The Desert Eagle is a powerful gas operated semi-automatic pistol with a large frame and a powerful and destructive force. Originally designed as a revolver, it later captured a niche market when redesigned as a semi-automatic handgun – the only competitor of its kind to the 44 Remington Magnum revolver series. Though currently under the direction of the Israeli Weapon Industries, it was originally designed by Magnum Research’s Bernard C. White during the late 1970’s and into the early 1980’s, with two patents being filed in 1983 and 1985 by yet another group to hold its ownership, the Israeli Military Industries.
Unlike the usual blow-back or short recoil pistol designs, the gas operated design allowed the use of more powerful cartridges. The gas system borrows its operating concept from much larger powerful rifles such as the M14 and M16 series. Though with good reason some would celebrate this aspect of the weapon, its greatest drawback is in the Desert Eagle’s large size and weight as a handgun.
By easily exchanging the barrel and magazine, the Desert Eagle can fire cartridges of .357 Magnum, .41 Magnum, .44 Magnum, 440 , 45 ACP, Cor-bon and .50 Action Express. The maximum effective range is 200 meters with the .50 AE.
Depending on the cartridges, its capacity ranges from 7 to 9 rounds per magazine, and barrel sizes range from six to ten inches (152.4 to 254.0 mm). As a .44 Magnum, it weighs 4.2 lbs, or 1,897 grams.
When grasping this monstrous weapon, the Eagle’s weight is immediately appreciable, and extra effort is necessary when aligning the sights to the target. Once the objective is in sight, concentration, slow and steady breaths and a slow pull of the trigger are necessary for a good shot. Allowing the detonation to surprise you, the round escapes through the barrel with powerful intent and devastating recoil. When observing other shooters, one can see a cloud of explosion at the tip of the barrel. As a shooter, it takes a moment to realign the sights to the target. And if you’ve fired off your first round well, you can enjoy the satisfaction of claiming the target with a powerful and unruly pistol.
I love this firearm! The Desert Eagle was designed to be a powerful force and a real stopping weapon as demonstrated by its large cartridge capacities. It’s power and impressiveness easily overshadows some of its drawbacks. Due to its massive weight and compromised control, it’s best considered a destructive member of a larger arsenal rather than a primary weapon, perhaps after the acquisition of a 45 1911, paralleling them to 44 Magnum and 38 Special revolvers.