Recently I have been viewing some footage from a certain video game I have become interested in. One of the many things that amused me about this game was how nearly everyone you encounter seems to be packing a Desert Eagle! No wimpy 9mm Glocks and Berettas in this town! If you do not have a Desert Eagle it is because you have a shotgun, M16 or rocket launcher.
Desert Eagles are common in action movies and possibly the game is satirizing this. The Desert Eagle (aka “Deagle”) is an interesting weapon in many respects. It is commonly assumed that it was created as a hunting handgun. To quote an old Jewish saying with a considerable element of truth “Jews don’t hunt” so it would be unusual for an Israeli company to develop a hunting handgun. The real origin of the Desert Eagle is more martial. In military operations such as house searches for terrorist caches, pistols are often an important weapon, since a free hand may be needed to open doors and cupboards and for other duties. For some reason it seems to have been decided that a weapon with more power and penetration than a 9mm was needed for such situations and the Desert Eagle was developed. Its application as a hunting weapon for the American market seems to have come later.
Many years back I got to shoot a Desert Eagle belonging to a friend. This was “just” a .357 model and I doubt the .50 AE was available way back then. I recall it had a very nice and smooth trigger. I also seem to recollect I needed to shift my grip to engage and disengage the safety. If a pistol must have a safety I prefer a design such as the frame-mounted safety of a M1911A1, where it is disengaged by a quick downward sweep of the thumb. The Desert Eagle has the safety high up on the slide and needs to be moved up to fire. I have not handled the newer models of Desert Eagle but I suspect that the safety is still on the slow side to operate. Carry the Deagle hammer down, safety off? When the Desert Eagle first came out this was apparently not recommended. Current models are described as “drop-safe” so this may have changed. Being capable of being brought into action quickly does not seem to have been a requirement of the original Desert Eagle, it doubtless being envisioned that the weapon would be drawn, cocked and readied before commencing on a search operation. It does however amuse me that in the movies you so commonly see the Desert Eagle used as a carry gun when in reality it would take several seconds to get it ready for firing, not to mention the weight and bulk of the thing tucked under your armpit all day.
Here is a link to a rather nice article on the Desert Eagle. If you wish to know about more practical options for a self-defence carry weapon please buy my book.