My SO, Bumblebee, is a stellar shot with a Glock 19, but it's not a suitable carry pistol for her diminutive frame. At 5'3" and 105lbs, it's not really possible for her to dress around it. Similarly, she can wrap both of her diminutive hands around the Glock, but it's not a very secure grip. We've thoroughly explored every option on the shelves of the store, and the best grip size we found was the Walther PK380, which is out of the running, for reasons of QC. A very close second was the Bersa Thunder 380, and I've sold literal dozens and dozens of them to near-universal acclaim from new and experienced shooters. The Thunder380 is an intelligent evolution of the Walther PPK design, with a real external slide stop, and none of the issues that plague the current crop of cast-internals Walther PPK that S&W is offering for sale in the US.
Even as reliable and compact as the Bersa Thunder380 is, it's not perfect. It's a straight blowback design, and this can cause the recoil to feel a bit too snappy for some shooters to enjoy practicing more than a couple of rounds. The safety is resolutely European - it's backwards, just like the safety on a Walther P38. Taking the safety off requires shoving the side of your thumb up and forward, in a movement that has nothing to do with acquiring a good shooting grip on the gun. Lastly, it's got a DA/SA trigger pull that's not terrible, but will definitely hurt the potential for good trigger control, especially in new shooters.
BP9CC, side view
The Bersa Polymer 9 Concealed Carry is a name that needs only a "HD 4G LTE" suffix to be worthy of an Android phone for Sprint, so for brevity and sanity's sake, I'm going to refer to it as the BP9CC for the remainder of the article. Long-winded moniker aside, the BP9CC fixes every issue I have with the Thunder380, as well as a lot of issues that I have with the current batch of pocket-sized 9mm pistols.
First off, the polymer frame is much more comfortable than the Alloy Thunder380 frame. It doesn't feel cheap like Kel-Tec plastic, has a compact beavertail that allows a good, high grip, a generous trigger guard for a gun this size, and an accessory rail. The magazine release is ambidextrous, and the slide stop is a substantial chunk of easy-to-depress steel. The slide is squared off and heavier by a few ounces than a few of the gun's nearest competitors - the Taurus 709, Ruger LC9, Kahr CW9 or the M&P Shield. Of those mentioned, our experience with them in test-firing was that they all had snappier recoil, with the Shield by far the best of a fairly unpleasant group of baby 9mm pistols. The BP9CC, by comparison, is even a little more pleasant to shoot than a Glock 26, and neither of us felt fatigued or beaten up by the grip afterwards. I really can't stress enough how nice it is to find a 9mm pistol with roughly the same external measurements of a Thunder380, that is also easier and more pleasant to shoot.
The iron sights are white 3-dot sights, nothing fancy, but there's a clear provision for night sights down the line, as they're dovetailed, front and rear. There's no external manual safety, which may delight the lefties among us, as well as those trained on Glocks and other point-and-click interfaces. The trigger is worth its own paragraph. It's wide faced and fairly flat, with a takeup that does build a bit in weight, but doesn't exceed 6 lbs, and it's a surprise break that rolls right over, with no over travel. The reset is very short and fast - maybe 1/10th of an inch - and it's tactile and audible, resetting with clicky authority. Of the competition, the M&P Shield had a trigger that felt nearly this good, and it's whole miles better than an LC9 or PF9. Striker-fired does seem to be the way to go, if you want a short, fast trigger action in this size.
I have a few quibbles with the BP9CC, it's not perfect. Takedown requires pulling out the slide stop, then inserting a magazine into the grip to pull the trigger to release the slide. I've very anti-magazine-safety, and I suspect I'll have that feature corrected by a qualified gunsmith sometime soon. There's an integral hex-key lock built into the right side of the slide, and it's an unattractive spot for a metal zit, but I am certain that it, too, can be rendered moot with the skillful application of dollars to my gunsmith's hand. Other than that, there's not too much bad to say yet.
BP9CC in the hands of prospective buyer
Bumblebee fired 100 accurate rounds though the BP9CC I had tried, and provided succinct feedback. "It feels good. Not too much recoil, I like the Glock 19 better, but this I can carry. I'll get one of these." She proceeded to do just that, and is happy with her purchase. I think I can count on her to initiate more of her own practice with this firearm, and once she selects a holster or has one made that is an exact fit, she's ready to carry. It's always more exciting when the gun is truly yours.