. Accuracy has been great at 15 yards, with Corbon probably the best. Wish the slide locked back after the last round though (old habits). Take down was a little harder than the manual described, but easy if you use an eyeglass type screwdriver instead of the empty cartridge rim they discuss. I use a front pocket holster, and it's lighter and less obtrusive than the KEYS in my other pocket - unbelievably thin and light. I use to carry a Glock 27, but the weight and thickness means it stays home most of the time now. I think the tradeoff down to .380 is definitely worth the ability to carry 24/7.

Posted by: jps at June 06, 2006

I was in the local gun shop on Monday. They had the Bersa Thunder 380 in Satin and duo-tone. The satin had just come back from Bersa, they said it had a slide prob noticed by a customer. It was fixed and I was impressed by fit and finish. It was also priced at $189 because of the problem. I came home and told my wife about it. We did some research and went back to buy it the next day. We put 60 rounds through it. 1 jam on the 8th round, because my wife had a loose grip. I got her to hold it more firmly and no more jams. I bought it for CCW and for my wife to shoot. We both love it. I'm gonna have to buy a second for myself. We averaged about 5.5 to 6 inch 7 shot groups at 15 yards. Great gun. It is great for ladies b/c of small grip and low recoil, however, guys should not write it off for comfort. I'm 6-2 and 250 lbs. that grip extension makes the gun perfect. We are heading out to the store for some different types of ammo for some weekend shooting. I'm very impressed by this little gun. BTW a 380 is a comparable defense weapon to many 38 special loads. It will get the job done; as always, shot placement and practice are key when using firearms.

Posted by: Josh at June 08, 2006

Well, I actually have both of these .380's. I bought the Bersa for the wife on Christmas of last year. I don't think she has shot it once. I get 1 1/2" to 3" groups (ammo depending) at 7 yards. I am sure it would be better but I just really don't fire it much.
I am out in the middle of no where every day doing on site field inspections for cellular construction. It is very hot and I don't like too much hanging on me to make it any worse then it already is. I keep my XD 45 in the center console of my Avalanche but in my left front pocket tucked away is my P-3AT. The Bersa is just be a bit too big and tad to heavy to keep comfortably in my pocket all day long. I had 1 FTF and 1 FTE using American Ammo FMJ (out of 200 rounds) breaking it in out in my work shop.
I have yet to polish the feedramp, but that is coming soon just as soon as we get a cool evening around here. Both guns have their pro's & con's. It's a tough decision if you can buy only one... just my 2 cents

Posted by: Meric at June 10, 2006

I recently picked up a Kel-Tec P-3AT for CCW. I'm really impressed. This is the most concealable gun I've ever met. No malfuntions and goups of 3-5" at 10 paces. I noticed that when shooting Speer Gold Dot 90 grain hollow points the next round up gets cooked from the blow back. Also, the gun rattles if you don't carry it +1, so I recommend a pocket holster that covers the trigger. There is a noticeable kick to the little fella, and it is darn loud even with foamies in. The loud part might help out I ever have to pull it, though.

I am a little disappointed that the author of the review uses such low end ammo to judge reliability. I'm certainly not going to carry my P-3AT with remanufactured or Wolf ammo.

Posted by: Chris at June 23, 2006

Just got my P3AT, I've had a PPKS for a long time and still do. But I want to carry all the time and the kel-Tec is the one for that.
Started out shooting 50 rounds of Wolf ( Had it around....) it was ok at first, just a few misfeeds. Then on to the second box, Holy crap it was misfeeds, stovepipes, emptys locked in
the barrel. Thought I made a mistake in the Kel-tec.
Loaded some Cor-Bon JHP problems gone......
Loaded some reloads problems gone.....
All the problems I had were related to the Wolf Ammo. I've used Wolf in many different weapons without fail. But it dont shoot in a P3AT !!
I am now carrying it with Cor-bon powerballs.

Posted by: mick at July 12, 2006

I bought a satin nickel finished Bersa,Thunder .380 10yrs. ago. A good reliable gun and puts the rounds dead on target out to 20 yards with 95gr.fmj. Only complaint is the slide release will fail to lockback after little use.
I fixed this problem with a littlefile work on the slide stop notch. After the slide locks back and a fresh mag is inserted just pull the slide back to disengage the slide release which is normal weapon nominclature on some high end pistols. All in all this is a good light duty weapon well worth the $180.00 I paid for it.
I keep it loaded with Glaser Saftey Slugs for the first two rounds and hardball for the next five rounds. A lot of BANG for the buck.

