EAA Witness 38 Super Review

Today I want to review the EAA Witness in 38 Super. I bought this gun back in about ’04 if I remember right. I’ve fired it countless times and have found it to be an excellent pistol both in the way she’s built and the accuracy has been excellent too. So if a high capacity, heavily built all steel 38 super is on your list take a look at this Witness.

Some people are not familiar with EAA – European American Armory is what it stands for and they are just the importers. The pistol is made in Italy by a company called Tanfoglio. It’s very much like a CZ-75 and also IMI’s line of “Baby” Desert eagles. EAA offer the Witness line of pistols. There are compact, full-size, long slide, polymer frame, all steel guns like this one and pretty much any combination of the above. You’ve got the basic calibers covered; they can be had in 9mm, 40, 45, 38 super and 10mm. One of the neat things about this pistol is that for a reasonable price they sell caliber conversions. So I can go to 10mm or whatever I want with this frame. They interchange easily.

Some people will say these guns are not of the highest quality, while others swear by them. I do neither. I swear by the XD line. I will say though that after 8 years of regular use the gun has never once malfunctioned. I would trust it as a duty or self-defense pistol. I had at one time bought a batch of five polymer framed 10mm’s. One for me and the other four went to military buddies. We got a break for buying five. Their four are fine today; my polymer frame cracked where the trigger spring is inside. It took them  a year to address the issue and then they finally gave in and sent me a new gun which I didn’t want. My dealer kindly refunded my purchase price and put the new one on the shelf. So I do NOT recommend the polymer framed guns. This all steel one is a tank though.

EEA Witness

Ok, one last thing and we’ll go over the gun itself. I bought this because I wanted a hi-cap 38 super. I love that cartridge, properly loaded it gets right into 357 mag territory . It is no problem and safe around 500 lbs of muzzle energy out of a 38 super. There are some smokin’ hot loads available for this cartridge. I just love the cartridge. It’s an accurate shooting thumper when loaded right. I’ve always been of the opinion that it was the only bridge between the 9mm and 45 that was ever needed. Why it died out I don’t know but I recently talked to some “old guys” at a range and they had some insight on that. They used to shoot 38 Supers back in the 1950’s in competitions. They said all the ammo available was loaded way down for faster competition shooting. So it got a bad and unfair wrap as “weak” and a “dismal manstopper”. That’s why they said it didn’t take off as a duty round.

So finally let’s discuss the gun. It’s all steel. It’s good looking. The finish is called “Wonderfinish.” I honestly have no idea what that is but it is certainly tough. Eight years and there’s not so much as a scratch or a worn spot. It’s a flat gray or silver depending how you look at it. I like the finish a lot. The buttons are all in black and set it off nicely.

The pistol comes with comfortable soft rubber grips. The back strap and front strap are grooved for a better grip. The pistol can be carried cocked and locked like a 1911 but with a double action trigger on the first shot I don’t really see a need to do that. The mag catch and buttons are all easily reached and everything fits my hand nicely. I really like the pistol. Topped off with some 3 dot sights it is a user friendly accurate weapon.

I’ll run through a few factory specs. The barrel is 4.5 inches long, weighs 33 ounces and has a 17 plus 1 capacity. Its 8.1 inches long, 1.4 inches wide and 5.5 inches tall. It’s not small but when your firing those high powered loads the size and weight are nice. I could see this as a decent hiker/hunter back up gun with the proper loads. If you can kill it with a hot 357, then you can kill it with a 38 super too. The advantage being instead of 6 in a cylinder you have 18 in an auto.

Now what is wrong with it? Well nothing really. They don’t have a high resale value and are not really highly sought after. Why? I don’t know. It’s not a bad gun at all. I will say that I felt it came with a recoil spring that was too weak. I replaced mine right away with a higher powered spring from Wolf Gunsprings. That’s $9 well spent. After about five  years of being constantly loaded the mag spring weakened enough that it was not always tripping the slide lock on an empty mag. Another easy fix from Wolf, $7.49 gets you a plus 10% powered mag spring, problem solved. The mag spring, while weakened, never failed to feed properly. Flawless performance to this day. Lastly it doesn’t have a decock in it. It’s like a 1911 in that you need to carefully lower your hammer and/or unload.

EEA Witness

I have had a really good time and experience with this pistol. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy one if you are in the market for a hi capacity 38 Super or 10mm. Based on the proven CZ-75 style of pistol this is a pretty good piece of gear for the money. It has handled all the hot loads I have fed it and asks for more. You can probably find a nice used one in the $300 – $350 range. I’ve seen several in that price range for sale here and there. While it will never be my 1st choice in handguns it is far from my last choice.

As always thanks for reading and train often.

