IMI Desert Eagle .50 Hardkick Version - Tokyo Marui
A number of handguns have near legendary status. Guns like the Colt 1911, the Luger P08 and the Colt SAA 'Peacemaker' achieve it through their place in history, but one or two achieve it through their mere presence.
Foremost amongst these is the Desert Eagle. In real steel form it is huge, heavy and hugely powerful, firing a .50" round.
Although designed as hunting handgun (for bringing down big game like Moose and Bear), the Desert Eagle has also become a Hollywood favourite, brandished by 'hard-man' heroes and villans alike and becoming even more famous as the weapon of choice of Agent Smith in 'The Matrix' trilogy.
Tokyo Marui, Western Arms and Marushin have all had a go at making the archetypal 'hand cannon' over the years, but this Hardkick TM model quickly earned praise as the best airsot replica of the Desert Eagle and I was interested to see how much was hype and how much was justified.
In the Box
Tokyo Marui guns are always well presented and the Desert Eagle is no exception.
The box lid features the familiar, dark artwork, showing the gun and the base is a polystyrene bed in which the gun fits, with a separate cut-out for the impressive magazine.
The gun certainly looks good in the box, with a barrel cleaning rod and the usual collection of manuals and targets. A new gun would come with a small bag of BBs, too.
There is an all black version of the TM Hardkick, but I have a 'pimped' all silver version.
The gun certainly looks impressive, with an evenly applied silver finish which appears to be quite resilient, with no sign of wear on this gun from my or its previous owners use. Markings are, as one expects of TM guns, clear and well defined and TM have either paid or decided to ignore IMI to include licensed markings, so it no longer bears the laughable 'Dezart Eagle' markings.
Picking the Desert Eagle up, you are, if anything, even more impressed as, despite being mainly plastic, the gun is well over a kilo in weight. There is no magazine weighting trickery (as seen on the Hi-Capa 5.1") here, either, with the vast majority of the weight in the gun itself.
The magazine is a brightly chromed and nicely engraved with round counter markings as per the real thing - Just 7 rounds!
External metal parts form a small proportion of this big gun's surface area, but the trigger, hammer, safeties and sights are metal and a lot of the internals are pretty solid feeling metal parts.
Aside from the markings and colour, this gun is pretty similar to the old Dezart Eagle model, I tested some while ago, at least externally.
In general appearance, the new guns benefits from the proper markings, but this silver gun suffers from the bane of TM guns; Seams. They are far from the worst I have seen, but extend all the way from the underside of the frame down the trigger guard and down the front of the grip. Reports suggest they are better on black guns, but why this should be is hard to explain. It was quite a disappointment to see these, as the older, black gun, was refreshingly free of seams.
Overall, though, the gun feels solid, heavy and well made, much as the older gun did.
Visually, it's an improvement due to the properly licencsed trades. These are "DESERT EAGLE .50AE PISTOL"/"ISRAEL MILITARY INDUSTRIES LTD. (I.M.I.)" on the left side of the slide and "MAGNUM RESEARCH INC. MINNEAPOLIS MINN."/"MADE IN JAPAN" (strictly speaking, of course, this last is a fake, with the "MINNEAPOLIS MINN." forming a second line on the real thing, but they look consistent and only a real purist will quibble too much.
On the right frame side there is a serial number (94731) and "TOKYO MARUI CO., LTD." in a small script above the grip. There is also a small ASGK mark behind the grip on the frame.
All the markings are deep, wide and sharply moulded. I can't 100% say they are true to the real gun in this, I suspect not, but they certainly look good.
The slightly rubberised grips bear correct IMI logos and feel OK.
The trademark triangular barrel is well replicated and there are dovetailed in rear and foresight (both plain). The ambidextrous thumb safeties, the trigger, hammer, magazine release button and take down lever are all metal and the silver finish on frame and metal parts is generally good (except for the hammer, which features another prominent seam and is too shiney).
