The Desert Eagle is a semi automatic, large caliber gas-operated pistol manufactured and produced by IMI (Israel Military Industries) of Israel for Magnum Research, Inc of the United States of America.
Magnum Research, developed and patented the first Desert Eagle design and this design was further developed and designed by IMI.
Magnum Research, based in the USA, patented and developed the original Desert Eagle overall design and this design was further specialized by IMI. Manufacturing which was then moved to Saco Defense in the state of Maine from 1995 to 2000. The company then shifted back to Israel when Saco Defense was acquired by General Dynamics.
Due to its reputation as a powerful firearm overall, the Desert Eagle consistently makes frequent appearances as the selected weapons in the action-adventure genres of movies, books, songs, video games and TV shows.
Because of its size, the Desert Eagle is not used in tactical combat. It is too large, has overpowering ammunition and makes an incredibly loud sound, especially indoors. The weapon intimates fear in the unaccustomed users because of its magnum calibre pistol. The reputation causes users to flinch when prior to firing it, which significantly reduces accuracy and is called the Magnum Flinch.
Bernard C. White of Magnum Research, originally designed the Desert Eagle and filed a patent in 1983 on a mechanism for a gas actuated pistol. The basic layout of the Desert Eagle was established at this point. The basic Desert Eagle consisted of a gas operated mechanism generally found in rifles, not the short recoil or blow back designs found most often in semi automatic pistols. The makers filed a second patent in December of 1985, after the basic design of the Desert Eagle had been refined by IMI for production, and this is the model that entered production.
Often found to be more like a typical rifle than a pistol, the Desert Eagle is different from most pistols. The weapon's rotating bolt resembles an M16 series rifle and its fixed gas cylinder / moving piston is similar to the Ruger Mini-14 carbine. The key advantage of the gas operation is that this allows the utilization of much more powerful cartridges than traditional semi automatic pistol designs. Additionally, this feature allows the Desert Eagle to compete in a specific area that had overall been controlled by Magnum revolvers. The negatives of this type of gas operated mechanism are the Desert Eagle is a very large size and the fact that the weapon discourages the utilization of unjacketed lead ballets. This is because particles will be sheared off during firing and could clog the gas release tap, and effectively prevent proper function of the pistol.
In order to switch the Desert Eagle to a different chambering, the correct barrel, magazine and bolt assembly only must be installed. Therefore a conversion to shoot any of the other cartridges can be easily accomplished in the field. The Desert Eagle's most popular barrel length is the 6 inch (152cm) length, however the 8, 10, 14 inch (202, 254 and 356 mm) barrels also do well. The original Mark XIX barrels on the Desert Eagle are created with an integral scope mounting bases, which makes equipping a pistol scope a relatively simple operation.
The weapon is fed with a detachable box magazine of different sizes. The capacity of the magazine in the .50AE is 7 rounds, .44 Magnum is 8 rounds and the .357 Magnum is 9 rounds. The Desert Eagle's primary use is for target shooting, sport, and hunting and the barrel has polygonal rifling.
There are three variants to the Desert Eagle.
Mark I and VII
The first variant is the Mark I, which is no longer produced. This weapon was offered with an aluminum, stainless steel or steel frame and key differences include the size and shape of the slide catch and safety levers.
The Mark VII Desert Eagle comes equipped with an adjustable trigger. The Mark I and Mark VII Eagle's are available in .44 Magnum and .357 Magnum, however the Mark VII is also chambered for .41 Magnum. The barrels of these weapons came with a 3/8" dovetail, which made it easy to mount an accessory attachment. The later Mark VII models came equipped with a .50 Action Express with a 7/8" Weaver-pattern rail on the barrel; the .50 Mark VII Desert Eagle became the Mark XIX platform. Barrels for the weapon were 14, 10, 8 and 6 inches.
The newest model Desert Eagle is the Mark XIX which is available in the .50 Action Express (or .50 AE), .44 Magnum and .357 Magnum. Magnum Research showed additional models in .440 Cor-bon caliber which is a derivative case of the .50 AE, however no .440 Cor-bon parts are listed in the catalog for the Desert Eagle and the .440 was not adopted instead the .41 was adopted.
Barrels for the weapon were 10, 8 and 6 inches.