The New Witness Pavona Pistols: Updated Information

EAA is now selling a line of pistols designed for women shooters. Unlike some companies that simply paint a gun pink and deem it a “woman’s model,” the new Tanfoglio Witness Pavona guns are seemingly more than just flash. Tanfoglio enhanced aspects of the gun’s operation to make it easier to operate, especially for people who may lack upper body strength.

One of the common complaints that I have heard from women shooters is that a pistol slide can be difficult to operate. That’s why when I do a pistol review, I will frequently talk about how easy or hard a slide can be to manipulate.

Many times, this problem can be overcome through technique and training. However, for some people – especially those who are elderly, ill or handicapped – no amount of technique can make up for the basic lack of strength. This is one reason that tip-up barrel handguns like the Beretta Model 21 and the Taurus 25 PLY tend to sell well.

new witness pavona pistol

The Witness Pavona helps shooters with slide operation in three ways:

  • improved slide gripping areas
  • fine-tuned hammer and recoil springs
  • ability to keep hammer cocked with the safety on to reduce hammer spring pressure

Comparing the Witness Polymer Compact to the Witness Pavona, I do not see any obvious differences between the two slides that would cover the first item. It is possible that EAA is comparing the guns to another product.

EAA Witness Pavona

The guns sport a variety of unique color combinations. The polymer frames have a base color of black, charcoal, imperial (dark purple), sapphire (blue), or fandango (light purple). Then the frames are infused with some kind of metal flake that give the frame a sparkle. The flakes can be gold or silver. As a final finish option, the slide assembly can be either blue or chrome.

The new guns will be available in three calibers: .380 ACP, 9mm and .40 S&W.  Note that the Witness Pavona instruction manual states that +P ammunition should not be used in these handguns. So, that will preclude the use of many popular self-defense loads in 9mm and prevent me from testing in in a Pavona review.

Compared to the Witness Polymer Compact…

The Pavona pistols look very similar to the Polymer Witness Compact line of guns. In fact, the external dimensions listed on the EAA website are identical:

Dimensions: Pavona vs Polymer Compact

PavonaPolymer Compact
barrel length3.6″3.6″
overall length7.3″7.3″

However, there are four differences (other than color) that I see: weight, the elimination of an accessory rail, magazine capacity and MSRP.

The Pavona pistols have a listed weight of “1.9 pounds,” while the Polymer Compact is listed as 28 ounces. Assuming my math is right, that puts the Polymer Compact at only 1.75 pounds – lighter than the Pavona guns. The Pavona pistols do not have accessory rails, and I do not know how that factors into the weight difference.

Magazine capacity is reduced in the Pavona as compared to the Polymer Compact. This is a bit perplexing to me, as the external dimensions are the same. However, here are the differences:

Magazine Capacity – Pavona vs Polymer Compact

PavonaPolymer Compact
.380 ACP13+1 roundsn/a
9mm13+1 rounds14+1 rounds
.40 S&W9+1 rounds12+1 rounds

Lastly, the Pavona pistols have less expensive price tags. Pavona models with blued slides carry a MSRP of $476, while the chrome versions retail for $528. The Polymer Compact retail for $571 across the board.

I originally wrote about the Pavona line of guns in November after EAA showed them at the National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers exposition.  We will get by the EAA booth and get photos of these new guns at the SHOT Show next month.

Updated Photos

Thanks to one of our readers, Jay, we discovered Witness updated the slide serrations have been updated. The following photos are of the updated pistols from Witness.

Witness Sapphire
Witness Fandango
Witness Charcoal
Witness Imperial

Original Information

EAA new pistol

European American Armory Corporation, or EAA, showed off a new line of pistols at the NASGW Expo geared for the female market. While part of the marketing for these new handguns is the availability of non-traditional colors, the company is going a step farther and is addressing the issues that some people have with running a pistol.

The new EAA guns will have lighter-than-normal recoil springs and trigger springs combined with a heavier-than-normal firing pin. The idea is to have a gun that is easier to operate, yet retain reliable functioning. I have talked with a number of women who have expressed frustration when trying to operate slides with strong recoil springs. While technique can help almost anyone overcome this problem, having a gun that is easier to work from the outset is likely to be quite popular. These new guns are built specifically to give the shooter an easier slide to operate.

