December 25, 2013


I'm still running months behind on everything, but I thought this worth mentioning, as it'd seem like a great xmas gift for the lady in your life (especially if you're her).

I'm a fan of Tanfoglio's (which are imported into the u.S. and branded as the Witness by EAA), specifically their T95 (which, in 10mm, I'd consider the best option for a martial/general purpose pistol on the market today). I own a few and I've been meaning to do some write ups about them (see that bit about running behind mentioned earlier) but I've just stumbled across a new offering of theirs - the Pavona line.

(EAA Witness Pavona in Imperial - click to embiggenate)

(EAA Witness Pavona in Fandango - click to embiggenate)

These are polymer framed pistols designed for the ladies. Not just aesthetically either (although there is that). The accompanying literature says they're engineered for easier slide manipulation. They claim to do this by reworking the hammer and recoil springs (while increasing firing pin weight for reliable ignition), improving the gripping surface of the slide, and allowing the slide to be pulled back with the hammer cocked and the safety on, thus reducing the pressure of the hammer spring.

They have an external safety and external hammer, which I always preferred in a pistol. The sites seem fixed, though it says the rear adjust for windage, which likely means a drift and a punch. It's a traditional DA/SA, with a 3.6" barrel and weighs in at around 30 ounces.

This Guns, Holsters and Gear article has more on the specs of the Pavona. As that article points out, I don't exactly see where the gripping surface of the slide is improved, but perhaps it's something that has to be handled instead of just viewed, or it's improved compared to their competition.

Here's a vid of an EAA spokesperson showing off the Pavona line at a trade show:

Here's another vid:

(I think the darker purple shade they originally called Premier is now called Imperial)

They'll be chambered for .380 ACP, 9x19mm and .40 S&W and have slightly reduced capacities compared to the Witness Compact line despite having identical height and width. This could be a magazine thing, as Mec-gar recently started making Witness mags for Tanfoglio again and they all seem 1 round less than when Sabatti was making them, but in .40 S&W I'm seeing 9 rounds for the Pavona versus 12 rounds for the Compact. That could be a typo, as I've noticed slight errors in EAA's printed specs before.

They've avoided pink so far, but have blue, charcoal, black and 2 shades of purple (as pictured above). And there are either gold or silver flakes in the polymer finish (depending on the color), with the slide being offered blued or chromed.

The MSRP is $476 for blued steel ($528+ for chromed steel) which makes it less expensive than the Compact models (at $571 MSRP). I'd imagine actual retail prices are at least $100 lower, making this a real affordable option.

30 ounces doesn't seem quite right as the steel compact model weighs 30 ounces while the polymer compact model weighs only 28 ounces. They list it as "1.9 pounds" so I'm thinking they mistranslated the weight from metric (which is yet another reason folks should abandon metric and return to the true system of measurement, which is based on the length of some ancient king's thumb as the Good Lord intended). At any rate 30 ounces isn't too bad for carry unless you compare it with the subcompacts that come in at under 16 ounces. But a 28 to 30 ounce pistol is going to be much more pleasant to shoot, and hold more ammo than most of the welterweights.

Handguns are all a compromise though, or else we'd all be carrying long guns as we ran errands (and for some reason that I just cannot wrap my head around, toting a Garand over your shoulder isn't fashionable anymore, which makes me think civilization is coming to an end). Cartridge, capacity, size, weight, recoil and handling all have to be juggled, and different needs/wants/desires lead us all to differing conclusions. For me a 30 ounce carry piece isn't a burden, which may or may not be applicable to anyone else you ask.

Not having shot or even handled one all I have to go on is the published specs and Tanfoglio's reputation. All my Tanfoglio's are steel framed, so I have no direct experience with their polymer wares. I do know that they usually under spring their pistols, sometimes ridiculously so, and I replace the factory recoil springs as soon as I can. With that in mind I'm curious how they reworked the recoil spring in the Pavona. I also replace the stock firing pin spring with an extra power firing pin spring in my Tanfoglio's but with a reduced hammer spring that may adversely affect ignition. Then again it may not - it all depends on exactly what they did with the springs balance in this pistol.

They also warn to not use +p ammo. To be fair, they warn not to use +p or handloads in any of the Tanfoglio's, but with an improved recoil spring (either an extra power Wolff or a Sprinco Recoil Management System) very hot loads can usually be digested with ease. I'm not sure if that would be an option for the Pavona models if ease of slide manipulation is the biggest selling point to someone.

Now just to get this out of the way, most women I know are capable of pulling back the slide on most pistols out there. That doesn't mean that they'd not want a pistol that's easier to rack. I do know a few women that have trouble pulling back the slides on most of my pistols. So I wouldn't view this marketing/design angle as implying that women can't handle a real man's gun or any other similar nonsense. It's more something that's catered to someone who may not be comfortable with, or able to, easily yank back on the slide. I can also see these features being welcomed by elderly folks, or folks who have had some sort of injury or impairment that'd make pulling back on a 20# recoil spring problematic. Hell, I wouldn't mind a pistol that's easier to rack sometimes.

I do have a few concerns, mainly about the guns being under-sprung. EAA has a bad reputation regarding customer service, but in the past several years they seem to be improving their image. Tanfoglio has always, to my knowledge and from my own experience, had a good reputation regarding their designs and quality. I think EAA's bad customer service rep along with perhaps not enough advertising have kept the T95 from being as popular as I think it should be - and I see it as the best value on the market for a full size or compact pistol on the market today. But if the Pavona line is up to Tanfoglio's usual standards, and if it gets the right exposure and good range reviews when they become available, then I'm hoping it'll do well.

All in all this model of pistol seems like a good idea, and it may even help attract more women into the gun culture - which is always a good thing.

Did I mention it sparkles? (course I predict it'll be less than a year before a My Little Pony themed model is fabricated somewhere...)

Posted by Publicola at December 25, 2013 04:52 AM | TrackBack

> it'd seem like a great xmas gift for the lady in your life (especially if you're her)

I'm not quite sure I like the implication of that statement.

Posted by: jed at December 26, 2013 06:37 PM

I make one little joke & everyone makes a fuss. I suppose Cracker Barrel will pull my merchandise & J. Jackson will want a meeting with my sponsors. Le sigh...

Posted by: Publicola at December 27, 2013 01:30 AM

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