September 29, 2010
Minneapolis, Minnesota, is well-known by anyone who has ever touched off a round from a handgun.
Magnum Research of Minneapolis, Minnesota, is well-known by anyone who has ever touched off a round from a handgun. Big semiautos in .50 AE , .44 Magnum and .357 Magnum quickly captured the imagination of recreational handgunners, handgun hunters and silhouette shooters around the country.
But even Arnold Schwarzenegger would have trouble toting a Desert Eagle all day, so Magnum Research offers a line of more normal-size pistols. These include the Baby Eagle and subcompact Micro Desert Eagle--and now a new polymer-frame pistol called the Baby Desert Eagle Fast Action.
The Baby Desert Eagle Fast Action is a polymer-frame, striker-fired pistol with a unique "fast-action" trigger mechanism. When you chamber a round, the striker is held in the cocked position and the first shot can be fired with a long but very light stroke. After firing a shot, the trigger moves a short distance forward to reset, allowing subsequent shots to be fired with a single-action-like stroke.
|Magnum Research Baby Desert Eagle Fast Action|
|Type:||locked breech semiauto|
|Caliber:||9mm Luger (tested), .40 S&W|
|Capacity:||10, 15-round (tested) magazines (9mm); 10, 11-round magazines (.40)|
|Overall length:||7.13 in.|
|Barrel Length:||4 in., 6-groove, 1:10 RH twist|
|Construction:||black oxide-finished steel slide; polymer frame with integral rail and replaceable palm swells|
|Sights:||white three-dot; rear adjustable for windage; three front sights of different heights|
|Manufacturer:||Magnum Research Inc., MagnumResearch.com, 800-772-6168|
When you are done firing, you depress the decocker, an oval-shaped button at the left rear of the slide. This allows the striker to move forward, where it is held in place. Firing the pistol in normal double-action mode now requires a significantly heavier trigger stroke.
Besides the decocker, the Baby Desert Eagle Fast Action has an internal striker-drop plunger and trigger safety--both of which prevent the gun from firing until the trigger is pulled through a complete stroke. When cocked, the tail of the striker extends past the end of the slide, providing a cocking indicator. Chambering a round exposes a red dot under the extractor.
The pistol's slide is machined from steel and sports a rear sight that's adjustable for windage. The gun ships with three front sights of different heights that can be switched to zero for a particular load. A lowered ejection port and massive extractor help ensure reliability.
The heart of the striker-fired pistol is a "fast-action" trigger that allows different types of trigger pull. The mag release is an ambi paddle at the rear of the trigger guard.
The pistol comes with three different palm swells or backstraps of different sizes for a custom fit. Simply drive out a pin to replace.
The slide reciprocates on four steel rails imbedded in the frame while the barrel unlocks on a steel block pinned into the frame. It has a frame rail for mounting lights, lasers or other tactical devices.
The frame features interchangeable palm swells, and by removing a pin at the heel of the grip, the shooter can change them to alter the profile of the grip frame for a better fit.
An oversize trigger guard makes it easy to shoot the pistol even with gloves. The magazine release at the rear of the trigger guard is a paddle design that is pushed down and can be manipulated from either side, making life a bit easier for us southpaws.
I test-fired the Baby Desert Eagle Fast Action for accuracy at 50 feet with four different brands of 9mm ammunition. The sights provided a sharp sight picture, and the three-dot system permitted quick alignment. The pistol showed a preference for heavier bullets and consistently shot the tightest groups with Winchester's 147-grain SXT.
I then belted on a Safariland holster and spent an enjoyable half-hour punching holes in a combat target from various distances. I found that I shot the pistol best with the medium-size palm swell installed. Ergonomics and recoil control were both very good, and I had no trouble putting rounds where I wanted them--rather quickly, too.
What surprised me most about the Baby Desert Eagle Fast Action was the trigger. When I first received the pistol, I told myself it was way too complicated. But the more I shot it, the more I came to see how useful it is.
With the striker uncocked, you can carry or store the pistol with a round in the chamber. Firing the gun requires a long, deliberate trigger stroke, much like a double-action revolver.
The decocker is an oval-shaped button at the back of the slide. When pressed, it decocks the striker and returns the pistol to DA mode. The rear sight is adjustable for windage.
With the striker cocked, you get a trigger stroke just as long but significantly lighter. I found this very useful in competition. With the striker cocked you can also "stage" the trigger for a short, crisp let-off, which is helpful if you must make a deliberate shot.
As with the paddle magazine release, with a bit of practice I got the hang of the three trigger strokes and when to take advantage of them.
My only criticism of Baby Desert Eagle Fast Action is that the grasping grooves on the slide are too small and shallow to allow you to get a firm purchase. In addition, the black oxide finish, while attractive, makes the slide's surface too slick. Combined, these traits make it difficult to rack to chamber a round or clear a malfunction.
Other than that, I found the Baby Desert Eagle Fast Action to be a well-made, fine-handling pistol. I believe it would be a viable, lightweight choice for concealed carry, home defense or informal competition.
|Accuracy Results | Baby Desert Eagle Fast Action|
|9mm Luger||Bullet Weight (gr.)||Muzzle Velocity (fps)||Standard Deviation (fps)||Avg. Group (inches)|
|Federal EFMJ|| 105 || 1,234 || 20 || 2.7 |
|Hornady FTX|| 115 || 1,127 || 28 || 3.0 |
|Remington Leadless|| 124 || 1,046 || 23 || 2.6 |
|Winchester STX|| 147 || 956 || 26 || 2.3 |
|WARNING: The loads shown here are safe only in the guns for which they were developed. Neither the author nor InterMedia Outdoors, Inc. assumes any liability for accidents or injury resulting from the use or misuse of this data. |
NOTES: Accuracy results are averages of three five-shot groups fired from an MTM rest at 50 feet. Velocity is the average of five rounds measured with a PACT chronograph 10 feet from the muzzle. Abbreviations: EFMJ, expanding full metal jacket.