IPSC Production Gun

Okay guys, it’s about that time.  What time, you ask?  Time for Ahab to start shopping for a gun for IPSC Production Class/IDPA Stock Service Pistol.  If my wife reads this, don’t worry I don’t plan on making this purchase until next year, because I’m set for guns right now.  Here’s a rundown of what I currently use for competition, bearing in mind that I like having to only reload/buy one or two calibers.

  • Glock 24, .40 S&W for Open division.  I’ll be ordering a Trijicon Red Dot and Glock mount for this gun pretty soon which will complete the construction of my “Open” blaster.
  • ParaUSA 16-40 Limited, .40 S&W for Limited Division in USPSA and Enhanced Service Pistol in IDPA.  I do need to order a couple of parts for this gun like a Bulletproof Slide Stop from Wilson Combat, but other than that this gun is rolling.
  • ParaUSA Gun Blog 9mm, 9mm Para for Single Stack in USPSA and Enhanced Service Pistol in IDPA.  This is probably my favorite gun of the three I’ve listed, just because I’ve shot more rounds through it than any of the other guns on this list, thanks primarily to Todd Jarrett’s insatiable desire to “shoot some bbs”.

So, with that in mind, I’m looking for a 9mm for Production/SSP shooting; I’ve got some ideas that I’ve kind of been kicking around, and since this is a blog after all, I’m going to inflict them on you for your review/mockery.  My selection criteria are pretty simple, I want either a 9mm or a .40, with the 9mm being preferable, and although a polymer frame is on the table, I’d rather have some kind of metal framed pistol.  I like heavier guns for competition.  The guns below are listed in the order that I want:

  • Beretta Elite II – a heavily modified and no longer offered 9mm Beretta based on the well tested M9 platform.  This gun has a lot of appeal to me since I 1) love Berettas, 2) have shot a lot on the M9 platform, 3) think it looks neato.  The problem is that this gun is discontinued, and used ones are pretty pricey (Gunbroker has three, all of which are in the $700-$899 range, ouch).  But, this would be still be my number 1 choice.
  • EAA/Tanfoglio Witness “Stock” – according to EAA’s website, the “Stock” series of Witness pistols are designed to be a turn-key solution for shooting in USPSA Production Division.  I like this gun as a concept, but I’ve never shot one so my “platform familiarity” is pretty low here.  I do like that it can be had as an all-steel 9mm, and it’s pretty easy on the eyes.  But like I said, I don’t know squat about Tanfoglio pistols, so this one would involve a lot more research before I drop 600 bones on a pistol.
  • Last but not least, there is the Para LDA Hi-Cap .45,  which in addition to being the only .45 on the list is also the only 1911 on the list; but that’s more a function of the fact that there aren’t a lot of 1911 style pistols eligible for Production/SSP.  This gun made the list for no other reason than I did get to shoot some with the LDA trigger while I was at the ParaUSA shoot, and I have to say that I liked it.  It was like the trigger on my Glock, but with a lot better let-off.  Sure, a .45 has a bit more recoil, but one of the things I learned from practicing with a laser is that the actual difference between a 9mm and a .45 in terms of muzzle flip is minimal, it’s largely a psychological difference.

Okay loyal readers, tell me what you think?  If I’ve slighted your favorite blaster or left it off the list, let me know.  Or if you’ve got experience with the Tanfoglio/Witness platform and want to give me some feedback, that would be excellent as well.  Needless to say, there’s nothing I like doing more than shooting competition, so I’m pretty excited to round out my “gun stable” next year.


  1. I have a full size EAA Witness in .45 ACP with the standard rifled barrel and it is dead accurate. My friend Jeffersonian has one too, but with the polyganoly rifled barrel and it is at least as accurate if not better. His has been 100% reliable in feeding and extracting, mine has needed a touch of work on the feedramp to remove a ridge, but it’s feeding great now. FMJ or hollowpoints work great in it. I don’t shoot SWC’s so I can’t tell you how it feeds these.

  2. Check out the CZ guns too, if you get a chance.

    SP-01s are very popular in USPSA/IPSC. Not as much in IDPA since it’s stuck in SSP because of the dustcover/rail.

    The 75B also performs well and can be run in a number of classes due to the selective da/sa system.

    I run an SP-01 in USPSA as Limited (since I carry C&L) and – when I’m not playing with a 1911, a 75Bss in IDPA under ESP (again, the C&L mode).

    If you like single action guns, the 75SA runs Limited in USPSA and ESP in IDPA – very sweet gun.

    Also, there’s the Tactical Sport – designed specifically for USPSA Limited competition and the Champion designed for Open class – although why they even put iron sights on an “Open” gun is a mystery to me…. der! Just hit me. Stupid Import restrictions.

