The Desert Eagle is the perfect action movie star. It looks good on screen, has an impressive filmography, and like most movie stars, is relatively useless in real life. It’s a neat pistol with a fascinating design. The Desert Eagle, or Deagle, is a weird gun that is more than just a hand cannon. It’s a gas-operated pistol that utilizes a rotating bolt, which is more common on a rifle than a pistol. From an engineering perspective, it’s a fascinating design and very unique.

Brandon recently wrote a piece saying that the gun is a bit of a novelty item; and he’s right. The Deagle has no tactical utility. Outside of being a range toy, it could be a competent hunting handgun. Other than that, it’s a fun hand cannon for those who like such things. However, the Deagle has a fascinating legacy behind it, and the term “Desert Eagle” has been applied to more than one handgun.

The Most Practical Desert Eagle

Way back when, seven years now, a random Redditor shared a photo showing a fascinating Desert Eagle variant. Instead of being a large handgun, it was a short carbine. It utilized the famous gas-operated design, but extended the barrel, added a forend and a stock. This carbine variant was labeled a police-only model due to its status as an SBR. I think this would have been a relatively sweet short-barreled rifle.

This setup would give you a hard-hitting short-range carbine in a light and handy package. Sure it’s still somewhat of a novelty compared to a modern M4 type carbine, but it would make the platform much easier to shoot and use practically.

The GROM Adoption

The Polish GROM, a special operations, anti-terrorism force, is the only military force to ever reportedly “adopt” the Desert Eagle. So this clearly points to a military and police use of the handgun, right? Well, no. The most common evidence of this comes from a Polish post on the contents of the GROM armory, which lists several rifles, handguns, and the like.

Yes, the gun is listed, but that could mean many things. First, like many military forces, they likely have weapons in the armory for familiarization purposes. The Green Berets Weapons Sergeant course has dozens of foreign weapons in its inventory; but this doesn’t mean they issue them.

I highly doubt the GROM guys are using an unwieldy Magnum Pistol for combat operations. These guys model their training and organization of forces like Delta Force, DEVGRU, and the like. They are professional warfighters, not silly men doing silly things.

Those Other Desert Eagle Pistols

The term Desert Eagle has been applied to several firearms beyond the behemoth most of us know as the Deagle.

IMI and Magnum Research realized the term Desert Eagle was quite popular in the United States. The firearm has starred in over 600 movies, and it’s a household name like AK-47, AR-15, UZI, and the like. So, the two companies capitalized on that by using the name in various ways.

(Courtesy of Gun Mag Warehouse)

The original was the Jericho 941. This pistol was an Israeli-produced service pistol chambered in 9mm, 41 AE, 40 S&W, and 45 ACP. This pistol has won several titles, including the “Uzi Eagle,” the “Desert Eagle Pistol,” and famously the “Baby Desert Eagle.” The Jericho pistol doesn’t have much in common with the Desert Eagle outside of an Israeli connection, and the front of the gun has a vaguely similar triangular shape to the Deagle’s.

For a short period of time, a clone of the Walther P99 was produced by Magnum Research and labeled the Baby Desert Eagle as well. This firearm was a striker-fired DA/SA pistol, and it was only produced under the Baby subtitle for a short period of time. It’s mostly known as the MR9.

(Courtesy of Gun Mag Warehouse)

Both the Jericho and MR9 dropped the Desert Eagle subtitle. I own one of each, and they are excellent firearms. Much more useful and practical than the standard Desert Eagle. They are very similar to most fighting handguns.


Big pistols have quite the legacy as the chosen weapon of Agent Smith in the Matrix trilogy, of John Matrix in Commando, and Snake Plisken in Escape From L.A. Also, don’t forget the other 597 movies the Desert Eagle has starred in. It might not be a practical pistol, but it’s a fascinating design with a weird world that surrounds it.