Bersa TPR9c 9x19mm Semi-Automatic Pistol

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

March 7th, 2018


Click pictures for a larger version.







Ambidextrous decocker / safety.





Ambidextrous slide lock.





Accessory rail.



Loaded-chamber indicator.



One of the earliest pistol reviews I ever did was almost eighteen years ago, and the subject of that review was the Bersa Thunder 380 semi-automatic pistol (Ed. Note: a few years later, Jeff had another look at the Thunder 380 - Boge). That is a dandy little 380; not too small, not too large. Just right. Similar in size to the Walther PPKs, but more reliable, and with a better trigger. It also costs a lot less than the Walther, making the Bersa Thunder 380 one of the best values on the pistol market for many years. It is still a great choice for a 380 pistol. Over the years since that review, I have heard a lot of positive feedback from readers who have purchased that pistol with complete satisfaction. I have only heard of one negative experience, and that reader later reported that Eagle Imports rectified the problem quickly. I still have that Bersa Thunder that was the subject of that original review, and have added probably a half dozen more to my accumulation over the years, along with a few of the excellent little 22 Long Rifle versions of that same pistol, so my experience with Bersa firearms has been a pleasant one for many years.

With all that in mind, I was quick to say “yes” when asked if I would like to review their new compact version of the TPR9 pistol. The TPR9c is a solid pistol, constructed primarily of metal. The matte black finish of the steel slide matches well with the aluminum frame. The thirteen-round magazine is made of steel, with an aluminum follower and polymer base plate. The base plate has a slight extension for accommodation of the little finger. The black polymer grip wraps around the back of the frame, and is grooved for a secure hold. The slide lock and decocker controls are ambidextrous. The sights are made of steel, and have the familiar three-white-dot pattern. Both front and rear sights can be adjusted for windage correction by drifting in their dovetail cuts in the slide.

The TPR9C is of the double-action/single-action trigger design that was once very popular among new semi-auto pistols. Today, most new pistol introductions are of the striker-fired design, but the DA/SA trigger is a good system, proven for decades. With the hammer down on a loaded chamber, the pistol has a firing pin safety that prevents an accidental discharge if the pistol is dropped. To fire the first round requires a long, smooth trigger pull, much like that of a double-action revolver. After the first round is fired, the cycling of the slide chambers another cartridge, and the hammer remains in the cocked position, allowing subsequent shot to be fired with a short, crisp single-action trigger pull. The hammer may be safely lowered without touching the trigger by pressing upward on either of the ambidextrous decocking/safety levers. The pistol can then be safely holstered and carried with the safety in the “ON” position, or with the safety lowered into the “FIRE” position, ready to fire again with a double-action trigger pull. In addition to the manual safety, the TPR9C has an internal key lock, should you desire to use that feature. It also has a loaded-chamber indicator.

Critical specifications for the TPR9C are listed in the chart below. Weight is listed in ounces, and includes the empty magazine. Linear dimensions are listed in inches. Trigger pull is listed in pounds of resistance, as measured with my Lyman digital trigger pull scale and confirmed with my Timney mechanical trigger pull scale. DA is the double-action trigger pull. SA is the single-action trigger pull. Height includes sights and magazine base with the magazine in place. Maximum width is measured across the ambidextrous slide lock levers.

Chambering 9x19mm (9mm Luger)
Weight with Empty Magazine 27.7 ounces
Trigger Pull DA 10.1 pounds
Trigger Pull SA 4.9 pounds
Barrel Length 3.38 inches
Barrel Diameter 0.556 inch
Overall Height 5.1 inches
Overall Length 6.5 inches
Grip Width 1.21 inches
Frame Width 0.98 inch
Slide Width 0.98 inch
Maximum Width 1.39 inches
Trigger Reach 2.93 inches
Magazine Capacity 13 (10-round option available)
Magazines Supplied 2
Magazine Disconnect Safety No
Manual Thumb Safety Ambidextrous, Decocking
Loaded-Chamber Indicator Yes, Visual and Tactile
Internal Key Lock Yes
Accessory Rail Yes
MSRP as of March 2018 $465.00 US

I fired the Bersa TPR9c with a variety of ammunition over the chronograph to check velocities, with the results listed in the chart below. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second. Bullet weights are listed in grains. JHP is a jacketed hollowpoint bullet. DPX, Buffalo Bore Lead Free, and Double Tap and Barnes Tac-XP are hollow nose homogenous copper bullets that are made by Barnes Bullets. FMJ is a full metal jacket roundnose bullet. FMJ-FN is a full metal jacket flat nose Buffalo Bore Penetrator bullet. Velocities were taken at an elevation of 541 feet above sea level, with an air temperature of fifty-seven degrees Fahrenheit, and a relative humidity of seventy percent. Velocities were recorded at twelve feet from the muzzle.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
Buffalo Bore Lead Free HP +P 95 1414
Buffalo Bore Lead Free HP +P+ 115 1267
Buffalo Bore JHP +P+ 124 1259
Barnes TAC-XP 115 1001
Super Vel JHP +P 90 1422
Super Vel JHP +P 115 1283
Lehigh Defense HP +P 105 1078
SIG JHP 115 1203
CCI Blazer Brass FMJ 115 1062
Double Tap TAC-XP +P 115 1111
Double Tap FMJ +P 147 1043
Remington Home Defense 124 1090
Atomic HP +P 124 1145
WCC NATO FMJ 124 1045
Buffalo Bore FMJ-FN 124 1207
Buffalo Bore JHP +P+ 115 1402
Buffalo Bore JHP +P 147 1043
Cor-Bon JHP +P 115 1268
Cor-Bon Pow'RBall +P 100 1276
Cor-Bon DPX +P 115 1067
Cor-Bon JHP +P 125 1206

Every brand and type of 9x19mm ammunition tried in the Bersa ran well. Every cartridge fed, fired, and ejected flawlessly. Accuracy was very good. It was easy to keep every shot on target firing standing offhand at human silhouette and steel plates out to twenty-five yards. The TPR9c handles recoil very well, even when firing +P ammunition.

I got to try some of the new Super Vel high performance hollowpoint ammunition just coming to the market. Super Vel pioneered high velocity ammunition for police work decades ago, but the company went out of business for reasons unrelated to the quality of the ammunition. Now, Nevada Cartridge Company has reintroduced the new Super Vel ammo, with the same philosophy as the original, and it performed flawlessly in the Bersa pistol, exhibiting excellent accuracy and high velocities. The 90-grain load shows high velocity with relatively light recoil.

The Bersa TPR9C is very well fitted and finished. The feed ramp is well-polished for smooth and trouble-free feeding from the double-stack magazine. The pistol feels smooth, and runs smooth. Take-down for cleaning is easily accomplished with the rotation of a lever. Barrel-to-slide lockup is very solid and consistent. The TPR9c feels solid in the hand, without being excessively bulky or heavy. It carries fourteen rounds of 9mm ammo in a relatively compact package, with a smooth delivery system at a very affordable price. It is easy to shoot, and easy to shoot well. What’s not to like?

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Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.



TPR9c comes with two 13-round magazines, key lock, and hard case.





Key lock renders the pistol inoperable.





Magazine release.



Super Vel is back!



Excellent +P+ Hollowpoint load from Buffalo Bore.



Disassembly is quick, easy, and requires no tools.