The Legend of the Desert Eagle

1979 saw the founding of Magnum Research, Inc., in St. Paul, Minnesota, to persue the idea of designing and building a semi-automatic pistol capable of firing magnum caliber rounds. Up to this point in time, magnum caliber rounds could only be fired from revolver-style pistols.

In 1980 MR filed the first patents for their gas-operated pistol design. By 1981 a functional prototype was produced, which was then sent under contract to Israeli Military Industries for perfection. After research from IMI, the first fully-operational .357 Desert Eagle was produced in 1983. Only about 1,000 of these original guns were ever made, and they are valuable collector's items. In 1986 MR brought to market the .44 Desert Eagle, the first ever successful semi-automatic pistol for that caliber.

After this basic development phase was completed, MR began to branch out and produced the .41 Desert Eagle. This gun was produced to fill a small market, and was later discontinued. In 1989 the Mark VII model of the Desert Eagle was introduced. This model allows barrel changes to use different calibers of ammunition, featured an improved two-stage trigger, and larger slide releases and saftey levers.

The Desert Eagle's place in firearm history was solidified when in 1991 the .50 Action Express Desert Eagle was developed (the .50AE). Building a successful semi-automatic pistol of this caliber had long been considered impossible. The gun was improved even more in 1998 when MR introduced the .440 Cor-Bon. This is the most powerful gun in the Desert Eagle family to date.

Most Desert Eagle pistols have interchangeable 6- or 10-inch barrels, which allows the gun owner to have one gun but fire multiple calibers or use different barrel lengths for different purposes. The 10-inch barrel is rarely seen in the movies or video games because it does not look nearly as badass as the 6-inch barrel.

Gun Data, Mark VII Model, 6-inch Barrel:

.357 Magnum
Length - 10.75 inches (273 mm)
Width - 6.25 inches (159 mm)
Height - 1.25 inches (32 mm)
Empty Weight - 1766 grams (62.4 oz.)
Clip Capacity - 9 rounds

.44 Magnum
Length - 10.75 inches (273 mm)
Width - 6.25 inches (159 mm)
Height - 1.25 inches (32 mm)
Empty Weight - 1897 grams (66.9 oz.)
Clip Capacity - 8 rounds

.50AE
Length - 10.75 inches (273 mm)
Width - 6.25 inches (159 mm)
Height - 1.25 inches (32 mm)
Empty Weight - 2050 grams (72.4 oz.)
Clip Capacity - 7 rounds

Purpose of the Desert Eagle

The Desert Eagle was originally designed as a hunting and target shooting pistol, not as a military, law enforcement, or self-defense pistol. It is often portrayed through Hollywood and video games, however, as being some kind of super-weapon. The Desert Eagle is most definitely not the end-all-be-all of guns, but it does have its uses. To illustrate this, it is good to look at the pros and cons of the gun.

The Bad:

Weight - The weight of this gun usually ranges from 1.766 to 2.05 kilograms unloaded. That is extremely heavy for a handgun. Carrying this gun for long times can be unnecessarily cumbersome, and certainly wielding it for any long period of time is tiring.

Size - The Desert Eagle is a mammoth of a pistol. Huge. Its large size can often make it more of a burden than anything else.

Muzzle Flash - Even the muzzle flash of the Desert Eagle is famous, and rightfully so. The .50AE and .440 Cor-Bon practically launch a fireball which can be several feet long. The muzzle flash of these guns can temporarily blind you with ease.

Recoil - Extreme, to say the least. The recoil can practically throw the gun back over your shoulder if not handled properly. This intense recoil makes shooting accurately and quickly extrordinarily difficult.

The Good:

Weight - The weight of the gun is a bit of a double-edged sword. While the heaviness makes it difficult to carry, the large weight does help control the massive recoil.

Accuracy - As mentioned before, the Desert Eagle was designed primarily as a target shooting and hunting pistol. As such, it posseses exceptional accuracy in the right hands.

Stopping Power - The stopping power of this gun is incredible. Some people hunt bears with this gun. It takes a lot to stop a bear.

Intimidation - The look and size of this gun make it very intimidating indeed. In some situations, scaring your enemy enough to avoid firing any rounds is advantageous. The intimidation factor of the Desert Eagle is what has landed it in so many games and movies.

The Verdict:

The Desert Eagle is not a beginner's gun. It takes considerable practice and skill to be able to use this gun in any effective manner. Once mastered, however, its high power and amazing accuracy make it ideal for what it was designed for: sport target shooting, and the hunting of various large creatures (deer, bears, lions!, MOOSE! Who knows, if you're a good shot I bet you could take down an elephant. But that's not recommended.). Keep in mind that although it certainly looks cool, the Desert Eagle you see in movies and games is not the real Desert Eagle.

In summary, the Desert Eagle well deserves its status as a modern legend among pistols. It is certainly a masterpiece of engineering, and one of the more beautiful pistols ever produced.


The Desert Eagle has appeared in the following movies:

It has also appeared in the following video games:

Please /msg me if the above lists need to be updated or there are titles missing


Some sources: http://www.zvis.com/dep/dep.shtml , http://www.magnumresearch.com

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