10mm Witness Elite Match mini-review


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Grayrider
December 2, 2005, 04:25 AM
Gang,

This review has been much delayed due to a number of issues. I have been buried at work and home. I also elected to leave my Witness Elite Match with my gunsmith to have him do some trigger work, so it was not in my hands long enough for a thorough write up. I am also second to the plate with this, so I will not rehash the great review Hartzpad already posted. I want to add some comments on the Match as it compares to other CZ pattern pistols in my collection, as well as to other guns.

The Match I acquired is in 10mm. I take it one of only five 10mm Matches in the United States at this time. I elected to stick to my favorite pistol caliber as I thought the longer slide and single action trigger of the Match would make for an interesting platform for the round. It makes the Match 10mm essentially the Tanfoglio answer to various 10mm 1911s. Those of you that love the 10mm will know when you see this gun that it had to be in that caliber. My first thoughts when picking it up were “Mr. Crockett, your new gun has arrived.” This gun and the 10mm Stock should help heal the pain any of you share with me for never having owned a Bren 10.

I must also confess I have yet to find time to shoot it. A range report will follow. My 10mm ammo choices are a bit limited, but I will see how it runs with the common 10mm I have on hand. I don’t have anything terribly hot to try in it, but hope to lay in some Doubletap after the holidays.

First to recap the features of the Match versus base Witnesses. The Match has a longer slide and barrel of ½” beyond the base gun or my Elite Stocks. It is thus a bit more front heavy than a basic Witness, but not the bull barreled Stock. It does share some features with the Stock. The guide rod is more robust than a base witness with a belled out profile at the end. It has the same improved front and rear sights. The rear is nicely serrated with horizontal lines. The front dovetailed in much like a CZ sight, but pinned differently. I much prefer these sights to the base model. There are no dots at all. Marc Galli at EAA informs me a fiber front blade is forthcoming. I plan to install those in all of my Elite series guns, although the flat black blade is quite nice. It is perfectly vertical allowing for good contrast against various backgrounds. They lack any sharp edges that would snag on gear or clothing.

The slide has the same wider front and rear cocking serrations of the Elite Stock series. I prefer these to the original Witness narrow serrations. I have always felt that such serrations are not needed on 1911s, but on CZ pattern guns where the slide rides inside the frame rails they are quite handy. The narrower slide sides are harder to grasp without them, and the wider serrations allow more friction when gripping them. It is laser etched with a cursive “Match” on the left side of the slide, just as the Stock models are labeled. It has the same wide, flat safety of the Stock, and hard chrome frame with polished flats. Unlike the Stock the slide is a blue with a very black finish. Finally it has the same skeleton hammer as the Stock. My reason for pointing out the similarities with the Stock is to note that this gun gives a buyer many of the same features, but at a much lower price. One should be able to procure a Match for around $550. The Stock will be in the mid to upper $700s. This means the Match is a great value. Available in 9mm, 40, 45, 10mm, and the recently announced 38 Super, it offers one a lot of options in a pretty inexpensive pistol without compromising features.

Perhaps the most important thing to note about the Match beyond these features is that the gun is single action only. This feature may make the gun less appealing to some buyers, but single action only CZ pattern guns have had quite a following over the years. Those of us who have been shooting Tanfoglios for a long time will recall that this conversion was quite popular in the early 90s. Tanfoglio began offering competition pistols with single action triggers, and these guns were dominant in competition prior to the “assault weapons” ban. Of course CZ also offers SAO pistols. The platform lends itself to a really good single action pull. Anyone who has handled a single action CZ or Tanfoglio likely has experienced this first hand. In offering the Match this way Tanfoglio will let many shooters try an SAO gun in the CZ pattern for the first time, and I think they will be pleased. My pistol arrived with a pretty respectable trigger, but it had some grittiness and was heavier than I knew it capable of being. My gunsmith Jeff Cockrum is well versed in Tanfoglio triggers, so I left the pistol with him and asked him to work the trigger over a bit. It returned with a much improved pull. I would estimate around 3.5 lbs break with very little take up. The over travel screw is now properly set, so the trigger breaks cleanly with no grittiness at all. The reset is very short, so one can stage the trigger for no take up at all. While it is not the 1.8 lbs break of my CZ IPSC ST, it is quite good.

