Convince me: EAA Witness VS RIA 1911 or ??


July 21, 2005, 11:04 AM
Hey all, it's time for a new gun. Now that I have moved and settled financially, I need a new gun. Here are the contenders:

EAA Witness in .45 (steel, new larger frame version)
Rock Island Armory 1911
Armscor 1911 (with the better dovetail/grip safety and hammer)

Here are the requirements:
Has to be cheap but decently made. This will not be a carry piece. I don't think there is a pistol in the world that could take that away from MY USP Compact .45. This will be more of a bedside gun that /may/ see once or twice carry duty and will see regular trips to the range.

Has to be .45: no other will do. I'll be reloading soon, trying to keep my main calibers the same, so I need it to match my USP. I have other firearms that are not .45's, but I think I should at least have 2 that are hehe.

Has to have a manual safety.

I'd prefer it in stainless steel or a similar finish, but I can have the gun refinished later. With the 1911's, I'd probably go with the Officer's model because I like the looks of them more, but the full-size has advantages so...hmmm. Also, doesn't matter if it is new or used, I'd prefer new with a warranty, but used with a warranty is fine too.

What I will also be looking top pick up:
Some night sights, so I will have to have the front sight drilled out if the gun does not have removable sights. Also some extra mags and a soft holster (Uncle Mikes) just keep the dust and such off of this piece.

I like the feel of the Tangfolio frames (loved my Baby Eagle in 9mm, felt great, but too HEAVY for me to carry so at the time, I didn't need it), and I am intrigued by the 1911 design so that's why those 2 get mentioned. the reason I want a cheap gun is, it's going to be sitting in a holster 98% of the time unless at the range, I see no reason for a USP or something like that to go to waste. I'd prefer to spend $400-$450 at a maximum.

No Rugers, period.

I know we have some Witness fans, and a ton of 1911 fans here, so give me some feedback. Any contenders I have missed?

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July 21, 2005, 11:14 AM
Kahr/AO (the recent offerings)
Witness full size 45 (never heard a bad thing on witness 45's)

All of these you should be able to find for under $450, if you look hard.

July 21, 2005, 02:27 PM
Kahr makes a .45? Wow, never even thought of them. I haven't looked into them much at all.

After looking at their site, I don't think they'll do. No manual saftey. Looks like a decent gun though.

July 21, 2005, 02:28 PM

July 21, 2005, 02:32 PM
I thought about that one too. I REALLY like it, BUT, the grip is a bitt too much for me. I am still considering it (maybe with slimmer wood grips?). But the Witness is VERY similar to it, with a smaller grip, and about a little over half the price. The 97b is still a very nice firearm. It sounds like given my requirements, there aren't a whole lot of firearms that will fit the bill hehe.

July 21, 2005, 02:34 PM
if you are going to get a 1911, spend the extra $100 and get a springfield GI. you'll be glad you did.

July 21, 2005, 02:35 PM
The two biggest differences I could think of would be the Witness is DA/SA and double stack.

The .45s will be SA only and single stack.

How much of a difference do these issues make to you would be the deciding factor, I would think.

You might be able to find a Witness in their Wonderfinish instead of blue which would be more durable and you wouldn't need to refinish it.

July 21, 2005, 02:50 PM
Cuervo, that's why the Witness is leading the pack so far. DA/SA isn't a HUGE issue, but it kinda helps. This won't be a carry gun so size doesn't matter much (as long as I can hold it). I was hoping I could find one in that Wonder Finish (what a silly name for a gun finish).

On the 1911's. I will get one someday, but I am not a fanatic. To me, defensive pistol-wise, there is nothing a 1911 can do that my USP cannot without some sort of trade-off. This is mostly just another .45 to have to take to the range. I can't justify spending $500.00 for a range pistol that will sit in my nightstand while my carry peice is holstered to the bed frame.

If I was shopping for a carry gun, I would likely spend near a rand on a 1911 and call it a day. But I see no reason spending that on a pistol when for few hundred more I can get a nice rifle.

Thanks for the replies so far everyone.

July 21, 2005, 03:19 PM
Go with the witness. For a bedside gun I think you would like the DA first shot with no manual saftey to fool with when coming out of a deep sleep. Also they are dead sexy and hold 10+1. I have a CZ 97 and it is the softest shooting .45 I have every shot. It is more comfortable to shoot than my czs in .40 and my friends p-01, for me anyway.

July 21, 2005, 05:07 PM
After looking at their site, I don't think they'll do. No manual saftey. Looks like a decent gun though.

Go here:

Kahr now owns Auto Ordance. The Kahr/AO 1911's have a manual safety.

But, as someone suggested above, a Springer WW2 is a great deal on a good durable hand gun with a lifetime warranty.

