Downsized Desert Eagles

(sg-gallery] Magnum Research, Inc. (MRI) is not a gun company…

For more power, move up to the 9mm Baby Desert Eagle II, which is based on the proven CZ 75 design for steadfast reliability.

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Magnum Research, Inc. (MRI) is not a gun company folks generally think of when looking for pocket-sized defensive pistols. Its success has been driven primarily by their undeniably potent series of Desert Eagle pistols and BFR revolvers chambered for big-bore rifle and handgun cartridges. As cool as these hand cannons are, they tend to serve a rather narrow niche market. But nestled in amongst the handheld behemoths of the Magnum Research lineup are two excellent semi-autos designed to fit the needs of shooters looking for quality daily-carry guns.

The Baby Desert Eagle is a high-capacity semi-auto based on the venerable CZ 75, which has been called the 1911 of Europe. It’s available in three sizes—full size, semi-compact and compact—and with with either a polymer or steel frame. As of this writing, a total of 19 configurations are available, chambered in 9mm, .40 S&W or .45 ACP. One model that’s ideal for every-day carry and affordable practice sessions at the range is the model BE9912BL. It’s a compact 9mm with a lightweight polymer frame. With a 3.64-inch barrel and an unloaded weight of 24.5 ounces, this particular Baby Eagle strikes the perfect balance between being comfortable to shoot and to carry.

The steel slide is finished in black oxide and topped with low-profile, metallic, three-dot combat sights. The slide-to-frame fit is excellent, with full-contact internal slide rails providing for smooth cycling. This pistol is hammer-fired, with the double-action trigger pull weighing in at about 12 pounds and the single-action trigger pull at 4.5 to 5 pounds. The slide-mounted ambidextrous thumb safety also acts as a decocker.

The polymer grip frame is contoured and textured for shooting comfort, with an extended beavertail to protect the shooter’s hand. The overall result is a pistol that rests comfortably in the shooter’s hand and is easy to operate.

Going Micro

The Micro Desert Eagle is an exceptionally sleek pocket pistol chambered in .380 ACP. Because it is based on the ZVI Kevin semi-auto design, originally developed in the Czech Republic, it shares little in common with the much larger Desert Eagle. MRI is licensed to build the Micro in the United States, and the company has made a few minor changes from the original design.

Several features make the Micro Eagle stand out from the growing .380 ACP crowd. Rather than having a straight blowback-operated action, this pistol features an unusual but reliable gas-delayed blowback system. Two small ports are situated just in front of the chamber to direct expended cartridge gases both forward and upward to slow the slide as it recoils. This delay facilitates the use of a slide and recoil springs with less weight than a standard blowback design would require. Twin recoil springs ride on a pair of guide rods located on opposite sides of the barrel, at the bottom of the slide. The trigger-to-action transfer bar for the double-action-only (DAO) ignition system is located on the right side of the pistol and partially covered by the right grip panel.

The Micro’s steel magazine holds six rounds, which, with one in the chamber, makes for a total load capacity of seven. The magazine basepad provides just enough room for a full two-finger grip. The fixed sights are large enough to be useful, while remaining low profile for a no-snag draw.

The Micro Eagle is built to be durable and reliable. It weighs a bit more than some of its polymer-framed comrades, but whether the shooter will consider this a negative (for carry) or a positive (for reduced recoil) will depend on what the person is looking for. With so many .380s available, the Micro Desert Eagle continues to be a solid value—and one made in the U.S.A. For more information, visit magnumresearch.com or call 508-635-4273.

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