Posted by: Jeff at July 22, 2006

My Husband bought me the Bersa,Thunder .380. Like the weight and feel. My only problem so far is the jamming. Been reading the comments on this problem and going to try some different suggestions. Fairly new at this so will see how it turns out.

Posted by: Lori at September 14, 2006

I had a 1st-gen P3AT about 2 years ago. When I first got it, the firing pin screw was tightened all the way down, locking the firing pin forward and making it impossible to chamber a round. I adjusted the screw with an allen wrench. I put about 50 rounds through it. It never jammed, but out of almost every magazine, one round would fail to fire due to light strikes on the primer. I sold the gun for about half of what I paid for it. Not a good gun at all. In retrospect, I probably should have returned it and had the factory repair it.

Today I purchased a 2nd-gen P3AT. The slide seems a little bit blockier and the extractor looks completely different. I have shot only one magazine through it so far, but it cycled with no problems.

Really, it's a great carry gun in terms of size and weight, and the fact that they will promptly fix any problems with reliability is a big plus. Hopefully the 2nd-gen guns will shoot perfectly out of the box.

Posted by: Ian at September 21, 2006

I bought my Thunder 380 deluxe about a year and a half ago. Curiously it came with the smaller clip. I didn't have but a few jams but when I went to the range the second time, I noticed I was already missing a grip screw. Some of the mechanical parts are held in place with the grip, so perhaps that's why the disconnector spring disengaged. I got it reassembled locally but had to take the grip off and put the spring back in place every 20 or thirty rounds.

I lost confidence in enjoying the gun at the range but because I was making a long distance move, I kept it with me instead of sending it for repair.

Today I sent it in and am hoping the problem is solved for good. I love the little gun and it shoots like a dream.

Posted by: Mike at October 27, 2006

I have had a P-3AT for years and have shot thousands of rounds through it, both ball and hollow point. I can say I have never had a problem with mine. Sure a gun will jam or should I say misfire. That's not the guns fault, it's the cheap ammo people use. Are you really going to use reloads for self defense? As far as accuraccy, I can hit a 2'x2' target at 100 yards with it. If you have trouble hitting your target at 25', maybe you should practice more often. I go to the range every week. Those who talk bad about the .380 for personal defense are ignorant. All you big tough guys CRY like little girls when you get a cut or a sliver. I've seen you, and you don't think a .380 would hurt you. You wouldn't survive a .22 let alone a .380 hp. SHOT PLACEMENT IS EVERYTHING!!!!!!! If you're ever down in Florida and wants some instructions, stop by the range on Friday morning and look for the Little Lady. I might teach you a few things.
I have shown my P-3AT to numerous men at the range. I have let them shoot it and shot it with them watching me. Almost everyone of them has now purchased a P-3AT. Once you shoot one you will be convinced. One of the Range Officers claims to have fired over 10,000 rounds through his gun. This is the same gun he carries for personal defense.
The P-3AT is an excellent carry gun with a small size grip that's great for a woman. If you guys want to carry it, get the magazine finger extension on Ebay. It is a curved clip that attaches to the bottom of the mag. Don't get the extra round extension, it's not worth it, it cost as much as a new magazine.
Signed a Loyal 3AT Fan and Woman Shooter

Posted by: Darleen at January 15, 2007

I have had a P-3AT for years and have shot thousands of rounds through it, both ball and hollow point. I can say I have never had a problem with mine. Sure a gun will jam or should I say misfire. That's not the guns fault, it's the cheap ammo people use. Are you really going to use reloads for self defense? As far as accuraccy, I can hit a 2'x2' target at 100 yards with it. If you have trouble hitting your target at 25', maybe you should practice more often. I go to the range every week. Those who talk bad about the .380 for personal defense are ignorant. All you big tough guys CRY like little girls when you get a cut or a sliver. I've seen you, and you don't think a .380 would hurt you. You wouldn't survive a .22 let alone a .380 hp. SHOT PLACEMENT IS EVERYTHING!!!!!!! If you're ever down in Florida and wants some instructions, stop by the range on Friday morning and look for the Little Lady. I might teach you a few things.
I have shown my P-3AT to numerous men at the range. I have let them shoot it and shot it with them watching me. Almost everyone of them has now purchased a P-3AT. Once you shoot one you will be convinced. One of the Range Officers claims to have fired over 10,000 rounds through his gun. This is the same gun he carries for personal defense.
The P-3AT is an excellent carry gun with a small size grip that's great for a woman. If you guys want to carry it, get the magazine finger extension on Ebay. It is a curved clip that attaches to the bottom of the mag. Don't get the extra round extension, it's not worth it, it cost as much as a new magazine.
Signed a Loyal 3AT Fan and Woman Shooter

Posted by: Darleen at January 15, 2007

"As far as accuraccy, I can hit a 2'x2' target at 100 yards with it."

