“New” Old 9mm: Tanfoglio TZ-75

Cheap isn’t always good, and good isn’t always cheap.  About 15 years ago, I purchased a new EAA Witness 9mm in “Wonder finish.”  My recollection is the pistol felt great in hand and was a solid shooter.  And, I recall that I paid only around $300 for it new in box.  However, I never could get the sights regulated and ended up selling it even after installing an adjustable rear unit.  Ever since then, I’ve wondered if I might have given up on the Witness before giving it a real chance.  I even blogged about it at the location below:


Well, cruising Gunbroker is often a dangerous experience.  Filled with potential wallet-emptying purchases, I can always find a “great deal” waiting to be had.  Recently, I started thinking about that Witness again and started sniffing around to see what it might take to give that gun another chance at life in my collection.

Prior to 2005, European American Armory (EAA) imported two sizes of the Tanfoglio-manufactured Witness:  a “small frame” in 9mm and .40, and a “large frame” in calibers such as .45 and 10mm.  However, in a move likeliy meant to simplify parts and logistics, in 2005 EAA started using only the large frame for all calibers.  While that’s great for .45 and 10mm, it meant that smaller calibers would have to occupy a platform bigger, heavier, and bulkier than required.  It also meant that the small frame Witness, never an exceedingly popular handgun in the first place, would become harder and harder to find.  As of 2014, they can still be found, but not in the quantity possible just a few years ago.

In addition to the EAA Witness, Tanfoglio produced a number of other very similar  pistols that were essentially the same as the gun, just under different names.  One of these was the TZ-75.  Imported by FIE, the TZ-75 evolved into the Witness after FIE went out of business and EAA acquired the rights to import and market pistols in the U.S.

This past week, I had just finished purchasing another handgun and did a search for “Witness” on Gunbroker.  Not satisfied with what I found, I expanded my search to the TZ-75 and found what appears to be a clean, lightly used specimen going for not much money at all.  I put in a bid and ultimately won the pistol in the opening picture of this post.  This particular pistol is a 9mm TZ-75 Series 88.  Prior to the Series 88, the TZ pistols had slide mounted decocker safeties and very squared trigger guards.  The Series 88 incorporated changes that ultimately made their way into the Witness pistols as well, including a frame mounted manual safety, more rounded trigger guards,  and some changes to the frame dimensions and overall design.

I don’t have possession of the TZ-75 yet, and will not have it for another week or so.  However, I’m anxious to see this and more anxious to get it out to the range to see what it can do.  Consider this the Witness’ 2nd chance at life in my collection.


About martowski

Garden-variety professional with one too many hobbies.
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