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Self-loading Pistol

"Desert Eagle"

The "Desert Eagle" Mark XIX Self-loading Pistol

Caliber 9 mm 11.1 mm 12.7 mm
Cartridge type .357 Magnum .44 Magnum  .50 Action Express
Dimensions and weight 
Total weight (with loaded magazine)  1 766 g 1 897 g 2 050 g
Total weight (with empty magazine) 1 466 g ? 1 760 g
Overall length (with 152 mm barrel)  269 mm
Overall length (with 254 mm barrel)  375 mm
Fire characteristics
Bullets initial speed 435 m/s 448 m/s  395 m/s
Muzzle energy 968 Joules 1 560 Joules 2 025 Joules
Practical rate of fire 20 - 30 rpm
Magazine capacity 9 rounds 8 rounds 7 rounds
Sighting range (with adjustable sight) 200 m
Range of effective fire 200 m and more

   The "Desert Eagle" Self-loading Pistol was developed as a sport model, but it's high combat abilities called interest in the Israel Armed Forces. It is one of the most powerful pistols in the world. One of it's features is a great number of modifications chambered for a various cartridge types.

   It's history begins in 1979 when United States firearm company "Magnum Research Inc." began to design a totally new self-loading pistol. One of the project requirements was that the new pistol must be chambered for a powerful revolver cartridge.

The "Desert Eagle" Mark XIX Self-loading Pistol   In 1981 there was built the first example of a new pistol. It was named as a "Magnum Eagle". Later the name "Eagle" was added to all products designed by the "Magnum Research" company. Unfortunately this new pistol had a number of unsolved technical problems such as cartridge feeding and reloading. "Magnum Research" company offered to cooperate to the "Israel Military Industries" (IMI) designing and producing this new pistol. 

   "Desert Eagle" serial production began in 1983 in "Israel Military Industries". First model was chambered for .375 Magnum (9 mm) revolver cartridge. Later appeared more powerful models chambered for .44 Magnum in 1986, .50 Action Express in 1991 and .440 CorBon in 1998. 

   The .50 Action Express was a totally new cartridge designed especially for the "Dessert Eagle" Pistol. It surpasses the .44 Magnum cartridge's power in 40-50%. It is quiet impressive as the .44 Magnum itself surpasses twice in power ordinary pistol cartridges. The .40 Action Express cartridge fits all requirements for a self-defense cartridge. Pistol designers haven't stopped at these results and developed the most powerful of all "Dessert Eagle" models chambered for .440 CorBon cartridge.

   There are also modifications chambered for .41 Action Express, .40 Smith & Wesson or 9 x 19 mm (Para) cartridges.

   "Desert Eagle" has quiet unordinary design based on a gas returning principle from a barrel channel. It's barrel is tightly connected with a barrel's box forasmuch none of existing pistol mechanism could carry so powerful cartridges providing long service life and reliability. The "Desert Eagle" is probably the only pistol which automatic principle is based on gas returning principle.

The "Desert Eagle" Mark XIX Self-loading Pistol   Pistol has a non-automatic safety-lock blocking trigger. It has two switches from both sides what makes weapon comfortable to use from the each hand. This feature is common to all Israel made weapons which are intended both for right- or left-handed people.

   Israel Military Industries produced several models of the "Desert Eagle" Pistol:

   -The Mark VII was produced with a 152, 254, 352 mm (6, 10, 14 inch) barrels. With the last mentioned 352 mm long barrel pistol has a range of effective fire in 300 meter what is a really perfect result. This pistol is out of production for the moment.
   -The Mark XIX is the most common model seen in the pictures here. It is recently produced model with 152 and 254 mm ( 6, 10 inch) long barrels. The 152 mm long barrel pistol has a range of effective fire in up to 200 meter. Unfortunately recently there are produced only pistols chambered for .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum and .50 Action Express cartridges.

The "Desert Eagle" Mark XIX Self-loading Pistol   According to the "Magnum Research" sold it's last "Desert Eagle" manufactured in Israel in 1996 and since then it is produced in USA only. 

   "Desert Eagle" weight differs from used barrel frame. There are produced modifications  with a steel or aluminum frame. For example model chambered for .50 Action Express cartridges has a weight in approximately 1 500 g.

   Pistol technical reliability is named by later numbers: .357 Magnum model's recoil spring takes 5000 rounds while .50 AE approximately 3000. After firing such quantity of rounds it takes to replace ejection spring and ejector both. Barrel takes approximately 100 000 rounds. Such numbers are quiet usual unfortunately the "Desert Eagle" is considered as not enough reliable of another reason. Pistol's unique technology and powerful cartridges both cause a number of failures. Furthermore failures are more problematically to eliminate comparing with other ordinary pistols.

   Pistol usually has fixed opened sights. However it can be fitted with an adjustable opened sight, collimator or optical or even laser pointer as well. As since the beginning it was designed as a sport pistol for accurate firing in a long range. 

The "Desert Eagle" Pistol chambered for .44 Magnum cartridge   Unfortunately the "Desert Eagle" Self-loading Pistol failed to achieve reliability required for a combat pistol. Police forces rejected this pistol of it's too large dimensions, heavy weight and low magazine capacity. Also used by the police forces in an urban area it becomes dangerous for civilians as bullet proofing target has enough energy to hit the other. The same reasons made it unpopular among the special forces. It is an expensive weapon. As a result it's maintenance is also quiet expensive.

   However it became popular for sport shooting, hunting and self-defense. Its popularity remains notwithstanding on high price from $789 up to 2 000 or more depending from model.


   Great fire accuracy and long range of effective fire. Powerful cartridges. These features make "Desert Eagle" an ideal pistol for sport shooting and hunting. Recoil power is lower comparing with revolvers chambered for the same cartridges. Furthermore the "Desert Eagle" is more suitable for intensive fire than revolvers.


   Low magazine capacity. Heavy weight makes pistol low maneuverable and shooter  becomes tired only carrying this pistol. High recoil power. Blinding flash makes pistol low effective at night as the shooter is blinded for some seconds after the each shot.

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