EAA Witness .38 Super


July 20, 2011, 08:50 PM
Just bought the above new from CTD. Does anyone have previous experience with it?

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July 20, 2011, 10:18 PM
Standard or Elite Match model?

Tommy B
July 20, 2011, 10:34 PM
I'm interested in this weapon as well....anybody?

July 20, 2011, 10:38 PM
Can't comment on this pistol, but I contacted EAA last week looking for part and I was treated like a cross-eyed goober. The person I spoke to at EAA was rude, inconsiderate, and not at all helpful.

Hope you never need anything for your pistol.

July 21, 2011, 12:00 AM


July 21, 2011, 10:01 AM
Post by schmeky:
Can't comment on this pistol, but I contacted EAA last week looking for part and I was treated like a cross-eyed goober. The person I spoke to at EAA was rude, inconsiderate, and not at all helpful.

Hope you never need anything for your pistol.

I keep hearing that EAA's customer service has improved. Guess not.

Sound Dude
July 21, 2011, 11:29 AM
I bought one a year ago and am happy with it. I changed out the spring to a 22# Wolff and run 9 x 23 through it with no problems. (38 sup continues to work as well). The only problem I've encountered is only the factory mags work satisfactorily. I bought a couple MEGGAR mags that were supposed to work with the EAA Witness, and no go. Even though they are marked for the .38 sup, after 5 rounds, no more will feed into the mag. I bought a couple of EAA factory mags from CDNN and those work fine. I like it so much, I'm seriously thinking of buying another one, this time in 10mm.

July 21, 2011, 11:50 AM
I too am a EAA Witness (Elite Match) enthusiast. I currently run a 10mm top end, and couldn't be happier with it.

Don't forget you can buy new top ends and changeout easily--the barrel-rod-spring-slide assembly and have the ultimate changeout package as well. I've done that with a .22LR unit, and am going to get a .45ACP one as well.

Jim H.

July 21, 2011, 02:17 PM
Witness pistols have exhibited both slide- and frame-cracking issues. :rolleyes:

Some buyer get lucky, though ... :scrutiny:

.... but it's kinda of an odd "double" luck, in that their guns run fine and they thereby avoid having to deal with Tanfoglio's importer, EAA for "customer service" under the warranty. :eek:

July 21, 2011, 04:13 PM
I shoot a couple of witness 10mm, never had a problem, they shoot straight, no ftf's, and never had a problem with customer service. The have always done what they said the would. I have ordered magazines, front sight, springs etc

July 21, 2011, 07:34 PM
Witness cracked slides & frames - this is just one thread, among many, floating out there in the 'verse we call the 'net:

http://www.czforumsite.info/index.php?topic=35909.0 :rolleyes:

Junkola ... avoid it.


July 21, 2011, 07:50 PM
agtman, it appears you have nothing more to offer to this thread than another opinion, and that you are adding little or nothing to the conversation by throwing bombs. The opening posts asked for experiences with, among other things, a new Witness, of some sort, in 38 Super. I realize you still have an axe to grind, and that is duly noted, but posting for the general topic of the thread need not move this thread downhill.

Revision to your posts is in order, I think.

Jim H.

July 21, 2011, 08:44 PM
Well, I could offer 10 more examples of Witness slide/frame crackings by way of links ... would that still make it an "opinion" - or a fact which the O.P. might want to consider before throwing good money after bad?

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm? :scrutiny:

By the way, EAA's sucky customer service is a fact, established beyond reasonable doubt, not an opinion.

'Kay? :rolleyes:

July 21, 2011, 08:52 PM
I have no doubt EAA's CS can be bad. There seems to be a general consensus on that.

I have no doubt you can point to ten cracked slides. In my own ownership, I can point you to five slides, on five different Witnesses, that did not crack. Anecdotal issues not particularly relevant to a given product do not form the basis for bomb throwing.

My point here, in calling you on your posts, is this: since he has already bought the gun, your posting does nothing to prevent him from "...throwing good money after bad." It is that fact--that he has the gun already--that makes your posts bomb throwing.

It simply distracts from a possible discussion of his new gun

It simply does no good to do that.


Jim H.

July 21, 2011, 09:45 PM
I have a 9mm witness with countless rounds through it and no issues yet. I give you and endorsement!


Red Cent
July 21, 2011, 10:29 PM
I have been looking at the Steel Witness in 9MM but most all the forums continually talk about the most lousy CS ever encountered. While most of the problems seem to be with the 10MM, I am not going to buy from a company that has such a history. And I am talking about all the failed frames.

Agtman is saying what I read from a bunch of posters. Forget EAA.

