24 December 2020

Guns from the Future: The Desert Eagle (Yoel & William & Duke)





















There are some mechanical devices that via their design, function, and power have become statements of the person that owns them or uses them. Like the Scottish Claymore, the Ferrari Testarossa, the first Apple iPhone, the gold Rolex, and the subject of this article: the Magnum Research/IMI  Desert Eagle. This giant handgun that fires all manner of massive bullets at all manner of foes, both terrestrial and extraterrestrial and even undead; causing the so-called "Deagle" to become the iconic star of hundreds of video games, movies, TV shows, and even song lyrics. There are few firearms that have achieved such a status as the Desert Eagle and it is high time that FWS gives this 1980's hand cannon its own article because it has become a gun of the future due to its design and the ammo it fires. As Yoel said to me recently about the Desert Eagle legacy, he summed the weapon as such: "the first successful totally non-practical firearm." So, grab some .50 action-express, some sunglasses, and some whiskey as we take a dive deep into the Desert Eagle! 

By the Numbers:
  • Type: Hammer-fired semi-automatic pistol
  • Action: Gas-operated rotating bolt
  • Current Cartridges: .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, .429DE, .50AE
  • Capacity: 9 (.357), 8 (.44) 7 (.429 & .50) 
  • Weight: 3.9lbs (.357) 4.4 (.44/.429/.50)
  • Barrel Lengths: 6 in and 10in
  • Overall Length: 10.6in (w/6inch barrel) 14.75in (w/10inch barrel)
  • MSRP:$1,572-$1.742
  • Current Manufacturer: Kahr Arms in the USA
  • Known Variants: Mark I (1983-1990) Mark VII (1990-1995) Mark XIX (1995-current)
  • First Film Appearance: Year of the Dragon (1985) and Commando (1985)
  • First Video Game Appearance: Tomb Raider (1996)



What is the Desert Eagle?
This large-frame heavy pistol that fires the largest semi-automatic pistol cartridge from a magazine is one of the famous and/or infamous firearms of all time. Unlike most pistols, the Desert Eagle uses an gas-operated mechanism and rotating bolt that are normally found on military rifles rather than pistols. This was used due to the massive rounds that the Desert Eagle fires, but does make this pistol have some issues and a larger size than the normal pistol. First dreamed up in 1979 by John Risdall and Jim Skildum, who founded the company Magnum Research with employee Bernard C. White and consultant(?) Arnold Steinberg designing the guts of the the iconic weapon would be taking shape in 1983 (patent filed in January 4th,1983 under Bernard C. White's name) in its original chamber: the .357 Magnum. Improved and manufactured in Israel by Israeli Military Industries (IMI) and sold by Magnum Research Inc. (MRI) of Minneapolis, Minnesota; the Desert Eagle would be improved, redeveloped for other calibers and become an icon of screen and monitor since 1985. Still currently produced by MRI, who is owned by Kahr Arms, the Desert Eagle today is under its Mark XIX incarnation in four different calibers and a number of finishes to match your dreams and desires. 

The Relationship Between Magnum Research Inc & Israel Military Industries
One of the most interesting elements about the Desert Eagle to an American growing up in the 1980's, was that the hand-cannon was stamped with the words: "Made in Israel". This only enhanced its allured and badass street cred to most of us. For many, like myself, in the age before the internet, we did not fully understand the relationship between the Desert Eagle and Israel. In truth, the concept of the Desert Eagle was American invention, but the hand-cannon that we know today was forged with a great amount help from IMI and Ilan Shalev. When the weapon was being originally developed by MRI, the .357 Magnum chambering pistol was known as simply "The Eagle" or "The 357 Eagle" during its early days and was largely based on the Colt 1911. Around 1982/1983, MRI partnered with the iconic Israeli arms manufacturer, Israel Military Industries (IMI) to improve and produce the pistol that MRI could not get working. While we know that Bernard C. White was the named listed in the US patent, we also know that the 1985 patent filed by IMI had Ilan Shalev listed. Other sites credit Iancu Bercu as well with the design of the Deagle. It seems that IMI was the actual womb for the .357 Eagle and thus, it came from Israel, reborn as the "Desert Eagle" at some point in the 1980's to the US firearms market. 
Some advertisements as late as 1983 show the weapon carrying the "Eagle 357 Magnum" pistol name. We know from the 1984 MRI catalog, that the name had been switched over to the familiar Desert Eagle. MRI marketing for the Desert Eagle was pretty brilliant and liberally mined the Israeli and Biblical connections. For example, Yoel discovered that IMI actually made the .50AE ammunition, then imported to the US under the name of "Samson Ultra". And of course, the name "Desert Eagle" was chosen for marketing purposes that also connected it to Israel. The print ads of the time had the legendary IMI logo featured. Another interesting story here is that something I was told way back in the day by my father. 
He said that the IDF had developed the Desert Eagle pistol for use by border guards on the Gaza Strip to take down cars being used as weapons or attempting to drive through the checkpoints. He said that big caliber bullets would be able to stop a moving car. Of course, we know that to be completely false, but still, it speaks to the ideas about the Desert Eagle that were around in the 1980s, especially at gun shows during that time. This is the thing with MRI's relationship with IMI, it constructed a mythos around this massive weapon that could not be bought. Having that "Made in Israel" stamp on the weapon created a story and idea in the heads of Americans that propelled the Desert Eagle into a different league of firearm that few grander. The manufacturing relationship between IMI and MRI lasted until 1995, when the American defense manufacture, Saco Defense of Saco, Maine, made the Desert Eagle XIX. Saco Defense and MRI ended their relationship in 1998, around the time that Colt bought Saco Defense. This is when IMI returns to the Desert Eagle story, and they again became the markers of the mighty Deagle.  
In 2009, MRI would again take the Desert Eagle from the Israeli arms maker and assembly their pistols in an factory in Minnesota. During the last run of Israeli-made DE pistols, IMI would sell off its small arms division (called "Magen" or "Protector" in Hebrew) to another company that would call it Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) in 2005. So, from 2005-2009, the Desert Eagles of that time were made by IWI. IMI would then transform into IMI Systems, then 2018 after being bought by Elbit, it would become Elbit Systems Land.    

What Makes the Desert Eagle Futuristic?

The Design:
Most modern pistols are based around the Colt 1911 or the Browning High-Power, but the in terms of overall look and style, the IMI Desert Eagle was a complete departure. The triangle-shaped barrel coupled with the overall size made it unlike anything seen before and style counts for a great deal in the world of machines. This barrel is even more sci-fi when seen straight on as we saw it in Robocop. Given its design, this made the job of the prop-masters much easier for sci-fi shoots. Need a sci-fi handgun? Thrown in a Desert Eagle and you’re done.

The Bullets
There is some sort of connection between weapons that fire big bullets with train loads of kinetic energy and the realm of sci-fi firearms. This can be seen in KE weapons like the UNSC M6 pistol, the handguns of Firefly, Hellboy’s Good Samaritan, the Blade Runner M2019 Detective Special, and the Lawgiver from Dredd. It’s like, in the future, we don’t use no stinkin’ 9mm, only .50 man! I think it says something about the future that soldiers and space marines can fire large bullets from their hand-cannons to kill litte green xenos than if they used a more “normal” chamber that would actually be used like 9mm or .45ACP. I think this directly applies to the Agents from the Matrix movies.

