Stainless Steel Desert Eagle in .357 Mag and .44 Mag: Coming to the Range

The Desert Eagle XIX is now available with a stainless steel finish in both .357 and .44 Magnum. It comes with an integrated muzzle brake, accessory rail, and scope rail.
The Desert Eagle XIX is now available with a stainless steel finish in both .357 and .44 Magnum. It comes with an integrated muzzle brake, accessory rail, and scope rail.mfg photo

One of the most recognizable handguns of all time will finally be offered in all three of the famous magnum revolver calibers in arguably the sleekest of finishes on a big semi-auto—stainless steel.

Magnum Research released the latest iteration of the Desert Eagle, the Mark XIX in stainless steel last year. Since then, the finish has only been available paired with a chambering for the beastly .50 AE cartridge. Now, MR has announced that the Mark XIX Desert Eagle in .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum will now be offered with a stainless finish with black controls and accents.

Both models have a six-inch barrel and an integrated muzzle brake designed to mitigate recoil and muzzle flip. Both new models also feature a new integral Picatinny accessory rail. The overall length remains the same in all three calibers, meaning the same holsters will fit all chambering.

The stainless Mark XIX in .50 was a big seller for MR. "When we introduced the first stainless steel Desert Eagle Mark XIX in .50 AE last year, the demand was overwhelming and it was difficult to keep up with that demand," said Frank Harris, VP of Sales and Marketing in this post on outdoorwire.com.

The Agents famously used IMI Desert Eagle Mark XIX pistols throughout "The Matrix" trilogy of films.
The Agents famously used IMI Desert Eagle Mark XIX pistols throughout "The Matrix" trilogy of films.web photo

Since the Desert Eagle was introduced in 1979, it has made its reputation as the most powerful semi-auto handgun on the market. It's appeared hundreds of movies and video games, in all its various iterations.

The design and patents have always been owned by Magnum Research, though the Desert Eagle was first produced by Israel Military Industries (IMI) until 1995, when MR shifted manufacturing to Saco Defense in Maine. In 1998, MR moved manufacturing back to IMI, which reorganized as Israel Weapon Industries (IWI, the manufacturer of the Tavor rifles and Uzi submachine guns and pistols). Saco and IWI were always just contractors, and since 2009, the Desert Eagle has been manufactured at MR's Pillager, Montana facility.

The earliest Desert Eagle, the Mark I, was marketed to the public in 1983 and came chambered in only .357 Mag. The .44 Mag version followed a few years later.

One of the Desert Eagle Mark I's first screen appearances was in the hands of Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1985's Commando.
One of the Desert Eagle Mark I's first screen appearances was in the hands of Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1985's Commando. photo from imfdb.org.web photo

The Mark VII was introduced in 1990 and featured upgrades like a re-designed safety lever and slide release as well as an adjustable trigger. It was the first Desert Eagle available in .50 AE and is seen in pretty much every action movie made in the 1990s.

The newest model, the Mark XIX, is the current production model introduced in 1995 with a scope rail over the barrel, and gained a lot of attention as the sidearm of the Agents in the Matrix movies. Unlike previous models, the Mark XIX has the ability to change calibers by merely swapping barrels.

You will hear a lot of shooters hate on the Desert Eagle, saying its unwieldy, overpowered, and not terribly accurate. I've fired a few in my time, and what I've realized, is it seems to be a matter of size for most. If you have big hands that can more easily wrap around the big grip of the Eagle, then you will have less trouble aiming the heavy pistol and less trouble managing the recoil of a .50 AE round for a followup shot. I've always found them as fun to shoot as other big-caliber, hard kicking handguns. For people with average or smaller hands, the gun can easily feel awkward and difficult to control.

Elizabeth Hurley used a IMI Desert Eagle Mark VII in .357 Magnum while playing Vanessa Kensington in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997).
Elizabeth Hurley used a IMI Desert Eagle Mark VII in .357 Magnum while playing Vanessa Kensington in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997).web photo

In any case, there are few handguns with features as intimidating as the distinctive triangular muzzle with that big bore.