IMI Desert Eagle - KWC
If you ask a dozen airsofters which is the best spring pistol, 6 will tell you to buy a gas gun and at least half of the others will say the KWC Desert Eagle Supergrade (otherwise known as the Ultragrade).
Their argument is nearly always that it is as heavy, accurate and powerful as a gas gun, just with a spring, so zero running costs (except BBs, of course).
When one came up for sale on a forum, I thought I should see if it deserved its reputation.
In the Box
This was a second hand gun and came with no box. However, it did come with a loading tool, identical to that provided with my SIIS GBB Desert Eagle and to that I saw provided with a GBB KWC Desert Eagle.
You would normally expect a bag of BBs and a manual, too.
My first impression was "Wow! Is this REALLY a springer?"
It is, as reported, as heavy as a good gas pistol and feels solid and well balanced.
Equally, it looks a very good representation of a 6" Desert Eagle .50AE pistol.
The finish, too, is gas gun quality, with few visible seams (although there is on under the frame), good markings and a general quality of ABS that is not common amongst spring pistols.
Metal parts abound, too, with the trigger, hammer, slide lock and magazine release all being metal as is, highly unusually for a springer, the magazine.
The plastic of the KWC Desert Eagle, although heavy and solid, is slightly bluish in hue and feels a little brittle compared with the heavyweight material, or even modern TM ABS, used on modern Japanese airsoft pistols. It feels and looks quite like the plastic used on the early WA Beretta M92FS that I reviewed.
The overall shape is well replicated (as well as any other Airsoft pistol). The ambidextrous safeties are metal and operate as you would expect on a Desert Eagle (which, of course, is a single action gun, requiring the slide to be racked for the first shot.
The hammer, takedown lever, slide lock and trigger are all metal as well and feel solid and well made.
Markings are reasonably good, too. On the left side of the slide, the KWC Desert Eagle is marked "DESERT EAGLE .50AE PISTOL"/"ISRAEL MILITARY INDUSTRIES LTD. (I.M.I.)" and on the right is "MAGNUM RESEARCH INC. MINNEAPOLIS, MINN."/"MADE IN TAIWAN". There is a fairly discrete KWC mark just behind the trigger on the right side. Aside from the reference to Taiwan and the KWC specific mark, these are the same as on the TM GBB and the SIIS GBB, although the depth and breadth are much closer to the, better, TM gun.
The slightly rubberised feeling grips feature IMI logos on both sides.
The sights are plain and both the front blade and rear notch are made of plastic. The front blade looks like it is dovetailed in, but is actually just moulded into the large triangular barrel. The rear notch is adjustable for windage, as it is dovetailed into the slide.
As usual on Desert Eagles, the barrel features a (uniquely sized) rail on the top, which requires special rings or mountbase to fit a scope to.
Also like all Desert Eagles, the KWC Super/UltraGrade is a big imposing gun, that some people will find too large to handle comfortably. Personally, I did not find it too big, but I like large guns, like the H&K Mk23 and do not much like small ones, generally. People with short fingers will probably find the backstrap to trigger stretch too much to manage, though.
The magazine is full sized, holding 15 rounds in a single stack. Unusually for a spring pistol, it is made of metal, but unlike some TM guns, it is not weighted to increase the loaded gun's weight.
The unique Desert Eagle Bolt is replicated well (as it seems to be on pretty much all airsoft Desert Eagles) and visible with the slide locked back, which is possible as the magazine features a follower which engages with the slide lock. This is not unique to the Supergrade (I've had some very cheap KWC springers which did it), but it is a feature missing from many springers.
So, the Supergrade deserves it reputation as 'king of the springers' from a visual aspect, would its performance match up?
Click on image for bigger version in separate window.
Carrying out my standard 5m/6 round, off hand test, delivered a best 5 grouping in a 7CM diameter. The actual grouping fell in a 7CM wide by 4CM high rectangle, indicating that the 7CM figure is overly harsh, but either way the accuracy is nothing astonishing.
Powerwise, too, the gun was less than impressive.
Over 10 shots, the KWC Desert Eagle Supergrade averaged a feeble 164 fps using .2g BBs.
This is considerably below the performance of a TM springer and even lags behind the UHC Beretta M9 I have. Highly disappointing, considering the wild claims made for this gun's performance (many retailers claim this gun does 300fps!) and I have no reason to believe my gun is in anyway below par as it is in excellent condition. Oddly, the performance doesn't SEEM low as some guns do, which I put down, in part at least, to the gun's loudness. In this respect it lacks for nothing.
Trigger pull was 1,620g (57 Oz), which is a very heavy weight pull for a springer, 700g heavier than the next heaviest I've tested.
Unsurprisingly, the supergrade field strips just like the real thing.
With the magazine removed 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 can then be lifted up off of the slide and then the slide and recoil springs can then be slid off the front of the frame.
Overall, the KWC Super grade/Ultra grade cannot be matched as the supreme spring pistol in terms of construction, weight and realism, but the performance is disappointing, making it hard to recommend as a skirmish last-ditch sidearm.
The adjustable hop may help with range, but any recent TM springer will comfortably out shoot it and although you may be able to swap the weak spring for a stronger one without unduly stressing the gun (and that can only be supposition), you will still need to obtain a suitable spring.
If however, your requirement is a great looking and feeling replica of a Desert Eagle for plinking around the house and just looking and feeling great, the KWC Desert Eagle should be on your shopping list, provided you can find one at a decent price!
Weight : 915g (215g magazine)
Realism : ****
Quality : ****
Power : **
Accuracy : **
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