Back in 2000 I was looking for a new handgun. I was shopping for a .45 ACP in the traditional Colt 1911 style. My father always had at least one Colt 1911 around, sometimes several and I had owned one myself. I liked the Kimber pistols quite a bit but the price at that time was about $700 for the one I wanted and I couldn't afford that. I tried a full size European American Armory Witness (a clone of the CZ75) in .45 and found I liked it quite a bit though it was much thicker through the grip than the Colts I was used to. I paid $360 for it and left the shop a happy man.
I have put only about 500 rounds through it in the past 9 years with the last 200 being shot by my youngest daughter in preperation for her enlistment in the U.S. Coast Guard. She wants to do well at the range during basic training. She can handle the recoil from the .45 easily and shoots very well for her limited experience. Here's a few targets she shot that day:
20 rounds at 25 yards, slow fire at the beginning of the session.
20 rounds at 25 yards rapid fire - one shot per second.
20 rounds at 25 yards rapid fire at the end of the session, that's one dead bad guy!!
I recently decided I wanted to try some custom wood grips on it instead of the factory rubber grip panels. There are two guys making custom wood grips for the CZ and EAA pistols, one is in Norway and the other here in the states. Both have waiting lists several months long and the prices are pretty steep. I decided to take a shot at building my own grip panels from some black walnut I had lying around the shop at work. They turned out to be a total pain to make and I understand why the pros get the big $$ for them, I have great respect for those two guys for sure. Mine are not perfect but I think they turned out pretty well for a first time:
The right side has a small palm swell, the left panel has a small thumb rest. I finished them with a hand rubbed oil finish. I'm not sure I will keep them on the pistol, I'll have to try shooting with them before I make a final decision.
Next up for this handgun will be a reduction in barrel length by about 3/4 of an inch. I have also ordered a new custom Inside the Waste Band holster for concealed carry, hope it shows up soon. Custom holster makers, like custom grip makers have a waiting list. Maybe I should try my hand at leather work?
Update #1: My daughter is in Coast Guard Basic Training as I write this. I received a letter from her and she did well at the range. She failed to get off 3 rounds during the timed fire segment but still scored a 126 out of 155 possible-all shots were in the bull except 4 which were one ring out. If she would have gotten off those 3 shots she would have scored at least 138. I guess I let her down as we only practiced timed fire a couple times. I can't feel too bad as many of her shipmates, male and female, didn't qualify. I'm quite proud of her!
I've had to cancel my holster order as his CZ75 mold would not fit my EAA Witness-they are not as close dimensionally as I had thought. I've found another holster maker that has a specific Witness mold.
Update #2: As mentioned above I was planning on buying a short slide and barrel to fit to this handgun but I was contacted by another EAA witness owner that had a short barrel slide setup he wanted to trade for a long slide so we just swapped them. For $15 (the cost of shipping and insurance) I have exactly what I want for a fraction of the $250 the company wanted for the short barrel/slide. There are a few minor differences from the original but I'm OK with that. The newer short slide only has serrations at the rear and they are MUCH larger, it's a fraction of an inch narrower but that's barely noticeable, and the barrel itself is more shiny.
I love the way it points now and I can get my wallet out of my back pocket with the pistol above it in an inside the pants holster. The longer barrel of the old slide made it pretty difficult to get the wallet out of the pocket sometimes. I'm very happy with the results of this project. All that's left is to put some more ammunition through it and see how it works.
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