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The Bersa TPR9 – Bersa’s finest handgun

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Screen Shot 2018 04 04 at 12.21.07 PM - The Bersa TPR9 - Bersa's finest handgun

The Bersa TPR handguns were published in February, and the changes they made from the long-standing Bersa Pro Thunder series of pistols are substantial.

Bersa produced their TPR (Thunder Pro Redesign) pistols to be more sleek in the slide and the grip, while shortening the single action trigger pull to the shortest reset I believe ever experienced on a semi-auto handgun. They also added additional slide work that most shooters will find advantageous.

I was able to review the Bersa TPR 45c (the “c” stands for compact) and the full-size Bersa TPR 9, and after a couple sessions of range time with the TPR 9, I believe this model is Bersa’s finest handgun yet. To top it off, the Bersa TPR 9 is a budget-priced handgun with an MSRP of $465, but the standard gun store is selling it between $360 and $370.

The Bersa TPR 9 features a slimmer polymer grip, an ambidextrous thumb safety/decocker and slide discontinue, serrated memory pads for the weak-side thumb, three-dot sights with the rear being drift adjustable, a fore-conclude pictinny rail for accessories, front slide serrations, a raised loaded chamber bar on the top of the slide and a wide trigger guard that allows for additional finger space to reach the trigger. It also sports a 4.25-inch barrel, a steel guide rod, ships with two 17-round magazines and with the alloy aluminum frame, it weighs just 31 ounces unloaded. The Bersa TPR models continue to exercise the disassemble lever from the Thunder Pro series that I believe is the quickest and easiest field strip of any gun in today’s market. A simple downward push of the rob-down lever, and the slide releases from the frame for cleaning and maintenance.

The Bersa TPR 9 models’ (both the full-size and compact size with a 3.25-inch barrel) most significant improvement is the single action trigger. Upon the initial trigger pull, the trigger reset for the following shot is incredibly short. I consider the single action trigger reset equivalent to, if not shorter than, the Sig Sauer STR (short trigger reset). The advantage to a short trigger reset is for quicker and more accurate follow-up shots, which will allow the shooter to remain on target easier.

At the range, the Bersa TPR 9 performed just as I had expected. I shot approximately 250 rounds of Magtech 115 gr. 9mm target loads and a couple magazines of Remington Golden Sabre Black Belt 124 gr. hollow points. The Bersa TPR 9 fed, fired and ejected every round without any failures. It was also incredibly accurate. While shooting from various distances, both two-handed and one, I was able to hit my steel targets with ease and with confidence. I did not need a “learning curve” with this handgun. Straight out of the box, the Bersa TPR 9 performed excellently for me.

This review features the full-size Bersa TPR 9, but Bersa also produces a compact-size TPR 9c that is smaller, lighter and more conducive to carry on an everyday basis. Check out the tabletop and range reviews, and let us know your experiences with Bersa handguns along with your interest in their recent TPR models.

All opinion articles are the opinion of the author and not necessarily of Spec Ops Magazine. If you are interested in submitting an Op-Ed, please email [email protected] 

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Sidearms

Meet the Smith & Wesson Model 39/59: The Navy SEALs Old Gun

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Smith and Wesson Model 5906 - Meet the Smith & Wesson Model 39/59: The Navy SEALs Old Gun

The Odyssey of the Smith & Wesson Model 39/59, from its Germanic origins to the gun shops of America and the jungles of Vietnam, was unique and very much a product of the Cold War. Although out of production and no longer common, Smith & Wesson’s nine-millimeter handgun has earned a noteworthy place in American firearms history .

One of the earliest American 9-millimeter pistols was adopted for wartime service to take out enemy sentries… and barking dogs.

The Smith & Wesson Model 39 semi-automatic handgun served U.S. Navy SEALs during the Vietnam War and then went on to become one of the American nine-millimeter high capacity pistols, the Model 59.

The Smith & Wesson Model 39 had its roots in postwar America. U.S. troops, encountering the Walther P-38 on the battlefield, had a favorable impression of the German pistol. U.S. gunmaker Smith & Wesson decided to make an Americanized version of the P-38 for the domestic market, and borrowed heavily from Walther’s design. Internally, the Model 39 was very similar, to the point where magazines could almost be swapped between guns. Externally there were key differences, including a 1911-type full barrel slide removed with a twist of a barrel bushing. The Model 39 went on commercial sale in 1955.

The Model 39 was a double action pistol. It was 7.44 inches long and weighed just 26.5 ounces empty with a four-inch barrel. It was a recoil-operated handgun using a modified version of the Colt/Browning locking system used on handguns such as the 1911. Like the Walther P-38 the slim metal, single stack magazine held eight rounds of 9-millimeter Parabellum.