By: Cary Kieffer

Link to my newest 38 Super Witness:

EAA Witness Elite Stock III Review


13 Responses to EAA Witness 38 Super Review

  1. […] I'd give the EAA Witness serious consideration. My being a CZ whore has nothing to do with it. Attachment […]

  2. Steven says:

    Looking to a possible trade for a Tanfoglio 38 Super in Stainless. Thinking about trading a Remington 742, in 30-06 for it. Would you consider that a good trade?

    • Cary Kieffer says:

      Steven, hard for me too say…I don’t have any knowledge on the Rem 742,it’s just not my cup of tea. So, whether that’s a good deal or not, I have no idea.

      I do know some about Witness’s though and it’s unlikely it’s stainless steel. They may make some of the really high dollar race guns in stainless but generally they just look stainless. What that really is, its called Wonderfinish, and it’s their proprietary bake on finish that just looks silver. They are not generally made from stainless steel. That having been said you can find used ones under $400 and new somewhere in the $550 range. Personally, I recommend this one, its more $$ but well worth it. (Link below) Check it out, the thing is great. Available from the sportsman’s guide. Cary

  3. John Mahaffy says:

    I really enjoyed your no bullshit article on the EAA Witness in .38 Super . I’m due for a bonus @ work and have decided that $489 NIB is just too good to pass up . Any problem finding extra hi cap mags ? Knock another one off my bucket list …. I’ve always wanted a ” Super .38 “

  4. Jim G says:

    I enjoyed your article. I’ve looked at the Witness but when you look closely, they all seem to say “no +P loads”. Since most of what I can find is +P, I’ve shied away from the EAA. Comment?

    • Cary Kieffer says:

      Jim, thank you. Well…lol..I never read the manual. I don’t see a single reason it won’t handle +P ammo. I really dont. All steel construction, good case support and I put in better springs than the weak ones they ship with. I’ve got 8 years of high powered loads out of this one and no signs of wear whatsoever. I also purchased the Elite Stock III in 38 super and run NOTHING but 9×23 through it, which is hotter yet. Same thing, more powerful Wolf springs and again no issues at all. We also have to consider that the witness line is “convertable” according to EAA…so the same frame will handle full power 10mm…so I can’t see a +P 38 super doing harm. Now the polymer guns?? Maybe…but not the steel ones. Thanks for stopping by TGR. Cary

  5. Toney says:

    Cary I am looking to purchase a new pistolevel and would love some recommendations from seasoned shooters. I am most familiar with .22s but want to move to something with some punch and suggestions?

    • Cary Kieffer says:

      Toney, that’s tough to say without knowing you. Being that you posted on a EAA witness article I don’t know if your into a witness but if you are stay with the steel framed ones and be prepared to replace springs and polish some stuff up. As a first gun you didn’t want to have to mess with I’d go Springfield XD/xdm series or Glock or Sig Sauer. Those are my 3 favorite brands and they have tons of models and calibers to choose from. This article was a 38 super…being it’s a bit harder to find ammo (only a bit) I would lean towards a 9mm for my first centerfire because ammo is plentiful and cheap. With the right load it has all the potency most people will ever need. Hope this helped. Cary

  6. Yo says:

    This was very helpful. I recently purchased a used eaa witness (steel, .38) and am trying to learn more about it. The empty mag rattles a bit and does not trip the slide lock. I was going to order a replacement mag (17+1 capacity, maybe), but, based on your comments, it sounds like I may also need a replacement spring. Thoughts or recommendations?? Cannot wait to try this one out at the range!

    • Cary Kieffer says:

      Yo, get a spring from Wolff Gunsprings. They offer a “plus 10%” spring that is good to go. They are less than 10 bucks. I’d actually get as many as you plan on buying mags. I think EEA has less than the best springs. I’d get one for each mag and a recoil spring. I think I went 2-3 lbs heavier than stock on the recoil spring. Enjoy your new gun. They are good ones I think. Thanks for stopping by TGR.

  7. Cary Kieffer says:

    After I saw this posted I wanted to be a bit more clear on one thing. That polymer frame that cracked was in NO WAY a safety issue. It was NOT like the gun came apart and I was going to get a face full of slide. I should have been more clear on that for potential buyers. It was simply the hole right in front of the mag well that has the trigger return spring in it was to close to the mag well and cracked thru to the well. So the only reason I knew it was the mag was dragging in and out. It was in no way unsafe to fire. So dont be afraid of a Witness on that point. Just I’d buy a steel one and avoid the polymer. Additionally it is easy to get that spring, plunger and trigger transfer bar out of there to dremel tool them till they are polished, that will really smooth out your trigger. I think thats worth taking the time to do. I did it. Its really self explanatory once you remove your slide and look at it. You’ll see the parts that slide on each other. Dont remove metal just use a cloth wheel and some polishing compound. Thanks. Cary

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