July 21, 2005, 05:28 PM
I would say it depends on what your long term plan is for the guns, but of the choices you posted I would prefer the Witness. The 1911 has the advantage of customizability, but in the base RIA gun you have more work cut out to do that. The sights would be harder to replace, and you have a pretty basic set of 1911 features (not that this is bad). Of course the nicer Armscor guns have more features but from what I have seen are considerably higher in price than either the Witness or RIA base gun. I have no experience with their quality, although have found them friendly when exchanging emails.

Having owned many Tanfoglio based guns, I have found the 45 caliber steel Witness to be the most reliable of the base EAA pistols out of the box. It also has two extra rounds (if that matters) over a 1911, and one can add extended base pads to gain a further one or two. The wonder finish will resist about anything you throw at it. If you keep your eye on auctions you should be able to find a used one in the $300 range. Not to long ago CDNN had new ones for less than that. To me the Witness is your most economical choice. However, I also love 1911s and cannot fault you for considering them. My pistol collection is almost entirely CZ pattern (CZ & Tanfoglio) or 1911 pattern guns.


July 21, 2005, 08:30 PM
I think the witness wins this round. Now i just have to find mysef a deal. Thanks all. :D

July 21, 2005, 09:44 PM
I've got a Witness .45ACP, good gun but You'll be happier with the RIA since it has a much better trigger, and I bet you'be be happier still with the Armscor 45 -- Springfield "loaded" features at about $50 under GI prices.

Use the search, I've posted my good experience with Armscor 45 and RIA including photos.

My Wintness in not 100% reliable with the EAA mag it came with (red follower), it seems 100% with my CZ97 mags. I've just recieved some Mec-Gar Witness/CZ97 mags but its rained too much lately for me to have had a chance to try them yet.


Big Mike
July 22, 2005, 01:07 AM
Witness .45, full size Wonderfinish. Mine was the blued version and was only sold to help fund another gun purchase. I may be looking to find another. Mike

July 22, 2005, 01:54 PM
Ah, Auto Ord, I get it now. I was wondering what the "AO" was all about. Ill look into them. right now thwe Witness is looking like a winner, of course, this may change depending on what kind of prices I can find for that and the other firearms.

Thanks guys!

July 22, 2005, 02:15 PM
Get the CZ 97B with slim grips advertised (by me) in the for sale section. ;)

July 22, 2005, 02:24 PM
When you say that the 97B is a little too big for your hands, do you mean that the reach is too far for the DA pull? Since cocked and locked is an option, the DA pull isn't a necessity.

My 97B is the just as comfortable to shoot as my works 1911's and more comfortable than my buddies Springer with a standard bushing barrel. It's 100% and the thing I love about it is that you can do a lot of customization to it. It's also very very accurate, right up there with my $2000+ 1911's. As for the trigger, since it's going to be a range queen, you can change it into an SAO.

Here's a pic of mine.

July 22, 2005, 02:24 PM
Oooh, slim grips? Lemme go look hehe. How much of a grip reduction is it?

July 22, 2005, 02:26 PM
Sanger: When I held one, it was that the grip was too fat around (the stipled walnut grips felt horrble and too bulky). I had wondered if there was a slimmmer grip I could find that would reduce the size. The trigger reach was okay, but not great, but I think that had somehting to do with the bulk of the grips. Keep in mind, I carry a USPC .45 and that's not slim grip either, so I dont have little hands or anything.

BTW, that is one beautiful firearm man.

July 22, 2005, 02:35 PM
These are slimmer than stock (Omega grips) but Sam or Hakan can make them even slimmer.

July 22, 2005, 05:09 PM
What a lovely pistol! My complements to you. That is the nicest looking 97 I have ever laid eyes upon.


July 22, 2005, 08:12 PM
CZ97 is a great gun if it doesn't feel too big in your hands, but it'll cost at least $100 more than the Witness (~$360) or Armscor 45 (~$340, Houston Gun Show prices).


July 23, 2005, 11:34 PM
NineseveN, suggest you try the Witness P full size polymer frame. I paid about $259 for mine from CDNN.


July 23, 2005, 11:49 PM
I thought about the poymer frame, but I don't know if I want another poly gun. That's a good price (I checked CDNN) though.

July 23, 2005, 11:55 PM
If you're spending $400-450, I'd suggest a Springfield GI.

$300-400 - RIA or Norinco.

I had a Witness 10MM that wouldn't work right and they didn't fix it, so I don't recommend EAA products.

July 24, 2005, 12:30 AM
I've had both the poly and steel frames. I prefer the poly - lighter and I like the balance. Also, the grip is thinner.


December 21, 2005, 11:13 PM
this is easy get a baby eagle in .45acp. I have that and the RIA 5". then get the Witness b/c you can use the same magazines as the baby eagle. I really like my RIA, it would be hard to pick a favourite between the two. good luck, let us know what you decided

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