And how many times do you have to shoot at it to hit it that once?

Sorry, I don't know you, but I'm calling B.S. I've shot several P3ATs now, and the sights are some of the worst out there. 2 MOA my eye.

Posted by: Les Jones at January 15, 2007

Hi Les,
Sorry to have upset you so much you couldn't see straight. What I wrote is "2'x 2' at 100 yards", that translates into 2 feet by 2 feet. Do I need to explain what MOA is or Minute Of Angle?
It's OK if you're angry. A lot of men get frustrated when they find out a woman is better than them at something. As far as women shooters go, there have been many great ones in history. Have you forgotten Annie Oakley? Or what about the many Russian women snipers that helped save Moscow?
As far as the "B.S.", I think I deserve an apology? But that's OK, I don't expect one. After all, you already complimented me by thinking that I could hit a 2"x 2" (that's 2 inch by 2 inch) target once at 100 yards. Now that would be something.
This gun has been reviewed by all the major magazines and has recieved nothing but praise. Now that you have shot more Kel-tec's, has your opinion changed?

Posted by: Darleen at January 18, 2007

Ah, OK. I did mis-read the 2'x2' as inches when in fact it's feet. I do apologize for that.

As far as the condescending tone and insuating that I'm angry, you and your attitude can take a hike.

Posted by: Les Jones at January 18, 2007

I bought a Bersa Firestorm in .40 cal. today, after I talked with the guys at the local indoor pistol range. They said they have been using a 40 cal. Bersa as one of their many rental weapons and they have run a ton of ammo through it. They have had no problems...period, zip, zero, nada. Now, that's a great sales point! But, so is the lifetime guarantee.

The Bersa stood out from the other weapons in the display and right off I liked the weapon's look and feel. The Bersa was just right for me, not too heavy, not too light and the grip was large enough for my big hands, a few others I tried were not.

Over the past 30 plus years, in law enforcement and military, I have carried a lot of handguns on duty and off, and now I have this .40 cal. Bersa. Like I said, it just felt right and had a very smooth double action pull which was the final selling point.

By the way, this is my first .40 cal. Obviously, the .40 wasn't around when I started out in law enforcement, but my son convinced me this is a pretty decent all around caliber for police work or personal protection...he carries a .40 cal on duty and off.

But, back to the Bersa, it will be strictly an off duty weapon, as I'm now retired, but I think it's going to work out fine and the price was not bad at a mere $350, which works out well on a cops piddly retirement.

Posted by: Retired Detective at January 21, 2007

Thanks for the review Les. I picked up a Bersa .380 in DuoTone today after reading yours and several other reviews by fellow Gun Guys that I respect. I've been researching for a good CCW for a while now. The Bersa is one that is pretty well universally well liked in reliability, features and quality. The 32oz dry weight seems just about right to me as well. I'd love to be able to carry a larger auto but in my line of work it's just not practical. A PPK sized auto will work as far a size goes but the PPK tends to bite your had and the Sig 232 seems much heavier in the hand and on the wallet. I can't speak for the Kel-Tec as I've never owned one based on the reviews I've read on them. They seem to Jam more and more as parts in them wear out quickly. I'm talking 500 rounds or so from most reviewers. Kahrs seem to be better, but not by much. A note to some of the posters here: Please stop calling a Magazine a clip! That's like calling a plane a car and makes you look ignorant. If your spending time on gun blogs, you should know the difference! Also, Wolf ammo is cheap underpowered Russian ammo! Don't be surprised if it jams repeatedly in small caliber rounds. Wolf .30 carbine in an M1 Carbine is a good example where the wolf is complete crap. So's the .380 apparently. Yeah, right, I know; it works great for you, and you can hit a man sized target at 2 miles with your mouse gun. Whatever!

