Desert Eagle - .50 Caliber

The Desert Eagle being one of the most popular firearms in the world is unlike your conventional semiautomatic. The Desert Eagle .50 caliber which is gas operated, uses a special rifling technique to minimize wear and tear of the barrel and provide precision shooting.
Though an American idea to begin with, it was developed by IMI (now Israel Weapon Industries) in the early 1980s. Magnum Research, based in U.S.A developed and patented the original Desert Eagle design which was then modified by IMI. The design originally started off as a revolver however, the weapon took shape in the form of the Desert Eagle. Magnum research started assembling the parts of the gun in the U.S. and is currently making it as a whole.

The Desert Eagle is a gun with a precision cast and machined to strict military standards from high quality steel. Magnum Research Inc. successfully introduced the Desert Eagle .50 AE (Action Express) to fulfill the need of the sporting and hunting market, and not as a military, law enforcement or self-defense pistol. Its huge size and looks have made it a very popular weapon to use in most movies, video games, and books. The gun is considered to be the king of all pistols. It is a line of large caliber, gas operated semi-automatic pistols. It is not used in tactical combat by professionals due to its large size, overpowered ammunition, and loud sound, especially when fired indoors. It is popular with private collectors and gun enthusiasts.

Design and Structure
The Desert Eagle is more like a rifle than a pistol. This gun supports a gas-operated barrel unlike conventional pistols that either use recoiling or blow-back designs. The advantage of the gas operation is that cartridges that are too powerful for regular semiauto pistols can also be used in this gun. The gas system employs a fixed, shrouded barrel which stays in position on the frame during firing, with gas escaping out of the port just ahead of the chamber to operate a three lug rotating bolt that rides in the slide assembly. The fixed barrel gives the gun a lot of accuracy, a potential realized with most of these pistols when fired with quality ammunition. However, the gun's weight is something that keeps a lot to be desired for. It weighs a whole 2kgs, and even though this helps it remain stable while being used, it also contributes to the person finding it a little cumbersome to lug around.

This gun uses a special rifling technique to minimize the wear and tear of the bullet exit, this helps extend the life of the gun. It can fire up to seven rounds of .50 AE ammunition to which the system then slides into the recoil position until the new round is chambered. The sound produced by the pistol is enormous hence, special heavy duty hearing protection is required when fired indoors and it does take a certain amount of getting used to when fired outdoors. The Desert Eagle is unique in the way that it's the only firearm like it in the world. The .50 AE uses a rebated cartridge head of .0514inch. This made it practical to create the cartridge with a .50 caliber bullet without necessitating the production of a new slide assembly or bolt. The same slide assembly created for the .44 magnum fits the .50 AE. Only the barrel and a few other odds and ends have changed. The color and finish of the gun can vary according to customer specifications. The factory color is matte black.

Ammunition Used
The bullets within the cartridge are generally around 300 grains (which means that they are more than a little heavy - the best range being around 200 grains) and have a muzzle velocity of around 420 m/s with a 6" barrel. The weapon by default can expend .50 AE rounds, however, a few minor adjustments will also make it capable of expending .41, .44, .357, and .440 rounds as well. This .50 pistol has a contoured barrel coupled with a scope mount that is engraved into its top. There are about five thousand possible configurations of this pistol without the need for introducing modifications other than exchanging the barrel assembly or the grip panels.

The Desert Eagle is extremely heavy for a pistol. It is a huge sized pistol and the muzzle flash of this gun can temporarily blind the person who uses it. The intense recoil can throw the gun back over the shoulder of the shooter, if not handled properly. Though extremely accurate in its design, it makes shooting extraordinarily difficult because of a combination of all these factors. At the same time the huge weight helps to control the massive recoil and it possesses exceptional accuracy in trained hands. The stopping power of the gun is incredible.

The best feature is the inter-changeability of barrels on the same frame, not just barrels of different lengths but also barrels of different calibers. It allows different caliber barrels using the same frame because of the size of the gas port in the barrel which regulates propellant gases that are contained in the gun.

The versatility of the gun is very limited because as mentioned before, it was manufactured with the sole purpose of silhouette and target shooting, hence its handling involves proper posturing. The action of the .50 caliber rounds generate a high level of recoil, which to some extent though buffered by the weight, can tend to be of concern if the weapon is not handled properly.

Another point that goes against this gun during close combat is that if the weapon happens to jam, then you're going to be in quite a fix, because fixing the jam is a little more difficult than regular pistols or semiautomatics. The reasons being the slide's stubbornness in being pulled and slammed back, and a few more areas such as a difficult to access breech location, its sheer size and weight, and its longer slugs.

The Desert Eagle .50 caliber firearm should not be your first choice if you're considering one for self-defense. Let's understand why. Firstly when you're referring to self-defense, it's logical to consider a situation where you will be involved in combat that will most likely be 9-10 feet away. Now this range being almost point-blank, you would not expect to mess up your aim even if you tried, and here's where the guns USP is wasted, because at this range even a normal gun will be as effective. In fact, the whole picture of you trying to handle the gun and empty it at a moment's go is going to go horribly wrong. The reason being that instead of taking aim and firing, you will be more preoccupied in figuring out how to handle the thing in the first place.

The power of the projectile is such that at close range it can easily go through a person and hit the wall behind, so if you're going to be involved in short-range self-defense, then you better pray there's nobody standing behind the person you're shooting at. In any case, it's always recommended that you don't use high power rounds for home protection.

So there you have it, the Desert Eagle is an amazing gun in its own right, and it is perfect for what it was made. For sport or target shooting, this gun's aim will not flinch at all, and you will be able to shoot some really precision shots with it. It's best suited for field use and its make too speaks of its potential to exploit. This gun is not for beginners, it needs practice and skill to use the gun effectively. Once mastered, its power and accuracy make it ideal for hunting and sport.
By Jayashree Pakhare
Last Updated: 1/11/2012
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