Educate me about CZ and EAA


December 20, 2008, 08:04 PM
Hi Guys!

I've been thinking of branching out a bit in my (IDPA) shooting habits and trying a little Stock (and maybe Enhanced) Service Pistol. Basically moving into the 9mm camp, if only just for yuks -- not "serious" work. :p

I've become sort of "arms-length" fascinated with the CZ-75 family of guns, and have been reading a bit about them, but I'd like some info from guys with experience.

First off, I'd been all set to try to find an SP-01. Wow, what a cool (looking) gun, and accurate as all get-out. Looks like an obvious choice. Except that I've stumbled on a bunch more questions.

The new /American Rifleman/ has a very encouraging article about the EAA Witness version of the CZ that makes it sound like the Witness line is better in ergonomics, reliability, price, etc. than the original CZ-75s. Well, that sounds nice. Maybe I need an EAA Witness Match (or "Stock"?) instead of the CZ SP-01. How do they compare? And what is the difference between the "Match" and the "Stock"? (A confusing distinction in that /AR/ indicated that the "Stock" was a more refined competition gun than the "Match.")

Between whichever of the two Witness models is the "good" one, and the SP-01, which has a lower bore axis? Which is more "ergonomic" and "shootable?" Which one is stronger? Which would you buy?

Next, the /AR/ article said that the polymer framed Witness guns were ever MORE ergonomically pleasing, especially with a thinner grip. SO, again, what's the deal? Which would you want to shoot (a lot)? Is it possible to get a polymer version that is tuned to the same level as the metal guns? Can the triggers in the polymer gun feel as good (when tuned) as the metal ones? One of the reasons I have avoided polymer guns is that I very much dislike the distinctive "SPROINK" feel of every Glock, M&P, and xD I've shot. "Breaking glass?" No, more like a ball-point pen pushed beyond its limits. :neener: (And, no, the trigger-jobbed ones may be lighter and smoother, but they don't feel "good.")

And, to take the question in a different direction, how does the final bore axis height on these guns compare to that of the new M&Ps? I've watched a great many fabulous shooters in my area switch to the M&P in the last year or so, all claiming them to have better feel and pointability, and a higher recovery time (extremely low bore axis) than their other pistols. I might just have to get over my anti-plastic hump and buy one. But, I'd like to give the CZ a chance first.

Help me out!



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December 20, 2008, 08:31 PM
I’d recommend you handle the CZs and EAAs yourself to see which you like better. My SP-01 fits my hand like a glove. It’s easy to point and be accurate with and the ergonomics are perfect for me. The slide stop access is very easy. Along with my 1911s the SP-01 is very comfortable to hold and use. I’ve never had an issue with the trigger – it’s been smooth since I bought the gun and if anything its gotten better. Some have an issue with the CZ trigger but the SP-01 along with my 75B .40 S&W triggers have always operated well. The SP-01 has been as reliable as my other CZs – which is flawless - and I can recommend one if you decide to get it.

I can’t answer any of the questions about the plastic guns because I don’t buy plastic – 1911s, steel CZs, and revolvers pretty much cover my handgun needs.

December 20, 2008, 08:49 PM
You can poke around here some...


December 20, 2008, 09:47 PM
Thanks tipoc! Looks pretty informative.

And jdc, that's a beautiful gun and you just touched on all the reasons I want one.


December 20, 2008, 09:50 PM

So, if I was to choose to try the Witness series instead, I understand that they have great interchangeability of parts so one pistol (of the newer large-frame series anyway) can be a lot of different guns. Does this work with the "Elite" series as well?

Specifically, if I bought an Elite Match in 9mm for cheap competition, could I have a well-fit and accurate 10mm slide & barrel that was as accurate?



December 20, 2008, 11:09 PM
Call EAA and ask them! :)

December 21, 2008, 12:18 AM
I've heard great things about the Witness pistols, and horrible (absolutely horrible!) things about EAA. Those who have reliable Witness pistols are thrilled, and anyone with anything less than perfect seems pretty screwed because they have to deal with EAA.

I've got several CZ's, including two SP01's... one is a Tactical (decocker) and the other has a standard safety. I ran into some issues with reliability on the latter and CZ picked up the shipping both ways. The tweaks didn't seem to help much, and CZ offered to replace the pistol with a new one, again paying shipping both ways.