July 21, 2011, 10:37 PM
I have an 9mm EAA and love it. I got a good deal on it and I really like the fact that the slide and barrel can be swapped out for another caliber on the same frame.

July 22, 2011, 12:57 AM
"...And I am talking about all the failed frames."

Well, I think the reasonable question to ask is, "just how many failed frames have their been?" The last time I looked hard at this was about three years ago this spring. What I found at the time was that there may be up to ten 'cracks' in either slides or frames, as agtman suggested. The point is, AFAICT, there could also have been less, as the issues with the Witness quality are clouded by multiple postings on different sites about the same gun / problem. We have no idea of whether or not these failures are from a long-ago-sold batch of guns, but the date of these postings generally suggest that the guns are long gone out into the market, or that the poor heat treating / assembly specs (spring rates) / whatever have been corrected by EAA CS, or whatever/whoever.

IOW, are these failures a relevant problem for today's purchases? Should we judge the EAA product based on these old (?) issues? The issue of the CS quality is kind of separate--I can see why some people worry about that, but generally speaking, I worry more about buying a gun where CS is probably not needed.

For whatever reason, EAA seems to have found a few 'haters' who follow discussions of it nearly everywhere. Then the fanboys show up (I should probably be counted as one). and then we have a discussion of "xxxx is no good" and "xxxx is good."

The result, in a discussion thread such as this one, is that the thread gets off the track--i.e., here we are, debating the merits of this brand / firearm, typically in a caliber / setup NOT inquired about in the original post, and now also debating the merits of a such a discussion about this brand. And, IIRC, only one of us posting has responded to the original poster's query: Any other owners of a Witness .38 Super have any tips to offer?

So, can we get this discussion back on track?

Jim H.

July 22, 2011, 02:12 AM
There are a lot of Witness pistols in my circle. I personally own 2, a compact and a Limited, both in 10mm. Aside from extra power mag springs and cleaning up the extractor to make them run 100% with my really hot loads, they've been superb and trouble-free guns.

They did run fine with most ammo, just that pushing 180 grainers in excess of 1,400 FPS causes some pretty extreme slide velocities, and the standard mag springs and sharp bottom edge on the extractor were causing the occasional failure to feed.

The slide cracking issues were almost exlcusively 10mm guns, and only those with the rounded slide that has been discontinued.

The frames cracking are isolated incidents, happens to many guns in those tiny quantities.

EAA's CS really isn't that bad, you just have to approach them with the kind of respect you'd like. If you call them with an attitude, guess what you're gonna get back? I've not had one problem with them in almost 10 years of dealing. If it really bothers someone, then deal with Hennings instead.


As for Tanfoglio? There seems to be a misconception that they are marketing exclusively through EAA. However, they are one of the largest handgun manufacturers extant, and the guns are winning competitions world-wide.

July 22, 2011, 04:53 AM
I've bought a couple of parts from EAA, without trouble, and I've had 2 late model large frame Witnesses, and presently own two Tanfoglio 9mm guns that are identical to the earlier small frame Witnesses, and they've all been great guns. My full sized one has the best slide frame fit of any gun I've ever owned, including 3rd Gen S&W guns, and several Beretta guns.

July 22, 2011, 07:23 AM
jfh, is right on. If we get hung up on the past then no one should buy a Beretta for fear of a cracked slide or a K frame 357 for fear of a split forcing cone. Yet my m66, m19-4, and 92fs all seem to work fine!

July 22, 2011, 09:53 AM
Thanks for everyone's input. :)

I think every gun manufacturer has issues with a gun model one time or another. I'll just remember not to run hot loads in it.

I'm a big fan of the .38 Super, I wish gun companies would give it a try. Other than 1911 versions, there are not many models out there. :confused:

July 22, 2011, 11:17 AM
I'll just remember not to run hot loads in it.

I hammer my 10mm models with 800 ft/lb loads.

You probably can't get enough powder in that .38 Super case to hurt the gun. Don't worry about it.

July 22, 2011, 01:09 PM
I had a .38 Super Witness for 8-10 years. Never had a problem with it, but I wasn't shooting it and sold it. Also, I didn't want to take the chance that it might break and I'd have to deal with EAA. I've had some very bad experiences with them.

Anyhow, my favorite load for the gun was a 125 grain .357 plated bullet over 8.6 gr of Blue Dot. I got 1180 fps which certainly isn't a hot load, but was very accurate and functioned 100%.

July 22, 2011, 06:11 PM
I bought a "Wonder Finish" EAA Witness 38 super a few months ago. I only have 150 rds through it but I found the gun to be extremely accurate and pleasant to shoot. It's not so much that it shoots amazingly tight groups, it's that it shoots **really** good groups with very little effort on my part. Must be the ergos.

