Bersa BP9cc Part 2 Part 1
Learning the ways of subcompact carry
By Dennis Adler
While I prefer a CO2 training gun that is 100 percent correct to its cartridge-firing counterpart, like the Umarex S&W M&P40, the ASG Bersa BP9cc hits on so many important points that the magazine design almost becomes a secondary issue. What I like most about this particular airgun is the actual pistol it is based upon, a compact 9mm semi-auto that is just a little shorter in overall length than a Glock 19. It has the same simplicity of operation and many of the same fundamental features. The Bersa BPcc models remain slightly above the entry level pricing for a 9mm (.380 and .40 S&W) pistol, as does the price for the ASG CO2 model. Since the .177 caliber pistol uses an internal striker and has the same weight and basic handling of the cartridge models it offers a great opportunity to test the waters for a centerfire model and also work on trigger control, sighting, and most importantly for a compact pistol, determining the best means of carry for the gun. Aside from the cost of holsters, under $100 gets you started with the BP9cc airgun.
The Bersa is a simple gun to operate, like a Glock it is very straightforward. Even with the addition of the small thumb lever for the locking system, the CO2 model really doesn’t change dramatically in handling from the 9mm. Key to this pistol’s design is the trigger system which is based on the cartridge model design and it has the same long pull for the first shot, roughly 0.75 inches. The centerfire model is described as a short reset DAO and the CO2 version has about the same resistance, a trigger pull average of 5 pounds, 8.5 ounces. The short reset is longer on the air pistol and you can feel and hear it engage as you let off, not the first click but the second one and the gun is ready to fire. Even if you do release the trigger all the way, 5 pounds, 8.5 ounces is average for a DAO semi-auto. The ASG Bersa scores high for trigger control.
There is not a great deal of resistance when you rack the slide on the CO2 model, but it has a solid feel, and recoil with the short blowback action is brisk, so you get some actual felt recoil; nothing like a 9mm, but more than average for a blowback action CO2 pistol. This aids in learning how to reacquire your sights after each round, just like an actual cartridge gun. And as for the sights on the Bersa, they are very similar in shape to a Glock; a wide rear sight notch bordered by white dots (a Glock uses a white outline rather than dots) and a white front dot sight that is very easy to center. Combined with the trigger design the Bersa CO2 model is excellent for learning specific skill sets.
Loading the CO2 is quick work. First remove the stick magazine and its large base pad, then push the rectangular button at the base of the backstrap and remove it to expose the CO2 loading channel. The 12 gr. CO2 drops in easily and the seating screw is just large enough to easily get hold of. Only a few turns are needed to pierce the CO2. Replace the backstrap and the gun is ready to be loaded. The magazine follower locks solidly and as noted in Part, 1 is easy to fill with a speed loader. The gun can be made ready in a matter of minutes.
Holster and CCW options
If you are considering the 9mm Bersa BP9cc as a carry gun, the CO2 model will make holster choices and finding a comfortable carry method easy. With a compact pistol the options are generally limited to either an inside the waistband holster (IWB), a low profile belt or paddle holster, and if you have the desire to try it, a pocket holster. Subcompacts are better suited to pocket carry than compacts, but there are pocket holsters for the 9mm Glock 19 and Glock 42.
I generally recommend a low profile belt rig or paddle holster for carrying a small semi-auto, though my personal favorite is the Elite Survival Systems BCH-7 (Belt Clip Holster), which can be worn as an IWB or between the waistband and belt for a more relaxed carry. I also prefer them for EDC because rather than being leather or molded Kydex construction, they are made from ballistic nylon and sewn with a heavily stitched waffle pattern. The BCH models are thin but almost indestructible holsters that add very little bulk. It is an open top and open toe design with a reversible (right or left hand) spring steel belt clip that securely mounts the holster over the wearer’s belt, whether worn between the waistband and belt or inside the waistband.
Aside from belt rigs, pocket holsters provide yet another carry option, especially where a belt holster cannot be easily covered with a shirt or jacket. Pocket holsters have a few drawbacks of their own, they make drawing the gun slower, you have to be very careful how you draw, and most of all, if your pocket is too tight the gun and holster can print through (reveal their outline). Smaller pistols like .380s are ideally suited to pocket carry but small 9mm models can work as well; and a good rig and pistol combination should look much like a large wallet in the pocket.
The greater fault with the Bersa CO2 model is the oversized magazine base pad which makes the gun a little too leggy for practical use to train with carrying a 9mm pistol in a pocket holster. A quarter of an inch is a lot in a pant’s pocket and the grips are almost impossible to keep from printing. But for practice sake, you can still learn the fundamentals of safe carry and drawing from a pocket rig using the CO2 Bersa model.
Velocity from the blowback action pistol averaged an impressive 357 fps with a high of 361 fps and a low of 334 fps. Factory spec for the BP9cc is 350 fps. Test distance was 21 feet and shots were fired using a Weaver stance and two-handed hold.
The large white dot sights were quick to put on target and even with the slide’s blowback action almost instantaneous to reacquire. On the plus side for the longer grip frame with undercut triggerguard and extended base pad, a full hand grip is easy and the little finger ends up resting solidly against the curve of the extended base pad. The magazine release is easy to operate but the magazine is not a drop free design and has to be pulled from the grip frame. The upside to this is training for a tactical reload where the partially used magazine is removed and replaced with a full one. The full size base pad makes this a semi-realistic exercise. Last is the thumb safety, which being located on the right rear of the slide in awkward to use, but it is not intended to be a manual safety on the cartridge models. The lever just makes it easier to use than a separate locking key and I applaud ASG for making use of an existing system rather than adding a non-authentic manual safety to the airgun.
We now know how well it handles, how easy it is to carry, so how well can it shoot? At the test distance I was able to group 10 shots into 1.5 inches in the 10 and X. My best 5 rounds measured 0.74 inches with three shots nearly overlapping in the 10 ring; not at all bad for a 2.91 inch smoothbore barrel at 21 feet. With that level of accuracy and velocity, in every possibly way that counts the ASG Bersa BP9cc gets high marks, with the exception of its separate stick magazine. Considering everything else this air pistol has going for it, that doesn’t really seem like such a big deal. This airgun gets a top rating for CCW training.
A Word About Safety
Blowback action models provide the look, feel and operation of their cartridge-firing counterparts. All airguns, in general, look like guns, but those based on real cartridge-firing models even more so. It is important to remember that the vast majority of people can’t tell an airgun from a cartridge gun. Never brandish an airgun in public. Always, and I can never stress this enough, always treat an airgun as you would a cartridge gun. The same manual of operation and safety should always apply.