Desert Eagle

Observations and modifications of the .50 AE Desert Eagle handgun.

by Charlie Briggs

The Desert Eagle chambered in .50 Action Express is arguably the most powerful semi-auto handgun in existence. This handgun can also be had in .357 Magnum, .429 DE, and .44 Magnum. It was first brought on the scene for Magnum Research by Israel’s Riga Arms Institute around 1983. It’s a beast of a pistol, weighing almost four pounds unloaded, and to carry it concealed a man would have to be the size of a phone booth! (For those to young to remember phone booths, Google “phone booth images.”) By 1985, some of its patents were refined by IMI (Israeli Military Industries) and in 2010, Magnum Research was acquired by Kahr Arms of Worcester, Massachusetts.

Like the Browning Hi-Power and countless others over the years, different manufacturers have made some design changes along the way. A variety of largely cosmetic modifications are offered to Desert Eagle owners online, many of which can be viewed on YouTube. However, as is often the case, details are inadvertently left out, may be incorrect, or may apply to since-changed examples.

A gunsmithing friend of mine says he loves YouTube as many of his first time customers come to him with projects they started via videos found online but never finished. Such was the case for me recently. A new customer brought me his partially disassembled Desert Eagle. He had plans for having some of its parts…

Read more in the September 2020 issue.

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