Like an earlier poster, I bought this gun to shoot 9x23 out of. The thought of what is essentially an 18 shot semi-automatic 357 magnum makes me feel all warm and tingly inside. I haven't yet gotten around to switching out the recoil spring and getting the load components though.

My only dislikes about this handgun are that the grips are very thick on an already large handgun with limited aftermarket options for replacement, and the accessory rail (useless to me and aesthetically unappealing.) Of course, I knew about those things before I bought the gun.

If you are interested in getting into 38 Super/ 9X23 for under $500 then this and the RIA or Taurus 1911 seem to be pretty much the only games in town.

Peter M. Eick
July 23, 2011, 04:09 PM
My elite match is great. Zero complaints, extremely reliable and quite accurate!

July 23, 2011, 05:23 PM
I'm also a big fan of the .38Super and enjoy reloading for it, including bullets designed for the .357mag. :D

I'm looking at purchasing a Limited Pro in .38Super, what is the bore diameter and is the chamber fully supported?


July 23, 2011, 05:52 PM
The Elite line of Tanfoglio pistols are among the best bargains in handguns out there.

July 30, 2011, 09:35 PM
I took my EAA Witness .38 Super to the range today. 100+ rds, RP FMJ, no hiccups. And I was very suprised how accurate it is. So far, I am accurate with that gun more than any other large caliber (9mm+). I may have to look into the Witness Elite. :)

Lucky 7
July 31, 2011, 07:31 AM
I am definitely a fan of the Tanfoglio line-up. I am currently on my 4th and 5th guns (x2 .45 Carry Comps, FS Steel and Poly .45, and a .38 Super Match sans that ugly rail) from the company and have had no problems.

In regards to the cracked slide, I find that the guns are grossly under sprung from the factory. 14# Recoil Springs are fine for the the 9's and .45 target loads, but as a matter of course, I replace the recoil springs with +2-4# Wolff Springs and am very pleased.

As far as the .38 Match I own (and shoot in local comps and use as my 100yds steel gun), it is stupid accurate and reliable for the $556 OTD I payed for it. I reload, and using 9x23 or .38 Super Comp brass, one can increase the capacity to 18+1 which translates to ~3 revolvers worth of comparable loads. Additionally, I recently purchased a 9x19 barrel (for cheaper shooting) and now have 3 guns in 1 (.22 conversion, 9x19 barrel, and .38Super/9x23) for roughly $850-875.

Hard to go wrong with the platform. Just replace the recoil spring and enjoy it!


July 31, 2011, 07:46 AM
I had a 38 Super Witness. It was one of the most amusing pistols I've over owned. I always hand loaded for it, and pretty much only shot 9x23 Winchester through it. Think 115 gr bullet going 1400-1500 fps. That being said, it was never perfectly reliable.

The cracked slide thing seems to come and go and is always with the 10mm guns. I think it's more of a metallurgy issue. They've made runs of guns with the slide being a touch too brittle. The recent rash of cracked slides appears to have been attributable to the new rounded slide profile they went to. It happens. When it does, plan on being S.O.L. with EAA.

Peter M. Eick
July 31, 2011, 08:25 AM

I was just blasting but this is at least 50 rounds of me having fun testing loads. Looking at the target, I bet I really shot 100 rnds through it. Lot of fun at 15 yrds offhand. I noted that early on I was getting first shot flyers so I was trying to wear the barrel in. By the end of this shooting season it was fixed and no problems.

July 31, 2011, 08:40 AM
Just to reinforce the cracking issues were mostly from guys hot rodding 10mm. Even hot 38 supers won't put near the stress that hot 10mms will. I just got this used one off gunbroker it's a pre elite match. After I figured out it doesn't like 1.21 OAL and prefers the mags have 17 rounds instead of 18 it quit FTF. Accuracy is outstanding. The pictured group is 25 yards offhand.

July 31, 2011, 10:02 AM
Just to reinforce the cracking issues were mostly from guys hot rodding 10mm.

Not mine, less than two hundred 10mm factory rounds -- CCI Blazer and Remington -- hardly hot stuff.

EAA was very fast to turn the gun around, putting a "square profile" slide in place of the "rounded" one, but I had to pay shipping to send it back and they made me return the entire pistol instead of just the slide which IMHO is very poor support as one of the guns "features" was interchangeable top ends. Sending in just the top end is not a firearm and thus would be way less cash out of my pocket to get it fixed.

It hasn't broke, but then I don't shoot it all that much because I never could get it completely reliable.

I too like the Tanfoglio pistols, but the .45ACP and .38Super are the only ones that have not given me magazine issues, I was able to resolve the mag issues in 9mm and .40S&W (the newer mags with the spacers pretty much cured the problems) but haven't been successful with the 10mm mags.

