The Magnum Research Desert Eagle 1911G is one of many 1911 pistols Cheaper Than Dirt! sells for less than $1000, but choosing between those extensive offerings can be difficult. We all want to get as much for our money as possible, and we would like to have a good idea of what we can legitimately expect from a pistol when it arrives at our receiving FFL.
To help with that decision, CTD had a chance to put a Magnum Research DE1911G through its paces. It features a number of upgrades than can help the operator shoot faster, safer, and more comfortably.
The 1911G features a 5-inch barrel on a full-size frame, precision cast and machined from carbon steel. The matte-black slide is machined from steel billets and deployed front and rear grasping grooves. It offered a flat-profile checkered aluminum mainspring housing below a high-ride beavertail grip safety. The thumb safety was only on the left side. The front strap was smooth. The aluminum trigger face was grooved, and the trigger body was relieved. There was an overtravel stop to improve reset time.
We noted the Desert Eagle’s matte-black finish was evenly applied on the frame, along the top of the slide, and down to the skeletonized hammer. The polished slide sides offered an attractive contrast. Stainless-steel accents—the barrel, Allen screws on the grip panels, and an enhanced, polished beavertail grip safety—also look nice and do not detract from the gun’s understated look.
Functionally, the cocking serrations were wide and easy to grab. The front sight blade was grooved side-to-side to reduce glare and was dovetailed into the slide top. The low-profile, snag-resistant rear sight, drift-adjustable for windage, was also dovetailed into place and is secured by an Allen screw. The sight’s rear face lined up with the rear edge of the slide for maximum sight radius.
The Desert Eagle uses a full-length guide rod, but the stainless-steel guide rod was short enough the gun could be easily field stripped. Turn the barrel bushing from 6 o’clock to about 8 o’clock, remove the recoil spring cap, align the takedown notch with the slide-stop pin, and push the slide-stop pin out from right to left. Then slide the top end off the frame. Before reassembly, we fully lubricated the barrel lugs, barrel link, slide and frame rails, the hammer relief beneath the slide, the trigger disconnector, and along the sides of the hammer. Reassembly was uneventful. With the slide locked back to expose the barrel, our last point of lubrication was the surface area that would contact the bushing during lockup.
With the pistol properly lubed, we were ready to evaluate some of the features that separate DE1911G from a GI-level 1911—extended magazine release, extended thumb safety, enlarged ejection port, beveled magazine well, and double-diamond checkered wood grips.
Using sandbags, we shot the 1911G from a distance of 25 yards with a budget target round and a premium defense load. Our break-in budget round was Winchester USA’s 230-grain full-metal-jacket round-nosed ammunition. The premium round was a 230-grain jacketed hollowpoint from Black Hills. From the bench, the Desert Eagle shot Winchester FMJ ammunition into an average group size of about 1.7 inches at 25 yards. The best group firing the Black Hills hollowpoints measured about 2.4 inches across. Getting these groups centered left and right required some patience drifting the rear sight, and for this test, we didn’t adjust the front-sight height for elevation, instead just leaving some light below 6 o’clock.
On action targets, we found the magazine release was initially balky, but within five mag changes that smoothed out. The Desert Eagle offered a clear sight picture that could be read quickly. The trigger didn’t present creep or a too-long pull, and the magazine could be released quickly once broke in.
The Magnum Research Desert Eagle 1911G offers several features (previously only found on custom models) in an affordable, accurate handgun.
What are your thoughts on the DE1911G? Tell us in the comment section.
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