Obviously, TM have replicated the full size 20mm rail atop the Desert Eagle's barrel, so it will be easy to add a scope or red dot sight if target shooting is your thing.
The hop-up on the TM Desert Eagle is a joy. Simply slide back a cover on the rear of the barrel and you can move a slider across. No allen keys, no disassembly. All pistols should be this simple...
With the slide back, it is apparent that TM have replicated the distinctive bolt design (required to lock slide and barrel together when firing the hugely powerful .50AE round) on the loading nozzle. The slide itself features a lot of metal inside the plastic shell, making it feel strong and rigid.
Sometimes I feel aspects of some Tokyo Marui guns are over-hyped, but this is certainly not true of the 'Hard Kick' of the revised Desert Eagle.
The old Dezart Eagle had it all except performance and capacity. TM corrected the capacity, by upping this guns to 27 rounds and set about giving the Desert Eagle the performance to match its image.
The kick is at least as great as any other airsoft handgun I have fired (over 50 different ones by the time I write this review). So great in fact, at least on Propane, that I fear the gun will break on each shot, but I cannot say I have seen any sign of wear on this lightly used gun and I have yet to read of a broken Desert Eagle Hardkick, despite reports of long term usage on Green gas.
Click on image for bigger version in separate window.
Carrying out my standard 5m/6 round, off hand test, this kick produces less accuracy than the weedy earlier release. I am pretty sure that it would match the older gun from a bench, but the kick throws your aim off, requiring a realignment.
The best 5 grouping is 4.3CM (1.8 inch) across, but there are 3 shots in a very tight group, right on the aim point. However, the remaining 3 shots are spread around, albeit, still well within the target centre.
Over 10 shots, the TM Desert Eagle Hardkick averaged a mighty 315 fps (using Propane and the Airsoft Innovations adaptor, with .2g Excel BBs) indoors (at 21C).
An odd aspect of the gun is how you cock it for the first shot. With 99%+ of other single action airsoft guns, you can slap in a gassed magazine, cock the hammer and fire the gun to chamber your first round. However, do this with the TM Desert Eagle and the hammer falls and nothing else... You have to rack the slide to cock it. Very realistic, but, as far as I can recall, unique in this respect...
Trigger pull was 1,085g (38 Oz), which is a heavy side of medium weight pull for a GBB, although it doesn't feel particularly heavy in use, due to a smooth, short travel.
Take down on the TM Desert Eagle follows the real thing, mostly...
With the magazine removed, pull the hammer back until it clicks into the 'semi-cocked' position. Then push the barrel lock pin on the left side of the pistol in and at the same time swing the barrel lock on the other side counter clockwise.
The barrel, slide and recoil springs can then be slid off the front of the frame. The recoil springs are easy to remove, but the barrel has to be moved slightly forward and then twisted out of the slide. This requires what seems like excessive force and I had to ask on the forums as I felt I must have missed something.
So far, though, there is no sign of any damage as a result of this.
Overall, the TM Desert Eagle Hardkick is a big improvement on the old model.
The one area it disappoints in, at least in this chrome finish, is the visual finish. The bane of TM guns, seam lines, spoil it and were not present on my old black gun. However, some people have told me that the new black guns have less prominent seams, so perhaps it is a problem more apparent on the chromed guns.
That said, I can almost forgive the Desert Eagle these flaws, such is the level of its performance.
Tokyo Marui have made the sensible decision of making their airsoft Desert Eagle feel as imposing, relative to other airsoft pistols, as the real thing does to other real steel pistols.
People rave about TM's Hi Capa and Sig 226 (which I have not tested prior to writing this review), but for me the Desert Eagle is TM's best GBB by some way.
Not to everyone's taste, but if you want a true 'hand cannon' you won't find many more befitting the title than the TM IMI Desert Eagle Hardkick.
Weight : 1,180g (360g magazine)
Realism : ****
Quality : ****
Power : *****
Accuracy : ****
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