Lightweight Desert Eagle .50AE/.44/.357 + Kahr Comp Guns – SHOT Show 2015


Kahr Arms and their subsidiary, Magnum Research, brought quiet a few new offerings to the table for 2015. Two guns that truly stood out in the sea of guns we call SHOT Show were the Gen 2 Premium Line TP9 and the Magnum Research Desert Eagle L5.

This TP9 is all decked out. Could Kahr be making a serious run at the competition market? Looks like a good start.

This TP9 is all decked out. Could Kahr be making a serious run at the competition market? Looks like a good start.

The Gen 2 Premium Line is exactly what it sounds like. Kahr has revitalized the Premium Line of pistols, but they didn’t just make a minor change here for the sake of marketing. This is not boring product creep; they have redesigned these pistols to truly optimize base-line performance for everything from competition to concealed carry.

Gen 2 reforms start with the frame of the pistols, where Kahr has added molded in rails, more aggressive texturing, and a reversible magazine release. The trigger system has been reworked giving the pistol 30% less trigger travel as well as an integrated trigger safety for added confidence in carrying. The slides of the Pistols are built with tighter tolerances, and now have forward cocking serrations. They leave the factory with TruGlo fiber optic nights sight and have an option for mounting micro red dot sights on the completion models.

For me the epitome of the Gen 2 Premium Line is the TP9; it embodies all of the new Premium Line features in a small concealed-carry package and is a gun that is hard to ignore. Pricing has not been released just yet, but we can predict they will try and stay around the Gen 1 Premium Line prices–sub $800.

The new DE looks different, for sure. There's more mass cut out of the barrel.

The new DE looks different, for sure. There’s more mass cut out of the barrel.

The Newest Eagle

The Desert Eagle L5 is a brand new offering,so new that the guys working the booth had never even seen the gun before arriving to the show. Little information was available other than a few basics I was able to extract from their marketing team.

The L5 is designed to be the smallest and lightest Desert Eagle to date. It will be available in .50 AE, .44 magnum, and .357 magnum chamberings later this year–and the gun will be modular. With three barrels (and maybe just two bolts) you can have all three. In the process of shaving pounds off of this pistol, the folks at Magnum Research have utilized a lightweight alloy frame, and a heavily milled slide and barrel assembly. The barrel has been reduced to 5 inches and is also internally ported to help combat recoil and muzzle rise. The L5 comes in at nearly half the weight of the 4.5 pound standard Desert Eagle, but the final weight and specifications have yet to be released. Keep watching in coming months, as these are two pistols we can’t help but request for testing.

Milled slides for optics.

Milled slides for optics.

The barrel on the new DE will be modular between calibers.

The barrel on the new DE will be modular between calibers.

The whole gun is slightly more compact. Not a lot, but the weight difference is noticeable.

The whole gun is slightly more compact. Not a lot, but the weight difference is noticeable.

They're also at work on a truly ambidextrous thumb-hole stock for their rimfire rifles.

They’re also at work on a truly ambidextrous thumb-hole stock for their rimfire rifles.

{ 22 comments… add one }
  • SSgt_Mas January 31, 2015, 9:50 am

    Sold both my DE .44 and .50AE, wish I would have kept at least one.

    This is obviously Kahr’s attempt to get back lost market share (real or perceived) from the Coonan .357 mag pistol. Noted. And not a bad idea by Kahr.

    “I wish my .50AE DE recoiled MORE and was harder to control,” said no .44 or .50AE DE owner, EVER. This is a good idea for the .357 but not very smart for the .44 and especially .50ae versions.

    If I were to get back into the DE game, I would be looking for the heaviest version possible, preferably with the 8 or 10″ extended bbl for hunting.

    • Joe February 1, 2015, 8:01 pm

      .357’s don’t kick so hard, at least my old S&W 686 wheel gun with a 6″ barrel didn’t.
      I looked at the Coonan .357 for pricing for the possibility of buying one but at $ 1000.00 I think ill go buy another wheel gun for half that amount.
      Looking at DE pricing I don’t think they will be in my price range either.

    • Steven January 9, 2016, 3:28 am

      Actually my desert eagle .44 magnum isn’t that bad and I shoot those hot hornady 300 gr loads

  • usPatriot77 January 30, 2015, 6:27 pm

    I LOVE my Desert Eagle .44 mag, but, it is the “old” style and is a horse! This NEW style looks fabulous and the .357 mag may be my next investment-“Lucky Me!”

