Friday, November 19, 2010
The Desert Eagle is a large-framed gas-operated semi-automatic pistol designed by Magnum Research in the U.S., and manufactured primarily in Israel by IMI (Israel Military Industries, now Israel Weapon Industries). Manufacturing was moved to Saco Defense in the state of Maine from 1996 to 2000 which carried the XIX designation, but shifted back to Israel when Saco was acquired by General Dynamics. The Desert Eagle has been featured in roughly 500 motion pictures and TV films, considerably increasing its popularity and boosting sales.
The Desert Eagle uses a gas-operated mechanism normally found in rifles, as opposed to the short recoil or blow-back designs most commonly seen in semi-automatic pistols. Unlike most such pistols, the barrel does not move during firing. When a round is fired, gases are ported out through a small hole in the barrel near the breech. These travel forward through a small tube under the barrel, to a cylinder near the front of the barrel. The separate bolt carrier/slide has a small piston on the front that fits into this cylinder; when the gases reach the cylinder they push the piston rearward. The bolt carrier rides rearward on two rails on either side of the barrel, operating the mechanism. Its rotating bolt strongly resembles that of the M16 series of rifles, while the fixed gas cylinder/moving piston resemble those of the Ruger Mini-14 carbine (the original patent used a captive piston similar to the M14 rifle.
The Desert Eagle was originally designed by Bernard C. White of Magnum Research, who filed a US patent application for a mechanism for a gas-actuated pistol in January 1983. This established the basic layout of the Desert Eagle. The Desert Eagle was originally designed as a revolver, but was later reshaped into a semi-automatic pistol. A second patent application was filed in December 1985, after the basic design had been refined by IMI for production, and this is the form that went into production.