We are blessed. Shooters today have a greater
variety of weapons from which to choose than ever before,
whether the gun chosen is for hunting, competition, plinking, or
for the more serious purpose of self defense. With more people
realizing that they are ultimately responsible for their own
protection, sales of concealable handguns are at an all-time
high. One of the great benefits to this high demand for
concealable handguns is that we now have a proliferation of good
handguns that are easy to hide. I am a firm believer that in a
fight, bigger is better. If I knew that I was heading into a
fight that I could not avoid, I would choose a shotgun or rifle.
Any handgun is a compromise between stopping power and
portability. When choosing a handgun for concealed carry, it is
important to choose a gun that can ALWAYS be with you, no matter
what. No one knows when he might be cornered and have to defend
himself. Therefore, the gun must be within reach, or it is no
good to you. A forty-five in the glove box is useless if you are
away from your vehicle. I am a proponent of keeping a large
handgun in the pickup truck, or even a rifle. Having both
available is a good idea. However, I also firmly believe in
keeping a handgun concealed within easy reach at all times. For
that purpose, I like pocket guns. I can always have a small
pistol or revolver in my pocket. I sometimes carry larger guns,
such as a Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm, or my Lightweight Colt
.45 Commander. However, most of the time, I just keep a pocket
gun handy, as do most others who carry everyday. This explains
the extreme popularity of small lightweight revolvers and pocket
autos. Today, we have several good ones from which to choose,
and in the auto department, the .380 ACP has risen to the top of
the popularity heap. The modern .380 is lightweight, reliable,
easy to hide, and has adequate power when stoked with the proper
ammo. One of the newest on the market is the Micro Desert
Eagle from Magnum Research.
For those who pay attention to such things, the
Micro Eagle is immediately recognizable as being very similar to
the ZVI Kevin from the Czech Republic. Magnum Research
has licensed the rights to produce the pistol from ZVI, making
minor design and cosmetic changes. The Czechs are
famous for innovative and reliable gun design. The Micro Desert Eagle is made in the US by Magnum Research, and
has a novel gas-delayed blowback system that, like the ZVI
Kevin, has two small ports just ahead of the chamber which
direct powder gasses both upward and forward to delay the slide
under recoil. This allows the Micro Eagle to use a lighter
weight slide and softer springs than if it was a standard
blowback design. The pistol weighs in at 13.5 ounces with an
empty magazine, and has a shorter barrel and slide than any
other pocket .380 of which I am aware. The pistol is also pretty
thin, and very flat on the sides, without protrusions of any
kind. No manual safety is needed, as it has a double-action-only
trigger. There are other unique features as well, such as the
twin recoil springs. Instead of one spring and guide rod under
the barrel or a spring surrounding the barrel as in other
designs, the Micro Eagle has twin guide rods with recoil springs
on each side, at the bottom of the slide. The action bar for the
double-action-only firing system is on the right side of the
frame, partially covered by the right grip panel. The sights are
large and easy to see in good light, but a little fluorescent
paint on the front would help, and hopefully, Crimson Trace
will design a Lasergrip for this dandy little pistol. As stated
above, this Micro Eagle is a small pistol, smaller than even the
Kel-Tec and Ruger
.380 autos. The critical dimensions are listed in the chart
below. All measurements are listed in inches. The overall height
includes the sights and magazine base pad.
The steel slide of the Micro Eagle has a nickel
Teflon finish , with the frame made of a non-ferrous alloy,
probably aluminum, but it has a very hard and attractive finish
to match the slide. The barrel and other steel parts wear a
black finish. The trigger travels approximately one-half inch,
and the pull is very smooth stacking gradually to the eight
pound, four ounce release. The trigger guard is large, and very
well-suited for use with a gloved finger. The magazine release
is on the left side, just as it should be. The magazine base pad
allows another finger to get a hold on the pistol, and the frame
is very well-contoured to comfortably fit the human hand. I wear
a size large glove, and could still get two fingers on the front
of the grip and mag extension. The magazine holds six
cartridges, for a loaded capacity of seven.
Disassembly of the Micro Eagle is very easy, and
like no other pistol that I have fired before. Lining up the two
marks on the right side of the frame and slide, the barrel is
rotated about one hundred and eighty degrees, and the slide is
moved forward off the frame. Very simple. It is almost as easy
to reassemble. The Micro Desert Eagle has a relatively large
hammer, which ensures reliable ignition. I fed the pistol every
type of .380 ammo that I had available, and it never stuttered.
It fed, fired, and ejected every round without hesitation. I
used standard factory hollowpoint and full metal jacket
ammunition, high performance factory hard cast, hollowpoint, and
specialty type ammo, and some of my hollowpoint handloads. The
pistol also exhibited good accuracy for such a small weapon. At
seven yards, I could easily keep them all in the bull rapid
fire. As can be seen in the picture, I had a lot more lateral
dispersion than vertical. This was due to my difficulty in
seeing the nickel front sight, as the sun was behind me.
Still, very good performance. Backing up to twenty five yards, I
found that the Micro Desert Eagle shot slightly to the left in
my hands, but plinking at a four inch steel swinging target was
pretty satisfactory, with me hitting more than missing. Keeping
all shots in the kill zone of a half-size human silhouette at
twenty-five yards was no problem, firing from a standing
position. That is good performance for such a small pistol, with
me holding it. Velocities from the short barrel were very
respectable, especially from the high performance premium
ammunition. Velocities are listed in feet per second (fps) in
the chart below. HP is a jacketed hollowpoint bullet. FMJ is
full metal jacket. HC is a hard cast lead bullet. Glaser
is a specialty round with compressed lead shot in a bullet
jacket topped with a plastic ball. PB is PowRBall,
another specialty load from Cor-Bon. DPX is a load using
the Barnes X homogenous copper hollow nose bullet. Bullet
weights are listed in grains. Velocities were recorded twelve
feet from the muzzle.
|Buffalo Bore HC
|Buffalo Bore FMJ
|Buffalo Bore HP
|Cor Bon PB
|Cor Bon DPX
|Cor Bon Glaser
|Cor Bon HP
Like most of the new breed of pocket .380 ACP
pistols, this new Micro Desert Eagle is a good one. It weighs a
few ounces more than the lightest ones, which may be a negative,
or may be a positive, depending upon your desires. While still
pretty light weight, the extra heft helps control recoil, and
gives the little Micro Eagle a “real gun” feel to, for lack
of a better term. It is very comfortable in the hand, and very
comfortable to shoot, while still being smaller than some of the
other pocket .380 pistols. It has a unique design, and appears
to be very well-crafted out of quality materials. It is not the
cheapest pocket .380 on the market, nor was it intended to be.
“Cheap” is not the main factor when choosing a fighting gun.
Still, it is a good value, built right, and made in the USA. I
like it, and would depend upon the Micro Desert Eagle as a daily
carry gun. It is what a pocket auto should be; compact, rugged,
easy to shoot, and rock-solid reliable.
Check out the Micro Desert Eagle online at www.magnumresearch.com.
For the location of a Magnum Research dealer
near you, click on the DEALER FINDER at www.lipseys.com.
To order the Micro Desert Eagle online, go to
|For a list of dealers where you can
buy this gun, go to:
||To buy this gun online, go to:
The Micro Desert Eagle holds seven rounds of .380 ACP
Trigger travels about one-half inch.
Pistol hides well in the front pocket.
To disassemble, simply line-up markings on frame and
slide, then rotate barrel.
The Micro Desert Eagle performed flawlessly using a
variety of ammo.
Seven yard rapid-fire target.
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