Competitive Shooting

EAA Witness Elite Match .45

EAA Witness Match pistol left profile stainless with black grips

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 Match pistol with black grips chambered in .45 ACP left profile
The EAA Witness Elite Match .45 ACP pistol is among the best buys in upgraded Witness handguns.

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.

Field stripped EAA Witness handgun with magazine left profile
The EAA Witness fieldstrips easily. The Wonder Finish is easily cleaned.

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.

Two white dot rear sight in a pistol
The two-dot rear sight, combined with the red dot the author installed on the front sight, made target acquisition is quick and easy.

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

HandloadsPowderSpeedGroup Size
in Inches
Hornady 200-grain XTPTitegroup990 fps1.5
Hard Cast 200-grain SWCHP38880 fps2.0
Factory LoadsSpeedGroup Size
in Inches
American Eagle 230-grain FMJ845 fps2.1
Remington 230-grain Golden Saber860 fps1.7
PMC Bronze 230-grain FMJ           846 fps2.0
Browning 230-grain FMJ879 fps2.2

All things considered, the EAA Witness Elite Match .45 is a bargain when compared to other pistol of this quality and class. Tell us what you think in the comments!

  • EAA Witness Match pistol with wood grips chambered in .45 ACP right profile black
  • X-ring of a silhouette target showing a 5-shot group
  • Remington Black Belt .45 ACP and Federal American Eagle ammunition boxes
  • Galco Yaqui Slide holster with pistol
  • Two white dot rear sight in a pistol
  • red dot on the front sight post on a pistol
  • EAA Witness Match pistol left profile stainless with black grips
  • Forward cocking serration on the slide
  • hand holding the grip of the EAA witness match pistol showing the grip tang.
  • EAA Witness Match pistol right profile stainless with black grips
  • EAA Witness Match pistol with black grips chambered in .45 ACP left profile
  • Galco Yaqui Slide holster black leather with EAA Witness pistol
  • Field stripped EAA Witness handgun with magazine left profile

About the Author:

Wilburn Roberts

When Wilburn Roberts was a young peace officer, he adopted his present pen name at the suggestion of his chief, as some of the brass was leery of what he might write. This was also adopted out of respect for families of both victims and criminals. The pen name is the same and the man remains an outspoken proponent of using enough gun for the job.

He has been on the hit list of a well-known hate group, traveled in a dozen countries and written on many subjects, including investigating hate crimes and adopting the patrol carbine. He graduated second in his class with a degree in Police Science. It took him 20 years to work himself from Lieutenant to Sergeant and he calls it as he sees it.
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (6)

  1. I have this very pistol, with the only difference being that mine is chambered in 10mm Auto instead .45ACP. The pistol is a good one, feels good in my hand and it shoots well. I did, however, swap out a 22Lb spring for the one that came with it originally (I believe it was a 16Lb) to absorb a bit more recoil energy… I love EAA Witness Elite in 10mm Auto… I might have to get one in .45ACP now!

  2. I own an Elite Match in 45 ACP. It is among the most accurate pistols in my safe. The LPA rear sight is adjustable for both windage and elevation and I love the SAO trigger The Match is an outstanding firearm.

  3. Very good article! I want to get a good 45, and this gave me another option to take a look at. Thanks for another interesting and informative article!

  4. I’m going off memory here and I haven’t looked at a new witness in awhile but based on that there are some things wrong with this article. The Witness Elite Match had a fully adjustable rear sight with a blued slide on a hard chrome standard frame. I also believe they had dovetailed front sights.. I believe the completely wonderfinish gun shown in the pics is just a plain old full-size steel witness. I do agree with the author in that there are no better pistols in the witness’s price class.

  5. Got the EAA .45 many years ago. One feature I never took advantage of was that the “upper” on the .45 Frame could be swapped out for other calibers and/or barrel configurations. Don’t know if EAA still offers that option, but upgrading to a “target upper” would be a nice option for folks who already have an EAA .45 Frame.

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