Posted by: Diamondback at February 14, 2007

I bought a keltec .380 and while I have many other more expensive pistols, I am quite pleased with this weapon. I have had no jams with even the cheapest ammo. The long trigger pull does take a little getting used to, however it is manageable and I was able to place all 6 rounds with in the target, including 2 rounds in the 10 ring, 15 to 20 feet, the usual distance of a personal protective situation. This is not a tack driver by any means but I have every confidence that I can place 3 rounds center mass and that is what it was designed to do, period!

Posted by: Jim Leonard at February 21, 2007

So I was driving my plane to work the other day when a gaggle of New York cops unloaded their clips into a few guys at a bachelor party reading of them hit of them hit them all! It's amazing how on-target some grammarians are, and so off-target some investigators can be!

Posted by: PickyPicky at March 29, 2007


Posted by: DANIEL at May 10, 2007

In my job, I occasionally have to knock on doors in some pretty bad, scary, and sometimes isolated areas, and I have to present a non-threatening appearance to the law-abiding occupants of most of those houses. My company has a policy against guns, but hey, its my life , isn't it?. So, I carry a 2nd generation Kel-Tec .380 in my front pants pocket for personal protection because it offers the best combo I can find of unnoticable concealibility and bullet caliber. I customized it with a one round extension grip, and put a cut-to-fit Hogue handgrip sleeve on it. I wanted a quick draw pocket holster with the the trigger instantly availiable to me, and couldn't find one, so I cut out the stitching on the trigger side of an Uncle Mike's #1 pocket holster, put the gun in it that way and then used duct tape around the holster's paddle extension to close it firmly, but not too firmly, around the gun. Now it's perfect. The gun draws fast and the holster stays in my pocket. It doesn't make me any more bulletproof, but if anyone bothers me they've got a big 7+1 suprise coming.

Posted by: DG at June 12, 2007

i bought my first BERSA back in 2002 and ive owned several ever since. the only problems ive ever had is when i shot cheap ammo like american eagle. and for all the people who say that a .380 caliber bullet isnt a man stopper, i guess youve never read any of the police briefings in your area. also go to MAGSAFE ammos webpage. they have loads out now for a .380 that give it the same ballistic performance of a .45 auto. personally i keep mine loaded up with hydrashoks.

Posted by: Jeremy at July 07, 2007

I bought a Bersa 380 several months back. My wife and I used this to qualify for CHL. Great gun, it does like some ammo better than others. I was so impressed with it I bought it's big brother the Bersa Compact 45. Mercy, great gun accurate too. Recoil not bad, our S&W 442, 38 Special, are a lot worse, especially with +P loads. I wouldn't trade the 380 or the 45.

Posted by: cl at July 11, 2007

Just bought a Keltec P3AT. Coincidentally have the Bersa 380, which I purchased for target shooting to cut down on wear and tear on my Sig 230. The first day and I have buyers remorse with the brand new Keltec. I reached into my pocket and the magazine was loose. Kept popping out repeatedly. A firm slam got it back in. Never experienced this with any gun before. My confidence level is zero, as a result. After reading all the FTE issues, it certainly doesn't increase my confidence in it as a daily last resort gun. I have a P32 that I never fired. My Seecamp 32, which I purchased the Keltec P3AT to replace never had a misfire or failure to eject and is still like new after 20 years. Sending a brand new, never fired P3AT back to the factory, doesn't endear me to the company. The Bersa 380 is a very well made, inexpensive gun. Just wish I had a stainless slide.

Posted by: Harry at July 19, 2007

your dead on about the Keltecs. i have owned 3 P32's and one 2 P3 380's.
they all jammed and game me problems. 3 were sent back to Cocoa for the girls to work on them and all came back with the same or different problems. I weakened springs , polished and throated 2 out of the 5 and got them to work to some degree.
ether way they are the equal to the old Jennings and raven junk guns.

Posted by: joe at August 12, 2007

I have a Thunder 380 and love it. I used it to qualify for my CHL without any problems. Another guy was there using his Lama 380 and was having all types of problems with it. I asked the Range Officer if it would be OK for the guy to use my Bersa and he said no problem.

Well you guessed it he went from a poor shot to being spot on target. We both passed with flying colors. He will be going to check out either a standard Thunder 380 or a 380 CC in the next few days. Try one you just might like it.