During the 1960s the CIA had experimented on a suppressor for the Walther P-38, a pistol which in the Agency’s opinion combined reliability, firepower, and a distinctive non-American lineage. The suppressor greatly reduced the Walther’s report, particularly when combined with a slide lock that prevented the slide to fly backward. The use of a slide lock turned the pistol into a single-shot weapon and caused dramatic wear and tear on the handgun’s components, but the result was a very quiet pistol.

As the Vietnam War ramped up U.S. Navy SEALS requested a new suppressed pistol. The Naval Ordnance Laboratory picked the Smith & Wesson Model 39 and proceeded to adapt the CIA’s P-38 suppressor to it, including slide lock. The pistol used a heavy, full metal jacket 158 grain round developed with the assistance of Remington Arms. The extra weight slowed the normally supersonic 9mm round to below the speed of sound, eliminating the sharp crack of a bullet exceeding Mach 1.

The pistol’s imminent issue to SEAL units required it to be able to work after being transported through water. Plastic seals and muzzle plugs could seal off the suppressor from water and prevent water from entering the pistol barrel. The waterproofing was sufficient to protect the gun up to 200 feet underwater, both with the suppressor installed and without. The gun could be fired without removing the muzzle protection, which was blown off as the bullet exited the barrel.

The resulting weapon was given the Navy designation 9mm Pistol Mark 22 Mod 0 . The weapon could be used by SEALs to covertly take out sentries guarding an enemy-held village or enemy stronghold, or even dogs that threatened to bark and reveal a SEAL unit’s presence. The Mark 22 Mod 0 received the nickname “Hush Puppy” for this reason.

The Model 39/Mark 22 was used by SEAL units throughout the Vietnam War. As the war wound Smith & Wesson turned its attention to updating the Model 39. The company’s designers went back to the drawing board and widened the grip, adding one of the first double-stack magazines ever on an American handgun. This nearly doubled magazine capacity to 14 rounds. While that may sound perfectly normal today, at the time six-round revolvers dominated the firearms scene and other semi-automatics carried a similar amount of rounds to the Model 39. The increased magazine size added only eight ounces to the weight of the pistol empty, in part due to the use of aluminum. The new pistol, called the Model 59, hit the U.S. domestic market in 1971.

The Odyssey of the Smith & Wesson Model 39/59, from its Germanic origins to the gun shops of America and the jungles of Vietnam, was unique and very much a product of the Cold War. Although out of production and no longer common, Smith & Wesson’s nine-millimeter handgun has earned a noteworthy place in American firearms history.

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Sidearms

Beretta 93R

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Beretta 93R Machine Pistol

This is an advanced weapon based on the Model 92 but with several additional features which place it in the “machine pistol” category. It has been adopted by Italian Special Forces and security police, and interest has been expressed in several other countries.

Basically, the pistol is similar to the Beretta Model 92 in that it uses a dropping-block locked breech. The principal visible change is the use of a longer barrel which protrudes in front of the slide and has a prominent muzzle brake; there is also a folding front grip, hinged to the frame so that it lies beneath the frame front when not in use or can be folded down to act as a grip for the left (or disengaged) hand. This proves to be more practical than one might think, giving a steadier hold than the more common two-handed butt grip.

In addition, there is a light metal folding stock unit which can be clipped to the bottom of the butt, and which then converts the pistol into something approaching a light carbine. Finally, the magazine has been lengthened to hold 20 rounds, so that it extends below the bottom of the butt. For those preferring a more elegant shape, the normal Beretta Model 92 15-shot magazine can be used.

beretta m9 - Beretta 93R

Beretta 92 or M9 is a standard pistol of U.S. Army

The reason for all these changes is that under the right but-plate is a three-round burst controller. The frame-mounted safety catch offers three positions: safe, single shot and 3-round burst; placing the catch in this last position permits the firing of three rapid shots for one pressure on the trigger, the cyclic rate of fire being about 110 rounds per minute.

This is low by machine pistol standards and therefore there is less disturbance of the aim; moreover the forward hand grip and shoulder stock, used either separately or together, and the damping effect of the muzzle break, allow the firer firm control of the weapon, and high-speed photography shows that there is relatively little “climb” during the firing of a burst.

Beretta Model 93R

Manufacturer: Armi Beretta SpA, I-25063, Gardone Val Trompia, Italy
Type: Locked breech, double-action, semi-automatic with burst-fire facility.
Caliber : 9 mm Parabellum
Barrel: 6.14 in (156 mm) including muzzle brake
Weight (empty): 41.2 oz (1170 gm)
Magazine capacity: 20 rounds
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