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380 Beretta Bersa Grand Power grip tape Handall Handall Jr. Hogue P11 PX4 PX4 Storm Ruger SR9C Talon Grips

Hogue Rubber Slip-on Grips for Grand Power P11

I was checking my handguns (I do this monthly to ensure there’s no rust and that they’ve a coating of oil) and came across my P11.  The Grand Power P11 is a beautiful handgun, but one of the things I hate about it is that the grip is soooo damned slippery.

I’ve often thought of buying Talon Grips or grip tape that is rubberized, just so I could use it on this handgun’s grip.  I’m not sure if Talon Grips would properly seal onto the grip, though, and grip tape can sometimes be a pain in the ass to get right.  Grip tape was my last resort.

I’ve a Hogue slip-on grip on my Beretta PX4 Compact that I installed maybe 8 months ago (I talk about it here).  It was also a pain in the ass to mount on that handgun but it’s solid and feels great in the hand.  The rubberized texture feels natural and grippy.

I decided to try a set for the P11, but I searched to see if anyone else had documented online that they’d tried Hogue slip-ons on this handgun.  I couldn’t find any data via Google that showed anyone trying this, so I didn’t know which set of slip-ons to try.

I went to Hogue’s website and looked at what they had.  Each slip-on had documentation showing which gun they’d fit.  I perused the Handall Jr. product’s documentation and saw that it would fit such guns as the Bersa Thunder .380 and the Ruger SR9C.  Both of those have rather thin/slim girthed grips, so I thought that this one would best fit my P11.  The plan was to order one and if it didn’t fit, to reorder the next size up.

The slip-on arrived today.  At first I thought that it was too small.  I had to fight to get it onto the grip, but, as with my PX4’s slip-on, I warmed it up a bit (with a hair dryer), which made the rubber a bit more pliable.  I suppose I could’ve used water to “lube” the grip to the point that the slip-on would slide onto the grip.  Regardless, it eventually fit onto the grip!

The grip feels MUCH better now.  I feel much more confident with it in my hand now.  Prior to that, it always felt like the handgun might slip from my hands.  It also looks rather nice on the handgun…looks different and not so much out of place.

I plan to take it to the range to see if it enhances shooting.

I should’ve done this a LONG time ago.

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380 Bersa decocker disconnect Grand Power magazine Mk12 P1 P11 Plus Thunder

Another Range Visit – 12/18/2016

I went to the range after work on 12/12.  I decided to bring my Metro Arm 1911 and the Bersa Thunder 380 Plus.  I only ended up firing the Bersa and my carry gun, the Grand Power P11.  I thought that 3 guns in a one-hour visit was too much, and I felt the need to be shooting more ammo out of the Grand Power since I’ve neglected to frequent the range.

I shot a total of 100 rounds out of the P11 (for a total of 816 rounds out of the gun).  There were no feed issues.

I shot 125 rounds out of the Bersa (for a total of 159).  There were no feed issues.

As with all my range sessions, I shoot at 7 yards.

First 15 rounds of the session, using the P11 (using GP P1 mags…bought 3 of them), 7 yards.
50 rounds, same target as above, same range, same gun.  Ammo is American Eagle ball FMJ, 115-grain.
Here’s the 2nd box of American Eagle, same gun, same distance.
Here’s the Bersa Thunder 380 Plus.  I’m not used to shooting this gun.  It feels too small for my hands (having issues with finger placement on the trigger since my hands are so big).  Taking my time, I can be accurate with it, though.  This is 15 rounds at 7 yards.
Here’s the whole 125 (100 rounds of  WWB flat-nosed FMJ and 25 rounds of Federal ball FMJ).  I couldn’t tear a ragged hole in the red like I can with the P11.  The P11 is built a lot better, though (better trigger and sights, less recoil reaching my hands).

Comparing the two guns, both are roughly the same size.  Roughly.  The P11 has the shorter barrel (3.3″, compared to the Bersa’s 3.5″ barrel).  The P11 is heavier (22.6 oz vs the Bersa’s 20.5).  Both are DA/SA guns, but the P11 has a very precise trigger in either mode.  The P11 fills my strong hand in a way that lets me put my trigger finger pad on the trigger.  The Bersa’s grip fits oddly in my hand, which hinders my finger placement.  I’ve to fumble around with the gun to get my finger pad on the trigger.  After awhile, I quit fumbling and accepted my fate that my hands may be too damned big for this gun’s grip.

