EAA Witness P-Carry 10mm: Nice but NOT My Bear Gun

So my girlfriend is a stick n string bear hunter. Me, I’ll pass on that craziness. I told her I’d back her up with my M-1 Garand and a Ruger 454 across my chest with a couple speedloaders and en-bloc clips in my pocket. So we have this black bear hunting trip planned and I wanted a concealable, light weight pistol for our nature walks with our dogs and daily run for cardio. She tells me wolves are a much bigger concern than black bear are…OK…Sounds like I need a 10mm then.

left side

I love the 10mm, great loads out there for 2 legged predators and enough thump with the right load for any 4 legged ones in our neck of the woods, bear included. These wolves travel in packs…ok, we all know that so I wanted a high capacity gun. So no single stack 1911’s. That pretty much leaves me with an EAA Witness or the Glock .

In 2007 coming back from Iraq,  5 of us purchased EAA Witness P-Carry 10mm’s, we got a break for ordering five. It is a sexy ass gun, I do love the way she looks. If there’s one thing in this world I love it’s a light rail that ends when the slide does. Now everybody loved their Witness 10mm but me, reason being my frame cracked almost immediately. Not like blew apart but the trigger plunger and spring cracked right through to the magwell. It was still safe to shoot I suppose (but I didn’t) and the only reason I knew it was suddenly the mags were sticking when they should have dropped free. I went looking and found that plunger busted through the frame. I just had a lemon. It was paper thin there and everybody else’s was much thicker at that part of it. So after a year and a half gone to EAA (if you need EAA customer service it barely exists) they send back a new gun but not the same model. My dealer was cool and just refunded me and sold the new one.frame inside

Now I’m looking for a high cap 10mm and I thought of the P-Carry. I ended up getting one of those original 5 from one of my buddies. And the trouble continues….

First the trigger wouldn’t reset. A quick google search and I figured out to polish up that trigger plunger and the trigger bar. I also cleaned up some plastic “leftovers” from the factory in the frame where the trigger bar slides along. That seems to have fixed that. So with a box of Buffalo Bore Heavy 10mm ammo, which is a 220 grain hard cast flat point at 1200fps, boasting 3 feet of penetration through bone/flesh and 703 lbs of muzzle energy off I went to bust some caps.

The First Shot: Holy Moses!! That stuff is hot! I felt very sorry for the poor girl and her notoriously weak factory springs, a slide with little mass and a 3.6 inch barrel. WAY WAY to much power there for that set of factory springs. Dropped to some light reloads and had a blast rest of the morn. When I got back I ordered a recoil calibration pack from Wolff Gunsprings and some extra power mag springs.

So the springs get here: Recoil springs in 18,20 and 22lbs. Extra strength firing pin springs included. Also I got the +5 and +10% mag springs. I dropped in the 22lb recoil spring and a firing pin spring, with the factory magazine spring it wouldn’t keep up with the slide. Jam, jam, jam. So I put in the +10% and it worked. Minus 1 round but it worked, from 15 to 14 round capacity. In spite of the fact it cycled with the “anti-tank” BuffaloBore ammo I still did not have a good feeling. I really do feel like I’m trying to jam 10 gallons of shit into a five gallon bucket with that heavy load and that compact EAA Witness. I think I made the wrong bear/wolf high cap 10mm choice.

cartridgesI do want to say I dropped to the 18lbs recoil spring and shot quite a bit of quality, fast 10mm self defense ammo. This stuff is still potent but not what I want for Smokey the Bear. I like the gun, I like it alot. It’s accurate, with a bit of easy tweaking it’s been totally reliable. It’s good looking and comfortable to shoot with the loads I think it was meant for. I have a 38 Super Witness, an all steel one I had for years and never a problem. I think had I gotten the full size steel 10mm I would have been much happier, like the 38 super.

So back to the drawing board. I considered this full size 10mm EAA Witness from their custom shop. I think it looks great too but 1000$?? Give me a frickin’ break…main-13902 I did what I should have done from the git go, I bought a Glock 20 Gen 3 short frame. Incidentally, my first real Glock. I’ve been a Springy XD guy for years. Got a ton of those things and despite all the petitions I have signed begging them for a 10mm they never saw fit to bother doing what the customers want. Maybe it’s because they were too busy dickin’ up my EMP 9mm and then charging way to much for it. Sound like a grudge? Another article…right side

bb ammoSo that’s the EAA Witness P-Carry 10mm Story….decent gun with a bit of work and a dremel tool. I would say NOT for really heavy loads and probably not for the novice, be prepared to tweek a few things. I do now trust the thing to go bang and it rides in my center console with a full mag of Federal 180 grain hollowpoints. I feel fine knowing it’s there, it groups as good as anything I own and shoots POA, but in the end I think if I get harrassed by wolves or run into a bear I will feel much better with that Glock and the BuffaloBore 220’s.