Posted by: Steve at August 26, 2007

Bought kel-tec p3at. DA broke after 20 rounds. Sent to factory. They had it 2 months! Now FTF and FTE. Makes a nice paper-weight but don't plan to stake my life on it. Piece of dung!

Posted by: stan at September 14, 2007

I bought the Kel Tec P3at recently and finally got to the range with it yesterday. Ran about 120 rounds through, slow and rapid fire. Not a single jam or misfire. Accuracy was fair at about 20 yards, but I suspect it will improve as I got used to it. I was concentrating on functionality rather than accuracy. Most of the rounds were FMJ, but I fired a couple of dozen Remington Golden Sabre BJHP with no problem. I found the gun comfortable to fire and responsive. Sure, the grip is small, but that's the price we pay for a weapon this size. Overall, I'm now confident this will be a very good defense/carry gun. It is a second generation P3at, and I did a "fluff and buff" anyway. I don't know if it helped, but apparetly it didn't hurt.

Posted by: Rocky at September 20, 2007

I bought my Kel Tec used and have shot close to 500 trouble free rounds with it. That leads me to believe many problems reported about the Kel Tecs are operator induced; ie failure to fire - short stroking the trigger, failure to eject - limp wristing; probably some improperly lubed guns as well.
BTW;I call BS on the two month turnaround by KT customer service.

Posted by: GB at October 08, 2007

Kel-tec's currently running about 3 months turnaround from what I hear. BUT my new 2nd generation P3AT has been flawless with 100 rounds of American Eagle FMJ and 60+ rounds of Federal Hydrashock and Speer GD HP. I LOVE this gun so far (I added the finger extension and the rubber-grip-cover). It disappears in a pocket holster and you don't even know you're carrying it. Much lighter and smaller than my Kahr PM9 (and so far, 100%--unlike the PM9 which had to go back to the mothership once).

Posted by: jF at October 09, 2007

How accurate is a Bersa Thunder 45 reallisticly at around 50 yards? I am going bear hunting this year, I will be hunting with a rifle but I need a powerful backup in case there's a mishap and I don't want the bear getting any closer than necessary. I also don't want to have to try to work a bolt action rifle while running backwards up the side of a mountain. At the same time I would like to have a weapon that I can use for concealed carry because I can't afford 2 guns. Does anyone think I could reallisticly ward off a bear attack from 50 yards in, or do I need to think about a different weapon. Thanks for any input.

Posted by: Jason at October 31, 2007

I bought a Kel Tec P3AT new several months ago and qualified for CWP with it. I have shot about 400 rounds since purchase with no problems. I have been using AE and Remington. It is a great CCW and I wouldn't even consider any other gun for this purpose (discreet carry). After a couple days you don't even know you have it.

Posted by: Robert at January 05, 2008

I just bought a Kel Tec P3AT and like the size and shape. I havent shot it yet, but the postings here make it clear: some of these guns are great and some mediocre but Kel Tec's service is great for the mediocre versions so dont worry. I own a Kahr pm9 9mm but dont carry it as often as I should. The Kel Tec is a gun that is so easy to carry, you dont even know its there. That solves the first rule in a gun fight: Bring your Gun. For now, practice, practice, practice.

Posted by: at February 24, 2008

II owned a Kel Tec P3AT. Without a doubt, it's the absolute best single shot gun you can buy! I never had a jam on the first round, but after that, forget it. It was trouble out of the box, I returned it twice. I think once I was managed to shoot a full clip without a jam. If your carrying one of these cheap, poorly made guns, make sure the first shot counts, cause you may never get a second chance.. BTW.. I got rid of it and went to Glock 26. Sure it’s bigger but after 2500 + rounds, it has never jammed.

Posted by: Cruzin at March 05, 2008

I recently purchased a kel-tec 380 p3at. So far i have been using remington ammo. 125 rounds without a jam. I am experimenting with a less expensive brand, for target pracice. I will keep you posted . My gun is a second generation model. Hopefully kel-tec got it correct. Have fun shooting

Posted by: Michael at May 08, 2008

Bought the p3at today 3 shots 3 jams. I wear slacks at work and it looks just like my wallet in my pocket. Hoping I can get the great customer service I have heard about on this site, or I will have the most comfortable single shot on the market.

Posted by: Brad Hunter at May 14, 2008

Bought the p3at today 3 shots 3 jams. I wear slacks at work and it looks just like my wallet in my pocket. Hoping I can get the great customer service I have heard about on this site, or I will have the most comfortable single shot on the market.

