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The Desert Eagle (sometimes shortened to "Deagle") is a hunting and target pistol created primarily for civilian use by the Israeli Military Industries (IMI, now Israeli Weapon Industries) and America's Magnum Research during the late seventies. It holds the distinction as being one of the first semi-automatic pistols to fire magnum-sized cartridges. Due to this fact, it's size and distinctive shape have made it a staple of popular culture.
The Desert Eagle comes in several calibers, namely .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum and .50 Action Express (.50 AE, which is by far the most common, but still far from abundant on most markets). Switching calibers only requires a change of the barrel, bolt assembly and magazine. It uses a gas-operated system normally found on rifles, such as the M14.
In a Zombie Outbreak
You might be tempted to pick up a Desert Eagle. Surely, Hollywood action films can't be wrong, can they?
Indeed, there are several advantages to using a Desert Eagle. It is extremely powerful. Whereas most handgun bullets require you to hit the forehead area to score a kill on a zombie (as the face is actually a good shock absorber), the .50 AE is capable of producing some remote wounding effects, and a bullet that just grazes or perhaps even barely misses the brain could still be lethal due to the extensive temporary cavity. This may prove useful occasionally, because hitting the head is already a hard task due to the head being a small target and the adrenaline flowing thorugh your veins. When considering that the brain is much smaller than the entire head, the task becomes even more difficult. The Desert Eagle, and indeed all other high powered handguns, allows for a greater margin of error. Furthermore, a bullet that directly impacts the brain is highly unlikely to prove survivable.
Also, the gun is highly accurate. The standard factory sights are sighted for 100 yards (91.44 meters), which is very good for a handgun. People actually go hunt with this handgun, and there are scopes that can extend the range even further for sale. This further reinforces this gun's ability to headshot a zombie. The power combined with the accuracy makes headshotting zombies much easier, as you can hit a bigger target more accurately. Used correctly, this pistol can be a replacement for a typical rifle or shotgun, allowing you to carry a lighter (when compared to rifles and shotguns) primary weapon that can kill zombies just as easily.
However, the gun is not without its disadvantages. The most common problem after the zombie apocalypse will be ammunition availability. The .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum variants cannot use lead or semi-jacketed bullets, as the lead will foul the gas system, causing a jam (the same will happen if you use underpowered rounds). Thus, it makes scavenging for ammunition even harder. The .50 AE variant is unlikely to run into .50 AE bullets that it cannot fire, by having an even worse problem: .50 AE bullets are very rare. Due to the fact that the Desert Eagle is the only prominent firearm that is chambered for that round, gun stores now are unlikely to have any in stock, so it's almost impossible to find after the Zombie Apocalypse. Also, the recoil for this gun is huge, and ends up creating another problem: Reliability Issues. The Desert Eagle is known to severely hurt inexperienced users who are unused to the huge amount of recoil. This gives it a bad reputation among gun owners due to its spotty reliability. It's actually less a problem of the gun itself, and more a problem of people shooting it. Autoloader handguns will "jam" if you limpwrist it, which happens when you don't "resist" the recoil enough and cause the slide to not slide back far enough. If that happens, either the cartridge won't eject properly, or a round won't be chambered properly. Reliability can prove the difference between life and death in a zombie-infested world. This problem happens with all autoloaders, but it's much worse with the Desert Eagle. Most "hand cannons" are made for magnum revolvers. Revolvers do not have the "limpwristing" problem, as there is no slide. Because of that, people that usually shoot high powered handguns allow their hands to move backwards, which is something that you cannot do with an autoloader. The gun is also very bulky for a pistol. Weighing over 4 , it's easily one of the heaviest handguns out there. The noise is also huge, so any zombie within the area will know if someone is using this pistol. Finally, the capacity of the gun is not that great either. If you go with the .50 AE version, you only have 7 rounds. Frequent reloading against an enemy that naturally swarms with overwhelming numbers plays into the horde's strength. So, a combination of high recoil, high maintenance, high noise, heavy weight, low capacity and picky ammo usage can make this gun less attractive to any survivor of the Zombie Apocalypse.
So, in the event that you wish to carry a Desert Eagle when the zombies arrive, it is suggested that you start now. Getting the Desert Eagle now will allow you to start practicing. The more you practice with a gun, the better you are with the gun, and the better the gun functions. It is also suggested to add the Hogue rubber grips with the finger grooves (obtainable on the Magnum Research Inc. website), which will stifle the recoil a bit. If you have more cash to burn, you can get the muzzle brake that is also for sale, reducing the recoil even further. You can even get your gun "ported" (Have holes drilled into the barrel to redirect gases and stifle the recoil) if you want. Buy extra magazines and begin stockpiling ammo now. Buy as much as you can at once, because bullets that are compatible with this gun will be very rare during the apocalypse. Take time to practice, and eventually, you'll be a pro. Knowing and following these instructions to emphasize the advantages of the Desert Eagle while mitigating its disadvantages will reward you with a pistol that's powerful and accurate enough to serve as a viable replacement for your primary weapon, decreasing weight (the gun is heavy for a handgun, but very light compared to rifles and shotguns) and increasing the amount of ammo you are able to carry. However, disregard this advice, and you'll end up with an overly-expensive makeshift club. Desert Eagles aren't like the Desert Eagles seen in action movies. Know the advantages and disadvantages, and plan accordingly.