Magnum Research Desert Eagle 1911G: More Than Just Another 1911

The subtle color highlights on the blued steel pistol make for an attractive, but businesslike, appearance.

The subtle color highlights on the blued steel pistol make for an attractive, but businesslike, appearance.

In case you have been living under a rock, 2011 was the 100-year anniversary of the 1911 pistol.

For the past century, the 1911 pistol in .45 ACP has been a mainstay on the American shooting scene. Whether used as a military sidearm or a civilian carry gun, the 1911-pattern pistol is widely regarded as one of the best pistol designs in history. And as you might expect, the widely publicized centennial anniversary of John Browning’s classic design has drawn a lot of consumer interest and driven a serious uptick in demand for 1911 pistols.

Desert Eagle 1911G Specs

Desert Eagle 1911G Specs

In response to this demand, every major handgun manufacturer now offers at least one 1911 pistol. The various models range from very basic pistols that approximate the original military design, to tricked-out race guns that incorporate all the modern bells and whistles. Without a doubt, the variety of 1911 pistols is nearly endless.

One of the new contenders on the 1911 scene is Magnum Research. Of course, Magnum Research is best known for its Desert Eagle line of unique semi-auto pistols. In order to capitalize on this iconic trade name, Magnum Research has dubbed their newest 1911 the “Desert Eagle 1911G.” Attaching this name to the new 1911 may serve to attract certain buyers who favor the pop culture value of the “Deagle” name, but don’t let this marketing gimmick turn you off—this is a serious 1911 pistol.

Modern Design

The basic design is true to its Government Model roots, but with all the appropriate upgrades for a modern fighting pistol.

The basic design is true to its Government Model roots, but with all the appropriate upgrades for a modern fighting pistol.

The 1911G is a thoroughly modern design. Although the classic World War I era 1911 is a great pistol, the last 100 years of firearms evolution has made a great pistol even better. The basic design is true to its Government Model roots, but with all the appropriate upgrades for a modern fighting pistol.

The Desert Eagle’s features are comparable to many other manufacturers’ “loaded” models. Features like an extended beavertail grip safety, skeletonized hammer and trigger, and forward cocking serrations are becoming standard on current 1911 designs. The 1911G also has a full length guide rod and high quality fixed sights.

Thankfully, Magnum Research chose to leave out some modern features that are not needed on a fighting gun, like an oversized or ambidextrous thumb safety, or an extended magazine release. All in all, the 1911G has all the features I like in a 1911 for concealed carry, but none that I don’t. Well … I could do without the forward cocking serrations, but that is really just a cosmetic concern that I can overlook.

Field stripping is typical of a 1911, and requires only a bushing wrench or strong fingers.

Field stripping is typical of a 1911, and requires only a bushing wrench or strong fingers.

This Desert Eagle is not flashy or gaudy, and has an appearance appropriate to its serious mission. The pistol sports a black oxide finish that is largely non-reflective over most of its exterior. The dark finish is nicely complimented with a polished stainless steel beavertail grip safety and a brushed aluminum trigger. The finishing touch is a set of traditional double-diamond wood grips with a reddish hue, and stainless steel hex-head grip screws. Adding a little bit of color nicely offsets the dark blued finish, without being over the top.

One of the most interesting design details on this pistol is the lack of a firing pin block safety system. Most 1911 manufacturers incorporate some type of firing pin block that adds a level of complexity to the 1911’s firing system that can have an adverse effect on the trigger pull and, potentially, on overall reliability.

The 1911G is based upon the well-known Colt Series 70 firing system, which is generally preferred by serious 1911 enthusiasts. Kudos to Magnum Research for offering the traditional firing system to those who have a preference. I suspect many will buy a 1911G primarily for this reason. You can read a lot more about the differences in firing systems with a quick Google search.

The 1911G is actually manufactured by BUL Ltd. in Israel, a company known for producing quality 1911 pistols for the last 20 years. Note the full-length guide rod typical of modern 1911 pistols.

The 1911G is actually manufactured by BUL Ltd. in Israel, a company known for producing quality 1911 pistols for the last 20 years. Note the full-length guide rod typical of modern 1911 pistols.

Modern Performance

The 1911G performed admirably in all my testing. In the course of more than 150 rounds of assorted ammunition, the pistol ran flawlessly. Accuracy was excellent, due in part to the excellent trigger and highly visible sights. Personally, I like the all-black front and rear sight design over the three dot sights that are so common on other guns. Magnum Research’s proprietary sights are easy to acquire quickly, and are easy to shoot accurately.