Both guns have manual safeties.  The P11 has a frame safety that flicks up and down, similar to a 1911.  The Bersa has a slide safety that is counter-intuitive.  It works the opposite as what would be on a 1911.  As well, it is oddly placed, so that even if you train, you’re going to have to move your hand to get to it (unless you’ve super-small hands).  As well, the safety is very stiff.  Both of these issues mean that you’re probably going to have to train to engage or disengage the safety with the off-hand.  Also, the Bersa’s safety is also functioning as a decocker.  You can’t carry cocked and locked with the Bersa, since the decocker is also a safety and when you actuate the safety, you’re also decocking the gun.  Well…let me rephrase.  You can carry cocked but you’ll be doing it without the safety engaged with this gun, and that is unsafe unless you’ve trained for that; plus, you’d better have a good holster that protects the trigger.  Better to get a different gun if you’re looking to carry in a cocked and locked fashion…it won’t work well with this gun.

The Bersa also has a magazine disconnect.  This makes it very difficult to practice dry-firing, unless you keep the mag in the gun.  I’m thinking on removing the mag disconnect.  IMO, there are no cons in doing this (closet lawyers, please go back to your closet), especially if you’re already using sound safety practices…I mean, what’s keeping me from blowing a hole in the drywall with my guns that don’t have mag disconnects?  Good safety practices…

I thought that the Bersa would choke on the flat-nosed Winchester ammo.  I bought that ammo by mistake.  I’d heard from other Thunder 380 owners that these guns do not like flat-nosed ammo.  I saw a box of 100 at Walmart and it was labeled (on the box) as FMJ.  When I got home and opened the box, it was flat-nosed.  IMO, it should’ve been labeled as such on the box, especially since most sellers don’t accept returns on ammo.  But it didn’t choke on that ammo at all.  It ate it all without complaint.

Overall, the Bersa is a good enough gun.  I won’t be carrying it, though.  Because of what I’ve stated above, I’m unwilling to carry it.  This gun is not something I want to adjust to.  I’d have to find a way to thicken the grips so that I’d have less of an issue with trigger finger placement.  I’d also have to get used to the odd decocker (it’s in an odd position and training will not help that…then again, I can always carry decocked but with the safety disengaged…DA/SA guns can get away with this).

I’m still in love with the P11, although I’m thinking I might need more grip area with this gun as well.  The option would be to move to the P1 (maybe the P1 Ultra).  Grand Power markets that as a compact-sized gun with a 3.5″ barrel.  It also has swappable back straps (the P11 doesn’t have this…it should).  The P11’s grips are a bit slick, too.  Grip tape may be in the future of mine’s.  Oh, and Grand Power has also upgraded the P11 to have a decocker.  It is not a dedicated decocker…it’s a decocker/safety, similar to how Bersa implements it.  A dedicated decocker would’ve been better, IMO.  For now, I’ll stick to manually decocking (training is key — closet lawyers, go home).

I’m close to 1000 rounds out of the P11.  One range visit should put me over the 1000 round mark.  I know I’ve reported that it was experiencing FTFs/FTEs and failures to return to battery, but I’ve not seen that occurring since I’ve stopped using Remington ammo.  The issues of the past year were exclusively due to Remington ammo (and another gun choked on the same ammo in the same fashion).  I’ve also learned how/where to lube the gun.  There’s no wear on the gun’s internals, either.

Until next time…

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380 Bersa Grand Power P11 Plus T-100 Thunder Tristar

Range Visit with Bersa and Tristar

Yesterday was my birthday and I decided that I would go to the range after work.

There was a 40-minute waiting list and I almost ended up leaving.  That’s the first time I’ve ever been to Elite Shooting Sports where there was a backlog during the week day.  What’s cool is that they had  tablet kiosks to allow you to add yourself to the wait list and you’d be texted (to your phone) when a slot was available.

The staff was cordial and I know they were really busy, but none of the register attendants acted like they wanted to be there.  When you’re buying merchandise, service, or just space/time, the worst thing is to interact with employees that act like they don’t like what they’re doing.  This is the second time I’ve noticed this…was hoping it wouldn’t turn into a trend.

