Law Enforcement Technology

JUL 2015

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32 Law Enforcement Technology July 2015 B Y L I N D S E Y B E R T O M E N FIREARMS TACTICS W e are currently living in a time where the danger of the badge has increased, despite the fact that the profession itself, and the professionals who practice it, are the best we have ever been. In this era only an irrational officer would fail to carry a firearm 24/7. And for this, the Bersa Firestorm is a viable option. I tested the Bersa Firestorm (FS380M), a compact 380 auto handgun manufactured by Bersa of Argentina and imported by Eagle Imports; we were pleasantly sur- prised. It was one of the least expensive handguns we have ever tested for this column and it exceeded the quality of many guns twice the price. Let's start with specs. The Bersa Firestorm is an alloy frame 7+1 semi auto with a steel slide and wrap around rubber grips. It is has a 6.6-inch overall length, 4.9-inch height and is 1.3 inches at its widest point. The Firestorm and the Bersa Thunder, their top seller, are almost identical…except the Thunder doesn't have the wraparound grips (which our testers preferred) or white outline sights (also preferred). Both guns closely resemble the Walther PPK in many respects but they are definitely different handguns. There is a bright fin- ish version of the Bersa Thunder, but we liked the matte black Firestorm. The Firestorm has a 3.5-inch fixed barrel with a micro polished bore. If the reader has seen some of the recent reviews of .380 auto ammunition I have done, you will recognize that this is the ideal length and design for the more powerful and accurate ammunition available in 380 auto. Using Winchester Train & Defend ammo for this par- ticular test, we were able to spit out accurate rapid fire with this combina- tion—and often exceeded our duty gun specs for accuracy. Luckily we had plenty of ammuni- tion on our range sessions and our Bersa Firestorm consumed it smoothly. As a reloader, I pick up every piece of brass that falls on a range floor. This gun threw the brass behind me and into the next shooting position. It was patently reliable, accurately sending bullets into the 10X and brass into neat piles. It would have been comical had anyone been standing behind me to my right. Now let's talk use. Before I will carry an "everyday" gun, it must answer the question, "Would I make a hostage shot with this gun and ammunition?" That is, if I were at the mall (fat chance, for those who know me) could I consistently make a 10-yard, sub 4-inch shot? With the Bersa Firestorm and Winchester Accurate fire from the pocket ... and affordable, too Bersa's compact 380 Firestorm is a deceptively simple back-up choice

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