Recoil is quite manageable, as typical of an all-steel framed 1911. The .45ACP round packs a lot of power, but is not as “snappy” as the smaller, high-velocity rounds like the .40 S&W cartridge. You know you are shooting a big bore pistol, but for most people the recoil is not painful or offensive.

Of course, the 1911G’s relatively heavy weight helps soak up the perceived recoil. My favorite .45 ACP self-defense load, the new Winchester PDX-1 bonded JHP, is easy to control and performed flawlessly in the pistol.

The reason 1911s are so popular is because the design lends itself to fast and accurate shooting. When you combine good sights, a good trigger, and a long sight radius you have a great shooting handgun. The Desert Eagle demonstrates all the excellent shooting qualities that you expect in a 1911.

Shooting Information

Shooting Information

Modern Carry

1911-style pistols carry well inside the waistband with holsters like this Galco King Tuk.

1911-style pistols carry well inside the waistband with holsters like this Galco King Tuk.

Thousands of pages have been written on the pros and cons of concealed carry with a full-size 1911. There is no doubt that the 1911G is a large, heavy pistol. It has the advantage, however, of being relatively thin—especially compared to a double-stack 9mm or .40 S&W. The narrower width makes the 1911 well suited to inside the waistband (IWB) carry, and helps reduce bulk if the pistol is carried outside the waistband.

Carrying a five-inch steel-framed 1911 requires a serious commitment to carry. It also requires a good holster, a good belt, and perhaps some adjustments in wardrobe. The good news, however, is that there are a myriad of holster choices. Nearly every holster manufacturer makes a 1911 holster, and reviews of such holsters are not hard to find.

Carrying a 1911 pistol, and particularly a full-size model, is probably not the best choice for an inexperienced shooter. The pistol can be more challenging to carry because of its size and weight, and the manual of arms for the 1911 is more complicated than other handguns. Learning to operate a 1911 requires training and practice. But if you are willing to make the commitment, the 1911 may be the best fighting handgun on the planet. Some of the most experienced and well-trained people I know swear by the 1911, and with good reason.

Modern Choice

A belt slide holster is very minimal, and allows for a full combat grip on the draw.

A belt slide holster is very minimal, and allows for a full combat grip on the draw.

Once you have made the commitment to the 1911 platform, you have to settle on a particular model in a sea of possibilities. Magnum Research’s 1911G is a high-quality modern pistol with all of the most desirable 1911 features from a respected manufacturer; and the 1911G is a great value when you consider the MSRP of $826 for a well-equipped defensive pistol. Street prices will certainly be lower, and it will be hard to touch a similarly equipped 1911 from an established manufacturer for less. The Desert Eagle 1911G is a modern interpretation of the classic 1911 that was well worth the wait.

Prices as of November, 2011

*The Desert Eagle 1911G was provided by Magnum Research with an option to purchase at a reduced price. The holsters and factory ammunition were provided by the respective manufacturers at no cost.


[ Duane A. Daiker is a contributing editor for CCM, but is otherwise a regular guy—not much different from you. Duane has been a lifelong shooter and goes about his life as an armed, responsible, and somewhat opinionated citizen. Duane can be contacted at, or though his fan page on Facebook, and welcomes your comments and suggestions. ]


Magnum Research, Inc
(508) 635-4273
Andy’s Leather
(603) 630-4072
Galco Gunleather
(800) 874-2526
Speer Ammunition
(800) 627-3640
Winchester Ammunition
(618) 258-2000


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26 Comments (Add Yours)

  1. I have a LLAMA MAX-1. It might be a cheeper model but I love it .

  2. In this article, I noticed that the hammer was in the full “cocked” position while in the holsters…now I am assuming, that this was an unloaded pistol. I am just trying to understand why it would be shown in this position. As safety must always be our first priority, this is a “bad example ” of how a pistol should be carried. Looking forward to your reply. Also, I am looking for a good holster for my Bersa compact .45 acp. I am a short and ” stocky” guy, and have some issues trying to keep my carry pistol concealed while being comfortable, and having ease of access to it. Usually have to carry either in front or back of my person. Any help, would be greatly appreciated. Love the magazine and articles. Looking forward to the next. Thanks Tim, keep up the great work guys.