Other notable differences with the Stock are the black rubber grips (the Stocks have the higher grade thin wood ones); a larger and more elongated extended magazine release than the Stock; and no checkering on the frame. It has the more typical smooth front strap and serrated rear of a base Witness. I believe that this means the frame is slightly larger in the grip area as the Stock looks to have been cut down from a regular frame to do the checkering. Rather I should say the Stock may be slightly smaller than a base Witness in the grip area due to this. I find it interesting that Tanfoglio put a larger magazine release on the Match than the Stock. It is also checkered versus the Stock’s serrated catch. I like the Match’s release better. Tanfoglio should add that to the Stock.

Note as well that the Match continues the move to the large frame platform for all Witness pistols. This means capacities are: 18 rounds for 9mm/38 Super, 15 rounds for 40 S&W/10mm, and 10 rounds for 45. I believe the magazines for 40 and 10mm are identical as they hold the same round count of 10mm. They are marked differently, so I will run both at the range to see if perhaps there is some internal difference that is not obvious. Magazines are readily available for the large frame guns from EAA or a variety of wholesalers (such as Reed’s Ammunition). The extra capacities are nice and make these guns more competitive with the double-stacked 1911s than just other CZ pattern guns.

Speaking of 1911s, I could not resist comparing the Match to one of mine. The Match is in a way Tanfoglio’s answer to the 1911 on a CZ pattern platform (as they are not importing their 1911s into the US). Gently placing the Match on my SW1911DK, the guns are roughly the same size. From the back of the beavertail to the muzzle they are the same length, and the Match just a hair shorter in height. From grip panel surface to grip panel surface they are the same width. The Match may have a slightly greater grip circumference but I would have to measure to be sure. My point is that this is not a huge gun. I have carried a full size 1911 concealed many times, so if a person is comfortable with a gun of such proportions then the Match will be quite suitable for carry. Like the Stock it is only slightly bigger than a CZ-75. However, the rubber grips do make for a wider grip than the Stock’s thin wood panels. I have a spare set of those but the frame differences prevented them from fitting the Match. I may see if I can fit them by hand, but I am no expert at wood working.

That concludes my first impressions review. I will report further after a range trip. I suspect this gun will prove quite accurate given the longer barrel and quality sights. The trigger certainly won’t hurt my groups either. If anyone is interested in a Match contact EAA directly and speak to Marc Galli. Marc told me that there were a few Matches and a number of Stocks in inventory in various calibers early in the week. See my previous review for details on that model. I would say I prefer the Stock for a carry pistol due to the slightly smaller size and double action option. However, they cost considerably more. If the extra 1/2” of length is not an issue and you like to carry cocked and locked, then the Match is likely the gun for you. The money you save can fund extra magazines and lots of ammo!

GR

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agtman
December 2, 2005, 09:32 AM
Great review! Thanks. :)

Please give us a future Range Report on how well it holds up to the kind of real 10mm factory loads that Sonny would be shooting through it today - like those from Double Tap, Texas Ammo, Ron Reed at RAR, CorBon, Buffalo Bore, Power Strike Ammo, etc.

Question: I'm not clear on the trigger difference between the Match and the Stock. Is the Stock a DA or SA set-up?

Also, with either a Match or a Stock in 10mm, if you want one, where can you get it? Does your FFL contact Marc Galli at EAA directly for a special order? Thanks.

Grayrider
December 2, 2005, 09:47 AM
Thank you for the kind words! The Stock is double-action. It can be had in 10mm as well. When I bought my 40 I was after a 10mm Stock, but they were much further out in terms of delivery date. I am hoping to get a 10mm barrel in the future for it.

Your FFL can order straight from EAA. I would call Marc yourself at extension 210, and see what availability is like on the various 10mm models. Then you can get with your FFL on the order. Marc will take good care of you and tell him I sent you. He may also know what various wholesalers have purchased in case he does not have what you want.

GR

hartzpad
December 2, 2005, 12:09 PM
My FFL sold me my 10mm Match for $480, so these Match pistols really are great deals compared to the base Witnesses which cost $299-$375. Pluse the match comes in a very nice combination lock Tanfoglio velvet-lined hardcase.

I was able to put 100 rounds of mild 10mm reloads (180 gr. @1100) through the match and it did not have even one problem. I swapped in a 20 lb. recoil spring before shooting it. I love the sights and the single action trigger. The safety is much easier to use naturally than the lower profile safety on the base Witnesses and the improved front slide serrations are much better as well.

When comparing the Match 10mm to my Para-Ordnance P-16 converted to 10mm, I can't chose which one I like better. The Para's barrel is slightly longer (5" vs. 4.85") but it weighs 7 oz. more IIRC, so it does seem to have slightly less recoil than the Match. I do have to say that I prefer the more ergonomic grip of the Tanfoglio Match over the slightly less ergonomic grip of the wide-body 1911. I can't wait to put more 10mm through both of these pistols.

