Micro Desert Eagle pistol review

Reader CBN3 wrote a brief review of the Magnum Research Micro Eagle pistol and provided me with some high quality photos of its internals.

Bought one 12/6. First shot perfect bulls-eye. Range officer said I might as well go home.

A little hand pain atfer a box of ball rounds- all tight groups. Still a lot more confortable and fun than shooting my LCP. 5 ounces heavier but shorter and fits in by back pants pocket better and have carried it there since I bought it.
I think it is the CZ design but better quality materials and tooling being made in America. You can tell how nicely made it is as soon as you chamber a round.

It also has a unique design. Barrel ported and beautiful. Hammer forged and twists to disengage slide from frame, no pin. Has 2 small rods and springs on each side instead of 1 big one in the middle. Leave it to the Czechs. I think the big trigger guard is for a pilots glove. After all if it is the Kevin design, ZVI is a weapons designer and manufactures weapons and ammo for jet fighters. My guess is they made it to be a small carry for a downed pilot.

Just happened to be in the gun shop getting a credit on my returned Kahr 9 mm and was introduced to this thing. Almost didn’t buy it because it was unknown to me but just from the looks of it I knew it wouldn’t be there when I returned to get it.

I’m sold, great gun.

Click to expand the photos.

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A big thanks to CBN3 for the great photos and review. If you purchase a recently released firearm and want to write a quick review and/or provide some photos, please contact me.



Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Jesse

    I love strange designs like that.

  • DrStrangegun

    Must
    Have.

  • Any pictures of your targets?

  • Tam

    The method of barrel/frame engagement is lifted straight from JMB’s blowback pocket pistol designs.

    I’m trying to remember where, other than the Deagle itself, I’ve seen the dual coil spring recoil arrangement…

  • Amazing pics and truly a cool Firearm.

  • Jon

    Fired mine for the first time yesterday. 100 rounds, some hollows, some ball. No malfunctions at all. Hand hurt a bit after fifty rounds. This is a jewel.

    While cleaning, I made not of how nicely machined this pistol is, pretty inside, nice smooth work.

    Traded in the jam-o-matic P3AT, so glad to have a pocket .380 that actually works.

  • Pack

    Nice write up! Just stumbled across it via Google. I think I’ll get my hands on one – maybe one for the wife as well – for carry. This looks absolutely superior to the LCP.

    As to an earlier comment, the dual recoil spring arrangement dates back to (at least) the Walther P-38.

  • Joe Cirino

    I purchased this gun about a week ago as a CCW gun that I would remember it on me and had no extra bullshit on it.

    I shot 2 boxes of cheap .380 ACP through it. (NO MISS FEEDS OR JAMS) Now, I have not shot a gun in over 8+ years.

    At 15 yards, I had shot 50 rounds and had 42 in the kill zone/chest area (aimed for center). The other 8 were either not accounted for or outside of the human body area.

    I then tried 25 rounds at 15ft. All were in within the center chest area no more than 6″ apart in which I had aimed for.

    The last 25 rounds were shot at 75 ft. I had only 7 in the kill zone. so about 25% at 75ft.

    The Micro DE is a reliable gun and with time, I should be at 75% at 75ft and 100% at 15 yards.

    When I got home, I dug out my old ammo box with cleaning patches and oil. I cleaned the unit. It was simple to clean and went back together perfectly. The gun is prime quality and is a SOLID once piece frame. Pretty impressive and I think the only gun on the market like it.

    I am ordering wood grips for it. I want to also mention that after shooting the 100 rounds, I had noticed that the one side of the grips had loosed just a tad and I had to use an alan wench to tighten back up. This can be expected considering the force placed on such a small frame. I am using lock-tight when I get the wood handles.

    Overall, I wonderful experience today at the range and a great gun!!

  • chase campbell

    just purchased one last week. Carried all weekend out of town on vacation. Comfortable in all sorts of attire(did not wear while swimming) and even my wife forgot it was there sometimes (it was a romantic weekend.) Bottom line. Beats a kel-tec and a ruger. It is worth the money. (519.00 for me)

  • adam

    I recently purchased one of these mde’s. i was sold at the look and feel of the gun, but for some odd reason mine would repeatedly jam after almost every shot. after changing ammo and changing shooters, this did not fix the problem. i tried to send the gun back to magnum research, but they told me that i would have to pay for repairs. a close buddy of mine bought one as well, and he had the same problem. don’t know if its a local problem, but i wont be recommending this to anyone. traded mine in for a Kahr p380 and haven’t looked back.