    1. Dear Sir, with regards to the carry you describe — I understand that is pretty well known and absolutely standard and accepted — thats how 1911s are carried (and yes with a round ready to go) and, it seems, folks have been doing so for about a century. So I do not think it is a “bad example”. With all that said, I hear what you are saying. While it might be accepted and absolutely safe, I’m not carrying anything around like that. When carrying an autopistol I do not chamber a round — i beleive doing so and carrying puts me at more risk than the delay associated with racking the slide to chamber a round before having to go to defending myself. Call me over cautious, but just dont like a firing pin cocked behind a round and held back by something mechanical/structural (you pick the appropriate term)—when a round is loaded and a striker cocked, I trust me (and maybe a felow Marine or two) all else could fail. Thats why my pocket carry is a revolver.

    2. “Condition 1″ carry. Brownells makes a safety for this so you can still have one in the chamber and full mag. What you will like about this safety from them is that the hammer is down and the thumb safety is up, locking the slide. To deactivate the safety and cock the hammer…. Simply drop the thumb safety off. Visit the site and watch the video. If this doesn’t relieve that stress level of a 1911 I’d like to suggest any sig model pistol with the decocker. Happy hunting. 8BloodyKnuckles

    3. Reguarding your comment:
      Carrying a pistol with a round in the chamber is personal preference. Doing this isn’t a matter of safety, it’s a matter of life a death. When you need your weapon to defend yourself. Having to rack your slide to chamber a round takes a few seconds. Those few seconds matter when you consider the fact that criminals usually don’t practice good safety and already have loaded chambers in their weapons. If you feel unsafe by carrying in the “condition one” mode, that’s fine. People who do carry that way however know the condition of their weapons and should not be made to sound unsafe for doing so.

  3. I have been doing a lot of research on the 1911 pistol lately as I am going to be adding 1 or 2 to my collection. This article may have swayed my choice some more to the D.E. as I have been looking at it very hard as my primary choice. There are so many chioces and all have their own bells and whistles, but bells and whistles are not what I’m looking for!! I want a good solid performing weapon that will last! Thanks for a good article and some more good information!!

  4. Carrying a 45 in the cocked position is common place and is called the cocked and locked position.It is designed to be carried this way (if desired) and while cocked and locked it incorporates not one but two(2) safety`s ……….the grip and the thumb safety`s. Once drawn the grip safety is instantly released by your grip and then only the thumb safety needs to be disengaged to bring the weapon into fire position. hope this info helped to clarify your concerns and questions
    Mr. Carver

    1. Boy, there are some 1911 “novices” here.

      The 1991 was/is designed to carry “cocked and locked”, and besides the grip safety and thumb safety there is also the “half cock” on the hammer which will stop the hammer from falling all the way if the other safeties fail AND in series 80 1911’s there is a “firing pin block” which will not allow the gun to fire unless the trigger is pressed.

      Also, if you’re to “scared” to carry a 1911 in “Condition 1″ you should carry a different model of handgun because you’re more dangerous to others and even compromise your own defense with your “I’d rather pull the gun and rack the slide” approach – which is unrealistic in actual “defense situations” and quite naive.


  5. Agreed, Mr. Carver. Carrying a 1911 “cocked and locked” is the only safe way to carry the gun ready for action. This is the way John M. Browning designed the gun to be carried. It seems disconcerting to those who don’t understand the 1911 system — but it is not unsafe by any means.

  6. I”ve had my DE1911 for a year now. Many hundreds of rounds(lost count) through it. No failures of any kind. Seems to be the norm with these beauties. Mine will print inside 2 inches at 25 yards, and I hit a 12X12 cardboard box 14 out of 16 times at 100 yards.
    I recommend everyone get one of these. They are as good as any out there.

  7. Locked and Cocked is the only way I carry my 1911, and have for years. Remember you are the best safety any gun will ever have.

  8. I am in agreement with tlc361 and the others that the locked, cocked and ready to rock position IS the only way to carry a 1911!

    FYI – You can get a glimpse of proper carry, from a leader in this arena, if you are still skeptical… If you notice, in the interview with Col. Grossman, on the “Bulletproof Mind” system, when asked that type of carry system the Col. uses, he pulls his sidearm out and it is in the locked, cocked and ready to rock position… I think he’d know a thing or two about carrying… Good article all! Thanks.

