Big Capacity! New EAA Witness 2311

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I can’t speak for you, but I’ve always struggled with the classic 1911 debate. I love the platform, the trigger, the ergonomics, etc. I shoot a 1911 better than most any other style. But, regardless of caliber, capacity is always far less than other designs. That’s the cost of the svelte design, I suppose. Do you choose more capacity, 15 or more rounds in a similar size package, or the classic 1911 with eight or nine, depending on caliber and size?

Agonize no more. There’s a new crop of double-stack “1911” pistols on the market: Staccato, Springfield Armory and now, EAA Girsan. The new Witness2311 family offers double-stack configurations in 9mm, .45 ACP and 10mm. Let’s take a look at the 4.25″-barrel 9mm model for starters.

The Girsan 2311 uses a three-part frame assembly: polymer grip module, aluminum forward frame, and steel up top.
That's what makes it so soft shooting.

The Exterior Tour

Like other double-stack “1911-ish” platforms, the 2311 is a three-part frame affair. The forward section of the frame (dust cover area) is aluminum, while the grip model is polymer. The slide and barrel are, of course, steel. This configuration is one of the innovations that make the 2X11 designs so soft shooting. The combination of metal and polymer provides some flex during recoil.

As for cosmetics, this model is completely blacked out. The grip, frame, and even the barrel hood and trigger face are flat black. I have to admit, the whole package looks stunning in a modern sort of way. It’s a new design, so the Girsan folks didn’t feel limited to maintaining a classic wood and shiny metal face. The black trigger is skeletonized and, like most other 2X11 designs, is made of polymer, although it’s built like any other 1911 trigger with a straight-back, hingeless operation.

The grip, being polymer, has a molded-in diamond texture on the sides and more traditional square checkering on the front and backstraps. Up top, you’ll find traditional cocking serrations in the back and just a couple up front for press checks.

A generously sized and removable flared magazine well speeds reloads. There’s a scallop cut in the well complementing a similar opposing cut in the magazine base pad should you ever need to rip a jammed magazine out.

Last but not least, the 2311 sports an accessory rail for lights/lasers.

Controls

The operating controls are classic 1911. You’ll find a grip safety with a memory bump, a left-side magazine release button and the expected slide lock lever. The manual safety is fully ambidextrous with near-identically sized levers on each side. I do notice a slight inset on the right side lever, but it’s easily accessible when shooting left-handed. The safeties are nice and crisp, engaging and disengaging with authority.

The trigger breaks right at five pounds and has a slightly mushy break, but nothing that would impact shooting.

Operating controls are just what you'd expect on a 1911 pistol.

The 2311 includes ambidextrous safeties.

Capacity

And now we’ve arrived at station raison d’etre. Capacity. The 2311 uses a double-stack configuration and fits a whopping 17 rounds in its flush-base configuration. Add one in the chamber, and your carry load is 18 for the 9mm model. The .45 ACP model will get you 11+1, while the 10mm version will pack 15+1.

I noticed the steel magazine for the 9mm version perfectly matches the dimensions of a similarly equipped Staccato, so various 2X11 companies are standardizing on magazine specs much like the 1911 world has done for a century or so.

And here it is. The big benefit of the 2311 platform: 17+1 capacity in a 1911-style pistol.

Shooting

I started shooting right out of the box and, over a few dozen rounds, had a partial feed or two. Then, I field-stripped the 2311 and noticed the rails were mostly dry, so I applied a bit of lube, and things functioned just peachy after that. Like a classic 1911, you can easily field strip this one with no tools, even with its longer guide rod.

I tested five different types of 9mm ammo with varying weights and bullet types using the brand-new Garmin Xero C1 Pro Doppler Radar Chronograph. That is one handy device. Just set it on the bench and point it towards your target, and it’ll start recording velocity and beaming the results to its companion smartphone app. I also used a Ransom Multi-Caliber Rest for stability when testing accuracy at 25 yards and shooting five-shot groups.

I shot two different loads from Norma: the 124-grain Hexagon Match (1,043.7 fps / 2.8″) and the 108-grain MHP defensive load (1,123.5 fps / 3.34″). Federal’s Syntech Action Pistol 150-grain turned in 909.7 fps and a 2.35″ group, while the Federal 124-grain NATO load delivered 1,180.1 fps and a 4.5″ five-shot group. Black Hills 115-grain JHP EXP won the day’s accuracy contest with a 1.37″ group and 1,160.3 fps.

Note the scallop cut in the flared magazine well. That'll help you extract a jammed magazine if necessary.

Family Affair

The new 2311 series is available (or will be soon) in 9mm, .45 ACP and 10mm. For each caliber, you can choose either a 4.25 or 5″ barrel length. MSRP for the 9mm and .45 ACP models is $999, while the 10mm versions list at $1,029.

For more info on the Witness2311, visit EAACorp.com.

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