The EAA Witness has enjoyed considerable commercial success. Before CZ pistols were easy to come by, EAA offered an Italian-made clone. The pistol has survived based on good value and performance. EAA has since introduced several upgraded versions of the original. Superior sights, a better trigger action, and forward cocking serrations are among the simpler upgrades. The EAA Witness Elite Match pistol is perhaps the best example of why these guns enjoy such a wonderful following.
The Witness Elite Match .45 ACP pistol illustrated is among the best buys in upgraded Witness handguns. The original Witness is a double-action first-shot pistol. The Elite Match is a single-action-only pistol. While it is possible to convert the original to single-action, or simply use it only in the single-action mode, a pistol manufactured with a single-action trigger features superior geometry and no excess parts.
EAA Witness Design
The Witness pistols are based on the CZ 75 design. There are particulars of the design that make the pistol a very desirable handgun. The CZ was designed with the best materials and workmanship. The Tanfoglio clones follow this line closely.
The pistol features a slide that rides inside the frame. The ‘reversed slide rails’ result in a tighter contact from the front to the rear of the slide and greater accuracy potential. The slide rides lower in the frame than most double-action first-shot pistols. This is an aid when firing the pistol, as muzzle flip is lessened. There isn’t enough leverage for the muzzle to rise.
The conversion of the pistol to single-action makes the pistol handle even better. The pistol features a safety that allows loading the pistol with the safety on. The magazine holds 10 rounds of .45 ACP ammunition.
I have found the pistol to be well made of good materials. The trigger action broke at 5.4 pounds even. The sights are well designed for combat shooting or slow fire. They are not adjustable for elevation, but the rear sight may be drifted for windage.
The slide features well-designed forward cocking serrations. Since the slide rides low in the frame, be certain you have good leverage when racking the slide. The proper way to load the pistol is to rack the slide before inserting the magazine. Then, insert a loaded magazine and drop the slide. Next, either carefully lower the hammer or apply the safety.
Firing the Witness
The EAA Witness isn’t a light handgun. Firing the pistol is a joy, as .45 ACP recoil is considerably abated by the pistol’s weight and overall design. Firing offhand, I began with the American Eagle 230-grain FMJ loading. This is an accurate, clean-burning, and reliable loading.
There is no need for hollow point or exotic ammunition when evaluating a new firearm. The American Eagle loading is reliable. If the firearm malfunctions, the ammunition isn’t at fault when using this load.
Firing offhand at targets at 7 and 10 yards, the pistol was controllable. Fire, allow the trigger to reset during recoil, recover the sights, and fire again — it’s as simple as that. I was putting the rounds into the 10-ring of a man-sized target with every shot. A very few shots wandered into the 9-ring at 10 yards.
The elongated grip tang makes for real comfort when firing this pistol. My pistol features a ‘Wonder Finish.’ I believe it is an electroless nickel. All I have used have proven durable.
During the range session, I used a Galco belt slide holster. This holster offers a good range of adjustment by simply tightening the tension screws. I have used this size belt slide with the SIG P226, Beretta 92, and Witness .45 with excellent results. It would not be out of the question for concealed carry with a covering garment. This is a must-have holster for guys like me with several range pistols.
In firing over 200 rounds of ammunition, I have found the EAA .45 to be reliable, and most of all accurate and pleasant to fire. The type of accuracy demonstrated clearly beat most polymer frame guns. In fact, you would have to pay a lot for a 1911 that shoots this well. As an example, I benchrested the piece and fired for accuracy at 15 yards. Here are the results.
EAA Witness Elite Match .45
3-Shot Groups, 15 Yards
|Hornady 200-grain XTP||Titegroup||990 fps||1.5|
|Hard Cast 200-grain SWC||HP38||880 fps||2.0|
|Factory Loads||Speed||Group Size|
|American Eagle 230-grain FMJ||845 fps||2.1|
|Remington 230-grain Golden Saber||860 fps||1.7|
|PMC Bronze 230-grain FMJ||846 fps||2.0|
|Browning 230-grain FMJ||879 fps||2.2|