The Hand-Cannon Thing…
As TV Tropes pointed out, the Hand-Cannon is the BFG of the pistol world and that directly applies to the MRI/IMI Desert Eagle. Much like I said with the big bullets above, applies here as well. There is some about having a big hand weapon strapped to your leg that clearly communicates that this the future and that you are a future badass as well. When I wrote the article about Blasters of Science Fiction, I equaled the Han Solos and Malcom Reynolds of science fiction to the Old West gunslingers, and I think that frames the conversation here as well. The Desert Eagle is a modern day Kinetic Energy blaster that is at home in sci-fi setting as much as the shooting range. In both of these settings, it is the Belle of the Ball. And this is due to both to its steer mass and the mass of the bullet erupting from its triangle barrel. I’ve been at gun ranges when someone whips out an .44 or .50AE Desert Eagle and everyone gathers around like it’s the Beatles in 1964. And that, my friends, is what the creator is looking for when including the Deagle into the hands of their characters. 

The History of the Desert Eagle
The history of this iconic hand-cannon started in 1979, when four people had the idea of taking on of the hot calibers of the time, the .357 Magnum (which I grew up shooting via my Father's Ruger Blackhawk single-action) and designing a handgun that would chamber and fire this round in a magazine-fed gas-operated semi-auto pistol platform. The founding fathers of the concept were Bernard C. White of Magnum Research Inc, and Arnold Steinberg of Riga Arms Institute, John Risdall and Jim Skildum of Magnum Research Inc. as well.  
While this repeated many times on DE articles, who the hell are these people? I was unable to find out anything on Arnold Steinberg or this "Riga Arms Institute". It seems from an Linkin page, John Risdall was the CEO of MRI from 1981-2009 and is listed all over the internet as one of the two that co-founded Magnum Research Inc in 1979. Jim Skildum was the other founder and was the President of MRI up until 2018. Sadly, Jim Sklidum would lose his battle with cancer on July 29th, 2020. So, who was Bernard C. White? The official MRI history page fails to mention him despite the January 4th, 1983 patent for an "Gas actuated pistol". He is listed as working for Magnum Research Inc and it is highly likely that while Sklidum and Risdall founded the company and the concept of the weapon, Bernard and Steinberg were the inventors of the weapon we know as the Desert Eagle. However, there are two more names to be added later on. It seems that from 1979 to 1983, the mechanics of this gas-operated pistol that fired the .357 Magnum revolver round were being worked out.  
The first prototypes of the "The Eagle" or "Eagle 357" were shown at the SHOT show in Atlanta in 1982 and this outlandish prototype weapon was given a fair amount of press at the time. One article I read from 1982, discussed that production was going to be in Israel and that the weapon date of release was still unsure. At some point in 1982 or 1983, MRI and IMI reached a deal and the prototypes were in the hands of the Israelis to rework extensively. It should be noted that at this time, the iconic triangle-shaped barrel housing was not yet in existence, nor was the name "Desert Eagle". At some point in 1983, the design that we all know and love (or loathe?) came into being with massive help of IMI's Ilan Shalev. 
According to some sources, MRI could not get the Colt 1911 based Eagle 357, as it was known then, working properly and IMI was contracted to help with the design and mechanics. The person involved with that project was a legend in the Israeli firearms industry: Ilan Shalev. At the time, he was the general Manager and Head of Small Arms Development for IMI. Besides the Desert Eagle, he also worked on the Negev machine gun. Speaking to amount of blood, sweat, and tears put into the Desert Eagle was in 1985 an second patent application was filed with Ilan Shalev name attached. During the writing of this article, Yoel was able to scored an interview with IIan. According to their conversation, MRI could not get their 1911-based Eagle .357 to work and that it was actually IMI who redesign the gun to operate with gas actuated, rotary bolt rather than Colt 1911 tilting barrel delay-blow back mechanism. IIan elaborated on how MRI and IMI came into business together. During one of the early 1980's SHOT shows, (likely the 1982 SHOT Show) MRI representatives met with IMI representative and came to a deal. Accoridng to IIan, IMI back then wished to branch out to the commercial firearms market due to the military market being too sporadic, with years between contracts. At this point in 1985, the Mark I Desert Eagle in .357 Magnum was unleashed upon the world. For some historical context, these years where when some of the most iconic semi-autos came on the market: the Sig-Sauer P226, the Glock-17, and the Beretta 92F. As you may have noticed, these are 9mm handguns and the Desert Eagle was a stark different in terms of cartridge and size when compared to those pistols. The actual date of release is in question. Some say that the Desert Eagle was released in 1983, however, I firmly believe that it is 1984. I've read some gun reviews and previews from 1984 along with the company's own catalog that seems to suggest that the Mark I DE was released on November 1st, 1984 with a price tag of $700 (w/ one magazine). This would be around $1,778 in today's money, which is similar to the current price tag of a base Desert Eagle. At the time of release, we do know that the Desert Eagle was available in a single caliber: .357 Magnum. In 1986, MRI and IMI would release the first .44 Magnum semi-auto and it rapidly became on of the most popular Desert Eagles, with the less popular .41 Magnum (not Action Express) coming out in 1987. At this time, the .357, .41 and .44 were offered in the standard 6inch barrel, the extended 10inch, and the rarely seen 14inch (not for the .41).  
One of the key ingredients of the story of the Desert Eagle is its massive presence in all media forms. That began early on in the history of this weapon. In 1985, the .357 Desert Eagle would make its first two appearances in films just several months apart. The film that receives the honor for being the first is 1985's Year of the Dragon starring Mickey Rourke. This film is a standard film and the Desert Eagle is not well presented in the film to the degree that the next film is: Commando. This Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle is an over-the-top action film with an nosebleed high kill count and it not a great film. However, it does star the chrome .357 Desert Eagle in several seconds of screen time and being used to cap some mother fuckers. Throughout the life of the Mark I DE, it was feature in dozens of movies and mostly in .357 and continues to be featured in films despite its age. 
Just before the newest variant of the Desert Eagle was to come out, the Mark VII, there was a mysterious model that may have been put out in 1989. According to a entry on a discussion thread about the .357/.44 Bain & Davis cartridge being experimented for use in the Mark I Desert Eagle by IMI, there was a limited run. Around 1989, MRI stated that was to be likely a limited production run of the .38-44 Bain & Davis and the poster did they they were offered in the 14inch barrel. I have not been able to verify that from any other sources and may have never been more than a prototype.  
In 1989/1990, IMI and MRI would release the Mark VII Desert Eagle that was improved, but nearly cosmetically similar to the Mark I. The changes that were made were a 2-stage trigger, enlarged slide release , an improved safety lever. However, the biggest leap from the Mark I to the Mark VII was the calibers available to the buyer: .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, the .41 Magnum, and the very short-lived .440 Cor-Bon. The iconic .50 Action Express was introduced later in 1991. During the time period, there was much being added to the Desert Eagle's inventory of cartridges it could fire. 
The Mark VII hit the market in 1990 in .357, .41 Magnum, and .44 Magnum. What was cool, was that you could buy different barrels, like the SIG P229, and fire different rounds through your hand-cannon. This was a selling point that MRI made to the buying public, but it could only last as long as the public wanted a certain barrel. For example, the .41 Magnum was not popular and did not sell well. So, Magnum Research Inc discontinued the .41 barrel and when the remaining stock was sold, it was gone for good. In addition, Mark I and VII barrels are not interchangeable with one another. Then became the most iconic bullet for the Desert Eagle: the .50 Action-Express. In 1995, MRI and IMI would release the most current variant of the Desert Eagle, the XIX...and there were a number of changes on the horizon for this icon. 
On of the largest changes for the Desert Eagle was that production was shipped from IMI in Israel to Saco Defense in 1995 in Maine, USA. During Yoel's interview with IIan, he gave a reason behind that decision. He stated that MRI dumped IMI due to IMI's delivery schedule. The relationship between Saco and MRI only lasted for three years. During this time, the Mark XIX Deagle was just sold in the .357, .44, and .50AE. Then came another oddball "wildcat" cartridge for the Desert Eagle lineup: the .440 Cor-Bon. This round was developed by a small arms ammunition marker called Cor-Bon that was founded in 1982. In 1998, Cor-Bon developed an wildcat .440 (10.9mm) cartridge that was necked-down from the established .50AE round, to fit an .44 Magnum bullet. Much of the history, how, and why of the Cor-Bon .440 round found itself in the Desert Eagle inventory is unclear, but it is clear that using an .50AE brass, the .440 was designed for the Desert Eagle. It did not last long though. 
By 2000, only 500-1,000 Desert Eagles and barrels were imported to the US by 2000. It is likely that the .440 DE Mark XIX was only produced for about one year. What led to the downfall of the .440? It was unreliable in performance and it was expensive and unneeded in the DE inventory. Around the time that the .440 Cor-Bon was being inserted into the Desert Eagle Mark XIX lineup, the production was shipped back to Israel from Saco Defense. Why the change after just three years? According to what I was able to research, MRI moved production from IMI to Saco during a time of trouble for the iconic Israeli firearms company in 1995 and that MRI was unhappy with some of the shipping delays with IMI. When MRI moved from Saco Defense of Maine back to the holy land in 1998, IMI was now the privately-owned Israel Weapon Industries (IWI), It is likely that MRI preferred that the Israelis handle the production of the Desert Eagle. This would last until 2009, when production was moved back again to the USA, but now under Magnum Research own production facility in Pillager, Minnesota. 
Due to the long production cycle with IMI/IWI, current spare parts can still be ordered directly from MRI
 that were made in Israel. Oddly, you can request that your parts for your hand-cannon come from Israel. In 2010, Magnum Research was bought out by Kahr Arms, but kept the MRI name and location. The last major change for the good ole Degale is the introduction of yet another cartridge: the .429DE in 2018. This was somewhat the return of the old discontinued .440 CorBon cartridge, but better. An .50AE DE Mark XIX is used with a swappable barrel assembly to create the newest entry to the Desert Eagle family. From recent reviews, some gun magazines are saying that the .429 Desert Eagle is the one to buy and shoot at the range or when hunting raptors on some island. There is even a smaller frame Desert Eagle pistol also, the L5/L6. With the Desert Eagle fast approaching its 40 anniversary, we can safety assume that this hand-cannon will continue to be the queen of the range and the crazy-cool sidearm of the virtual warriors of the online battlefield.             

