Tanfoglio KWC EAA Witness Limited GBB Pistol review by Booligan
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Basic Gun Information
Anyone who knows me knows that I have a taste for race type pistols. When a friend on the forums first showed me the Tanfoglio EAA Witness CO2 race pistols manufactured by KWC, I knew that it was a gun model that I had to get my hands on. There are two models available, the Limited model and the Open model which comes with a compensator, rail mount, and different finish. Today, we'll be doing a review on the Limited model, so keep reading for more info on this interesting, however somewhat flawed pistol.
I was sent this gun by Airsplat who has it available HERE priced at $149.99 currently. This prices qualifies it for Airsplat's free shipping through UPS ground which is valid on all orders over $89 which is a pretty killer deal. It arrived a few days later safe and sound with no damage from the shipping process. Airsplat tends to do a good job with their shipping packaging and this case was no different.
Basic Gun Information:
The Tanfoglio EAA Witness Limited is a custom designed CO2 powered GBB pistol based on the venerable CZ75 design, which in turn is based on the Browning Hi-Power action. It's a gun that's been around the block for the better part of a century, but it still has a few tricks up its sleeve, as this replica is based on the real pistol used by Eric Grauffel, the current IPSC open division world champion. Long story short, the design has some history and potential, so it's all about how well the execution went, and honestly, it's about 90% there with a few little hiccups.
Cybergun holds the licensing for Tanfoglio, and they always put together a good box for their guns, and this model is no exception. It is emblazoned with full color images of the gun held within as well as Mr. Grauffel using the real model. Inside, a foam liner keeps everything safe and secure during shipping.
Click on the individual thumbnails to see the full size photos
Along with the gun itself, you will find a single full metal magazine, spare CO2 caplet base, allen wrench to install the base, manual, and a small box of BBs. It does not include any CO2 caplets so you will need to provide your own before you can use the gun.
Weight: 2.7 lbs
Sight Radius: 6.6"
When I say this is a full metal gun, I really mean FULL METAL. There is nothing on this thing that's not made of metal, which has its good points and bad ones as well. On the plus side, it's incredibly stable and solid, and has surprisingly little slide to frame free play. On the bad side, it's damn heavy, coming in at almost three pounds. The CZ design is and has always been a comfortable and ergonomic design, but this uses funky angular metal grip panels which I just don't find very comfortable to hold.
Overall layout, left side
Overall layout, right side
As mentioned before, the grip is a funky design that some users may find incredibly comfortable to hold, unfortunately, I'm not one of them. I don't know if any aftermarket CZ grips will fit due to the design of the frame and magwell funnel, but it's worth taking a look at. The magwell funnel is one of the best designs that I've ever used, as you can throw the magazine in at pretty much a 45 degree angle from the correct way in and it'll easily rotate it into place. At the rear of the frame you'll find the extended beavertail which is quite comfortable and prevents slide or hammer bite.
The controls are pretty basic but are enhanced for increased functionality. The safety levers are ambidextrous and are very wide for ease of use. The magazine release button has been enlarged and extended making it incredibly easy to use. The slide release is easily reached with your shooting hand's thumb, but it feels a little mushy. Same story goes for the trigger, which has a short but somewhat heavy pull and an overall mushy feel. It's certainly useable, but not really up to par for competitive use.
Extended magazine button
The frame extends forward onto a straight and rail-less dustcover. The sides of the frame are drilled and tapped for mounting an optics rail, of which there are several models available. Being that this is based on the CZ design, the slide actually rides inside the frame, as opposed to the normal design used on most other handguns. There is very little freeplay in the slide and frame, but the paint used on the rails can cause the slide to bind up while firing.
Front portion of the frame
Drilled and tapped holes
The slide is a very small unit based on the CZ design and features aggressive front and rear serrations to aid in cocking the gun. The slide extends the full length of the dustcover, making for a very aggressive looking front end.
The outer barrel is a flared design which fits into the slide without the need for a bushing. There is very little barrel slop, which should assist with accuracy when shooting this pistol. The outer barrel is terminated in an orange plastic muzzle device that is screwed into the muzzle of the metal barrel. When removed, the inner threading on the barrel is different than standard, I believe 16mm (I still need to confirm this), so adding different barrel devices will be a little tricky.
