GUN REVIEW: Magnum Research Micro Desert Eagle

With unprecedented interest in concealed carry, the proliferation of micro pistols into the firearms market comes as no surprise, even from manufacturers known for making some of the largest pistols in the world. Magnum Research’s entry into this category, the Micro Desert Eagle .380 you see here, demonstrated top notch fit and finish, excellent conceal-ability and shoot-ability, but was picky about what ammunition it would digest and, when firing, let you know it in a very unique way.

Well Made

Weighing in at just under 16 ounces and measuring 4.5 inches from muzzle to the rearmost portion of the slide, the Micro Desert Eagle is light and small but also very well put together. With a nickel frame and slide and plastic stocks, the gun feels solid and exudes precision. No discernible play exists in the controls but all operate smoothly and reliably. Magazine and trigger operations are confidence inspiring.

Concealable & Shootable

Offering 6+1 rounds of .380, the Micro Desert Eagle drops easily into a pocket but its weight and thickness serve as a constant reminder of its presence. Micro pistols being eminently concealable, they can be at times, because of their size, difficult to grasp and shoot. The Micro Desert Eagle’s stocks, however, provide a wide front strap area to grip when drawing and shooting. Take aim down the minimal notch and ramp sighting system, squeeze the trigger, and you’ll feel a healthy snap in the web of your shooting hand. Count the number of shots fired because the slide does not lock back on an empty magazine. In fact, the gun ships with only one magazine. This is not a gun for any kind of extended engagement, but a last-ditch survival tool.

This Ammunition, But Not That…

Chambered in .380, the Micro Desert Eagle preferred full metal jacket rounds or Remington UMC Leadless 95 gr. Flat Nosed, Enclosed Base rounds for best feeding. Other ammo tended to hang up on the feed ramp. When the rounds did go into battery, each squeeze of the trigger fired the round, sending it downrange to clang the steel silhouettes and plates at which I was firing. At seven yards, the Micro Desert Eagle was acceptably accurate for its intended mission of short-range self-defense.

In Your Face

My only real complaint about this gun, a gas-blowback design, involved the two exhaust ports in the barrel just in front of the chamber. As the hot gases blew forward when firing, small particles would exit the chamber, bounce off the ridge of the slide, and travel backwards, hitting me in the face. Each shot then would result in the sensation of getting a pinprick or two in my face.

With an MSRP of $479.00 and made in the U.S.A., Magnum Research offers a well-made defensive pistol that initially ranks very high in shoot-ability and conceal-ability, a combination of attributes that evades many firearms in this category. The finicky-ness with ammo is bothersome; perhaps a good cleaning and polishing and more shooting will alleviate this. Mitigating the blowback effects will demand more range time and research. I’ll report later on these along with some reviews of holster options for the Micro Desert Eagle.