    Anyway, have a look at http://www.czusa.com for some great gun porn, and http://www.czcustom.com for some cool competition mods and gear.


  3. What Yuri said!

    Check the listings at GunBroker, while you’re at it. I was shopping for a pistol a coupla months ago, and there was an all steel full size Witness in .45ACP for $355. I ended up with something else because I’m left-handed, and the ambi safety would have run me an additional $85, which broke the budget.

    Once you have the frame, you can change calibers by swapping out the slide, magazine and barrel. IIRC, you can haz .22LR, 9mm, .40, .38Super and .45ACP. And the magazines, regardless of whose name is stamped on it are made by Mec-Gar.

  4. Don’t you love it when you ask this question and folks read it as “What’s your favorite gun?” :rolleyes:

    You do not want to add another type of trigger pull, control layout, or grip shape.

    Go with a Glock 35.

  5. Yes, yes I do. And truth be told, I am considering a Glock, but I can’t get the wonderful memory of how little felt muzzle flip was on that all steel Para 18-9.

    The Beretta wouldn’t really be like adding another action and trigger pull, since I keep and shoot a 92 on a regular basis, I just don’t compete with it – right now that has the most mental points going for it.

    Honestly, the real appeal of the Tanfoglio would be so that I could be the guy with the gun that no one else has, which is great until it throws a part and you have to order spares from the Turkish Pistolsmith Monks who are exiled to Uzbeckistan and only make three parts a year. You know, kind of like an HK.

    Had I made this a four gun list, the Glock would have been on there.

  6. Beretta Elite II: Good choice, you’re familiar with the platform, you like Berettas. Check the classifieds section of http://www.berettaforum.net/vb/ and even post a WTB… You could opt for a PX-4 if you were interested in tactical tupperware. 🙂 The rotating barrel supposedly tames the recoil, and since the barrel doesn’t tilt that supposedly helps with accuracy. I really like my PX-4, but I wouldn’t mind adding an M9/92 type to the collection…

    Witness: Good choice, from what I’ve read. They’re clones (very good clones, and high quality in their own right) of the CZ 75 series, so going with a CZ 75 of some flavor isn’t too far fetched. I really like my CZ 75 P-01, but it’s one of the “compact” versions in the CZ 75 lineup.

    Para: Good choice, I’ve read good things about them. And you have two other Para 1911 style pistols, so the controls are fundamentally similar. Tam’s argument supports this as well as supporting the Glock…

    Bottom line, I don’t think you’d go wrong with any of these three choices, which probably doesn’t help you out any… 🙂

    So I say go for the Beretta.

  7. The Witness is a great gun and ridiculously accurate, but you may find holsters for it a bit hard to come by.

    A CZ75BD or Phantom (Yeah, I know, plastic. Try it first, you’ll be surprised) might be more in line for a Production gun.

    In Production, having a decocker on a DA firearm with a hammer prevents any chance of you getting an AD and an unexpected early trip from the range.

  8. If you want to keep something similar to the glock, but with a crisper break – get a Steyr M9A1 — they’re inexpensive but not cheap. You can get them from CDNN for $339. Their customer service is amazing, the barrel axis is low, the trigger feels almost single action, and you can’t beat the trap sights.

  9. CZ 75 and Witness are just almost the same gun. I own a CZ 75B and (Compact) Witnesses in 9mm and .38SA, which you are welcome to shoot.

    However, the grip and layout owes a lot of the Hi-Power; they are unlike both the 1911 and Glock.

  10. I have a full-size Witness in 10mm with slide/barrel/mag combos for 9mm, 40 S&W and 38-Super. I shot it at the bowling pin shoot last weekend. Had a lot of failures-to-feed that day. Clears the table, though! Harlon quipped, “Pretty good for a single-shot!”

    The mags with red plastic followers are the ones to get, and so far only the factory mags have them. The factory mags ARE made by Mec-Gar, but the Mec-Gar aftermarket mags suck! Go figure.

    I got mine new at a gun show in April. It was $370. The extra slide/barrel combos are $200 and the magazines are $40.

    Once I solve the failure-to-feed problem it will be a good gun. It’s my “poor man’s Krieghoff”, i.e. one gun in four calibers.

    Roberta X has a compact Witness in 38-Super.

  11. I do not shoot in any competition. But I carry a CZ P-01, and concur with others’ good opinions of it. Have you ever put your hands onto one? When I was looking for a second larger (than my Kahr CW9) pistol, at one grasp of the rubber grips on the P-01 I was sold. You’d have to like the decocker, (I do). But it’s 14 rounds and damned accurate.

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