Shown above: The EAA Witness P Match Pro is designed specifically to fit in the Production Division of IPSC and USPSA competition shooting. Attached to the Picatinny frame rail on the gun is an Insight light/laser unit.
The idea behind Production Division in IPSC and USPSA competition shooting was ostensibly to give the entry-level shooter a place where they could come compete without investing a ton of money in a specialized race gun. Internationally, that just meant a lower cost of entry to the sport of action-pistol shooting, but here in the U.S., it theoretically meant that a shooter could show up with their everyday carry pistol and have a division in which to compete with it.
Single-action only guns were strictly prohibited, in an attempt to make the class friendlier to the striker-fired and DA/SA pistols that are the most common sort of duty/carry handgun.
Of course, wherever there are rules, people are going to try to game them, and it didn’t take long for specialized pistols to hit the market that were designed to meet the letter of the law for “Production” class but optimized for racing.
One of the most competitive guns in Production is Tanfoglio’s Witness series, specifically the “Stock” variants, which are imported into this country by European American Armory (a mouthful more usually shortened to EAA) of Cocoa, FL.
These match versions of the Witness have MSRPs well over the thousand-dollar mark, and this brings us to the pistol at hand: A competition-oriented variant of the less expensive polymer variant of the Witness: the EAA Witness P Match Pro. The cost savings of the polymer frame drop the MSRP of this race-ready gun to right around $800.
So what makes this gun a Match Pro instead of just a regular Witness P?
Starting at the top, the barrel is lengthened a quarter inch from the 4.5-inch barrel of the original to 4.75 inches. This means a longer, more muzzle-heavy slide for a flatter-shooting gun and easier sight tracking. Why 4.75 inches and not 5 or even 6 inches? Well, the pistol needs to fit inside a box in order to qualify for Production, and this barrel length makes the gun about as long as it can be and still fit. This is a physically large handgun.
The angular slide is topped with a set of plain-black iron sights. The front is a plain-black blade secured in a longitudinal dovetail by a setscrew, while the rear is a serrated blade fully adjustable for elevation and windage.
Unlike the regular EAA Witness P, the dust cover of the frame is extended forward for the full length of this longer slide, and features a three-slot Picatinny-style accessory rail. The trigger guard is large and with a pronounced square profile.
In addition to the texturing on the sides of the grip, the front and rear of the grip features pronounced raised areas textured with grippy checkering. There’s a bold cutout in the shape of a T-for-Tanfoglio in the center of each side of the grip.
The extended magazine release has a checkered texture as well and is reversible for use by southpaws. The ambidextrous thumb safeties are much wider than the ones on the vanilla Witness P as well and would likely be wider still, but if you guessed that there’s a maximum width for Production class guns as well as length and height, you’d be right.
The safeties do not function as decockers, and Production rules require that hammer-fired guns start each stage with the hammer fully lowered, so this means hammer must be manually lowered while pulling the trigger. To make this as close to fumble-free as possible the rounded hammer spur has a ridged texturing, and the lightening hole provides additional positive grip if pinching the spur between thumb and forefinger.
Interestingly, all the different chamberings offered in the EAA Witness P Match Pro use the same frame, whether the gun’s in .45 ACP or 10 mm, or in the case of our test gun, 9 mm. This means that the magazine body on the 9 mm requires a welded-in spacer in the rear to locate the rounds properly in the mag tube, similar to a 9 mm 1911 magazine.
The curved trigger can be a reach for the small-handed, but doesn’t require anywhere near the stretch you’d think it would, given the pistol’s imposing dimensions. The double-action first trigger pull doesn’t quite reach the “requires two grown men, a mule and a chain fall” level, but it’s probably all of a dozen pounds, certainly more than my 8-pound trigger-pull gauge could measure.
The single-action pull, on the other hand, is a slightly crunchy 4 pounds and super manageable. I found it easier to run at speed than a Glock trigger, and I normally carry and shoot Glocks. A friend once described the appeal of the DA/SA trigger in Production class as “One mediocre trigger pull per stage, followed by a bunch of really good ones” and this trigger lives up to that description.
The overall look of the pistol borders on looking like a science-fiction movie prop. As a matter of fact, my friend Marko Kloos, who should know about these things since he writes science fiction, says it looks like the sidearm of a Grammaton Cleric from the cult-classic sci-fi movie "Equilibrium." Fellow gunwriter Jordan Bell described it as looking “like a Czech/Italian stealth fighter."
But while life is indeed too short to own an ugly gun, performance matters more than looks. Fortunately, the performance of the Match Pro test gun has been outstanding so far. Firing more than 450 rounds of assorted ammunition, ranging from low-budget steel-cased TulAmmo fodder all the way to 147-grain Federal HST, the gun has thus far exhibited 100 percent reliability.
While we haven’t shot benched groups, the gun’s practical accuracy has been great. The well-contoured and textured grip and nose-heavy slide make for an easy-to-shoot blaster.
If you’re looking for some of that purpose-built racegun cachet on a more restrained budget, the Witness P Match Pro might be the gun for you. As of August 2018, street prices seem to be running just a little over six bills, which puts it closer closer to the Glock G34 end of the market than the Witness Stock II end. If your experiences match ours, you won’t be disappointed.