Posted by: Brad Hunter at May 14, 2008

how can you tell a kel tech 380 first gen from a 2nd gen?

Posted by: don skiro at May 17, 2008 or second gen..?....go to kel-tec customer service Email . They can tell you the Serial number effectivity of the split from 1 to 2 .They can also rework your gen 1 to a gen2.good luck Michael

Posted by: michael at May 18, 2008

After bragging how nice my P3AT fired without a jam, guess what ? Expermenting with a less expensive brand of ammo, it didn't jam because it would not fire. I would not fire with quality ammo either. Seamingly it was short fireing on the primer. Currently I am patiently waiting its return from Kel Tec. Will keep you informed. Any body have any similar problems ?

Posted by: Michael at May 30, 2008

Hi Everyone.Well I received my P3AT back from the factory today.[ 14 work day T/A which isn't bad ] I Couldnt wait to get to the range. I am happy to report that my unit fire's and it fires quality ammo and less expensive ammo also. Kel Tec had to replace some parts. Well, i am keeping my fingers cross because i really like the size of this unit and want it to work. Have fun shooting Michael

Posted by: Michael at June 11, 2008

Hi everyone . I just received my P3AT back from the factory {14 day T/A...not bad } Kel Tec replaced some parts. I could't wait to get to the range. I am happy to report that my weapon fires and it fires both quality ammo and less expensive ammo. I am extremely happy that this little unit is functioning properly because it is so convenient to carry. Have fun shooting Michael

Posted by: Michael at June 11, 2008

Hi everyone . I just received my P3AT back from the factory {14 day T/A...not bad } Kel Tec replaced some parts. I could't wait to get to the range. I am happy to report that my weapon fires and it fires both quality ammo and less expensive ammo. I am extremely happy that this little unit is functioning properly because it is so convenient to carry. Have fun shooting Michael

Posted by: Michael at June 11, 2008

Hi everyone . I just received my P3AT back from the factory {14 day T/A...not bad } Kel Tec replaced some parts. I could't wait to get to the range. I am happy to report that my weapon fires and it fires both quality ammo and less expensive ammo. I am extremely happy that this little unit is functioning properly because it is so convenient to carry. Have fun shooting Michael

Posted by: Michael at June 11, 2008

I'm always amazed at people who call the P3AT cheap (because it jammed) and then they mention the ammo they were firing and it's always reloads or cheapos, or something weird they were using to try to get .45 ACP results from a .380 Auto. I think the most critical thing about getting good performance from a P3AT or any other automatic pistol is the cartridge you shoot, and the most important thing about the cartridge you shoot is not whether it's got a hollow point or "ball" or frangible bullet, but whether its head spacing is perfect. If it is, you'll probably be able to get off two or three rounds in a row. If it isn't, you probably won't. I've never (yet) had a problem with my P3AT. I attribute my luck so far to my use of only quality Remington and Federal ammo.

Posted by: dmatt at July 11, 2008

Gotta weigh in here on the Bersa Thunder 380. I got a Thunder Plus about a year ago. Multiple stovepipes and lots of head scratching. Finally, a VERY seasoned instructor explained the problem. It's simple physics. Hold the weapon correctly and it won't do that. Your forearm becomes part of the weapon. When it ejects, the gun wants to 'slide' a little to the left in your hands. As such, it isn't lined up properly...and you'll wind up cussing again. Took the guy's advice and started running 15 at a time problems. 200 rounds later and no stovepipes. NOW I know how to hold it. It's not the's the shooter. Some friction tape on the back helps (kind of like training wheels on a bicycle) -- or a set of wraparound grips (ordered).

Posted by: Lyell Chapman at August 12, 2008

Just bought a Kel-Tec P3AT .380 this week along with a Crimson Trace LG430 Laser Sight (since my aging eyes can't even find the tiny sights). Installed the laser sight while in the store and then went to their indoor range. Put a box of 50 95gr Magtech ball ammo through it with no problems. Sighted in at 15ft: Initial POI shift after first 2 rounds and then only needed one windage adjustment on Laser Sight. Printed half-inch 3-shot groups off-hand by pausing trigger pull just before let-off. Rapid-fired one full load (6+1) downrange to check reliability: flawless. No complaints with this new pocket pistol except that it only came with one magazine. I'm ordering a second magazine.

Posted by: Art at August 23, 2008
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