  • I just bought a MDE. I took the conceal and carry class last weekend tought by a po who does fugitive arrests. He says it is an awesome gun. I have large hands for a girl and am well versed in the firearm world. I wanted a gun that would be easy to conceal on my body (purse carrying in my opinion is stupid). Trigger pull is heavy and long (1/2 inch). I am excited to get out and shoot it.

    How do you carry your MDE and what holster have you found for it? I am looking for an in the pant holster.

  • Android883

    Bought my MDE about a month ago and it’s taken me this long to find ammo for it. Mine did not feed Corbon hollowpoints reliably. I believe it’s the wide opening. They snagged on the feed ramp (3 out of 20). With ball, it ran like a clock. I will be sticking with ball for penetration anyway, so no big loss with the Corbons.
    This gun is finished beautifully. This is not so much a matter of aesthetics, but speaks to the care in manufacturing. It’s solid as brick outhouse and I have yet to find a burr or machine mark anywhere. Stripping is as easy as pie.
    BTW, the ball ammo I managed to find was PRVI Partizan, apparently a Serbian manufacturer with a decent reputation. If you get your hands on some, it’s pretty good ammo. I had never heard of it, but my mom-and-pop shop said it was good stuff and they were right.
    The trigger pull is standard DAO pocket gun, long but smooth. I was able to score head shots (just for testing) on a silhouette at 15-20 feet with care, place all in the center zone at 30 feet with care, and you can’t ask much more from a gun of this type. Rapid fire one handed without sights put them all in the zone at about 10-15 feet. Considering the purpose of this gun, that’s not bad. I don’t think we’ll all have time to assume a Weaver when the fecal matter hits the rotating cooling device.
    All in all a good little gun. I would run ball or maybe Powerball through it just to ensure reliability. Remember it’s a .380. Gotta get that lead through some flesh to do any damage. It’s my new primary for shorts and tank top weather.

  • Mike Boyd

    I had purchased one about 6 months ago and have not had any problems with it at all. It is very accurate (for its size) and shoots flawlessly.The first time I took it to the range I put a box of ball ammo through it with no jams or misfires,even during rapid fire.I then loaded up a mag with some old ammo that my brother had given me,it was four different brands and mixed between ball and hollow point.I shot these as fast as I could and the gun blew them out like they were all ball ammo and the same brand.Some people may find things that they do not like about this pistol,but it is desiged with a purpose.It is a CCW that will fit in your pocket but not feel small in your hand.You can keep one loaded in the chamber with out worrying about it going off in your pocket because of the DAO.No safety.A little pricey,but I think it is worth it.

  • Joe Riley

    I had purchased one about 2 months ago and have not had any problems with it at all. It shoots whatever I put in it. It is a great gun unlike the LCP that I finally traded that missfired every 4th shot even after 3 trips back to Ruger, and the Keltek that jamed every time I took it to the range .This MDE is very reliable and makes a perfect front poket carry gun.

  • I had a beretta , 21a and loved it. Till my wife need it one day. she was using a mod 37 SW in .38sp. I went to get another beretta and seen the MDE, played with it a bit, and took it home. went to the range and fired a 3 gun stage with it for fun and it worked great. After about 10 rounds i had the point down and had no problems after that. Ammo ran fine. Great pocket gun. DOA is the way to go in a gun like this.

    Rick Smith
    US Army (S.F.) Ret.

  • KEV

    Anyone have a set of stock grips for sale, trade or barter/

    A custom grip maker needs a set.

    Please contact me.

    czrami@hotmail.com

  • I have had the gun now for about 2 months and have used it every day. No problems, and no jams. I do buy the very best ammo as it is a CCW gun for me. Points great, after playing with the DA and aiming it is real easy to hit center mass. I was shooting 8 by 10 steel plates (knock downs) from 7 to about 15 yards. not only did it hit them but knocks them off too. Great gun. its at top of my 380 buy list. nice clean gun.
    rick

  • Ted

    Really liked the MDE due mostly to its outstanding craftsmanship. Trigger action is reasonable for a pocket DAO .380… but eventually I replaced it with a Kahr P380, which has smoother trigger action, does not hurt my hand to fire, and is more accurate (for me).