Anyways…

I decided to shoot the Bersa Thunder 380 Plus first, since it was something different for me (blow-back design and .380 caliber).  Man, is that thing accurate!  Recoil is next to nothing, too.  I dumped 3 rounds into each target, 7 yards away, semi-rapid fire, from upper right to upper left, lower right to lower left, then center.  The first shot was dead on the red (as well as being a DA shot), but the following two flew a bit upward.  Then next target was a bit wide, but I still touched the red at least once.  The rest of the groups tightened up significantly as I navigated the targets.

I shot a total of thirty-four rounds before I put the Bersa away.  Since I only had one magazine, I stopped shooting it.  I’ve ordered 3 new OEM magazines from MidwayUSA.com (was marked down at $27 each but has since been up-priced at $49)

I then focused on the Tristar T-100 9mm for the rest of the range session.  One thing I neglected to do was manually decock the gun for a DA shot.  I’ve a feeling I wouldn’t have hit red in DA like I did with the Thunder, as the DA trigger is long and strong (much longer and stronger than what I’m used to).  But I did a mag dump in the center target as a first date:

I started off fine but as I sped up my follow-on shots, my group began to lose composure.  That’s not the gun’s fault…it’s mine.  I was treating it like the Bersa since the Bersa was the gun I was shooting prior to picking up the T-100.  Recoil was significantly more than the Bersa, but I was all over the target center before I upped the pace.  This gun is just as easy to shoot as the Bersa, because of it’s low bore axis and it’s non-traditional rail setup (it’s using the CZ design).

I then tried to focus on small groups (using the same target):

The groups are very tight, especially upper left.  The lower right had a flyer, but the two that landed were almost on top of each other and near center-mass.

For the T-100, I used the same Remington 147-grain flat-nosed FMJ that choked my Grand Power P11.  It ate 150 of that make/model without one failure.  One round had a slightly crinkled lip but I wanted to see if the round would still chamber and fire without issue…it did.  I expected nothing less, as I know that CZs aren’t designed to be as tight as GP’s products.  The gun frame was warm to the touch when I was done with it (it’s a metal-framed gun), but not uncomfortably so.  For the Bersa, I used Federal 95-grain FMJ, and there were no failures.

I also fired some spare ammo from my GP P11 (8 rounds of Winchester Personal Protection JHP that had been chambered several times…they needed to be used or disposed of, so I used them).  There were no issues whatsoever.  I neglected to bring non-Remington 9mm so I couldn’t fire the P11 any more than that.  Plus, I only had the lane for an hour and I was out of time after firing 8 rounds from the P11.  I need more range time with the P11 since it is my carry gun.  Of those 8 rounds, only half hit the target.  I found I was slapping the trigger, but as soon as I figured that out, the rest were all in the red.  The P11 doesn’t seem to be as forgiving with heavy-handedness, and it’s SA trigger is very light.  I’d have done better if I’d have had more time to adjust to the switch-up of handguns.

I had fun with the two new guns, especially the Tristar.  I’ll probably shoot it again the next range visit.

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380 Bersa Nickel Plus Thunder

Found My Bersa!

I’ve found my Bersa, although it wasn’t in matte black like I originally wanted.

I bought a Bersa Thunder 380 Plus in Nickel Satin from Hinterland Outfitters for $361 (now $391).

Immediate pre-firing impressions:

  • There are lots of tooling marks, scrapes and nicks, even as a new product.
  • It has a stiff safety/decocker, but it might wear in (I put oil on the safety lever and it’s not so stiff anymore).
  • The safety/decocker is in an awkward place.  My hands aren’t large but they aren’t the smallest in the world, either, so I’m thinking this isn’t just an issue with my hands…it’s a safety/decocker placement issue.  
  • The rubber grips work great…shouldn’t need to be replaced, even though Plus model grip options are scarce.
  • Take-down is relatively easy, but re-installing the slide is a bit difficult.
  • The handgun is slim but wide at the grip.
  • The rear sights don’t appear to be durable…looks like it won’t take too many slide racks when using a hard substance.

About the second bullet (Safety/decocker is in an awkward place), here are some additional notes:  There’s no way in hell I’m going to be able to use the safety with my strong hand, not even with lots of training, as it’s just flat-out in the wrong position for my hands.  When I read Bersa Chat posts on the issue, there are lots of people that have the same experience.  It’s good that this is a DA/SA gun, otherwise that safety would be an even more serious detriment.

Range time will come shortly.  Also, expect a quick video…I’ll post the link to the video when it’s ready.

