I have always been a huge fan of the Magnum Research Desert Eagle. There is nothing quite like a holding onto a 4.5 pound hunk of beautiful shiny metal that can deliver the means of .50 Action Express, .44 Magnum or .357 Magnum.
We have seen Desert Eagles in various movies as Hollywood clearly understands man’s inherent desire for power. To be the baddest dude in the scene, a man needs a gun to reflect his inner toughness. Ok, but let’s get back to reality. Desert Eagles are incredible handguns that millions of Americans treasure in their firearm collections and truly enjoy shooting at the range. The feeling of shooting the most powerful semi auto handguns on earth is amazing. I happen to own a Desert Eagle in each of the three calibers offered and I honestly cannot pick a favorite.
People joke all the time about carrying Desert Eagle for protection. A full size Desert Eagle will make your standard 1911 handgun look and feel like a derringer. Some people have referred to it as a “Bear Country” gun to assume the only true means to carry such a massive piece would be for protection against wild animals. Oh sure, they are great for showing off to friends, drawing attention at the range and maximizing your gun collection but for carry? No way. But, what if I were to tell you that Magnum Research came out with a new Desert Eagle with a five inch barrel, hard coat aluminum frame, rotating bolt with an integral muzzle brake that weighs under 50 ounces and chambered with nine rounds of .357 magnum. Would you consider it? Oh yeah, the new Desert Eagle L5 changes everything.
Model: Desert Eagle 357L5
Type: Gas Operated, Rotating Bolt Semiautomatic
Caliber: .357 Magnum
Barrel Length: 5”
Overall Length: 9.69”
Slide Width: 1.25”
Construction: High Quality Carbon Steel Barrel, Frame & Slide with Full Weaver Style Accessory Rail & Integral Muzzle Brake
Finish: Black Aluminum Frame/Black Steel Slide Trigger: Single Action, Approx 4 lb. pull
Trigger Reach: 2.75”
Sight Radius: 7.5”
Sights: Combat Type, Fixed
Rifling: Polygonal with Right Hand Twist
Weight: 2 lbs. 9 ozs (50 ounces with empty magazine)
Magazine Cap: 9 Rounds
When holding the Desert Eagle L5, one cannot help but notice how light it is. My scale weighs the L5 at 49.5 ounces unloaded. The factors that contribute to the decreased weight is the aluminum frame, various steel cut outs made on the top and bottom of the barrel, and of course a five inch barrel opposed to the standard six inch Desert Eagle barrel. The L5 weighs a little more than a Government size 1911 so if you don’t mind a little girth on your hip or shoulder, the L5 is for you.
People tend to think the trigger on a Desert Eagle would be heavy. It would make sense for a full size gun to have a long and heavy trigger pull, right?
Actually, the single action, hammer fired trigger action is a light four pound trigger pull. The trigger is the same size and pull weight as the other full size Desert Eagles and rapid firing nine rounds of .357 magnum in single action is surely intense. The full size thumb safety is located on the rear serrations on the slide. When engaged, the trigger will not fire. A quick flick of the thumb will release the safety and the four pound trigger pull is ready for action.
The L5 has a full rubber molded grip with deep finger grooves that fits my average sized hands perfectly. Magnum Research recommends shooting Desert Eagles with two hands however shooting this L5 one handed is easily manageable due to the low recoil and lighter weight of the gun.
Shooting the L5 is quite impressive. The energy of the .357 magnum is fully maximized with the five inch barrel and the recoil is minimal. Even though the 49.5 ounce is lighter than the other DE models, it still has sufficient weight and dual recoil springs to decrease any recoil that is offered from the .357. The difference of felt recoil with the L5 compared to an average .357 revolver is substantial making it more pleasant to shoot.
The combat type sights along with the five inch barrel allows for an impressive 7.5 inch sight radius. All of these combined features provides amazing shooting accuracy that is consistently on target.
It is important to note that Magnum Research provides a list of .357 magnum ammunition that works best for the L5. Due to the fact that not all ammo is created equal, the L5 requires 158 grain .357 magnum from the list offered. Some lighter 142 grain .357 loads may not have the energy needed to cycle the slide.
The disassembly of the L5 is simple. By removing the nine round magazine and assuring the firearm is clear of ammunition, simply push the button on the left side of the gun and rotate the lever on the opposite downward. This will release the barrel and slide from the frame. The barrel can be pulled off by moving it a half inch forward and the slide will glide forward off of the frame. The dual recoil springs can be lifted out and the piston is easily removed with a simple twist. Reassembly is simply performing the same actions in reverse order.
Overall, the new Desert Eagle L5 is a welcome addition to the Desert Eagle line up. It takes all of the unique features of a full sized Desert Eagle and creates a smaller and lighter handgun of equal quality. The look of the L5 is unique with some of the metal cut outs on the barrel, especially by the muzzle, but make no mistake this gun is all Desert Eagle. From the gas operated rotating bolt to the light four pound trigger pull, this L5 is an excellent handgun. I never thought we would see the day when a Desert Eagle would be a handgun carry choice but here we are with the new L5 with under 50 ounces of superior firearm mechanics.