Has the Desert Eagle ever been used in Combat?
Here is the eternal question concerning the Desert Eagle pistols...are they used or have they been used by a military organization in actually combat? Officially, we know that the Polish SOF GROM unit has them in their inventory along the Portuguese Grupo de Operações Especiais, however, I am certain that Desert Eagles have been taken to battlefields unofficially by Special Operators, Mercenaries, and non-conventional forces, much like how a few Gyrojet pistols made it to Vietnam. However, it must be said while I do believe that some SOF units have a few of the Desert Eagle in their armories, they are fun guns, range queens, and something different than the typical Glocks, H&K, and SIGs to wipe out blow some targets with big bullets. I also do firmly believe that there have been Desert Eagles used in combat situations. It is highly likely that the Desert Eagles were used in nonconventional warfare situations by warlords, Cartels, and gangs the world. Due to the power of these hand-cannons and its reputation these groups would use one to see what it could do and to have bragging rights that they shot someone with a Desert Eagle! According to sources, GROM Operator legend Pawel Moszner carried a .357 Desert Eagle into the field. So, why is the Desert Eagle not used by military units?  
First, the Desert Eagle is a big boy, both in weight (over 4 pounds) and size (nearly 11 inches). It is a greedy boy in terms of its muzzle flash (can be deadly in combat), round size, and expense. Given the size of the weapon and bullets, you image hauling this thing on your leg along with several magazines that are less than half the capacity of an average combat-grade 9mm handgun magazine.  In addition to that, which caliber do you chose? .44 Magnum, .357 Magnum, .50AE, or even the new .429DE? None of these are used by any military and the power of these round is massive, does that justify carrying fewer rounds and more recoil? One person online also raised a point about the cost of the ammunition itself. Most of the ammo for the Deagle is $2 a bullet verse $.15 for 9mm. 
Then there is the ability to put rounds down range and wasn’t something I had considered. One commenter on Reddit stated that in the time that you put one DE round down range, the 9mm user could triple that out going fire at you due to the recoil and fire-re-aim-fire method. Firing a Desert Eagle can hurt your wrist, and this could cost you the ability to be combat effective. When I rented a .50AE DE, just a few rounds into the magazine, my wrist did indeed hurt. Then the last major issue: reliability. From a great deal of reviews I read, the Desert Eagle has reliability issues that cause the weapon from cycling correctly, leading to stoppages in combat conditions. That could be the end of the user’s life during a gun fight and the cycling issues grow worse with some types of ammunition, the quality of the ammo, and how you hold the massive grip. 
Some say that feed it properly, grip it right, and keep it clean; and it will work. Some reviews have said that the DE runs best in the .357 Magnum and .429DE cartridge, and to avoid the .50AE. These are issues that would prevent most soldiers from humping the big boy through the jungle, the mountains, and the urban battlefield. But, I think we are being hard on the Desert Eagle…it was never intended to be the US Military’s next combat handgun. It was designed for being a range queen and a hunter of big game, but a hunter of man? I don't think so. It is not even a good gun for home defense. When civilization ends, it is not the handgun that you would want. This debate about the DE in the combat zone has extended to the virtual battlespace with games like Rainbow 6 Siege, Call of Duty, and Counter-Strike. While  there are weakness to this hand-cannon, the power and ability to have a quicker time-to-kill brings video game warriors to wield the Deagle on their favorite maps and have braggin rights in the lobbies.       

The Cartridges of the Desert Eagles
With the Desert Eagle being placed into so many movies and TV shows, blank ammunition was a must and two different companies produced the blank ammo for the DE. 

The .357 Magnum (1982-Current)
When the Desert Eagle was first developed in 1979, the .357 Magnum round was its reason for being: an semi-auto magazine-fed pistol that chambering the .357 Magnum and even the first prototypes of the legendary gun were called "the 357 Eagle". When the Desert Eagle was first released in 1983, it was in the .357 Magnum round and was offered in all three generations of the Desert Eagle. To this very day, the .357 Deagle is still available and still sold. For some, the .357 Magnum is the cheapest way to run a Deagle and the best cartridge for the platform. Most of the first movie use of the Desert Eagle pistols were .357 Magnum. 