    If you can deal with the usual DAO .380 trigger action, the MDE is a great firearm.

  • Scrounger

    I went to my local Academy Sports + Outdoors store the other day looking for some Real Tree camo Croc shoes. While there I always check out the .380 ammo supply. As I approached the firearm display cases, there was a flashy Micro Desert Eagle was up front and caught my eye. Then I spotted the $399. price tag. That took me by surprise as I thought the MSRP was around $535. in full nickel dress. I had recently read up on these little marvels and knew that the feedback had been nearly 100 percent positive. So, in a flash, out came the debit card.

  • KEV

    HI guys.

    As the weather warms up out here..I’m still infatuated with my MDE.

    Know that Marschal Grips now offers custom grips for the
    guns.

    http://www.marschalgrips.com

    [img]http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2004-11/897801/mde-4sale.jpg[/img]

    I have one pair for sale right.

    Contact me for more pics and further info if interested.

  • Yuri

    I have an MDE. Like many other semi-autos that jam out of the box, it may take a hundred rounds to break in. My MDE straightened out after shooting some and then thorough cleaning and oiling. I’ve had good results after polishing the feeding ramp in some more stubborn guns.

  • I see that Ruger has sent out another recall on the LCP.

    My MDE isn’t quite as light, but no recalls as of yet.

    The MICRO is big on performance, and makes a
    great back-up gun to my bigger CZs.

    Custom KEVIN grips from Dennis Marschal and ammo from Double Tap make it even more spectacular!

    I did get some .380 FTX Critical Defense from Hornady, so I’m looking forward to testing that out soon.

    The MDE was shown on the HANDGUNS tv show and also used by the bad chicita on NCIS. hrs was the two-tone model.

    I like my nickle gun so much, I plan to buy the blued version and the two-tone this next year.

    http://s204.photobucket.com/albums/bb26/czrami/GUNS2/MDE/Marschal%20Grips/

  • Ross

    I bought this as a pocket carry and hate it! There is a hair trigger on the magazine release. I wear loose khakis and the mag is alway unattached whenever I check it.(Multiple time daily) As long as you have time to pop it in then it is a great pocket carry. If not then you are only going to get one shot off. Might as well have a Derringer???

    • Bobobean

      I noticed the exact same thing. I wanted to really like it, but that mag release was crazy sensitive. Just handling it at the gun shop proved that to me. 🙁

  • Tommy

    Owned this gun for a month and I can say my runs like a sewing machine with magtech and Federals! Very accurate can hit within a 4 inch target from 7 yards consistently! Never FTF or FTE and I truly love this gun!

  • Rick Smith

    I have been using my MSE now for just over 2 years. in my job i can not allways carry a large pistol. I have it in my back pocket and if needed fast i place it in my watch pocket. Fits great and with very littly pratice, it makes for a very fast draw. remember the words pocket pistol. I also use it as back up when i carry a large pistol.
    I use the MDE, for very simple reasions. First it must be simple and safe to operate. DAO is the way to go in a pistol like this. You will not have time to operate any form of a safe. You do not need any slide locks. It must not have any thing to catch on. So ODA is the only way to go. and last the dam thing will shoot and shoot good. I have ran mine tru 3 gun stages for fun. It will do the job.
    you do need to run a box or 2 tru the gun first but after that it hums. My wife carries a brettia flip top. it has a safe on it. but she never uses the safe, first round is DA then to SA. Pocket guns are pocket guns, not full size weapons. all ways use KISS.

    Rick Smith
    US Army (S.F.) Ret.

