Revisiting The Witness Pistol

Despite changes, the good news remains: A Witness is still a Witness.
by Chick Blood

It has been over seventeen years since this European American Armory import first appeared in these pages. For many readers that article included an introduction to Fabbrica d’armi Tanfoglio Giuseppe. That mouthful was shortened to Tanfoglio in 1980 when the company decided to enter the service pistol market. The deed was accomplished by copying the already successful Czech CZ design and improving it with the addition of a slide-mounted firing pin safety similar to Colt’s Series 80. The result was marketed in the U.S. by two importers. One seller called it the TZ-75, the other a TA-90.

In 1990, EAA initiated its association with Tanfoglio by introducing changes to the TZ/TA pistols including a beavertail grip safety. Thus was born the Witness. Credited to the pistol’s success has been the plethora of ways its owners can personalize it. Available for this are an assortment of comped or non-comped barrels, custom parts dedicated to improving function or purely cosmetic, scope mounts, a choice of DAO or SAO triggers, and caliber conversions. The large frame Witness still retains its caliber versatility of 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, and .22 LR. Introduced in recent years has been a small frame Witness available in 9mm, .40 S&W, and .22 LR. I have been reliably informed the only reason the small frame model doesn’t chamber the .45 ACP is due to the fact it isn’t wide enough to accept a magazine with .45 caliber cartridges. All the options mentioned here, and more, are available from European American Armory (, 321/639-4842.) I have a hunch this particular CZ clone will be around a very long time. For one thing, compared to many of its competitors, servicing a Witness is pretty simple. For example, doing a top notch trigger job only requires a readily available, single item of tooling designed for and dedicated to the purpose.

Some members with great memories and extensive files may have heard what’s to come previously. That was a long time ago. There are many who were not AGA members when the article first appeared. I revisit it here because I think a majority of those new members will agree with me and have no wish to be the one gunsmith in town who has to turn down work on a pistol that is destined to remain the best selling CZ clone ever.

Read more in our March 2015 issue. Back issues are available.

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