.357/44 Bain & Davis (Prototype 1989?)
Around 1989, the .357/.44 Bain & Davis cartridge was being experimented for use in the Mark I Desert Eagle by IMI and there are some sources that say that a very limited run of Mark I Desert Eagles in the oddball .357/.44 Bain & Davis round. What is the .357-44 B&D round? Basically, it is necked down .44 Magnum round developed around 1964 to heat up the .38 cartridge with higher performance figures.    

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The .41 Magnum (1987-1990?)
In 1987, the Mark I Desert Eagle would add the .41 Magnum to its inventory next to the .44 Magnum and the .357 Magnum. Now, there are two different .41 cartridges within the IMI/MRI universe: the .41AE and the .41 Magnum. The .41 Action-Express was developed in 1986 by Action Arms and IMI  and found its way into a variant of the iconic UZI SMG and the Jericho 941 pistol. However, while MRI would sell the Jericho 941 as the "Baby Eagle", the Big Daddy Eagle would chamber the .41 Magnum round. Developed in 1964, the .41 Magnum and was sandwiched between the .357 and the .44. For a few years, Magnum Research made a .41 Magnum, but it was not successful and died out during the Mark VII DE at around 1990. 


The .44 Magnum (1986-Current)
One of the great pistol cartridges of all time is the .44 Magnum and it was memorized in Dirty Harry in the S&W Model 29. It made sense for the big hand-cannon Desert Eagle to have its own .44 Magnum. Introduced in 1986 during the Mark I Desert Eagle first few years and was, for five years, the biggest caliber Desert Eagle available, until the fifty caliber. Powerful and well loved by those that own and collect the Desert Eagle. While the .44 Magnum is great and powerful round for hunting and target shooting, it was not used in films, that job went to the .357 Magnum or the later .50AE. Only foreign productions use the .44. 

.440 Cor-Bon (1999-2001?)
This is by far the most mysterious and rare caliber chambered in the Desert Eagle is the .440 CORBON Magnum. At some point during the early years of the Mark XIX model, this wildcat 10mm round was placed into the inventory of MRI's offerings. Cor-Bon was a small ammo marker and was founded in 1982. In 1998, Cor-Bon developed an wildcat .440 (10.9mm) cartridge that was necked-down from the established .50AE round, to fit an .44 Magnum bullet. Much of the history and why of the Cor-Bon .440 round is unclear, but it is clear that using an .50AE brass, the ..440 was designed specifically with the Desert Eagle in mind. It did not last long though. By 2000, only 500-1,000 Desert Eagles and barrels were imported to the US by 2000. It is likely that the .440 DE Mark XIX was only produced for about one year. What led to the downfall of the .440? It was unreliable in performance and it was expensive and unneeded in the DE inventory with rounds like the .44 and the .50AE. 

The .50 Action-Express (1991-Current)
There is little doubt that the fifty caliber Desert Eagle is a legend and the most popular caliber to own, despite it being the worst caliber to own it in terms of cost and reliability. The .50 Action Express was developed by VP of Action Arms Ltd. Evan Whildin and Bob Olsen of Olsen Development Laboratory in 1988. Action Arms Ltd. had a relationship with both ODL and IMI, thus, it makes sense that the .50AE round found itself into the chamber of the Mark XIX DE model in 1991. This is a massive round that is about a $1.50 a pull and the most popular in terms of sales and rentals. It also the most popular in appearance in video games. The attention paid to the .50AE over the other calibers offered by MRI always reminds of that line from Romeo & Juliet: When he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars, and he will make the face of heaven so fine, that all the world will be in love with night, and pay no worship to the garish sun.   

The .429DE (2018-Current)
The newest caliber to find its way into the Desert Eagle family is the .429 DE. This cartridge was developed Jim Tertin who is the director of manufacturing over at MRI in 2018. This means that the .429DE is likely the first cartridge developed by MRI for the Desert Eagle directly. For the most part, the .429DE is a .50 AE case necked down to a .44 Magnum bullet that comes in a .429. This round is close to the old .440 CorBon round and the .44 AutoMag cartridge. It seems that MRI never forgot the failure the promise and failure of the .440 CorBon round and worked to develop an similar round for the DE platform. From reviews I've read, the .429DE performs better than the .44 Magnum in terms of energy and better shooting characteristics than the .50AE. For me, I think if I was in the market for an Desert Eagle than an .429DE might be my choice (that or a .357 Magnum).  

The .51 (Prototype 1990?)
The story of the 50EA caliber is interesting in of itself, but another interesting element was that the .50AE round was initially designed to have diameter of 0.51'' which is bigger than the half inch of the non-sporting allowed under US federal law. Originally the gun was intended to have traditional rifling and the US BATFE regulations define caliber diameter by the distance between the lands not cuts and with the traditional rifling. According to the BATFE, guns with bores over 0.50 are considered "destructive devices" and this would be seriously restrictions on sales. This caused Action Arms Ltd. to reduced the .51 to a .50 and the rest is history. Given the development, it is likely that there some .51AE Desert Eagle prototypes gathering dust somewhere...

The IMI Jericho 941...the Baby Eagle?!
Another weapon is often discussed along side the Desert Eagle, the IMI 9mm/.41 Action-Express Jericho 941. This pistol was developed between 1986 and 1990 by Israeli Military Industries and based on the legendary Czech CZ-75 9mm. There were rumors that since the Jericho 941 and the Desert Eagle bear some style similarities that the Jericho is an "baby eagle", but that is false. There is some style similarities to due to their common development location and some of the people that worked on the Jericho also worked on the Desert Eagle, but that really it. They do not even share the same .41 load, the Deagle fires the .41 Magnum, while the Jericho fires the .41 Action-Express. Two US firearms companies have imported the Jericho 941 with Magnum Research Inc, capitalizing the stylistic similar and christening the pistol, the "baby eagle". 
Another US company imported the pistol, UZI American, and renamed it the "UZI Eagle". While the .41AE was an interesting caliber, it did not catch on despite having an UZI SMG chambered to fire the round, and the 9x19mm was the more popular choice. An upgraded polymer Jericho can still be bought through MRI to this day in either 9mm or .45ACP. While a gun that was not well known by most, it gained fame outside of the attempted sales connection to the Desert Eagle via its used by Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop. Another question that often surfaces with discussing the Jericho 941 is that if it is the standard issue sidearm in the IDF? Well, no. I thought it was until very recently. The Jericho is used by security forces, but it seems that IDF uses Glocks, SIGs, and even some Browning Hi-Powers.  

The Desert Eagle Carbine?!
There is little information out there and this the only picture of it, but a Reddit user uploaded this image and some pieces of the article. This was to be an law enforcement carbine variant of the Desert Eagle. Around the time that Magnum Research Inc. was discussing the SSP-91, the single shot rifle-caliber pistol that MRI had acquired the rights to 1994 and renamed the pistol "the Lone Eagle" (sounds like a Chuck Norris movie) that MRI brought up the DE Carbine. This would have centered around an DE pistol with a specially designed buttstock, fluted extended barrel of some unknown length along with a forward assembly hand grip. This would have been available in the .357 and .44 calibers. These seems an oddball invention given that no LE organization as ever used the Desert Eagle and why would the Law Enforcement organizations not just use a shotgun or H&K MP5 SMG, which were in service with most SWAT units at the time? 