The handguns are still under development, but they appear to be Tanfoglio Witness Polymer Compact pistols minus the accessory rail. After getting feedback at the NASGW Expo, I expect the company will take distributors comments back to the engineers to develop the final product. At the SHOT Show we will probably see the finished article.

Tanfoglio Witness Compact
A Tanfoglio Witness Polymer Compact

While a purple handgun is not my thing, I do appreciate that EAA is bringing unique styling to market with these handguns. Colors such as blue, purple and gray were shown, but the sparkles that are built into the polymer give these guns a unique look. Some might consider colors and sparkle as frivolous, but DuraCoat has made a business out of turning guns into something resembling a hot rod out of a ZZ Top video. I’m all for giving customers options.

EAA purple gun

Gallery of Guns interviewed Sharon Lacy of EAA about the new guns and more at the 2014 NASGW Expo (see the video below.)

Although the new color options are attractive, I am happy to see the company is addressing more than just styling issues with these new handguns. Lacy said EAA is going to “…bling it out for the ladies.” If they make these in flat dark earth or OD, they might bring in the men as well.

Last Update: June 16, 2022

By Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson is a gun writer, amateur historian and - most importantly - a dad. He's done a lot of silly things in his life, but quitting police work to follow his passion of writing about guns was one of the smartest things he ever did. He founded this site and continues to manage its operation.

15 replies on “The New Witness Pavona Pistols: Updated Information”

If the Povona mods don’t make the gun less reliable, why not incorporate them into the/a “men’s” model. Not all men are young hulking neanderthals. Just market a model without the glitter. No brainer.

Being of the female gender I find your reasons for this design highly offensive! I can “rack” the slide of any 1911 as well as any man and don’t need special accommodation. No I’m not a “big” girl nor do I work out. At 5 foot nothing and 120lbs I prefer a full frame .45 but I was considering this particular hand gun do to the wide range of colors it can be purchased in. For the record…..I don’t like pink and I’m not big on purple either.

Why be offended? According to the article I read in American Rifleman, Tanfoglio put some research into this gun with focus groups featuring female shooters of all skill levels to address everything from ergonomics to looks.
My very pregnant employee has a very abusive ex and asked me to teach her how to shoot and help her shop for a good gun. She tried to rack my sigma and could barely get the breach open. This gun was a perfect fit for her as new shooter in need of a high quality, inexpensive carry gun.
You may be offended because you can rack a 1911 slide but there are 1000s of women who openly complain it’s difficult and id rather arm them and offend you than watch them struggle with a gun they’re too uncomfortable with to carry to save your ego.

Tina, that’s great for you. I’ve always been able to rack my slide with no problem, too. However, I’m beginning to develop some arthritis in my hands, and while I can still rack the slide just fine for now, I anticipate that it could become problematic at some point. I’m excited that someone is finally addressing this issue for women. Not all women can rack a slide easily, either due to hand size or weakness or both. I personally know several women that want a semi-auto but find the slides too hard to rack, so they settled for a revolver instead. But if this gun makes racking the slide easy enough, it will open the doors for a lot of women to carry a semi-auto who might not otherwise be able to. That’s not a bad thing at all. If you’re offended, then just don’t buy this gun. It’s just one more option available for women shooters, and that’s always a positive!

Since I have retired, and along with all of the crap that has been going on in this country, I would rather have my wife armed to protect herself. When we lived in New York State, that was a bit difficult with the state laws, and “King Andrew’s” Safe NY Act. Now that we have moved to a state that has open carry, but still requires a permit for concealed carry, (which I don’t mind jumping through that hoop!), I would feel a lot safer to have her trained to protect herself, in any situation, to include the use of deadly physical force, only when necessary. Plus, she is addicted to the color Purple! Now, how many handguns come in purple? Not many, but after being a dumbass and showing her that there is a manufacturer to does make them, I can see now it is going to be a costly Christmas for me!

Tina, I do not think that Pavona was developed to offend the female shooters, or the female sex. I personally believe all ladies should be treated as ladies, and not as another man in a different body! (Chivalry is not dead yet!) I believe it is to provide the female with a firearm that they can use to accessorize with each and every outfit in their wardrobe! I know that because my wife prefers to wear all things purple, and no if’s and’s or but’s about it! The Pavona would definitely be right up her alley, for that one reason! It is purple framed! So, therefore, consider it as a fashion statement and not a sexist statement! Me personally, I prefer a cold steel handgun as that is what I was brought up with back when people rode either horses or horse and buggies!

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