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Magnum Research Desert Eagle .50 - Tokyo Marui

For a long time a gap in my airsoft pistol experience has been any use of a Tokyo Marui gas blowback.

1st edition Desert Eagle GBB came with 4 magazines.

I had seen a number of TM Berettas, Colt Python Revolvers and the latest, hardkick, version of the Desert Eagle, but I had not fired any of them, so had no idea if their rather springer-like appearance was compensated for by an excellent shooting feel.

When an older style, Desert Eagle came up for a good price on the forums, I decided to try a Marui GBB for myself.

In the Box

The Desert Eagle was not boxed when I received it.

Latest version Desert Eagle box.

The latest Desert Eagle "Hardkick", comes in a polystyrene bed with the magazine in a separate slot. The box also includes some manuals and a small bag of BBs, much as any TM springer or gas gun.

First Impressions

The first impression, as with any Desert Eagle, is just how huge the gun is.

The Desert Eagle is a BIG pistol. This replicates a .50 chambered version.

The distinctive shape of the Desert Eagle, with its near triangular barrel and near vertical grip is well reproduced and at close to 1.5Kg, there's no lack of heft in the gun.

The gun is a little shiny and plasticky and more than cursory glances will lead you to the fake "DEZART EAGLE" markings. The latest gun has proper IMI DESERT EAGLE markings, so this lack of realism should not disuade you from buying.

Iconic handgun shape well reproduced. Seems less awkward than springer I once owned.

When I had a DE springer, I found the ergonomics terrible, but perhaps that was a poor replica, as this gun feels less awkward in the hand.

The trigger, hammer, slide lock and, ambidextrous, safeties are all metal.

Closer Look

This, remember, is the old style Desert Eagle. It was originally released back in 1995!

Barrel release lever. You must 'half-cock' hammer to operate it.

Back then, it seems realistic trademarks were not that important (see my Maruzen S&W 4506, for instance) and this gun is rather ridiculously labelled "DEZART EAGLE .50AE PISTOL" on the left side of the slide with "MILITARY INDUSTRIES LTD.", below that. On the right side of the slide, it reads "MAGNUM RESEARCH INC. MINNEAPOLIS MINN." with "MADE IN JAPAN" prominent below it.

The frame is marked with a small ASGK logo just ahead of the hammer, on the right side of the frame. The serial number 94731 and TOKYO MARUI. CO. LTD. are just above the right grip. The grips themselves are, oddly, marked with the IMI logo.

Ambidextrous thumb safety.

Along the top of the triangular(ish) profile barrel is a built in rail, to which appropriate scope rings can be fitted, reminding one that the real Desert Eagle is, primarily, sold as a hunting handgun. The standard sights comprise a dovetailed in foresight blade and a simple notch rearsight with no adjustment.

This particular gun was fitted with Firefly upgraded recoil springs by the previous owner. These make the gun odd to shoot as the recoil is quite slow, but the closing of the slide is unusually rapid. I would not advise anyone to fit these springs without a metal slide as they make the gun feel most peculiar to shoot and don't add anything to the shooting experience, except to make the whole cycle action slightly quicker.

Ugly screw where firing pin belongs non-standard!

The Hop-Up adjustment is worthy of mention. Part of the outer barrel slides back to reveal a scale. Moving a section of the outer barrel (under the cover) ahead of this scale, adjusts the hop. This is both easy to do and quite precise as you have a scale to measure against. Whether it is very effective, my short range testing was unable to determine, but I have often heard Marui Hop-Up praised for its effectiveness, so I have no reason to believe it is anything less than acceptable.

Rail, built in to barrel. Standard foresight dovetailed in.

The magazines, I got 4 with this gun, are rather cheap feeling, with thin metal cases, but seem quite reliable. The release valve, at the top, is recessed slightly and I did experience inconsistent operation, which I diagnosed as the mags not been properly engaged by the, probably worn, magazine catch. Pushing the magazine firmly up into the grip seemed to solve the problem most times.

This quite old gun seems to have stood the test of time quite well, with few serious scratches and reliable operation, these few problems aside.

Shooting Impressions

Carrying out my standard 5m/6 round, off hand test, the results were generally quite impressive.

Click on image for bigger version in separate window.

Five of the six rounds hit the centre area of the target, with the sixth only a Centimetre or so above it. Four rounds fell in a 1.25 inch (3 CM) diameter, the other two were in a .8 inch (2.3 CM) diameter group of their own, but the overall grouping was 3 inches (8 CM) across. This was probably due to me shifting aim during the shooting and the group of four, low and right of the aim point is pretty impressive.

What was not impressive was the velocity I recorded.

Over 10 shots, the Desert Eagle averaged a disappointing 212 fps with .2g BBs (using 134a gas) outdoors (around 19C).

Shot      FPS
1 218.3
2 216.3
3 222.5
4 225.4
5 212.4
6 219.7
7 204.7
8 203.4
9 203.6
10 196.7

My first impression was that maybe this older gun was worn out, but it worked well in all other respects. Then I found another report on a forum reporting that the power of the early TM Desert Eagles is low.

Whether this performance is indicative of either the earlier or the latest TM Desert Eagles is impossible to say without another gun to test, but it is certainly poor by the standards of any other GBB I have tested.

The new gun is acclaimed for its hard kick and reports suggest it has, effectively, high flow valves in the magazines. This review of the Hardkick version reports a more acceptable 260fps with 134a.

The trigger pull weight test produced a figure of 1,160g (40.9 ounces), which is a medium-heavy weight trigger pull.

Take Down

Take down is faithfully reproduced and, therefore, a little complex.

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.

Quite complex trigger mechanism, but all metal, so seems sturdy.

The Barrel and slide can then be slide forward off of the frame.

Twin recoil springs. These are upgraded Firefly springs.


Overall, I found the TM 'Dezart Eagle' quite an impressive piece of kit, with one important exception.

The gun is big, solid and refreshingly free of the seam marks I have seen, even recently, on TM Berettas.

The finish is still short of the quality seen on Western Arms' and KSC gun, being obviously plastic in construction, but it is far from poor, simply a little toy like in appearance.

It couldn't be anything but a Desert Eagle - No matter what the slide says!

Accuracy is good, but the power on this particular gun is terrible.

Assuming Tokyo Marui have done something about this on the latest guns, I would not have too many qualms about recommending the TM Desert Eagle to anyone looking for a hand cannon, although KSC's H&K Mk23 would be an obvious competitor and is a better finished gun even given the difference in price.

Weight : 1,400g

Realism : ****
Quality : ****
Power : **
Accuracy : *****

Real Steel link at World Guns

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