Equipping for disaster

Review: Magnum Research/IMI Desert Eagle MK XIX

By Blaise Uriarte

The Basics

The Desert Eagle pistol is a gas operated handgun of immense proportions. The pistol was designed by Magnum Research in 1979 and the first variations of this handgun (the MK I) began production in 1982 by Israeli Military Industries. The MK I pistols were chambered in .44 Remington Magnum and .357 Magnum.

This specimen is the MK XIX which is the current production model. With the MK XIX it is possible to switch calibers by purchasing the barrel, magazine and bolt assembly (for .357 Mag, .50 AE and .44 Mag use the same bolt). This gun features a six inch barrel with Weaver style rail machined into the top of the barrel for mounting a pistol scope. Six inches is the standard barrel length, but ten inch barrels are also available. The pistol is designed with polygonal rifling which creates a better gas seal then standard lands and groves.

The newly manufactured MK XIX pistols are no longer made in Israel, they are made in the Magnum Research plant in America, and they feature full length Picatinny rails on the barrel.

The Ammo

This massive weapon is chambered in the .50 Action Express round. This round is capable of producing up to 1,500 feet per second and about 1,600 foot pounds of energy. This eclipses the .44 Magnum in terms of power. There are several handgun rounds that are more powerful on the market, but they are only available in revolvers.

In terms of a zombie killing round this is the definition of overkill (well is there such a thing?). Ammunition is also expensive and only carried in stores specializing in firearms.

The Range Test


This gun is a lot to hang on too. Recoil and muzzle flash are severe on this weapon. The factory hard plastic grips do not help. It is important to note that shooting such a hard hitting gun requires a firm and steady grip, without that you can lose control of the weapon and possible drop it.

The trigger is light and crisp, which was one of the features that drew me to this handgun. The trigger pull is incredibly important to accurately shooting a handgun.

The sights are the factory standard black metal sights dovetailed into the slide and barrel. This gun was used and the previous owner painted the front sight white, which definitely helps. The sights are regulated from the factory at 100 yards, so when shooting at 25 yards it is a bit tricky to figure out exactly where the point of aim is. But you can see the gun is pretty accurate.


All seven rounds are on the target here, but there is a pretty big group. Undoubtedly that is due to the flinch that you can develop from firing such a hand cannon.

Through the course of 40 rounds ($60) there were no malfunctions to speak of. The gun functions well, and with practice can be an accurate and fun shooter.

The Pluses

This gun is accurate extremely powerful and reliable. This type of weapon is best suited for hunting, silhouette shooting and defense against large predators, such as bears or mountain lions. Should one encounter the need to disable a vehicle or take down a target wearing light body armor, this pistol could have a purpose.

The minuses

This gun is massive, and that in and of itself is a huge detraction. Furthermore; the gun is limited to seven rounds, it is extremely loud and kicks like a mule. The gun can only run certain types of ammunition. You cannot use lead projectiles, or the gas ports will become clogged. Ammunition is also hard to find and expensive. That curtails the possibility of practicing often which is a requirement for this weapon.


This is a fun range gun, or a neat hunting weapon but the uses against the undead are limited. I would only advise the use of this weapon should the user be extremely proficient with it, and as your main weapon rather than a sidearm. With a scope and ten inch barrel this would easily be accurate to over 100 yards. The ballistics and function of this gun are more like a small carbine than a handgun anyway. Strategically that is the only viable use for this handgun in the apocalypse. As always, stay vigilant, and be prepared.

Categories: Equipping for disaster

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