By Miguel C. Gil
The Home Defense Journal (HDJ) editorial staff was given an opportunity to evaluate three pistols from the extensive product line of P.B. Dionisio & Co., Inc. in our continuing quest to discover new products to fill the home defense niche. Of these three handguns, the Argentinian-made Bersa BP9cc was the last one we test fired. The fact that it is the first one we are writing about should be testament to how much this 9x19mm pocket pistol thrilled us!
Until its recent introduction of the BP9cc, the flagship of the Bersa line seemed to have been its alloy-framed Thunder .380 ACP pocket pistol. The Thunder was a well-made pistol styled along the lines of the famed Walther PP but was somewhat less streamlined in appearance. Economics and not innovation was reportedly behind its modest success in the marketplace.
Enter the BP9cc with its slick polymer frame, simple double-action-only (DAO) trigger and substantial 8+1 magazine capacity.
Our test BP9cc came in a plastic gun case with two 8-shot magazines and the user’s manual. Upon opening the box, we were immediately impressed by its streamlined look and the very apparent quality of workmanship that went into the production of this pistol. While it looks no larger than many .380 pocket pistols—it chambers the much more powerful 9mm Parabellum cartridge.
Its modest dimensions belie what will prove to be its very respectable performance potential. It has an overall length of 6.35 inches, a height of 4.8” and width of 0.94”—trim and compact anyway you look at it. The BP9cc has an empty weight of only 21.5 oz… which puts it in the same weight class as the old back-up gun standard, the 5-shot Smith & Wesson Model 36 Chief’s Special.
The BP9cc has low-mounted fixed sights in the much-desired 3-dot format. It also has a slide stop lever to hold the slide open after the last shot—a feature not found in many pocket pistols. Another nicety found standard in the gun is an ambidextrous magazine release lever… which will surely delight many “lefties.”
The pistol’s 3.3-inch barrel has standard rifling grooves (can shoot lead bullets) as opposed to the polygonal rifling found in other contemporary pistols.
While many tend to compare any new polymer-framed pistol with the Glock, this one is actually more akin to the Khar pistol in size, heft and overall design.
It is unlike the Glock, HS2000 (Springfield XD) or the Steyr M9 A1—all of which have short traveling trigger actions which almost mimic single-action trigger pulls. The BP9cc is a true DAO… more comparable to polymer-framed pistols from Khar, Sig Sauer or Taurus. In this case, a relatively long and slightly heavy trigger pull is necessary to cock and release the internal striker in order to fire the pistol. As with all DAO pistols, there is no single action mode thus the gun can only be fired again by a repetition of the long trigger pull.
According to the product catalogue of Bersa, the BP9cc’s front sights are Sig Sauer styled while its rear sights are Glock styled! This may indicate compatibility with aftermarket sights intended for those two popular brands?!
HDJ’s opportunity to test the Bersa BP9cc came at the indoor firing ranges of P.B. Dionisio which is located at West Riverside St., San Francisco del Monte in Quezon City. The management of one of the Philippine’s oldest and most respected gun distributors allowed us exclusive use of one of its shooting bays for our modestly comprehensive evaluation.
Our first impression of its grip was that it was probably too small for our medium-sized hand. Not much material is needed to house the single-column 8-shot magazine, so the grip can be made quite slim. The Misis might like this grip more, or so we thought?!
Knowing very well that a grip that is too thin may be as uncomfortable to shoot as one that is too thick, we prepared to shoot a fidgety little gun. Our concerns were unwarranted! The BP9cc proved to be the sweetest shooting… most controllable little pistol in a service calibre that we have shot in a long time! Felt recoil seemed much less than what is perceivable when shooting some alloy-framed .380 pistols, in this writer’s opinion.
Since the BP9cc was clearly designed for close range personal defense, we limited our tests to around 7-meters. Holding the gun with both hands, we had not trouble hitting the Alpha zone of our target board. Even while firing rapidly with strong hand only, the gun remained mostly on target.
The BP9cc’s inherent “shootability” may be due to its polymer frame, which supposedly flexes to partially absorb recoil forces. But our shooting success was also due in no small part to the pistol’s smooth and relatively light DAO trigger pull as well as its well-regulated fixed sights.
We learned, however, that the pistol does not like reloaded soft lead ammo. We experienced two stoppages which can be attributed to shooting these reloads. But feeding the BP9cc with P.B. Dionisio’s proprietary Bullseye FMJ ammunition, the gun chambered and ejected flawlessly!
Remember to use only quality factory ammunition for any gun with which you would trust your life!
Carry vs. Home Defense
A pistol intended for concealed carry and one intended for home defense are two different things altogether—or so says traditional wisdom. A carry gun has to be small and light… often at the expense of firepower and sight radius. A house gun must have sufficient heft for easy shooting, hold plenty of rounds and may even be accessorized (lights, lasers etc.)… paying little regard to size and weight. The BP9cc may provide the legally armed citizen with a good compromise for his/her carry needs and home defense requirements.
Yes, the BP9cc is small… but not excessively so. An adult with all but the largest hands can still get a full grip around the pistol. The Bersa is unlike many sub compacts today with frames that are too short that they force the shooter’s little finger to hang free—unless a magazine with an extended floor plate is used as a pinky rest. The importance of getting a firm grip for accurate and confident shooting cannot be understated!
PLAY: The author learned that the BP9cc was easy to shoot and quite accurate at reasonable distances. (Video by IGG)
Another feature that gives the BP9cc added credibility as a home defense tool is the integral accessory rail on its frame. While short in comparison to rails found in full sized guns, it is still sufficient to hold compact lights and lasers that may give the home defender a much-needed edge in a low light home invasion scenario.
One final feature worth mentioning… which may or may not thrill potential consumers, is the Bersa’s integral locking system. This consists of a keyhole located at the right side of the BP9cc’s slide, that when engaged will render the pistol inoperable. Such features are necessary in countries that mandate them. But many seasoned shooters will surely avoid these “safety” features like a plague. The integral lock is, however, available for anyone who feels the need for it.
*SRP of Bersa BP9cc: Php30,350.00 (gun only)