The Case of the MK.23 SOCOM and the Desert Eagle
When the topic of the rumored military service of the Desert Eagle is discussed, some people bring the H&K SOCOM Mark 23 offensive handgun from the 2000’s up.  These two handguns are connected due to their size, weight, and mystery surrounding them. USSOCOM wanted an offensive handgun in .45ACP for Special Operators to use in a more offensive role rather than the normally defensive role of pistols and that these special pistols would be equipped with a laser module and a suppressor. This is a very cool project and the only gun to make through the trials was the Heckler & Koch Mark 23 .45ACP. About 2000 were issued in USSOCOM unit mostly in the USAF, NAVSPECWAR, and some SOCOM crew serve personnel While a masterfully designed pistol that is a legend, it is also heavy and large…nearly as heavy and large as a Desert Eagle. 
For comparison, the Desert Eagle weights in 4.4lbs with a overall length of 10.75. Compare that with the Mark 23, which is 9.65inches and 3.2lbs. That is not much separating these two giant weapons, but why was the Mark 23 allowed to serve on the frontlines of the War on Terror and the Deagle was confined to the range? H&K designed the Mark 23 for combat, and it survived on of the most hellish endurance tests ever put to a pistol trial. Let us be frank, the Desert Eagle could have never survived the trials that the HK Mk. 23 went through. While the Desert Eagle and the Mark 23 are similar in size and weight, the Mark 23 was designed for the realities of combat while the Desert Eagle was never engineered for the battlefield and it shows, especially in the fifty caliber. In addition, the Desert Eagle was designed by two companies, not government contract requirements, which shaped these guns in radical different paths of the firearms market.          

Action Arms Ltd., the Timberwolf .357 Pump Action Rifle, and IMI
There is another player in the story of the Desert Eagle: Action Arms Limited. Founded by Harry Stern in 1946 as "action manufacturing" in Philadelphia, Harry  devoted his life to making products that would benefit the Jewish people due to the horrors he witnessed being inflicted on his people and family living in Poland by the Nazis. Throughout the history of Action Manufacturing, the company had many business dealings with Israel via IMI and those only strengthened after Uzi Gal moved from Israel to Philadelphia in 1976 so that his daughter could get special medical and education treatment. Action Manufacturing hired Uzi and during this time that business contacts of Harry asked if they could import the UZI SMG to the US and Uzi Gal was brought into the project of making his namesake weapon legal in the US firearms market. In 1979, another company was formed, branching off of Action Manufacturing to import the UZI to both civilian and Law Enforcement markets: Action Arms Limited. The VP of Action Arms Ltd was Mitch Kalter and he personally trained Arnold Schwarzenegger on using the UZI in Terminator. In 1982, the ATF was going to relocate Agent Evan Whildin to Washington DC and that is when he left the ATF for an opportunity at Action Arms Ltd. Two years later, Mitch Kalter died and Evan was made the GM of Action Arms Ltd. During this his six years at Action Arms Ltd, he helped develop the .41AE for us in variant of the UZI (Model B) and the Jericho pistol, and in 1988, he helped develop the .50 Action Express round. 
With the relationship with IMI, it made sense that the powerful round would find itself into the Desert Eagle inventory. However, the first gun to fire the .50AE was the very limited production AMT Automag V. During this time as well, Action Arms would become involved with another the IMI product: Timberwolf .357 Magnum pump-action rifle. According to an interview Yoel conducted with IIan Shalev, the Timberwolf was developed around the then-popular .357 Magnum cartridge as a pump-action rifle (which are sweet) by IIan Shalev at IMI. This rifle would hit the US firearms market at round 1989 with the IMI stamp on it and sold for about $299. It was imported from Israel by two US companies. One being Action Arms Ltd during the reign of Evan Whildin. Unfortunately, the majority of the internet claims that Evan Whildin developed the Timberwolf rifle, however Mr. Shalev informed Yoel that the Timberwolf was indeed an IMI product that he was involved, much like the Desert Eagle. Sadly, Mr, Whildin would die from a brain tumor in 2000 that was the result of Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam. While the Timberwolf beloved by those that review it and owned it, it was not a commerce success.
From the limited information, it is likely that the Timberwolf had a very limited lifespan. The rifle was also imported by Springfield Armory as well in .44 Magnum from 1990-1991. Action Arms Ltd. also had the Timberwolf chambered the .44 Magnum as well. Today, the Timberwolf is considered rare and worth about $1500-$1800 and they are popular in some circles due to their breakdown ability. Sadly, Action Arms Ltd would close in 1994 and the name is now used by a gun store in my old hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma.        

Can You Suppress a Desert Eagle?
When the Desert Eagle was developed, spund suppressors in the civilian market were less than a thing than they are today. But, could you suppress a Desert Eagle? After all, it has been seen in several movies and video games. As Yoel explained, it is  harder to suppressed compared to the common pistol cartridges like 9mm or 45ACP. But, there something works to DE benefit- it isn't delay blowback like most of today pistols, the Browning delay blowback tiling barrel mechanism is sensitive to suppressor weight clamp to the barrel end. the DE have a fixed barrel so there's no problem there. 
I suspect that the DE gas operating mechanism is also less sensitive to the increased pressure. The DE barrels all have their gas ports adjust to their intended cartridge. If someone will design a .44 silenced barrel with integral silencer the gas port can be set to reduce the returning gas. Also remember that slide lock that some silenced  pistols have to lock the gun from automatic cycle? If someone load a DE 357 magazine with 38 Special and used it in DE the 38SP couldn't cycle back the gun. Install silencer calibrate to 357 Magnum load and you could fire lightly suppressed 357 Magnum shots and have auto-cycling or heavily suppressed 38sp with manually cycling all with simple magazine swap. Most of the suppressed Desert Eagles seen on YouTube and such seem to be a custom job and the result very greatly. 

The Desert Eagle in Popular Culture
For 35 years since the Desert Eagles first appear in film, this iconic and infamous hand-cannon has appeared in over 500 films, TV shows, and video games and despite being 35 years old, it still appears in forms of media on the regular and used everyday by video game warriors on the gaming grids. One of the results for the massive inclusion of the Deagle into popular media is that MRI actively persuaded prop houses and firearms outfitters to include the Desert Eagle. At the time the Desert Eagle entered the US market, action films were big business and having the Deagle in the film made it just that much more cool. Very soon, it seemed like all of the major action movies and action stars were wielding the Desert Eagle into battle. According to my research, the action star that has wielded the Deagle in the most movies is Arnold Schwarzenegger. When video game technology was able to render more realistic firearms in the 1990s, the Desert Eagle was rapidly included in titles like Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil, and Counter-Strike. 
Its inclusion into Counter-Strike propelled the gun into the next level. Much like the Glock and AK47, the Desert Eagle was featured in hip-hop lyrics. The Desert Eagle took a life of its own in popular media and even the must garish gold-finished Deagles were being coming icons of status. When the Desert Eagle was seen on-screen, it said things about the character and setting without saying a word. Creators against all media enjoyed inserting the Deagle into their work to capitalize on its image and the power of the bullets it fired. I think Yoel summed the Desert Eagle in popular media best: The vibes I get from this gun is that the Kardashian of the firearms world - famous for being famous. it isn't famous of being used by any military or police agency, it is simply famous.

