July 24, 2007

The Desert Eagle: A Big Handful of Fun!


The Desert Eagle from Umarex USA is a very close copy of the original firearm version from Magnum Research, Inc., started in 1979. This CO2-powered copy is a large pistol that really fills the hand. Featuring blowback-action during the firing process, it still manages to send pellets down range at over 400 fps. The 8-shot clip is easy to load and with the spare cylinder, you can get 16 shots off pretty quickly with a little practice.


The first thing I noticed when picking up this gun is that it is pretty much a match in size of the original firearm. I have average-sized hands, and this gun takes up all the room in my hands, and then some. If you have small hands, then this gun is going to require you to use both hands just to hold it. 

The safety is a clear, easily understood feature that is easy to use and intuitive. When the safety is on, you can still cock and squeeze the trigger, but the gun will not go off. However, practice safe gun handling and point it in a safe direction when your finger is on the trigger. The gun can be fired in both single and double-action, and the first shot of the double-action is much stiffer until the blowback action cocks the gun for you on subsequent shots.


I started my evaluation by inserting a fresh CO2 cartridge into the handle of the gun. Umarex provides a handy tool to open up the reservoir for the cartridge, but the groove is big enough that a coin could be used if you forget the tool. After inserting the cartridge, screw the cover shut, fire a test shot in a safe direction before inserting the magazine, and once you’ve determined you’ve got gas, you are ready for some fun.



The open sights on the Desert Eagle are quite accurate, and I began by bouncing an aluminum can across the backyard of my property. After one clip, I shot the gun over a chrony and was pleased to see 430 fps in velocity on an almost-fresh cartridge. Seven clips later, the CO2 began to run out, but that is after I fired over 50 shots from this gun. A quick switch to a fresh CO2 cartridge, and the can shredding began again in earnest.


The Desert Eagle is full of life-like features. When you depress the unlocking lever, the action pops open, allowing you to load your magazine.


There is a picatinny rail under the barrel for attaching accessories such as flashlights and laser sights, and another on top for red dot sights or other accessory.


I mounted a PS 22 electronic point sight from Walther on the gun and enjoyed shooting with this method, though there was a little side-to-side movement in the operation of the gun. This is due to the blowback action needing a little room for movement in order to work with a low-powered gas such as CO2 to make everything happen. I still had no problem whatsoever shredding a can with the electronic sight mounted, but preferred the open sights for my own personal pleasure.  The PS 22 comes with fully-adjustable windage knobs, and scope covers to keep the dust out. The covers to the windage adjustment knobs are thoughtfully tied to the sight so that you don’t lose them. Not a bad feature since I’ve lost a few covers in my time.


The Desert Eagle is currently retailing near $150.00, and it is an absolute blast to shoot. Remember that it is a full-size replica, so don’t buy it with a child in mind….their hands won’t be big enough to handle it. It is an adult-sized gun, with all the features that a grownup will enjoy. For a great recipe for fun, just look at the picture below, and you’ll begin to see how much fun I had reviewing this little gem of a gun!