The new Magnum Research Mark XIX Desert Eagle with a case-hardened finish.
The new Magnum Research Mark XIX Desert Eagle with a case-hardened finish is now available. photo from

If you’re a Desert Eagle fan who likes guns with a more classic look, listen up. Magnum Research has just released a new version of it’s iconic handgun with a case-hardened finish.

The new Mark XIX Desert Eagle comes chambered in .44 Magnum, .50 AE, or .357 Magnum with a 6-inch barrel.

The model ships with rubber grips as well as the handsome wood grips with a laser engraved company logo shown in the photo.

The case-hardened finish is “protected with a clear coat and adds a new spin to the classic look of these Desert Eagles,” according to a release.

Like other Mark XIX pistols, this new model has an overall length of 10.75-inches and a height of 6.25 inches and is a gas-operate, rotating bolt semi-auto pistol made in the U.S. with a carbon steel barrel, frame, and slide.

It includes a Weaver-style accessory rail on the barrel and an ambidextrous manual safety. MSRP is $2,278.

What Is Case-Hardening?

Case-hardening is the process of literally hardening a metal surface while allowing the metal underneath to remain softer. This forms a thin layer of harder metal, called the case, at the surface as a protective coating.

The process was commonly used to apply a finish on older firearms made from steel with lower carbon content, which doesn’t harden well on its own. Additional carbon is infused into the surface layer during the case-hardening process, which is almost always performed after parts have been formed into their final shape.

An example of a case-hardened 1911.
An example of a case-hardened 1911. photo from

Because the deeper layers remain more flexible, a case-hardened part is more immune to fractures while the outer layer provides solid wear resistance.

The name comes from the process, which involves placing the steel part in a case packed tight with a carbon-based case-hardening compound. This is officially known as a carburizing pack. The pack is then put in a furnace for a specific amount of time at specific temperatures, which determine how deep into the surface the hardening will extend. This has limits, however, as the carbon can only be diffused so deep into solid steel (about 1.5mm). Small items can be repeatedly heated and then quenched in a carbon-rich medium, producing a similar result.

Some case-hardening, like the finish on this new Desert Eagle, show a very distinct surface discoloration that always reminds me of an engine coolant leak mixing with a puddle on the road, but that doesn’t mean the black, blue, and purple patterns aren’t often mesmerizing and beautiful, much like Damascus steel.

The patterns and color variations are caused by various chemical compounds formed from impurities in the carbon medium, which are sometimes added intentionally in modern times to produce the classic case-hardened look. Sometimes a similar pattern is added to a firearm as a purely decorative finish. This is sometimes called case-coloring.

The result of case-hardening on a firearm is a finish similar to bluing in function, providing a degree of corrosion and abrasion / wear resistance.