As always thanks for reading and train often.

By: Cary Kieffer

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Cary Kieffer

USMC Infantry/Combat Veteran - Med Retired LEO/8yrs.

Latest posts by Cary Kieffer (see all)


37 Responses to EAA Witness P-Carry 10mm: Nice but NOT My Bear Gun

  1. Marcus says:

    Now Tanfoglio has released its new Witness P Match in all calibers and is much more affordable with an MSRP in the $600s and is basically a Polymer Stock III. They also have their Force Plus now which seems to be a beefier Polymer Witness although I do not know if they have a 10mm version out yet.

    • Cary Kieffer says:

      Thanks for the update, I went to the website and looked at the P Match in 10mm. Being so many slides are interchangeable on Witness’s, I’m going to call them and make sure my Elite Stock 3 38 Super slide will slide right on that poly frame, I don’t see why it wouldn’t both are 4.75 inch barrels. If it does I’ll buy it in 10mm and swap slides. 38 Super poly and use the steel with 10mm. Perfect!!

  2. Randy A says:

    I have the “Steel Standard” in .45ACP, along with a .22 conversion kit and I absolutely love it. Never had a problem like the those you’ve described. All I’ve done over the past 1500+? rounds is clean it after each range session. Currently looking for a 10mm “Top End” slide and barrel conversion as well. That and other caliber conversions were pretty common out there around 10 – 15 years ago, and I would love to get my hands on a few. EAA still sells the 9mm, but they want as much as a plastic fantastic Witness would cost from a discounter brand new. Part of the issue is the steel full size models were found to be extremely accurate (or perhaps easy to shoot accurately), and many were converted into race guns. It is definitely one of those “….cold, dead hands” guns that I will pass on to my son. Hopefully not until I’ve had the chance to reach 1,000,000 rounds through it!

    • Cary Kieffer says:

      I LOVE my steel framed ones. For sure!! I agree they are keepers. Also yes, EAA does seem to be a bit greedy on the conversion kits. I’d like a 10mm one for my 38 Super but for the difference in the price I’d rather just buy a whole new steel 10mm Witness. Thanks for stopping by TGR. Cary.

  3. Stan Karamol says:

    Thanks for the info bought the Sig P220 elite 10mm . Not a single issue 200 rds Underwood 180 grain HP works awsome.

    • Cary Kieffer says:

      Thanks Stan, that sig is a nice solid gun. I got to fire a buddies and really thought a lot of it. I’m trying to get the Glock longslide 10mm he has off of him. I bought the new Gen 4 G41 in 45 acp, spring upgrade and she’s throwing hot handloaded 45 supers like nobody’s business. That’s a nice combo too.

      • Stan Karamol says:

        I had the G40 sold it kick myself now. Buddy of mine wanted it. I plan on buying the G20 as well. The 10mm is a excellent carry gun for the woods.

        • Cary Kieffer says:

          I just got a grip job done on my G20. I’ll post a pic tomm. He did a great job and it was only 125$.

  4. David James says:

    Do yourself a favor. Get the Rock Island Tac Ultra 2011. Take it to a smith for a complete tune up. Verify Armscor didn’t send you a crapped up gun with void marks first. They let some junk leave quality control. If you do that you will have a gun for under 800 that performs better than the glock, sig p220, razorback by Dan Wesson, delta elite and the eaa. I added this tax ultra to the 10mm collection because I had 500 in sportsmanship guide rebates and they had one for 600. The original pistol had a huge void mark in the frame. Feed ramp was pitted. Junk. I sent it in and they sent a new pistol that had been looked over properly. I did a bit of polishing and now own 3 more of the same gun, it is truly a hidden gem once the bugs are worked out. They can be fixed quickly and cheaply. The guns all out shoot the rest of the collection. I even outshot a gentleman shooting a 5 grand sti. He wouldn’t let me shoot his baby so it could just be he is a bad shot but you will be amazed how well built the tax ultra is once you hold it and fire a few rounds. I have a decent collection and after seeing what this cheap hunk of steel does I have had a come to jesus moment with my collection and my buying habits. I bought a silverback a few months back and felt like I had wasted my money and still do after the rate ultra came into my life. The full length rail is a turnoff for most and the gun isn’t a beauty by some standards. I love the flock 20 but you won’t be able to beat a bear to death with it if ammo is low. The RIA tac ultra in 10mm would function as a hammer better than a hammer if you needed it. Can’t say enough about it. I love 10mm. I own several. Shot almost all of them and still collect them. The Ria has made me rethink my entire collection and buying habits. It is heavy so the glock 29 is better for carry. This is the best accuracy to price ratio I have ever enjoyed.

