Magnum Research Micro Desert Eagle .380 ACP

In the area of consumer electronics the Japanese became famous…

In the area of consumer electronics the Japanese became famous for making all manner of gadgets better and smaller. When it comes to pocket pistols, that distinction may soon belong to Magnum Research with their new Micro Desert Eagle.

Of course, this is quite a departure for the company which became known for producing the original and massive Desert Eagle, a gas-operated semi auto pistol in .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum and other large calibers as well. The sheer size of the gun and its method of operation earned it staring roles in hundreds of films and television shows.

From one of the largest semiauto pistols to one of the smallest, it seems that Magnum Research is dead set on the extremes of firearms engineering and applying it in new and interesting ways.
The Micro Desert Eagle is a semi-automatic, double action only, hammer fired, blowback operated, all steel, .380 ACP pocket pistol with 6 +1 capacity and it is indeed micro. Smaller than the pocket pistol offerings from Kel-Tec or Ruger, this pistol has a total length of 4.5 inches and a height of 3.7 inches and weighs only 14 ounces.

There are many distinct features to this gun as well. The triggerguard is very large and extends almost to the muzzle. Shooters who like to place the index finger of their support hand on the front of the trigger guard should probably avoid doing that with this gun. It has removable grip panels. Standard black polymer grips are included but Magnum Research also sells very nice checkered wooden grips with their distinctive eagle logo on the left side.

There are also no external controls on the pistol except for the left side magazine release, providing a very clean and all business look. The sights, which have been machined into the slide itself, are plain but clearly visible and designed to be used. Their design also makes them snag free and pretty much fail proof but they cannot be adjusted.

The 6-round magazine fits neatly into the flared magazine well and is blackened steel with a polymer base-plate that protrudes slightly below the grip of the pistol and is flush with the front of the grip, providing slightly more purchase for your fingers. The gun ships with one magazine (as is common for pocket pistols) and additional magazines are available from Magnum Research as is a separate finger extension for those with larger hands.

On the right side of the gun the trigger bar is distinctly visible as is the external extractor, which also acts as the loaded chamber indicator with a bit of red paint visible when a cartridge case is in the chamber. Just above the extractor the back of the ejection port has been flared to aid with extraction and improve reliability.

Internally the Micro Desert Eagle really shows some innovative thinking. The original Desert Eagle was a gas operated short piston gun and the new Micro Desert Eagle is a blow-back operated gun however it does use a modified gas system to retard the blowback. On top of the barrel, visible through the ejection port when the action is closed, are two small holes just ahead of the chamber. These holes are angled forward and when the gun fires, escaping gasses are directed forward and up, delaying the slide’s rearward movement.

On traditional blowback operated guns it is only the weight of the slide and the strength of the recoil spring that keeps the action closed until the chamber pressure drops to a safe level. With this modified gas system the Micro Desert Eagle can use a lighter and smaller slide and less powerful recoil springs.

The pistol’s method of disassembly is also different than most other semi-autos and actually reminds me of the disassembly on a much older pocket pistol design, the Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless. Simply retract the slide slightly until a groove cut in the slide lines up with one cut in the frame and then rotate the barrel to disengage it.

Once the gun is apart another interesting feature becomes apparent. The Micro Desert Eagle has dual recoil springs, and not like what many other small pistols have where one spring is nested inside another, but actually two separate springs and guide rods, one on each side of the frame.
There may be a price for all of this innovation and miniaturization. Magnum Research specifically advises shooters to not use +P ammunition in this pistol and frankly I am not sure I would want to even without the warning.

The Micro Desert Eagle is available in three distinct variations, all blued, all nickel and blued slide with nickel frame. It comes in a very nice plastic case with a cleaning rod, instruction manual, cable lock and one magazine.

For more information please call 508-635-4273 or visit magnumresearch.com. PP

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