The Witness Elite Match .45ACP is what the CZ97B should have been!

July 31, 2011, 10:21 AM
Not mine, less than two hundred 10mm factory rounds -- CCI Blazer and Remington -- hardly hot stuff.
which explains why I'd say most instead of all.:rolleyes:

July 31, 2011, 10:29 AM
I'm more concerned with poor service in terms of fixing an "infant mortality" failure requiring out of pocket expense for me.

Every make, no matter how expensive, suffers some percentage of early failures -- that is why there are warranties, its not having a system in place to make the unlucky buyer happy that is the real problem.

August 1, 2011, 04:02 AM
If you handload, .38Super +P, 9mm +P and .357mag brass cost about the same. You can order brass directly from Starline and they pay the shipping costs.

VihtaVuori #4 manual has extensive data for the .38 Super, including loads that take 124gr JHPs into the 1500fps range and keeps chamber pressures under 34,000 psi.

I've experimented with the .357cal, 125gr XTP in .38Super, this recovered 125gr XTP had an MV of 1491fps from a Colt M1911, ejected brass was from 5ft to 6ft;


The 125gr XTP is designed for .357mag velocities that the Super can match at relatively low operating pressures. I don't know how the single action trigger pull is in your Witness, but from a 1911, cold split times on target are faster than my G17. By cold I mean bare hands during winter time, well, in Arizona what passes for winter temps is different than I was used to.

If you handload, this is what you can achieve;


Not only was that dried out range cow leg bone very tough, but the XTP bullet first penetrated a 14 ply semi-truck tire casing before hitting the bone.

So, how tough are these bones to pentrate? This .40 S&W 180gr bonded PDX bullet ripped open on a much thinner, flat bone;


For me in my very rural living environment, the .38 Super is a working carry caliber that's been very effective on 4 legged vermin.

Enjoy! :D


August 1, 2011, 10:22 PM
I've eyed the Witness pistols a number of times as an inexpensive way to get into .38 super or 10mm.

But turning it into a 9x23.. wow.

August 2, 2011, 12:14 AM
but then I don't shoot it all that much because I never could get it completely reliable.

Get Wolf extra power mag springs and round/smooth the bottom of the extractor. Your reliability issues will disapper.


And get stouter springs if you want to run full power stuff. As was mentioned earlier, these guns are undersprung for real 10mm ammo.

August 2, 2011, 06:38 AM
I like Tanfolgio - and I'm not the only one. Virtually every company who made a copy of the CZ75 used them as a subcontractor (or complete producer). That range is broad, but includes arms from Italy, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Great Britain, the USA, and Israel. The Turks have gotten into the act and are giving Tanfoglio a run for their money. Even EAA is importing Turkish copies now.

The Elite Match is one of the best deals in single-action autos on the market today (and dollar-for-dollar, better than any 1911. To get equal quality, you have to spend hundreds more). They are solid and reliable pistols. If Springfield Armory were still building off their parts, if the Elite were being sold as the Springfield Armory Tactical Elite, they would be thousand-dollar-guns. I have a Springfield Armory P9 in 45acp and it is superb. Ditto for the AT-84s, the Jericho/Baby Eagle, the Weapons House, LTD Tanfoglio, and even my one EAA (I just don't care for EAA as a company).

Even Rock Island Armory has imported Filipino-made Tanfoglio's as their MAPP line of pistols.

August 2, 2011, 10:10 PM
Get Wolf extra power mag springs and round/smooth the bottom of the extractor. Your reliability issues will disapper.

Been there done that, helped, but not a complete cure.

August 3, 2011, 07:11 PM
I dnt have a witness,but I do have a M88 9mm from EAA and its an all around good gun for the money.

August 12, 2011, 10:59 AM
Chiming in. I have an Elite Match I've put a few hundred rounds through. One failure to go into battery on the first mag which I attribute to break-in, and flawless since. I have some 9x23 and a stiffer recoil spring, but haven't tried it yet. This is actually why I bought the pistol, so I need to get it out to the range.:o

I do have the same issue mentioned with Mec-Gar mags. 4-5 rounds and blocked. I think replacing the follower with a factory unit may fix it. Slightly sliimmer grips than the factory rubber would also be nice. The gun is fairly chunky, even in my somewhat large hands.

ETA: I replaced the MecGar follower with the factory unit, and the MecGar mag loads fully. The factory follower has a bottom post that rides between the spring wires, and the mag body has ridges which I think keep the follower from tilting and binding. (The NG walls are flat). This looks like MG cutting design corners, resulting in an inferior, unreliable product. By the time you upgrade followers, it's probably less expensive to buy factory magzines.

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