UPDATE:  The after-range report is here.

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380 Bersa Canik CZ75 Guns America Plus Shark C T-100 Thunder Tristar

Cancelled the Bersa Order, But Purchased A Tristar T-100!

I updated my previous post, as I had to cancel the order for the Bersa Thunder 380 Plus because the online store didn’t have the gun in stock.  I had to chase them down to ask after I noticed the order wasn’t being updated.  Argentina is experiencing economic issues that are apparently affecting Bersa shipments.  This gun is backlogged all across the U.S.  I don’t want a used gun because the gun has a lifetime warranty if bought new.

So, I’ve really no choice but to wait, or check local pawn shops for used examples.  Or, check local gun shows.  As well, Bersa recently released a new product, the Plus Combat.  I can certainly wait for that version!

I’ve also been looking for a Tristar T-100 in 9mm, or a Canik Shark C in 9mm.  Both are the same gun.  Tristar is just the US Importer (or was).  This gun is hard to find as well.  Even used.  I found one on Guns America that was in a perpetual state of “an offer has been submitted for this item”, meaning, someone is trying to purchase it.  It stayed that way for at least 2 weeks so I asked the dealer (located in Connecticut) if they still had the gun.  They did and told me that if I called and bought it, it would be shipped out tomorrow.  I called them and bought the gun.  I had to also call my local gun shop and ask them to fax a copy of their FFL to the store I was buying the gun from, as I wanted the store to ship the gun to my local shop.   Doing it over the phone was a bit convoluted, as I’m used to doing it straight over the internet.  Connecticut must be a bit hokey like that when it comes to guns (especially after Sandy Hook).

So, I went from not being able to get the Bersa to getting the Tristar.  The T-100 is basically a compact CZ75.  It is a DA/SA gun (without a decocker).  It has the inverted slide rails.  It is all-metal and blued. It can use CZ parts.  It comes with two 15-round magazines.

Shipping is $30 (kinda high).  I’ll also be looking at paying my local gunshop $25 to accept the transfer.  The gun was $319.  With total shipping, it’s $375.  Not sure I’m happy about that, but available T-100s are extremely difficult to find, so I’ll eat the shipping costs.

I can’t wait to shoot this gun!

Tristar T-100 with VZ Frag grips
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15 2075 380 AR-556 Bersa Canik CZ Glock M&P Plus RAMI BD Ruger S&W Shark Shark C T-100 T100 Thunder Tristar

New Wishlist

I’m probably not going to get any new guns any time soon…I’m still OK with what I currently have.

I do wonder if I should try to sell a couple since I’m no longer going to California and no longer have the need to be able to bring non-attainable guns with me to that state.  I currently have two Canik TP9SAs, for example…I only really need one.  The plan was to bring two and possibly sell one of them to a CA resident since those are not on the CA DOJ roster.  As well, I’ve two Rock Island Armory 1911s that shoot 9mm ammo…I really only need one, although I can keep one of them to modify/paint.  I’ve even thought about selling my Sig Sauer SP2022 and even my P220…of the two, the P220 has more ‘keep’ potential, although it won’t hurt to keep both of the (I’ve the space).

Some guns I’m thinking about buying next are:

CZ 2075 RAMI BD in 9mm

UPDATE (7/20/2014):  I’m adding the Tristar T-100 to the list.  It is a CZ75 clone and resembles a Baby Desert Eagle (itself a CZ clone).  They are 9mm DA/SA hammer-fired handguns.  There’s also the Canik Shark C, which is identical to the Tristar T-100.  The two colors I’m interested in are the platinum and black, but I only want one of the two:

sootch00 has a good review of the T-100 here:

UPDATE (1/22/2016):  I changed my mind about the Bersa Thunder Pro Ultra Compact.  I have also changed my mind about the RIA rifle and the S&W E-Series 1911…I no longer want any of them.  I do want a Bersa Thunder 380 Plus (or Combat model).  A Glock 22 Gen 3 (used) is also desirable, as well as a Grand Power P1 (mk7 is preferable, to cut costs).  Oh, and a long gun is pretty much mandatory:  I’ll considering either a Ruger AR-556 or a S&W M&P 15 Sport (the Ruger would be the better buy for the same amount of money, though).

To be honest, not a lot is jumping out at me and I should really start thinking about taking a few self defense courses and focus on trying to sharpen my shooting skills.