The new pistol had some trigger work, a competition hammer and the inside of the slide was polished to a mirror finish. Enclosed was handwritten note which explained they did the upgrades for free... and something along the lines of "Enjoy your new pistol!"

THAT is customer service.

EDIT: Also, CZ's US importer and service center is CZ-USA. I understand the company is a wholly-owned subsidiary... so you're not dealing with some unknown random importer.

December 21, 2008, 03:49 AM
The Witness's being sold by EAA are large frame. The mag wells and mag's are too long for .40 and 9 mm becasue they are made to be large enough for 38 Super, 10 mm, & 45 ACP. For example, the 9 mm mag's you'll get will essentially be a 38 Super mag.

If you plan on shooitng 9 mm, I recommend you look at the CZ75 or the Baby Eagle and the Armscorp MAP pistols, which are both actually small frame Witnesses.

Peter M. Eick
December 21, 2008, 07:27 AM
You can get witnesses in the large or small frames. The 10mm, 38 supers and 45's are on the large frame, the 9mm and 40's are on the small frame. Just go to a well stocked gun store and look at them and you can see the obvious differences in size.

As a witness owner (which I sold to my boss) I watched the witness thrashing over the years with interest. My experience with them has always been great. I bought mags, sights, springs and never had an issue. You would think it was a night a day deal at the shop.

I am now looking at a large frame 10mm witness elite because I miss my old witness. Excellent guns by the way. Accurate, reliable and extremely well made with great quality steel.

Regarding the CZ's. I cannot say much good about them. I had a 97b that had the barrel shear off with factory loads. Not a good thing. I have since sent it back to the factory, they repaired it, I sold it and muttered nasty things ever since.

This is the problem with the sheared off lug of the cz. Serious bummer on a carry gun. When this happens your gun requires a hammer to take it apart. Oh and be gentle since you may have a live round in the chamber you are trying to hammer out.

Now let me cloud your view of life a bit. Why not get a Springfield P9? It is a much nicer finished and built version of the Witness. They use the same mags and can be found relatively cheap on the used market. Do some searches. I have a 40 P9 Ultra IPSC and love it.

December 21, 2008, 02:03 PM
I believe that the info I've read says EAA has now standardized all Witness models into the large frame size -- using blocks in the magazines to keep shorter rounds back in place, etc. And, if I wanted a 10mm slide and barrel to drop onto the frame, I couldn't very well start out with a 9mm small size frame!

So a small frame Witness would have to be a used model, right?

It is funny how many folks say that they'd only buy through CZ-USA, not EAA. And it's really funny how many say they'd only buy through EAA, never get a CZ gun. Sheesh. That doesn't make it easier to decide! :D

I do like the reputation and looks of the Springfield P-9s, but availability seems a bit spotty. And they're all the "standard" -75 design, rather than the high-grip format like the SP-01 and others which are more updated. Well, I did see one for sale that was an old open-style match gun that looked pretty good but it's listed at almost $2000, which seems to reduce the cost-effectiveness of my plans a bit.

Well, thanks to all for all your thoughts! I'm a lot better educated than I was!


December 21, 2008, 02:50 PM
I can't really educate you about either gun, but I will tell you briefly my ecperience.

I bought a new Colt .45 ACP MkIV, Series 70 in about 1974. Gorgeous pistol. Had it accurized, turned into a sweet very accurate shooter. I was every inch a Colt .45 man.

A couple of years ago I bought the CZ P-01 (not the the SP). I love this gun, too. Sweet shooter, feels absolutely great in my hand. In fact, when I ran into some financial difficulties a coule of months ago, one of these guns had to go. I sold my Colt. I about cried having to do it, but I kept the gun I liked the most, the CZ.

December 21, 2008, 02:56 PM
The Springfield is a straight up Tanfoglio. They were simply the previous importer/US agent. By all accounts, the P9s were better. Popular sentiment is that Springfield held Tanfoglio to higher standards than EAA.