    • Joe January 31, 2015, 1:18 pm

      I’ll stick with my pre lock 629 S & W wheel gun with the 8& 3/8 ” barrel. She shoots strait and that .44 MAG will knock a pig down out to 100 yards no problem

  • Joe January 30, 2015, 4:30 pm

    I own a XIX 50AE and really enjoy it. Recoil, Yes but what do you expect. It is mild compared to a S&W 500 Mag. but the 500 hundred is fun to shoot also. I have killed 4 deer with it in the last 4 years. When this new one comes out I will probably get one for sure. Sounds like it won’t be much bigger than a 1911. It will definitely be in the 50AEe caliber. Maybe they will lend me one for a few years to test for them.

  • Glenn Howell January 30, 2015, 2:42 pm

    Sounds like a possible SHTF gun, with the different barrels offered. I am curious about the .357… Would it also have the ability to use .38 special as a revolver does? Or would the magazine cause some slight difficulties feeding…

    • John Butler February 12, 2015, 1:20 pm

      The .357 Desert Eagle will chamber and fire 38 Special, and will feed from the magazine, but since the Deagle is gas operated, .38 doesn’t generate enough gas volume to cycle the action. The same is true of .44 Special in the .44 Magnum.

  • Rocky January 30, 2015, 1:58 pm

    I had the dubious pleasure of getting to fire a co-worker’s American Eagle .50 cal. pistol, a 8-9 years back and doggone near got smacked the old snozolla for my troubles. I was utilizing a Weaver stance and had just a reasonably firm grasp on the weapon. You can imagine my surprise at the perceived recoil. I can’t imagine what the amount of perceived recoil, on a lighter weighing .50 cal. pistol might be. I was weaned on a M1911A1 .45 cal. and fully expected a similar recoil from the .50 cal. A mistake on my part.
    At the time, my co-worker had to take up reloading, as the rounds for his weapon cost over $1.50 apiece. They likely cost much more these days.
    I believe that I’ll stick with my M1911A1 .45 caliber. Auto Ordinance ‘mil-spec’ clone.
    You, on the other hand, are welcome to the .50, if you so desire ;~)

  • Larry Bryant January 30, 2015, 10:32 am

    Very much like the looks of the new Desert Eagle! Definitely will go on my watch list and possibly on the buy list as well.

  • Joe Garvin January 30, 2015, 10:19 am

    Are they going to test the L5 to Calif. standards? So we in Calif. can buy one.

    • Zach January 30, 2015, 11:59 am

      You should leave that pathetic excuse for a state before the libtards take all of your ten round magazine guns.

  • randy January 30, 2015, 9:38 am

    I hate to see the barrel get shorter….the way a revolver barrel is measured is from the gap after the cylinder. ..but a 6″ dessert eagle barrel is always measured as a barrel with a chamber in it…meaning if you measured the rifled part of the barrel it is only a 4″ plus….take an inch off that and u are shooting a 3″ .44 or .50……I owned a Mark for years putting 600 rds through it and it was a a great gun…I just wished it had a “longer barrel”…while I heard u could get them I never seen one for sale while I had the gun.

    • david hamilton January 30, 2015, 11:46 am

      I had a 10″ barrel on my 80’s vintage 44 DE. It was quite a step up in performance. I used it for Alaskan black bear and caribou. Worked well.

    • david hamilton January 30, 2015, 11:47 am

      I had a 10″ barrel on my 80’s vintage 44 DE. It was quite a step up in performance. I used it for Alaskan black bear and caribou. Worked well.

    • Mr Brett January 31, 2015, 12:45 am

      When you compare revolvers to pistols without a barrel-cylinder gap you’ll see the revolver is at a significant disadvantage, especially with a magnum cartridge (check out Ballistics by the Inch). I agree that a shorter DE will give up something to a longer DE, but it will still be faster than a revolver with the same barrel length.

  • Phatbiker January 30, 2015, 7:16 am

    I am perplexed. The author states that the new lighter desert eagle is modular like it is a new feature. They have always been modular.

    • mark n January 30, 2015, 9:07 am

      They are but not as easy as this new L5.

  • Steve K January 30, 2015, 6:55 am

    I’ll be on the lookout for the L5. Of course if I run into an all stainless Desert Eagle first, I’ll bite.

  • Joe January 30, 2015, 6:28 am

    If the price is right I could be interested in one in .357 magnum.

  • Mike D January 29, 2015, 7:43 pm

    Can’t wait (but of course I will) for reviews of the new lighter weight Desert Eagle L5.

    • Steven January 8, 2016, 4:54 pm

      I was excited for it until I read aluminum frame. If frames on .40 s&w pistols get worn out how well will they hold up to .44 magnum?

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