A Desert Eagle for CCW? Full Hands On Review.

To learn more, visit https://www.magnumresearch.com/Firearms/Magnum-Research-Baby-Desert-Eagle-III-45ACP-Steel-Full-Size-10-Round.asp.

To purchase on GunsAmerica.com, click this link: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=Baby%20Desert%20Eagle%20III.

This week we are reviewing the Baby Desert Eagle III in .45 ACP, a perfect blend of Israeli military design with a good old American man killer in the magazine. The Baby Eagle III is a double action/single action (DA/SA) pistol in .45 ACP (or 9mm) with combat experience in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), and a lineage traceable through Israel and directly back to the renowned CZ-75 pistol. But let’s get to the real question. Is this gun that is made and Israel and imported by Magnum Research a cool gun? Why, yes. Yes, it is.

The new Baby Desert Eagle III pistol offers numerous upgrades and enhancements over the earlier offerings.


  • Chambering: .45 ACP
  • Barrel: 4.43 inches
  • OA Length: 8 inches
  • Weight: 35.8 oz
  • Frame: Steel
  • Grips: Polymer
  • Sights: Combat type, white dot, fixed
  • Finish: Black oxide
  • Capacity: 10+1
  • MSRP: $691

So, what makes this “III” so great? Magnum Research has revamped the Baby Desert Eagle to incorporate many new enhancements over earlier models, including a smoother trigger pull, fully interchangeable magazines with the earlier II models, a reversible mag catch and a trimmed down slide shape for reduced weight. The pistol is offered in 9mm or .40 and also a .45 ACP model, and can be had with a polymer or steel frame.

I don’t normally care for DA/SA guns for serious work; it takes too long to teach the two required trigger pulls. But for a heritage gun, I will make an exception. Our Army still uses the Beretta 92 for most troops, and the CZ-75 has certainly earned its place in hundreds of police forces and militaries. The Baby Desert Eagle itself has seen action with the IDF and in Columbia, Romania, and Serbia to name a few. The trigger pulls on the Baby Eagle are quite heavy, but that is pretty standard for a military arm. My one real complaint about the gun in general is that the single action trigger pull is still squishy. I have never owned a CZ, but at least on the Beretta 92 the single action is crisp.

The author put the pistol through its paces and was overall very impressed.

Hands On

The pistol I had to test was a steel-framed .45 ACP model. The ergonomics of the Baby Eagle are very nice; your hand sits very close to the bore line, which is a huge help with recoil management. Not that you would feel much recoil in this all steel monster anyway. As a guy that has carried a plastic gun for most of the last 10 years, I kinda forgot what all steel felt like. The grip is still remarkably thin for a double stack .45 ACP, and it fits the hand well. The magazine release is reversible for the devil handed, which is a nice touch. I really liked the shape of the trigger; it is unlike any gun I have ever owned. It is wide and long, which makes the leverage needed to drop the hammer feel like less than it is. The double action broke at 12.5 lbs of pressure, the single action at 5.7.

A large Picatinny rail section adorns the dustcover portion of the frame, in steel here on the model as tested.

Up front, the Baby Desert Eagle features a full-sized Picatinny rail, and a grooved trigger guard. The slide of the Baby Eagle III has had some serious metal removed from earlier version of the Baby Eagle, which does give it very distinct lines. I really wish MRI had included front slide serrations on this gun as well. Why? Normally I think of those as a cosmetic enhancement, but they would help this gun immensely. With the CZ-75-style design where the frame wraps around the rails on the slide, the result is a slide with very minimal height. As a result, it is not easy to positively grab with my size of hands. There are cocking serrations on the back of the slide, but they are mostly covered up if the decocker is in the fire position. The best option I see is to actually grab the decocker to manipulate the slide. This takes a little practice to avoid accidentally putting your gun on safe. Mechanically, the gun was very smooth right out of the box, which is something you don’t always see with a gun fitted together this tight. The slide moves like it is on ball bearings.

The sights on the pistol are a rugged three-dot set.

The sights are a standard three white dot set up, and very low profile. Not a sharp edge to be found, they are completely rounded off, which is nice in a carry gun. The barrel is a highly polished stainless steel, which is very pleasing to the eye.

How did it shoot? Like a champion. This gun does a fantastic job of absorbing the recoil of .45 ACP, which you should expect from a steel frame. The bore line to grip profile helps a lot as well. With a little help from Freedom Munitions, this thing will certainly ring the steel, and in a hurry. 10+1 of 45 is nothing to scoff at in a carry or duty gun either.

Towards the end of testing, a Baby Eagle in 9mm showed up as well. The 9mm exhibits all the same attention to detail as the .45, in a slightly smaller frame size. Recoil is barely noticeable, as both guns have a similar weight.

All in all, I liked the Baby Eagle, and if you are in the market for a new duty or carry gun, this makes an excellent choice.

To learn more, visit https://www.magnumresearch.com/Firearms/Magnum-Research-Baby-Desert-Eagle-III-45ACP-Steel-Full-Size-10-Round.asp.

To purchase on GunsAmerica.com, click this link: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=Baby%20Desert%20Eagle%20III.

The CZ-75-inspired design features a frame that wraps around rails on the slide, which makes for a short slide height.

The author put the pistol through its paces with some Freedom Munitions ammo.

About the author: Clay Martin is a former Marine and Green Beret, retiring out of 3rd Special Forces Group. He is a multi-decade and -service sniper, as well as 3-Gun competitor and Master ranked shooter in USPSA Production. In addition to writing about guns, he is the author of “Last Son of The War God,” a novel about shooting people that deserve it. You can also follow him on twitter, @offthe_res or his website, Off-The-Reservation.com

{ 15 comments… add one }
  • Gee Jay February 27, 2017, 3:26 pm

    First, as good as this guy is with a gun, I think to call a .45 ACP a man killer is a little over the top. I’m as non-PC as the rest of the gun world but the correct term has always been “man stopper”. Self defense is not about killing, it is about stopping a threat.