  9. First of all, I’m a lifelong NRA member. I own many guns, but I have to tell you that my carry weapon of choice is the M1911. My brand of choice is Kimber. I carry the Ultra Carry 45 ACP with a 3″ bbl. I always carry it cocked & locked with one in the pipe except when my wife is with me to keep the peace I lower the hammer. (She gets verry nervious). Holster of choice is a belt slide with no safety strap. Works great and fast. I’m sure the Desert Eagle is a fine gun but I wouldn’t trade it or any other gun for my Kimber! In a self defence situation, I don’t care about the sight radious. ( Long sight radious is great for target shooting). For that I use other guns. I enjoyed all the other comments though.

  10. I carry a Para-Ordnance P16-40 limited it has the same trigger and safety.same set up and i’ve carried mine cocked, It has save me for the time i had to rack one into the chamber was ALL that save me.

  11. The 1911 platform is designed to be carried “cocked and locked” format. For instance your in a situation a man with a knife is trying to assault you , you have to pull your weapon and chamber a round then find target… do the math there’s not enough time the 1911 platform is designed for this purpose. When you can just pull your weapon and take care of the threat.Just saying.

  12. childs i have been in law enforcement for the better part of fourty year training showes that a person with a knife c an cover over 20 feet befor an officer can get his gun out of his holster. where does this leave you with a gun that is not locked and cocked and many of you are not trained think you. you

  13. I recently purchased a 1911 C (4″ barrel) from Magnum Research. It is not my first pistol but it is my first 1911. I am very pleased with this weapon. I was an infantryman in the U.S. Army and grew up in a hunting/fishing/outdoors-oriented family. This pistol has the best trigger of any firearm I’ve ever operated. It was very accurate right out of the box. I’ve only fired about 100 rounds thus far so I can’t comment as to it’s long term reliability but for what it’s worth it ate those rounds up without any failures. I bought it at a gun show here in Georgia where I live, I had gone to the show with the intention of picking up a new pistol, particularly looking for a 1911. After looking at quite a few including Kimber’s, S&W’s, Colt’s etc. I came across the one I now own. I didn’t even know M.R. made a 1911 and was a little uneasy about buying from a company who’s name I only knew from thier iconic large-caliber Desert Eagle pistols, none of which I’d ever owned or even shot..or ever seen in the flesh for that matter. However, after looking over the pistol’s fit and finish I decided to go for it. I am so glad I did. For the price you cannot beat this 1911. Initially I was not thrilled about the rollmark, but after getting fully aquainted with this gun I am proud to have the Desert Eagle name on my pistol.

  14. I have carried a 1911 for over two years as my daily carry I would recommend them to anyone. I do find that bobtailed 1911s are far easier to conseal but that as an aftermarket make due measure you can have a gun smith change the mainspring housing to an arched housing that gives it some similar charicteristics.

    This article discuses type 70 and 80 firing systems briefly. If you have an uneasiness at having the hammer cocked over one in the chamber with only the sear holding it from firing I recommend the type 80 which puts a bolt through the firing pin making it imposible to move the floating (means a spring holds it away from the round) firing pin even if you were to beat the gun (do not) with a hammer or use the weapon as the hammer (also a terrible idea just saying)

    My weapon of choice is the Kimber super carry custom because it has all the features I want including the fact it is a type 70 (better trigger, more reliable with fewer parts). I always carry in condition one (cocked and locked) with the thought that I may not see my assailant prior to the assault. What if a large attacker comes up to you from the side or behind you and grapples with you or grabs a hand. Trying to free your weak hand for a cross draw or even your strong hand will be hard enough and you will not have the time or choice on your side. What if he has a knife? Have you ever tried to rack a slide one handed? Try it with the gun unloaded but use dummy rounds or snap caps to put your magazine spring pressure on it. Make sure to have the hammer down to. You want as much pressure on it as would be with it fully loaded in condition 3 (hammer down no loaded round.)
    A revolver is an awesome option, under rated in my opinion, but also very hard to conseal vs a small auto.

    On a legal note if you want a type 70 gun buy one made that way. Modifiying a gun to remove a safety feature could come back to haunt you in a self defence case even if a gun smith did it, and it had nothing directly to do with the shooting. The prosicutor wants to paint you to be a cowboy out to kill people. Modifying a gun’s factory safety systems can not ever help you in a case.

    My type 70 1911’s MSRP is around twice what magnum reasearch is asking for theirs. I think this is a good option for those who want the quality workmanship on a type 70 pistol without a bobtail. You can always have a gunsmith add an arched mainspring housing (equivilant to a bigger backstrap on the plastic guns) to give it that round profile that makes it easier to conceal but the grip and pointing of the gun will change.

