By Diane Walls
EAA has been selling Witness pistols for several years in the US with many offerings to choose from. The Pavona variant of the Witness is aimed at the everexpanding women’s market. The polymer-framed gun is offered in a variety of color options, with glitter embedded in the color matrix for an extra pop of style for those that like a bit of bling with their bang. In addition, Pavona is now selling concealed carry purses to go with the gun in several styles and materials. My choice for this evaluation was the sapphire blue frame with silver glitter. The purse I chose is the luggage brown messenger-style bag.
The gun came to me with the purse as its carry box. Though I rarely carry a firearm in a purse, I do advocate having a carry purse in case stowing the gun off body becomes necessary. This purse impressed me. The leather was good quality and attractively finished. It has a truly ambidextrous gun pocket with ample room for an even larger gun than the Pavona. The zippers on the gun compartment are set up to accommodate a lock, if desired. The holster for the gun is a polymer shell with Velcro hook on the outside to attach to the looplined gun storage area in any way the user finds best accommodates her draw. EAA offers holsters for several other guns besides the Pavona as well. My only heartburn with the system came with the fit of the polymer holster being too snug to allow for an easy draw. Though this loosened up slightly with a bit of use, EAA may want to consider adding a tensioning screw to the holster to alleviate this issue. Otherwise, having a solid shell to hold the gun didn’t add to the bulkiness and seemed more secure than soft holsters and strap assemblies offered in many purses.
The purse’s shoulder strap was very adjustable for differing height preferences and is reinforced with steel cabling. The main compartment is roomy enough for a tablet or small laptop as well as the usual purse items. There are two internal pockets for cell phone and other things and zip compartments on both the bottom and outside of the flap. The back of the purse, both inside the main compartment and outside, has zippered pockets as well. The bottom is protected by four little brass feet that match the brass nailhead trim and let the bag stand upright when set down. The EAA website shows off the various style and material options for their bags very well.
The gun was a bit more subtle than I expected in appearance. The glitter wasn’t over the top in sparkle. Other colors offered are black with gold glitter,
purple (Imperial) with silver, fuchsia pink (Fandango) with silver and charcoal with silver glitter and a chromed slide. The slide on all but the charcoal variant is a matte black finish. This tones the look down tastefully. A word of caution to trainers, though, about the blue choice. This color resembles the color used in replica training guns too closely for me to be comfortable teaching with it. I use inert replica guns in the classroom and on the range to demonstrate safely in an area where no backstop is available or students need to be dangerously close to see a technique. Any chance of this live gun getting confused with a replica in such situations is unacceptable to me.
The Pavona is a double-action/ single-action gun. It has a safety lever, but, unlike most guns of this type, no decocker. Lowering the hammer must be done by hand. There is a resting notch in the hammer that sets the trigger out to double-action length and weight with the hammer partially back. The gun can be fired from this position as well as with the hammer fully down or fully cocked. EAA means for the gun to be used like a single-action gun with the safety engaged until on target and ready to fire regardless of the position of the hammer.
There are two distinct trigger pulls and re-set points for using the gun in double- or single-action modes, as one might expect. The pull weight for single action runs about 5 lbs with a short, crisp reset. In double action, the pull weight increases to 11 lbs. with a long, yet distinct, reset. I found the trigger to be smooth and even throughout the stroke in either double or single action. Though I found the safety lever to be very positive in setting and releasing, it was sized and positioned just a little too far from my firing hand thumb to be easy to actuate. I wasn’t the only shooter to have this complaint. Sweeping it off for firing was no problem for anyone.
The grip of the gun is nicely textured for a solid hold in the hand. The undercut in relation to the slide gives good trigger reach. Maximum reach with the gun in double action mode is 3.5 in. This shrinks to 3.2 in. when the hammer is back and the trigger retracted for single action fire. Not bad for a gun with a magazine capacity of 13 rounds. Takedown for cleaning and maintenance is easily accomplished. Line up matching indentations in the frame and slide and tap out the slide-lock pin much like a 1911. The slide comes off the frame and the spring assembly and barrel come out easily. Reassembly is an easy reversal of the process. With a wipedown and light lubrication, the Pavona was ready to go to the range.
When the Onalaska chapter of A Girl and A Gun had a range session on the pros and cons of purse carry, I decided to bring the Pavona and its purse for some opinions from the target market for this gun. Everyone that fired it found it easy to control and get good hits with. There were no malfunctions to contend with. The ladies liked the look of the gun and the purse got lots of positive comments as well. I ran a number of types of ammunition through the Pavona for accuracy testing. As the cover of the owner’s manual warned against using +P or high velocity/ pressure loads, I didn’t use anything so labeled. The gun ran every bullet configuration without balking. We ran the tests at 25 yards with the shooter seated and braced on a soft rest. See Table 1on Page 14 for results. All in all, the Pavona is an impressive gun for a reasonable price point.
It’s reliable, accurate and easy to shoot. It’s compact enough to carry concealed, yet not so small as to be unpleasant to shoot and manipulate through the training necessary to become skilled with its use. Whatever one’s opinions of color and glitter in a gun, EAA offers enough choice to please a wide spectrum of tastes. The purses they offer are stylish and nicely made as well. With a small tweak in the holster shell to make it easier to draw from, the carry system would be one of the better ones in the concealment purse market. W&G