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Witness Match .40 w/picatiny rail


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Back when the first "Wondernines" started hitting the gunstore shelves in the 1980's, my dad said, "You know, if they can make a 15 shot 9mm, there's really no reason they couldn't make a 15 shot .38 Super. Now THAT would be a sweet setup! The power of hollowpoint .38 Supers with the combination of 15 or more rounds would be a superb self defense handgun."

The only two pistols chambered for 15 or more rounds in .38 Super were the Astra A80 and the Tanfoglio (TA-90 or TZ75 back then). I don't think the Astra was really made in .38 Super or at least it wasn't imported into the US. I could never find one.

About the time I was thinking about getting a Witness in .38 Super, it was during the Assault Weapons ban and magazines were limited to just 10 rounds. I'd rather have a 1911 in .38 Super if I couldn't have a high capacity magazine. Witness hi-cap mags were very expensive if you could find them.

But then the AWB sunsetted. I bought a standard, steel frame, full size Witness in .38 Super. I know they say the mags are 18 rounders, but I've never been able to fit more than 17 rounds in them. But that's still an awful lot of powerful ammo. My Witness never failed and was amazingly accurate in my hands. Recoil was almost nothing with the heavy steel frame.

I bought a .40 caliber conversion and was very happy with its performance. No problems and it hit center of mass just like the .38 Super setup did. I bought a .22 conversion too. It's a bit finickly with ammo and prefers very high velocity quality ammo. I bought the 9mm conversion and I currently shoot that cartridge in a pistol league I compete in. 9mm is the least expensive ammo I can buy so it made sense to invest in the 9mm conversion kit.

I wrote a review of my Witness in the September 2006 issue of Tactical Response magazine: http://www.hendonpub.com/resources/article...ils.aspx?ID=799

I really like a picatiny rail on a handgun for home defense or duty carry. I was looking at maybe getting a polymer framed Witness with a rail and then I saw a Witness Match single action with a rail on GunBroker. I didn't know Tanfoglio was making them this way. The price was $530 and I decided that was reasonable for the quality and options on the Witness Match. I bought it.

I picked it up on Christmas Eve. The trigger pull is virtually perfect for a combat gun. There is zero overtravel with the set screw just as it came from the factory. It weighs in a bit over 5 pounds on my Lyman digital trigger scale. I'm hoping it will lighten up a bit with use. I'm excited to shoot it as soon as possible.

I had a set of Sam's fabulous birdseye maple stocks on my original Witness that I switched over to my new Match. I really like the way they look on the silver frame. They feel great too and are thinner than the factory rubber stocks. www.czgrips.us for Sam's artwork.

I like the case this Match comes in. Very sharp looking. I'll be interested to see how the sights work for me. They seem a bit small, but then I'm used to the big three dot fixed sights on my standard Witness.

I would seriously consider carrying this pistol on duty if I could get a good set of night sights and a duty holster that will hold it with my Streamlight TLR-1.

I've seen the frame of this Witness Match referred to as the Wonder finish but it doesn't look like the standard Witness pistols I've seen with the Wonder finish. This looks like matte stainless steel with polished flat sides. Does anyone know exactly what the frame is?

Here's pics of my new Match!






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You make several references to "powerful ammo" You may wanna go to a couple ammo websights and compare ballistics of common 9mm + p defensive ammo to the available offerings in 38 super. Also take note the 9mm data is based on a 4" barrel the 38 on a 5. Can you even find 38 super factory hollowpoints ? The 38 does have great potential but I assume manufacturers are loading to 38 Auto levels. I crunched the numbers several years ago when I had to have a Colt alloy Commander in 38 Super.

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Hey Steve

Thanks for beautiful pictures, story and your enthusiasm.

The finish is the same as comes on the Limited, Gold Teams and is by factory considered to be a chrome finish. Back in the early 90's they offered their competition models in stainless which I always thought was the prettiest finish. Just a nicer 'shine' than the chrome they have done since.

My competition pistols; my Limited 40 and my Gold Team 38 super has been modified so much and are still somewhat 'under construction' as I continue to develop parts for them or modify the frame and slide. So these guns I have re-finished in IonBond. For info on this, see www.ionbond.com. I love this finish. Here are a few pictures of my guns. They will both be re-finished again as they now have a weld-on magwell and need to have the entire gun re-matched to look good. All further work on these guns will be done internally.

The third picture is of my 6" project which is not finished yet, but when it is, also will be IonBond'ed. When done right the absolute strongest finish I've seen on the market. Chrome is pretty if you like it that way, but it'll scratch and rub pretty easy. Because it's 'silver' you won't see it as easy. To mess up the IonBond you almost have to do it purposely.




btw. regarding holsters.. I will have holsters to fit the Match model with rail in about 1.5 - 2 weeks. Once we get them we will also push forward to get holsters made to hold the TLR-1, M3, M6 etc. It's all in the works.

Edited by sinnsyk
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Thanks Henning! I'm looking forward to the holsters! I'll keep a sharp eye here and on your website for them!

Joe4D: Don't assume manufacturers are loading to .38 ACP specs. For the past few decades, the major manufacturers have loaded +P .38 Super ammo with full metal jacket bullets. I have a whole bunch of Cor-Bon +P .38 Super 125 grain hollowpoint ammo I bought. Comparing as apples to apples as possible, Cor-Bon fired their rounds in 5" barrels for both calibers (and here are their stats on the 9x23 and .357 Sig as well):

9mm +P 125 grain hollowpoint has a muzzle velocity of 1250 with muzzle energy of 434.

.38 Super +P 125 grain hollowpoint has a muzzle velocity of 1350 fps with muzzle energy of 487.

9x23 +P 125 grain hollowpoint has a muzzle velocity of 1450 with muzzle energy of 584.

.357 Sig +P 125 grain hollowpoint has a muzzle velocity of 1425 with muzzle energy of 564.

My Witness fires the Cor-Bon 9x23 rounds perfectly. 17 + 1 rounds of 9x23 +P 125 grain hollowpoints on my hip works for me! The .38 Supers are great too.

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Absolutely. Tanfoglio makes them and your tanfo importer either have them or can get them for you. They may require some tuning to make them work reliably. 22's are always finicky so choice of 22 ammo will be important. Less lead is better as the chamber and feedramp can easily get dirty and stop feeding. I experienced misfires on mine that I had about 10 years ago. Was never very reliable so I gave up, but I'm positive they can be tuned to work well. Here's what I would do if I was going to use it for practice; have my gunsmith polish chamber and feedramp and improve anything that can improve feeding. Probably also have him make a longer firing pin (these are special firing pins) to improve ignition. The idea of a 22 for practice is very very tempting. Just be prepared for a little bit of work to make it run reliably.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm a huge fan of .38SA and 9x23WIN myself. There are 4 different .38SA guns in my safe that all run 9x23Win flawlessly (though my match took a bit of adjustment to the feedramp and a increased power recoil spring). I've got a pretty good stockpile of .38SA ball to plink with along with a very large supply of commercial .38SA and 9x23Win defensive ammo so I use the two interchangeably. And yes, commercial defense loads for 9mm don't reach the capabilities of .38SA and certainly not 9x23win. I feel quite comforted by a mag for full of 17rnds of 125gr winchester silvertips that will do approx 1450fps.

I hope to eventually get a .22lr kit for my match but have hesitated because of the stories about how difficult it is to tune.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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