The Desert Eagle and Science Fiction
For many of us that write and creator in the genre of science fiction and more specifically, military science fiction, there are those weapons that spring inspiration. For me, my inspiration for military SF pistols was the H&K USP in the hands of the RAINBOW Operator on the cover of the original Rainbow 6 game. For some, the Desert Eagle is their inspirational weapons. This is seen in weapons like the UNSC M6 Magnum from HALO. This is just one part of the relationship between the Desert Eagle and sci-fi. 
Another part of the relationship is that the Desert Eagle is futuristic in design and works well in a sci-fi setting, causing it to be one of the most common real-steel prop-pistols present in all of sci-fi. We see this in Space: Above & Beyond, Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, and in Firefly. Given the killer rep about the Deagle, it is used in sci-fi circles to communication something about the characters without saying it. It can also be used against the character as well, given the realities of the Desert Eagle. Like this guy is a dumbass for using it as well. I think this meme works well for this. Then there is another reason for the inclusion of the Desert Eagle: size. The original plan for Robocop's sidearm was to use the Desert Eagle Mark I, however, it appeared to small on screen. This when the massive Auto-9 was developed. For some actors, the steer size of the Desert Eagle is needed to not make the pistol appear too small on screen. So…size matters?

Examples of the Desert Eagle in Fiction:

The "Podbyrin 9.2mm" from Red Heat
One of the more forgotten films of Arnold Schwarzenegger's Golden Period was 1988's Red Heat, where Arnold plays police office Ivan Danko in the Soviet Union with a iron haircut and a unique fictional firearm: the "Podbyrin 9.2mm" hand-canon. In the film, the Danko explains that the Podbyrin 9.2mm is the most powerful handgun in the world and not the .44 Magnum revolver. It is used several times by Danko, but none of the other Soviet police officers. Of course, this is an Mark I .357 Magnum Desert Eagle with some customizations done by the legendary custom firearms master Tim LaFrance. The director of Red Heat was Walter Hill and he wanted a non-realistic weapon based on the look of the iconic Walther P38, just larger and meaner that could also look impressive even in the hands of Schwarzenegger. Some color changes were made to the Mark I DE for desired more P38 appearance with a likely 8-10inch extended barrel, different front sight, and wooden grips added for good measure. Tim LaFrance was asked for a rush job by the director and instead of his normal $3,000 fee, it was doubled. Three of the Podbyrin 9.2mm "Hollywood Eagle" pistols were made for the film so that the actor could always have one loaded. Interestingly enough, the three Podbyrin pistols were blank firing and the gas porting proved to be the most difficult part of the fictional weapon. The gun has gone on to be a popular fictional weapon and often appears on internet lists and some have modified airsoft Desert Eagles into the Podbyrin 9.2mm. Interesting fact, I think that Schwarzenegger has used a Desert Eagle more on screen than any other actor. 

The Desert Eagle in Terminator: Salvation
For many of us fans of the Terminator franchise, we wanted a film set in the dark future of 2029...but, we didn't get that with 2009's Terminator Salvation. Instead, we got a half-ass film with elements of what we wanted and alot we did not. Two of the characters in the film are show wielding Mark XIX Desert Eagle in the .50 range in the post-Judgement Day world and there is never much in the way of explanation of why and one of them is an A-10 pilot that has her Desert Eagle as her  backup weapon. Makes one wonder what effect an .50AE round would have on Terminator?  

The Desert Eagle in RAINBOW 6
Rainbow 6 is one of the founding fathers of military/tactical video games and it was not long into this franchise that our friend the Desert Eagle makes an appearance. For the sequel to the 1998 game, R6: Rogue Spear would feature a Mark XIX DE in either .357 or .50AE. Like the original PC game, R6:RS would not feature First-Person gun models and you could only see the weapons in the load-out screen. Throughout the majority of R6 games, the Deagle would be selectable with my favorite being the home console titles of R6: III and R6 III: Black Arrow. With this machine in my operator's hand, I could take down tangos with one-to-two shots. In the latest game, Siege, the Deagle (or D-50) was made available via the Valkyrie, Blackbeard, and Nokk avatars in the Operation Dust Line expansion in 2016. From gameplay footage I watch, the D-50 of R6-S has massive recoil that throws the second bullet out of the chamber off by a serious margin and the pistol jumps considerably. However, it is quite powerful and some have made the case that if handled and respected correctly, you can kill mercilessly with the D-50. While it makes gaming sense to include the Deagle into the RAINBOW 6 franchise, it makes no tactical sense to include the Desert Eagle given that HRT do not carry the Deagle. The original R6 game was marketed as being more tactical and realistic than games like DOOM. That seems to have changed by the time of R6:RS

The Desert Eagle in Half-Life & Counter-Strike
While the Desert Eagle 's first appearance was in the first Tomb Raider video game in 1996, it was its appearance in Half-Life: Opposing Force and then in Counter-Strike that forge the legacy of the Desert Eagle in video game. In Opposing Force, the Deagle is chambered in .357. When Counter-Strike was released in 2000, the Desert Eagle had a starring role in .50AE as the "Night Hawk 50C". It was there in that game that the Desert Eagle would acquire it nickname: "the Deagle". Appearing throughout the series of games, the Desert Eagle is still there, dealing digital death to those that stand near the weapon. 

The Many, Many Desert Eagles from the Call of Duty Games...Dear God
In 2007. the world of video game shooters was up ended with the release of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. In the opening to the campaign, a gold .357 Magnum Mark XIX Desert Eagle is used in a rather shocking scene. From this point onward, the  Mark XIX Desert Eagle pistol was featured in most of the Call of the Duty video games in both the campaign and multiplayer. At the end of the 3rd Modern Warfare game, the Desert Eagle plays apart just as it did at the beginning. I've used the Desert Eagle many times in online multiplayer arenas and found it to be fun and madding...like most women I've known. If handled and used correctly, a Desert Eagle can end a gun battle easily, however, their accuracy and recoil is the issue and many experienced players steer clear of the weapon. While popular and included in the 2019 Modern Warfare, it is infamous as well. 

The EM-33 Plasma Pistol from Star Trek: Enterprise
Surprisingly, the world of Trek has been spared an inclusion of the Desert Eagle directly, unlike many other science fiction TV shows. However, the Desert Eagle and the Jericho 941 were used as a study model when the EM-33 plasma pistol was developed for the pilot episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise. When the NX-01 Enterprise is launched in 2151, the ship carries the current standard issue EM-33 pistol. However, the new phase pistol (an early phaser) quickly replaces the aging EM-33. The more "blaster-like" EM-33 is used by Earth's Military including the MACOs and the Earth Cargo Service. The prop weapon by designed by Craig Binkley and Jim Martin, who based the EM-33 on the Desert Eagle and Jericho 941. Interestingly  enough, showrunners Rick Berman & Brannon Braga said in their audio commentary for the pilot that they preferred the look of the "pulse pistol"(as they call the EM-33) over the phase pistol and wished they stayed with the EM-33 over the pulse pistol. Which maybe why it came back in the hands of the MACOs in Season 3-4.   