    As for the Israelis, for many years they carried their handguns in “Condition 3”. I am advised this might not be true any longer but until I prove otherwise I will presume “draw, rack, shoot” is still their combat style. They do hit what they point their guns at.

    And finally, yeah, I have to agree with you folks, traditional double action is still very popular in the US of A despite the predominance these days of striker fired polymer pistols. I still might get one of those……I think. 🙂

  • Ken Robinson February 21, 2017, 2:24 am

    He has an issue with DA/SA pistols? REALLY? Funny how the rest of America has been getting along just fine with them forever! LOL

    As for this firearm, I have to agree, this is only a 10 round double stack firearm? My SIG P227 runs 14 rounds double stack, granted this firearm isn’t in the same category as the SIG.

  • Mikial February 20, 2017, 9:46 pm

    I have two Jericho’s, one in 9mm and one in .45 ACP. They are pretty much identical to Deseret Eagles, having been manufactured from the same basic design by IWI. Great guns. Reliable and accurate. But I have to agree with some of the other comments that a 10 round mag in a modern .45 isn’t a lot of rounds. The 9mm carries 17.

  • NavyVet1959 February 20, 2017, 7:16 pm

    A double-stack mag that only gets 10 rounds of .45ACP in it? That seems a bit small. I have a Para Warthog that looks to be quite a bit smaller, but it gets 10 rounds in its double-stack mag. The SAR K2-45 is CZ based and the double-stack mag on it holds 14 rounds. The SAR feels noticeably smaller to carry than a full size M1911.

  • bill February 20, 2017, 2:40 pm

    Man, wouldn’t want this guy pissed at me. He sure knows his way around a firearm and is very proficient with it. Wish I had the time and a place close by where I could become this good. I’m good enough, I guess, but this dude is definitely a pro.

  • Michael Lynch February 20, 2017, 10:35 am

    I own and shoot both the 92FS and the CZ75B. The CZ Trigger is superior to the 92. Also the CZ is more accurate for me. The CZ75 is probably the best all around pistol made and a good one to copy. Ergonomically, the CZ is almost as perfect as a “stock” gun can get.

  • Maccavee Arns February 20, 2017, 10:25 am

    Maybe the writer should have done his homework first? The baby eagle III has nothing to do with the IDF or any Israeli government unit! After IWI opened their factory in the US they stopped their relationship with MR as they where bringing in direct to the US the “Jericho ” which is the original one made by them, no decocker (never was on the original IMI gun), as Israelis do no go with “one in the chamber ” and modeled after the original Browning design (which cz copied originally). These are still good guns and are made in israel under BUL manufacturing, but these are not IMI or IWI guns….

    • bill February 20, 2017, 2:19 pm

      Let me see if I understood you right. Are you saying the Israelis don’t carry one round in the chamber, even on the battlefield? I might of misunderstood you, so please clear this up for me….thank you.

    • Roy February 20, 2017, 10:54 pm

      Are you saying the “w” designation baby eagles (i.e. IMI or IWI stamped and manufactured in Israel) do not have dockers? If so, you need to check your source. I own two IWI stamped Baby Eagles, both made in Israel and both have decockers. Both were sold as Magnum Research BE99 models (one is a /R variation).

      I second the question about Israelis carrying without a round in the chamber. I do not know, have never served in the Israeli army, but it does sound counter-intuitive. Can you cite a source?

    • Mark Tercsak February 21, 2017, 8:16 am

      The Cz-75 and Cz-75b-I-will-agree with you use Browning-Hi-power Barrel and recoil design as do most modern Pistols.
      However, the Hi-power, is a single action trigger design, the Cz-75 series except for one model is a double action/single action pistol, there are two types of trigger designs the original which cz-recommends only experts should remove, said to be a complex design, but reliable and the omega Trigger, this trigger can be removed by anyone who is smart enough for maintain and to clean, these can be carried like the 1911 or the Browning Hi-power Cocked & Locked, or Double action.

      But much of the CZ-75 Design is actually owed to most likely the best 9mm-Parabellum Handgun the Sig-P210,whose slide sits within the frame, true the Cz-75 is packaged to resemble the Hi-Power and there is nothing wrong with that, I shot both and love’em both are great handguns.

      By the way I once the Sar-K2 in 45 Auto good pistol, had to sell to pay medical bills, it resembles a Sig design, was accurate did not fail, was in my view easie to field strip than the Cz on the Cz you have two lines you have to match up, The sar K2 uses a dot system it is much easier to see and match-up for me anyways.

      Cz- also has a .45 acp Auto the Cz-97 and Cz-97b, from my understanding they have received high marks from those who own one.

  • andrew dawson February 20, 2017, 8:06 am

    I have a bunch of them. Recently though, I made the mistake of buying the new IWI aversion rather than the MR version. The IWI does not decock on ‘Safe’. Instead it is cocked and locked like a 1911. Don’t like it nearly as much.

    • Falphil February 20, 2017, 10:16 pm

      Send it to me. I !@#$% hate decockers.

  • sean donan February 16, 2017, 6:35 am

    I own the Baby eagle III in polymer .40 S&w. absolutly love it. it is my everyday carry, open and concealed. I carry in alien gear holsters. As the reviewer mentioned cocking can be a bitch with the low slide, using the decocker/safety as a finger hold is the best way to go about it.

    • Mark Tercsak February 21, 2017, 8:33 am

      To me the position of the decocker of the Baby~Eagle is similar to the Walther-P-38, decocker/safety, when you go to grasp the slide and to actuate the slide.

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