  15. My friend also pointed out that you may be shot in one arm before you can draw. And looking at the sights on this weapon, the rear sight (how I usually rack the slide one-handed is snag-less so would be very hard to use to rack (a gun smith could put a cocking shoulder on them though, it all only costs money.) I don’t believe you can put a price on safety though. And even carrying in condition one, I practice racking the slide one-handed under pressure incase of a failure. Failures require you to clear a round too…. Very good exercise to try with snap caps or dummy rounds.

  16. Just purchased my new G-model and must say that prior to making the decision, I looked at every 1911 model I could find on the internet and in stores for about a 150 mile radius. My conclusion was that with price, craftmanship, and features as determining factors for my decision, there was no other choice than the DE. I admit there were a few considerations but the look and feel of the DE quickly resolved the matter. Very tight, nice details inside/out/all around, performance is what you would expect from a high quality 1911. I love this pistol and everyone who sees it (even the kimber and glock fanatics) want to fondel it and shoot it. I have since become jealous and greedy with it. In my “opinion” it Definately is a good choice for those light in the wallet but heavy in taste and quality.

    1. Agreed. I set out to buy a more expensive 1911 and wound up buying the DE. I took it out the next day, having never fired one, and had the best grouping I have ever seen. I even took a few long shots. I hit a six inch target at 150 yards. I am not that great of a shooter. It is just that good of a gun.

  17. DE1911G Is my primary CC pistol,2000 plus rounds so far and no failures.Carry with a dedicated belt and Bianchi 7/7L paddle holster with a thumb break.Carry cocked and locked.

    If I could ,I would carry a M61A1 gattling cannon from my A-7E ,tough to conceal and heavy for a walk around gun.

  18. I actually do trust every one of the methods you might have brought to your site. These are very persuading and can definitely get the job done. Nonetheless, this threads have become small education. Might you desire prolong these slightly out of pursuing time period? Appreciate a write-up.

  19. Just my two cents…we all know those type of people who are Colt or Kimber only guys, and anything else is junk..
    Well let me tell you I have had quite a few 1911s and the Desert Eagle 1911G is a awesome 1911 for the price. I like it as much as my Colt XSE, kimber, SigSauer Tacops. The desert eagle 1911 is a accurate pistol. No jamming, FTF, FTE….Just go buy one and you will be happy that you did!!

  20. I find it of concern that a few people would not or are not carrying their 1911 cocked and locked. As mentioned in other responses, when one needs to draw and fire, there’s typically less than 2 seconds to launch that round…..and someone with a knife can close a 21 foot distance in 1.5 seconds.

    The DE sounds cool and all. I’d like to have one in .44 mag personally, but I’m sure the one reviewed is very well built, and functions like a dream.

    Now, as for Kimber’s…..I have to admit that I carry TWO full sized on my belt daily. Primary side is a Custom II SS. Left side is a Tactical II custom. Both have tactical wedge tritium night sights.
    The Tactical II came with a countoured magwell. I had one already installed on my custom II aftermarket before purchasing the Tactical II. So, if the need to change a magazine arises, that will be very helpful.

    As for accuray, both pistols will hold a 2-3 inch group at 25 yards, and a 5-6 inch group at 50. I haven’t tried them at 100 (yet)…..but, that 25 yard group frequently includes cut bullet holes where the rounds have penetrated the target so close together.

    I used to carry a Glock 27 (.40 S&W compact), and i assume we all know that a round is carried in battery in Glocks as well. I figure they are no safer than 1911’s, simpy because if that trigger snags and gets pulled, it will fire. I have to defeat 2 safety mechanisms in order to put that first round out of the muzzle.

    And, as for Glocks, I personally don’t like them anywhere near as much as ANY 1911 .45ACP. Yes they are extremely rugged and all that, but since I maintain my firearms to near perfection, I really don’t expect to experience any malfunctions out of my Kimbers any more than I would a Glock.

    As usual, all this boils down to personal preference. I carry what I can draw, aim, and fire the best, which for me are 1911’s. Could care less what other people carry cuz it’s such an intimate personal decision as to what one carries to protect the lives of their families and themselves., so if ti works, use it.

    One comment said something negative about an ambi-safety. Well, my Tactical II Custom has one, and it is certainly small enough to not snag on anything, yet really easy to disengage, so I fail to see how an ambi-safety could be a problem.

    I’m glad to have found this thread!

    Ya all take care!

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