    • Mike says:

      I agree with this. I love my RIA 1911 in 10mm. Shoots and handles fantastic. The grip was small for me, so I ordered the finger grooved wrap around grips from Pachmayr and feels great now. Wish I’d have gotten the double stack that holds 16 instead of the single stack at 8

      • Cary Kieffer says:

        I had a nice new Ruger 1911 in 10mm in my hand the other day at my local gunstore. It was a pretty thing!! A flat stainless I guess I’d call it.

  5. Daryl C. says:

    Very nice review. I was thinking about getting an EAA 10 mm and after reading your review it seems “you get what you pay for.” While I like to tinker with things, I think the Glock 20 will be a more dependable out of the box concealed carry for me. Thanks for your detailed review! DC

    • Cary Kieffer says:

      Thanks Daryl, I was going to suggest checking out the all steel 10mm Witness but if you are buying it for concealed carry then yeah, the Glock weighs less and your holster options are 10 fold more with the Glock than they will ever be with a Witness. On another note I really like Underwood 10mm ammo for serious stuff, the 180 XTP chrono’s 1220 fps out of the stock barrel. What you may want to consider is a Wolf guide rod and 22 lb spring. It slows the slide down and keeps the pistol “locked” a little longer when firing. It has made a noticable difference in bullet speed and the extreme spread closed up as well to about 30 fps from 100’ish fps.Thanks for stopping by TGR. Cary

  6. Rich Brock says:

    I have a g20 and was interested in the EEA Witness in 10mm your thred helped me with a lot of good info thanks.

    • Cary Kieffer says:

      Rich, your very welcome. I really like witness pistols. Just that one left a bit to be desired with full power loads. Take a look at the Witness Elite in 38 super I picked up. Awesome weapon! I have some smokin hot hanloads I’ve worked up for it too. 124’s pushing past 1425 fps. Cary

  7. B-rad says:

    Um…I just purchased the EAA Witnes P in .40 cal. Was going to get the conversion kit for the 10mm for protection out in Gods country. Your report is the first I have seen that was negative about the 10mm for this pistol.

    • Cary Kieffer says:

      Brad, don’t get me wrong I like the gun….just there are better choices I think for woods protection. This particular model doesn’t do so well with hot, heavy loads. The full size steel is great!! Or of course, the Glock 20

  8. Debra Davvis says:

    Has EAA still not resolved mag feed issues? Have any of you shot any Liberty Civil Defense through the Witness (full size) 10? At 60? Gr, the JHP is rated at 2400 fps and over 700 ft lbs. It is said to produce less recoil. I could have sworn I read that this load is NOT safe to run thru any of the Glocks??

    • Cary Kieffer says:

      Yes/no on the feed issues, while I haven’t personally had any FTF or mag related “jams” in the memorable past using all factory springs, the mag springs still do tend to wear out quickly and not want to lock the slide back or keep up with the slide when shooting hot loads with heavier than factory spec recoil springs. That’s why I just +10% Wolff spring them right away and be done with it, 3 pack for I think $18ish and then no worries.

      As far as that Liberty stuff, I’ve never used it. I read about it and one review said an extreme lack of penetration…I dont know from personal experience whether that’s true or not. I stick with good ole fashion bullets, been working just fine for centuries. Sorry on that but I don’t have any real answer I’ve seen for myself. Thanks for stopping by TGR. Cary

  9. JMF says:

    For big game its the full size steel witness 10 mm
    I added 22lb spring and it loves the hot stuff to fire all day long!!

    • Cary Kieffer says:

      Jim, it’s on my list for sure. I bought the full size Elite Stock III in 38 super if ya want to check out that review. Thanks for stopping by TGR. Cary

