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Checking Slide Catch Engagement in the Bersa Thunder 380 Series

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    Checking Slide Catch Engagement in the Bersa Thunder 380 Series

    Been meaning to do this for some time.

    The slide catches on the BT 380 series occasionally will not hold back the slide after the last round reliably and/or close w/ little provocation. Usually, the root cause is that the slide catch does not have full engagement w/ the corresponding slide catch notch.

    Here's the way I check it (As always, check and double check that the pistol and magazine are unloaded.):
    1) Check the small "shelf on the front left of the follower in the empty magazine, especially if the follower is a plastic one. Where the shelf contacts the bottom of the slide catch can become worn/deformed and therefore may not reliably push the catch up fully. Usually, the only fix for this is to replace the follower (called the "feeder platform" in the owner's manual schematic).
    2) With the slide closed, insert the empty magazine and pull the slide back quickly letting your hand slip off to the rear when the slide comes all the way back. The idea is to simulate the action of the slide when it's being fired.
    3) Being very careful not to touch the slide catch, gently remove the magazine.
    4) Looking in thru the ejection port on the right side of the slide, check the amount of engagement of the catch in the notch. A small flashlight might be needed to see clearly. The catch should fully engage in the notch. There's not that much surface area contact in the first place, so less than 100% engagement will usually cause unintended slide closures at some point.
    5) If there is not full engagement, merely replacing the slide catch will only result in a temporary fix at best.
    6) If this problem goes uncorrected for a period of time, both the slide catch and notch will tend to round over. The catch usually cannot be repaired and must be replaced. If the slide catch notch gets rounded, it must be trued up. Since the slide is quite hard, it takes a diamond file or some sort of abrasive to fit it back to the correct angle. Doing this can be somewhat tricky as the notch must be at the correct angle and square to the bore center line.
    7) To get full engagement, usually a small amount of material must be removed from the frame in order to allow the catch to fully engage. WARNING: If you work on the frame and somehow foul things up, it will not be covered under warranty and the frame is a restricted part that is not available as it is legally the "firearm".
    8) I check the functionality of the catch after fitting it by quickly pulling the slide all the way back as detailed in 1) above w/ an empty magazine in place. Remove the magazine, insert a couple of dummy rounds and then re-insert the magazine somewhat forcefully. If the slide stays back, then the problem is probably corrected. However, almost any slide will close if slammed in hard enough. I also have a couple other things I do to help fit the catch in the notch as fully as possible.

    This repair is covered under warranty. You may send your pistol to the warranty center of your choice listed on the Bersa website.
    Hope this helps out.
    Last edited by wolfgang the gun doctor; 07-05-2018, 09:51 PM.
    Wolfgang - The Gun Doctor