The Hidden Desert Eagles from Predator
One of the greatest action movies of all time is 1987's Predator and one of my favorite movies. True a masterwork that cannot be replicated...despite everyone trying harder than a stripper on a Tuesday lunch shift. While the plot should be familiar to most everyone read this, which is not familiar or well-known until IMFDB.org was the pistols that the Dutch-led Special Operations rescue unit carried. I've seen this movie over and over dozens of times, and as a teenager, I thought that the unit carried a Colt .45 or something else...but I never imagined the pistol carried by the majority of the actors is the infamous MRI/IMI Mark I Desert Eagle .357. Carried on either the shoulder or on the hip, the weapon is there, but basically unseen and unused throughout the iconic film, 
The only time it appears out of the holster is during the nighttime raid when the Predator uses the pig to distract his prey to steal the body of Blaine. For 2 seconds, Billy is seen sleeping with the Desert Eagle out, in his hand, resting on his chest. During the chaos of when the pig runs through the camp, I think that Billy is carrying the DE instead of his M16A2 Masterkey. However, I cannot confirm that after re-watching the film...the things I do for you people! Why was this US Army SpecOps unit carrying the Mk. 1 DE .357? It was the 1980's. The team seen in the film carries a goddamn mini-gun, a multiple grenade launcher and most are armed with the MP5 SMG. So, the Desert Eagle does not seem that outlandish when compared to that. For the record, the CIA agent, Dylan, carries a government issue M1911 .45 pistol, which is a solid choice and much more inline with the times. One interesting note is that the holster that some of the actors used in the film are actually early prototype cordura holsters designed by Magnum Research themselves, which means that MRI had some sort of involvement with the production staff of Predator. 

Meryl's Desert Eagle from the Metal Gear Solid Universe
Early on in the video game career of the Desert Eagle, it would appear in one of the most famous video games of all times: 1998's Metal Gear Solid. In that game, Meryl Silverburgh takes an Desert Eagle .50AE from the armory instead of the Mark 23 SOCOM. There in the dialog between Snake and Meryl, she mentions that her Desert Eagle chambers the .50AE round. The character of Meryl would continue to use the Desert Eagle in other games. Given that this game came out in 1998, this would one of the earlier appearances in video games, especially given the popularity of game. 

The Lasered Desert Eagle from Predator 2
One of the best action movies of all time was 1987's Predator and given its massive success, it made Hollywood sense to developed a cinema sequel (Dark Horse already had a limited series about the intergalactic headhunters). In 1990, the sequel was released starring Danny Glover in the role as a hard-boiled cop on the streets of LA in 1997 as law-and-order is breaking down into urban warfare. 1997 was the hottest summer on record and this was prefect hunting weather for the Yautja. While the film is very different than the original, it is still not without its charm and did introduce the Aliens existing in the same universe as the Predators, causing many ripples in fabric of space-and-time.
In film, Danny Glover's character would carry as his service sidearm an chrome-brushed Mark VII .357 Magnum Desert Eagle complete with a early laser sight that maybe a LASERAIM, which is the models used on Jerryy's and Leona's SIGs (Danny uses an flashlight on his S&W .45ACP). Given the time period when the film was shot, pistols did not have rail systems yet and a great deal of customization was needed to fit the lasers and lights. There is some debate in my mind about if the device mounted to the top of the Desert Eagle is actually an early red dot sight rather than a laser sight.   

The Desert Eagles of RoboCop
In 1987, one of the most unlikely films would be developed and be more awesome, funny, and violent than anything had a right to be: Robocop. The film (which parts were filmed in Dallas, where FWS is headquartered contains several iconic uses of the Mark I Desert Eagle in .357. There was a chromed one in the OCP boardroom, complete with loaded magazine(!) and was used in the tragic demonstration of the ED-209. At the end of the film, the Chrome Mark I is used again in a aborted hostage situation that is resolved by some fancy shooting. Beyond the chrome-platted .357 used by former OCP President Dick Jones, there is the .357 Mark I Desert Eagle used by gangster Clarence Boddicker. 
While he most famous for using a shotgun and the COBRA assault cannon, he used use an interesting Desert Eagle. When he terminates Bob Morton, he screws on a suppressor on an extended threaded barrel of the Desert Eagle, thus, making this the earliest example of a suppressed Deagle. During the abandoned foundry fight at the end of the movie, Clarence would use the Mark I without the suppressor and one can see the threaded barrel. However, during the cocaine warehouse battle, Clarence uses a normal Mark I Deagle. Some on IMFDB.com have reasoned that the threaded barrel Mark I used by Clarence is the abandoned Robocop sidearm. At first, the production wanted to use an Desert Eagle for Robocop's weapon, but it was found to be too small for the OCP cyborg, and the Auto-9 was developed. As far as I can research, I cannot find any images of the original Robocop Deagle. For many of my generation, this was maybe there first look at the Desert Eagle in all of its glory.     

The Suppressed Desert Eagles in Universal Soldiers
In 1992, there was much hype given to the military sci-fi film "Universal Soldiers" that starred Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren as resurrected genetically engineered super soldiers in a special unit. While not a good film at all and a waste of the concept, it does feature a rarely seen suppressed Mark I .357 Magnum DE fitted with a Tasco laser point sight. During other missions, the suppressed come off.  

The Agent's .50AE Desert Eagle from the Matrix Universe
When the Matrix came out in 1999, it was a revolution in filmmaking, storytelling, and gave the .50AE Desert Eagle a starring role that only increased its star-power. Throughout the three film and the video games, the Agents of the Matrix use .50AE pistols. Unlike other movies, we know why the Wachowskis chose the Desert Eagle and from where. The Desert Eagles were rented from Stembridge Gun Rentals in California and then imported into the Land Down Under where the first film was shot. However, the on-set Armourer, John Bowring disagreed with the Wachowskis about the choice of the .50AE Desert Eagle. He called the Desert Eagles "a wanker gun" and thought the agents should use a more realistic firearm. However, given who the agents are and the rules of the Matrix, it makes sense that the .50AE could be used.  

The Desert Eagle from Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man
 In 1991 one of the most unusual films that had a great deal of talent and had one of the oddest names: Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man. Taking place in 1996, it has two outlaws that have an extensive history together banned together to save a friend's bar...only to uncover another conspiracy. In the beginning of the film. Harley Davidson disarms a robber of a Mark VII Desert Eagle. In the film dialog the pistol is identified as an .44 Magnum, but in actuality, it is chambering the familiar .357 Magnum. I guess .357 Magnum is not cowboy enough for the Marlboro Man. In the hands of Mr. Davidson is an .454 Casull Ruger Super Blackhawk. There is debate if the Ruger in the movie fires an .454 Casull or another more common caliber like .357 or .44.        

The ISA M4 Semi-Auto Pistol from Killzone
One of the more maddening military science fiction franchises is Killzone with its ups-and-downs and close to amazing visuals. During the first Killzone game released in 2004 that was to be PS2's HALO killer, the ISA uses the M4 semi-auto pistol chambering the .50AE. The weapon was a mule of the Desert Eagle and the P99 with an interesting overall design that could kill Helghast quickly. Oddly, the ISA forces would never use the M4 semi-auto pistol again in the next games. Instead, it was replaced with a series of futuristic revolvers that also went by the name M4.    