If you want a 10mm Match, you can contact Marc @ EAA, but he told me that all 5 10mm Matches were sold to Valor Distributors in Sunrise, FL. So there will be 3 10mm Match pistols at most right now, there may be plenty of the other calibers. I got mine through Valor Dist. through my local FFL.

10mm match case
http://images.snapfish.com/3456767923232%7Ffp336%3Enu%3D3243%3E934%3E958%3EWSNRCG%3D323333%3A7356%3A9nu0mrj

http://images.snapfish.com/3456767923232%7Ffp58%3Dot%3E2334%3D%3A25%3D%3A49%3DXROQDF%3E2324249828386ot1lsi

http://images.snapfish.com/3456767923232%7Ffp58%3Dot%3E2334%3D%3A25%3D%3A49%3DXROQDF%3E2324249828387ot1lsi

http://images.snapfish.com/3456767923232%7Ffp43%3Dot%3E2334%3D%3A25%3D%3A49%3DXROQDF%3E23242498265%3B9ot1lsi

Para-Ordnance P-16 10mm
http://images.snapfish.com/3456767923232%7Ffp7%3Enu%3D3243%3E934%3E958%3EWSNRCG%3D3232%3C46238744nu0mrj

http://images.snapfish.com/3456767923232%7Ffp45%3Dot%3E2334%3D%3A25%3D%3A49%3DXROQDF%3E2323%3B55329656ot1lsi

Grayrider
December 2, 2005, 01:08 PM
That is a very interesting comparison. I too have a converted P16 and was wondering if the Match would have much more recoil. Those big Paras just soak it up. My P18 is the softest shooting 9mm I have ever fired.

You are making me very eager to get to the range.

:D

GR

1911 TERRY
December 2, 2005, 03:32 PM
WOW! That Match looks very similar to a Bren 10.

MachIVshooter
December 3, 2005, 02:03 AM
I'm waiting for this one (http://www.tanfoglio.it/popup1.php?foto=upload_dinamici/immaginid/stockCUSTOM_pop.jpg).:D

agtman
December 4, 2005, 12:08 PM
Grayrider: thanks for the info regarding the Stock 10mm pistol. :)

Grayrider
December 29, 2005, 08:19 PM
Gang,

After many weeks I finally got to the range with the Match. I had about 100 rounds of factory stuff: PMC, Remington, and American Eagle. It was getting dark when I got to the club, so shooting was no further than 15 yds. The weather is cool here in Missouri with no wind to bother me. I had the place to myself except for some fellows shooting steel plates at the other end. I loaded up three magazines with 14 rounds each due to the stiff springs. They will break in after a few days and allow the 15th round if past experience serves. I proceeded to shoot at an even pace 15 yds. out. Nothing terribly slow, but not fast. A little drift was necessary to the left, and it is a hair low but nothing signficant. After around 12 shots to move the sights around, I focused on grouping. 38 rounds later, I had put all of them through a hole about 1" in diameter. I am no great shot, but this gun is. Round after round went through essentially the same few holes. I kept the target and will post it when I get back to work and can get on my web server.

I ran over 100 rounds through it with no malfunctions. Bullets were typically TMJ profile, so I consider that good performance with such flat nosed ammo. Recoil is tame, shot recovery rapid, and double-taps tight. After the first box I loosened up and ran some fast passes with double-taps on two targets sequentially. Typically they were a few inches apart, with no trouble at all keeping them on paper when running fast. This gun tames the 10 nicely. I was left thinking that it is THE platform for this round that we have all been waiting for. Perhaps more so than my beloved Witness Elite Stocks.

I came back home, called Marc Galli and thanked him for the gun. It is the 10mm I have been waiting for. Like I said before, the Miami Vice fix has been taken care of--finally.

:D

GR

jeff-10
December 29, 2005, 10:47 PM
Nice pistol, I am glad EAA is expanding its line of 10mm pistols. Wish the other manufacturers would do the same.

Deer Hunter
December 29, 2005, 11:08 PM
I am looking into getting an EAA Witness Match pistol very soon, since some insurance money came in from some Hurricane damage. Great report, can't wait to get the gun. Right now I'm looking for a dealer in my area that will order/carry it. I think I've found one, but I'll try calling them to make sure.

Great gun, very nice looking. Plus, it's got the 10mm going for it. What's not to like?

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