The thing to do with a multi caliber large frame Witness is to reload. Buy the 38SA and get a 9mm barrel for it. You could simply use the 38SA mags and load your 9x19 long. 40 S&W loaded long pretty much is 10mm. Can fit more powder in that way. :evil:

Tanfoglio is frustratingly variable. That's why you see the two extremes with people bashing them and other people defending them to the death. They can make world class guns and then turn around and churn out world class crap. I looked at a Witness Gold Team that had some of the crappiest machining I've seen in quite a while. It looked like the porting holes in the slide were tidied up with a rat tail file. I then looked at a bunch of Witness Match models (lower models) that looked fabulous. Go figure.

December 21, 2008, 03:57 PM
The CZ75 is my favorite pistol platform.

Both CZUB and EAA put out good guns...
well, I should say the EAA did so.

I've big a big proponent of their guns in the past, but not so much anymore. Due to the fact that since they went to the new slide design and people seem to be having problems.

December 21, 2008, 09:19 PM
IMHO the CZ97 is the worst they offer. The EAA Witness Elite Match in .45ACP is the gun the CZ97 should have been.

I agree, it you only want a 9mm or .40S&W get the CZ, but in .45ACP, 10mm or .38 Super, or if you want one gun and multiple calibers, get the Witness.


December 21, 2008, 09:19 PM
I've got several CZ's, including two SP01's... one is a Tactical (decocker) and the other has a standard safety. I ran into some issues with reliability on the latter and CZ picked up the shipping both ways. The tweaks didn't seem to help much, and CZ offered to replace the pistol with a new one, again paying shipping both ways.

What exactly were the reliability problems with the safety model? Mine is proving to be a disappointment and makes me regret(a lot) selling a minty, in box, S&W M63 no dash to pay for it. I'm not happy with it at all.

December 22, 2008, 04:39 PM
I have an elite match in 10mm. I love it. I rarely shoot it anymore, because my wife loves it too, and steals it when we go to the range.

I have heard that EAA will fit a different slide/barrel combo to the top for you. I have a standard witness (also 10mm) and the slides/barrels go back and forth just fine, with little impact on accuracy. Both are more than adequate for IDPA type shooting in the accuracy department.

December 22, 2008, 05:18 PM
I had an Armscor MAP1 9mm (essentially a Tanfoglio/EAA, but built in the Philippines) for a time. It ate everything I fed through it for several hundred rounds and never had a single problem, though it shot about 8" low for me. I ended up selling it, though it could have been fixed with a file on the front sight.

I now have a CZ75 SA 9mm, and I love it. I hope to pick up an SP01 or P01 in the future.

December 22, 2008, 11:33 PM
iirc the SP-01 is not IDPA legal out of the box. i don't shoot IDPA, but i know that people who shoot it had to change something about their SP-01s. i think it's the weight.

December 23, 2008, 02:10 PM
I just read that same article in AR... I love the look and feel of the 10mm EAA Witness. However, my biggest concern is the "investment cast" frame. I really wish it was made of forged, machined steel for longer life. I don't mind cast metals for smaller calibers... especially if they are cast in a centrifuge. However, for the mighty 10mm, cast steel is a big deterrent IMO. Even for a 9mm, I would not feel great about a cast frame.
Maybe some folks that own one might have more a valid perspective on the EAA.
The CZ-75 on the other hand is a classic piece of autoloading weaponry that I wouldn't mind owning.

December 23, 2008, 03:17 PM
I mentioned in my previous post I have two EAA Witness guns. One is a standard Witness in 10mm and the other is the Elite Match.

Both have over 1000 rounds through them. I cannot detect via visual inspection any indication of weakness or cumulative damage. I do regularly shoot full bore 10mm ammo. Most commonly I shoot handloads that have 175-180 grain hard cast lead moving 1100-1200 fps. I have put some 'heavy' loads through the weapon when working up some mountain defense rounds. Maybe 50 or so through each gun.

Based on my rather extensive reading online, most people consider the gun to be quite strong, with a single caveat. Do not get the rounded, or scalloped top slide with 10mm. These are reported to crack when subjected to any regular diet of full-house 10mm loads. Perhaps this is just a heat treatment issue with the slides, but I would not recommend that slide profile. (I think it is not as attractive as the old 'square' look either.)

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