  10. Owen McCullen says:

    Great write up. I just acquired an EAA Witness 10mm Compact from my son. So far, 160 rds through the gun, total — my son had not shot it. All Armsco 180 gr 10mm except for 10 rds of Hornady Critical Defense. No malfunctions with the gun but did have trouble with the magazines not feeding. I took off the base plates and scrubbed the inside with bore cleaner and also scrubbed the follower with bore cleaner. Then, polished the inside of the tube with paper towels and reassembled. After that, no more mag problems — so far. I have long practiced disassembling my mags and cleaning them after each range session, beginning with my 1911 mags years ago.
    Surprisingly accurate for a short barrel. Nice groups around 2 inches at 10 yards, measured cadence continuous shooting on each mag.
    Found the gun easy to disassemble and break down into the major groups for cleaning.
    Acquired three 14 rd mags for the bigger gun and they worked well in the compact, after cleaning as outlined above. I carry one flush 10 rd magazine in the gun and two 14 rounders in my vest, for 38 rounds — all Hornady Critical Defense. Fired one mag to test function of the Hornady and it all worked fine.
    Question, exactly what was the name of the spring package you ordered? Also, where did you order it?
    My pistols seems to have been better manufactured than yours. Not much in the way of bits of plastic and no obvious tool marks inside but the mags were not all that good until cleaned thoroughly.

    • Cary Kieffer says:

      Owen, get your springs from Wolff. The recoil calibration pack is item number 13129. While your at it spend a few extra bucks on mag springs and an extractor spring, sure can’t hurt. On another note, I have a new Elite Stock 3 witness in 38 super I’ve been meaning to review. She’s a beauty!

  11. Norm Morris says:

    Great article, thanks. For what you get, that full sized EAA Witness is not a bad price, I don’t think (assuming no functional problems.)

    The new Sig P220’s in this caliber are $300-$400 more, with an MSRP of nearly $1400, which Sig Sauer or not is too much. Sig is a gorgeous pistol, but 39 oz, only 8 rds single stack, and high bore relation to grip, and of course the $.

    The overall best value is the Glock, only downside is they look pretty plain. Looking at both the 20 SF (4.6″ barrel) and the 6″ barrel G40 MOS. Really need at least 5″ to get the most out of the 10. (But then I have a 3″ Model 29, so understand the appeal of the carry lengths!)

    Wish I had scored s S&W 1006 way back when, but for now the Glock does look like the best choice (and they’ve resisted the urge to overprice their pistols!)

    Thanks again for an interesting write up.

    • Cary Kieffer says:

      Norm, Thanks for the kudo’s. I had the Witness P-carry out today for a couple mags. Tried out the Sig 10mm Elite Performance ammo.(180 grain at 1250fps) My slidestop kept engaging between shots…never did that before. Anyway, yes my all steel witness’s have performed flawlessly for years. I just bought the Elite Stock 3 in 38 super. That is an awesome pistol with 38 super ammo and shoots even better with 9×23 winchester ammo. (124 grain @ 1460fps) Review coming soon on that one. Thanks for stopping by TGR. Cary

  12. Dr. JD Brown says:

    Cary, many thanks for taking time to respond with good pragmatic advice. You have a great website.

  13. JD Brown says:

    Purchased the full size EAA made by Tanfoglio. The gun is a 15 rounder but after the first 4 or 5 it stops. The follower is stuck about an inch below the feed ramp. I bought 2 new mags and the also jam after a few rounds. The gun is fine. One simply cannot get magazines for it.

    • Cary Kieffer says:

      JD, I would disassemble the mags and look for plastic leftovers on the followers and trim them off. If I remember right I had some burrs. Another fix is too take a wooden dowel or something similar and use it to run the follower up and down till you see it move more smoothly. I had a couple mags that I loosened up that way. Its faster and cheaper than loading them and shooting them empty. Don’t give up, they will work, just they tend to be pretty stiff at first. Let us know what happens. Thanks for stopping by TGR. Cary

  14. Biglost says:

    As a vet from the early ’70s ;I feel like a traitor considering moving from my .45 to the 10mm; but as I want to hunt with my S.D. carry weapon; I seem to be choiceless…it seems I was born with a 1911 in my hand(both parents were vets of Korea), and the switch seems in natural!!!!

    • Cary Kieffer says:

      Big, I hear ya…I didn’t give up a single 1911, still have them…raised by my grandparents, he was same thing…1911 from earliest age. The 10mm though def fills a niche. More power than our 45’s plus 15 plus 1 capacity in either the witness or glock. Owning both…buy the Glock 20 or the new longslide. Soon I have a review coming for the 10mm vs 500 mag. A huge difference in cartridges I know but the more I think about it I would carry the 10mm over the 500 even in the roughest of brown bear country. Tell ya why as soon as I finish the piece. Thanks for stopping by TGR. Cary

  15. Mike says:

    Thanks for the review. There aren’t any recent reviews on the P-Carry 10mm, so your article reconfirms what I’ve gathered about it so far, great for standard loads but not for hot loads. I guess I’ll have to stick to my G20.

  16. Mike Coker says:

    Nicely considered modifications. Bow hunting bears? Yikes.

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