Slide pulled back, exposing the barrel
Aiming this replica is accomplished using the fully adjustable iron sights. The front sight is able to be removed if you decide to use an optic on the gun. The rear is fully adjustable for windage and elevation requiring only a flat head screwdriver to adjust it.
Part of the Cybergun licensing agreement is for legal trademarks which this gun has located on the left side of the pistol. Unfortunately, the right side hand side has a huge warning label laser engraved as well as a KWC logo. There is a serial number located here as well which I believe is unique to each gun.
The included magazine is full metal and holds 17 rounds. It houses the CO2 capsule without making the overall size much larger than a normal GBB magazine. The capsule is installed from the bottom after unscrewing the base using the included allen wrench. Drop in the capsule, tighten up the base, and you're good to go.
Chrono results using Airsplat .20g BBs and a fresh CO2 caplet, shot through a Madbull V1 chrono, after a 100 round break in period:
High FPS: 356.4 FPS
Low FPS: 321.9 FPS
Average FPS: 341.6 FPS
Accuracy was acceptable, but not exceptional. For a gun that's supposed to be race ready out of the box, I was expecting the thing to shoot like a laser but it really just delivered standard performance based on my experience. For long range testing, I was only able to comfortably hit a torso sized target at 70' using .25g BBs. Consistency was pretty decent at that range but occasionally I'd have a BB just kind of zing off 8-12" off to one side or another.
Gas efficiency was what really disappointed me. Generally, with CO2 pistols I'm able to get 3-4 mag loads of BBs out of a single caplet, but with this, I only can get maybe a mag and a half's worth of BBs out before I need to change the caplet. This is with somewhat rapid firing, which is what this gun should be built for due to its IPSC design roots. Maybe I'm just splitting hairs or complaining that a gun didn't live up to a pipe dream that I may have, but it seems like this thing isn't nearly as efficient as it should be. It just seems that if a gun is designed for race type shooting, it should provide performance to match.
The gun utilizes a fairly standard internal blowback mechanism, but it does feature Cybergun's BAX hop-up system for improved accuracy. Takedown is a simple affair but reassembly does require a small flat head screwdriver to realign the spring for the slide catch.
Shot inside the frame
The recoil assembly is a double spring unit which should provide plenty of spring power to snap the slide back in place, but the thick paint on the slide surfaces sometimes causes it to catch when returning to battery, which is a big problem. The inner barrel is brass and the hop-up is metal with an easily adjustable dial. The BAX system utilizes a split bucking for more consistent contact with the BB.
Inner barrel and spring guide
The blowback unit is an all plastic unit which seems strong enough thus far for use with the CO2 power source. There was some slide spring binding when manually manipulating the blowback unit, but it smoothed up a bit after lubricating it.
This pistol basically comes pre-customized, however there are still some modifications to be made for optimum use. First off, I must advise sanding and polishing the slide rails to smooth out the action due to excess paint on these surfaces. The slide will most likely catch otherwise during cycling, causing you to have to manually push the slide forward to return it to battery. Other than that, the frame does come pre-drilled and tapped for use with an optic mount, so you can certainly throw your choice of aiming aid on there if you so desire.
Full metal construction
Race ready looks out of the box
Incredibly functional magwell funnel
Snappy recoil due to the CO2 power
FPS isn't excessive, unlike most other CO2 pistols
Enlarged, largely ambidextrous controls
Accuracy is okay, but really just okay
Slide binding caused by paint on the slide surfaces
Funky grip panels aren't terribly comfortable
Iffy gas efficiency, generally less than 2 mag loads per CO2 cartridge
Fragile paint material on slide and frame
As I mentioned in the introduction, I really have a thing for IPSC type pistols and it's a very rare day when a race ready model comes out. Maybe that's why I was really hoping for it to be amazing, and frankly, it fell short. Call it my misguided idea of what a race ready pistol should be, but this thing does come up short in a few categories. That being said, it does a few things right. The metal quality is great, as is the overall design and layout of the gun, but the quality on a few things such as the paint, gas usage, and accuracy could use some improvement. If you're looking for an inexpensive place to start building a race pistol, it's not a bad option, just don't expect it to be 100% ready to roll competitively out of the box. If nothing else, it certainly looks unique and could be an interesting skirmish option if you're into rolling with funky guns!
Many thanks again to Airsplat, and of course, Airsoft Retreat!