  • Rick Smith

    I have been using my MSE now for just over 2 years. in my job i can not allways carry a large pistol. I have it in my back pocket and if needed fast i place it in my watch pocket. Fits great and with very littly pratice, it makes for a very fast draw. remember the words pocket pistol. I also use it as back up when i carry a large pistol.
    I use the MDE, for very simple reasions. First it must be simple and safe to operate. DAO is the way to go in a pistol like this. You will not have time to operate any form of a safe. You do not need any slide locks. It must not have any thing to catch on. So ODA is the only way to go. and last the dam thing will shoot and shoot good. I have ran mine tru 3 gun stages for fun. It will do the job.

    you do need to run a box or 2 tru the gun first but after that it hums. My wife carries a brettia flip top. it has a safe on it. but she never uses the safe, first round is DA then to SA. Pocket guns are pocket guns, not full size weapons. all ways use KISS.
    Rick Smith
    US Army (S.F.) Ret.

  • Jon Bodnyk

    NEW MICRO DESERT EAGLE DEAD ON ARRIVAL

    The Micro Desert Eagle I purchased a few weeks ago is being returned for inspection and repair…it has never been shot except at the factory.

    The problem is:
     1st time out…with a full magazine…it did not load Federal Premium® Personal Defense® – .380 ACP 90gr Hydra-Shok® JHP rounds.
     
    o It feeds rounds properly with less than a full magazine. My guess is it has a lot to do with the design and finish of the barrel feed ramp and the magazine needs to be modified to exert optimum force no matter how many rounds it needs to feed.
     
    o This happened the very first time I went to fire it and the slide jammed open.
     
    o It was extremely difficult to remove the jammed round  and not very safe. This is  because the pistol does not have a slide locking mechanism.
     
    o I showed the pistol to a friend of mine who owns a gun shop…I cleared the round in the chamber to hand him the gun. When he handed it back I inserted the magazine and when I went to chamber a round…it jammed again. He watched me attempt to dislodge the jamb and asked me to take it out of the store to do it.
     
    o We both considered this a severe safety concern
     
    The handgun is being returned to Magnum Research along with a new spare magazine for them to rectify the problem with a detailed description of the problem and ammo the firearm malfunctioned with…per their request.

  • Jon Bodnyk

    NEW MICRO DESERT EAGLE DEAD ON ARRIVAL

    The Micro Desert Eagle I purchased a few weeks ago is being returned for inspection and repair…it has never been shot except at the factory.

    The problem is:
    The  1st time out…with a full magazine…it did not load Federal Premium® Personal Defense® – .380 ACP 90gr Hydra-Shok® JHP rounds.
     
    o I could manually feed unfired rounds into it properly with less than a full magazine. My guess is it has a lot to do with the design and finish of the barrel feed ramp and the magazine needs to be modified to exert optimum force no matter how many rounds it needs to feed.
     
    o This happened the very first time I went to fire it and the slide jammed open.
     
    o It was extremely difficult to remove the jammed round  and not very safe. This is  because the pistol does not have a slide locking mechanism.
     
    o I showed the pistol to a friend of mine who owns a gun shop…I cleared the round in the chamber to hand him the gun. When he handed it back I inserted the magazine and when I went to chamber a round…it jammed again. He watched me attempt to dislodge the jamb and asked me to take it out of the store to do it.
     
    o We both considered this a severe safety concern
     
    The handgun is being returned to Magnum Research along with a new spare magazine for them to rectify the problem… along with a detailed description of the problem including the ammunition the firearm was malfunctioning with.

  • Jon Bodnyk

    NEW MICRO DESERT EAGLE DOA … AGAIN AFTER BEING RETURNED FROM THE SERVICE CENTER

    The Micro Desert Eagle I returned to the factory came back with the same malfunction.

    I called Desert Eagle’s customer service and asked what they did to the firearm. I was told they removed a burr on the barrel and replaced the slide and they put 12 rounds through it with no problem.

    I asked if they fed 12 rounds of a Federal Premium® Personal Defense® – .380 ACP 90gr Hydra-Shok® JHP…each round from a full magazine…they replied no. They used another round and ran 12 consecutive rounds through it.

    Why did they bother to request what ammo the firearm malfunctioned with when I sent it in when they weren’t going to validate the repair with it.

    The problem was … AND STILL IS:
     1st time out…with a full magazine…it did not load Federal Premium® Personal Defense® – .380 ACP 90gr Hydra-Shok® JHP rounds.
     

  • KEV

    I had to sell of a few guns to help a relative out and my little MDE
    with Marschal’s new finger groove grips had to one of them.

    I still have 2 sets of the KEVIN grips in brown walnut for sale.