The Mark I Desert Eagle .357 with 10inch Barrel from Slipstream
My favorite B-Movie is 1989's Slipstream by director Steven Lisberger of TRON fame and starring Bob Peck, Mark Hamill, Bill Paxton and many others with wonderful music by Elmer Bernstein. This film is about the world after an massive environmental collapse that altered the geography of Earth and gave rise to a river of wind called the Slipstream. The story of the film centers around an on-the-run murderer, a low-rent drifter, and two lawmen on the persuit of the escaped murder. One of the lawmen of the Settlement is Mark Hamill as Will Tasker who pilots an Edgley EA-7 Optica and carries an Mark I .357 Desert Eagle with a 10inch barrel in a shoulder holster. In the film, Task uses his DE several times and not much is made about the weapon or discussed, but it made an impression on me. I've Slipstream dozens of times and being interested firearms, the appearance of a rare 10inch barreled version of the DE Mark I is unusual. If you are interested in more about the film, check out my article on it.      

The UNSC M6 Magnum series of Sidearms from the HALO Universe
One of the most famous .50 pistols in science fiction is the M6 Magnum family of sidearms used by the UNSC for over 150 years. Throughout the HALO games, the variants of the M6 have been along side you or against you with deadly results. The Desert Eagle .50AE has been often cited as an influence for the M6 Magnum series. However, I am not sure about that. For example the .50 cartridges are different sizes: the .50AE is 12.7x33mm vs. 12.7x40mm used in the M6 series. One of the designers of the original game said the reason for the size of the weapon and its cartridge came from the size of the SPARTAN-II warriors.  
The Desert Eagles of Space: Above & Beyond
Throughout the 1995-1996 FOX Military SF TV show Space: Above and Beyond, a .357 Magnum Mark VII Desert Eagle would make an appearance, and it was likely the same pistol. In the pilot episode, the M70 Glock-based standard issue USMC sidearm was not yet seen and it instead, Cooper uses a Desert Eagle to force the captured Chig to answer a question about the chest-mounted ID card. After the pilot, the Marines and Army personnel shown on screen would use their M70 pistols with groups like civilian cargo hauler crews and the Silicates using the same .357 Magnum Mark VII DE. During the 58th escape from the penal colony, McQueen takes a Desert Eagle from a Silicate guard and several other Silicates can be seen using Desert Eagles as well. Why did the production of this firmly military science fiction show use the Desert Eagle? At the time of filming  SAAB, the Desert Eagle was seen as futuristic still and it was an easy fix for a production to place the DE into the role as "future hand gun". I firmly believe that the Desert Eagles seen in the pilot were done to save some cash instead of developing a specific pistol when so much money was being earmarked for building of the world of SAAB. When the show entered into full-time production, the M70 pistol would be in the role as the standard sidearm.     

The Desert Eagles of Ms. Lara Croft from the Tomb Raider universe
If you lived in the 1990's and were old enough to hold an controller, than you likely played one of the first three Tomb Raider games as the talented and beautiful Lara Croft. She is directly connected to the Desert Eagle, but not as much as you think. From my research, Eidos first Tomb Raider game in 1996 was the first appearance of the Desert Eagle in video games, followed closely by Half-Life: Opposing Force, and Resident Evil 2's "Magnum". While some of us, including the legions of Ms. Croft cosplayers, might be missing is that our beautiful tomb raider carried as her standard pistols Browning Hi-Powers or Colt 1911s. It was in the later games that Lara carried Desert Eagles more and more. 
Even in the films, the various flesh-and-blood actress that played Lara carried modified H&K USP pistols and not the Desert Eagle. Often in the original three games, Lara picks up the Desert Eagles as a special high-powered pistol for taking down of larger or more armored prey with more limited ammo than the standard bottomless ammo handguns. Even in the current Tomb Raider games, Lara can pick up a Desert Eagle.       


The Best Desert Eagle Videos on YouTube!




Next Time on FWS...
Moving from the legendary hand cannon of the Desert Eagle, to the most legendary anime space pirate of all time: Captain Harlock! Join us next as we explore the best work ever put out with Captain Harlock in it: 1982's The Arcadia of my Youth.  








6 comments:

  1. Amazing post, also Magnum Research can let buyers customize their Desert Eagles.
    It explains: "Build Your Custom Desert Eagle
    Starting at $1,770.00 USD…
    After 25 years of being accessorized, customized and re-imagined in countless movies, television shows and video games, the Desert Eagle® Pistol has emerged as a pop-culture icon. You can customize your Desert Eagle Pistol with a variety of impressive finishes to add your own distinctive twist to this timeless firearm." https://www.magnumresearchcustoms.com/products/

    ReplyDelete
  2. Speaking as an early DE owner (.357, #8XXX, purchased in 1986), a few thoughts.

    1. The DE is really a "gun from the past", not the future. If you know your military self-loading rifle actions, its mechanism is easily recognizable as being a modified version of the Swedish Ljungman AG42, which as you might guess from its number dates to World War Two. The Ljungman's direct-gas-impingement system and bolt carrier with rotating bolt head operate exactly like the DE.

    The Ljungman was made in Sweden in 6.5 x 55mm Swedish Mauser for the Swedish Army. There were also two copies of it made in Egypt in the 1950s and early 1960s, the "Hakim" in 7.9 x 57mm Mauser and the "Rashid" carbine in 7.62 x 39mm Kalashnikov. The latter two showed up on the U.S. surplus market in the 1990s, and became a byword for cranky unreliability. Apparently, the Hakim could be jammed by simply not having the action bolts in the stock tightened just right. So the action design was probably not the best possible choice for a magnum-caliber auto-loading pistol.

    2. It's not impossible to make a Browning-type recoil-operated pistol in magnum revolver calibers work. Coonan has been doing it about as long as the DE has been made, but it requires a lot more custom-fitting, which is why Coonans have generally cost more than DEs.

    3. I bought the DE because at the time it was cheaper than most of the big-frame .357 revolvers, about $500 vs. over $600. In the end, about a decade and a half later, I traded it even up for a (used) S&W M27-3 6".

    4. Instead of trying to build a self-loading pistol around an existing revolver cartridge, it probably makes more sense to design a cartridge intended for a self-loading pistol and go from there. The result in that case is more likely going to be something like the Auto-Mag, which is back after a nearly forty-year hiatus.

    Not that it's a "gun from the future", either. Its action is based on the Schwarlose Standart automatic pistol combined with the external hammer searage and overall layout of the Grant Hammond prototype .45 automatic.

    The Schwarzlose was patented in 1894 and made from 1895 to 1908, and the Grant Hammond was made in prototype form only in 1916-17.

    So again, there really is "nothing new under the Sun".


    cheers

    eon



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  3. Another great article. I loved the line about the stripper working on a Thursday.
    Respectfully disagree about those Arnold movies though. I think Commando is a far more entertaining movie than Predator.

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  4. As iconic as Deagle is, I can't help but notice that (((Yoel))) is trying to slide Israel into every damn post.

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  5. Regarding its use in fiction, this gun could've been used in the 2014 version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., but the makers of that movie didn't have the film be exactly like the TV series (having it be set in the present, utilizing fantastic communications devices and spy gadgetry and even more fantastic weaponry like the U.N.C.L.E. Special* [which this weapon could be used as]) so we got what we got on screen.

    A great article about a prolific gun.

    *Just in case you don't know what it is:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Man_from_U.N.C.L.E._gun

    The Special in action:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4QhVGLbmtTU

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  6. ngo foundation in india
    Plan india is a child rights organisation providing children, especially girls, with access to education, healthcare, protection and livelihood opportunities. • Plan India is a child rights organization providing children, especially girls, with access to education, healthcare, protection and livelihood opportunities

    ReplyDelete