The Desert Eagle Pistol was conceived in 1979, when three people with an idea for creating a gas- operated, semi-automatic, magnum-caliber pistol founded Magnum Research, Inc. in St. Paul, Minnesota (USA). Early pistols, then known as Eagle 357, were announced in 1982
Magnum Research, Inc. patented the basic design of the Desert Eagle in 1980, and the first working prototype of the pistol was completed in 1981. It was about 80% functional, with a rotating bolt, full gas operation and excellent shooting characteristics. The final refinements to the pistol were made by Israel Military Industries (IMI), under contract to Magnum Research, Inc. After research that included thousands of rounds of test-firing, a fully functional .357 Magnum production model was produced in an edition of just over 1,000 pistols. These pistols, collector's items today, have traditional land-and-grove rifling, and they will not accept extended barrels or caliber conversion kits. The serial numbers for these pistols start at #3001. Development of the Desert Eagle was not yet complete, however, in 1985, the barrel was changed to incorporate polygonal rifling, to help enhance the pistol's accuracy. In 1986, a .44 Magnum version of the pistol was perfected; it was the very first semi-automatic .44 Magnum pistol successfully brought to market. Further enhancements to the Desert Eagle line continued. In 1987, the .41 Magnum Desert Eagle Pistol (not currently in production) was introduced to fill a specific market niche. In 1989, the Mark VII model of the Desert Eagle became standard. All Desert Eagle Pistols manufactured since 1989 have Mark VII features: enlarged safety levers, an enlarged slide release and an improved, two-stage trigger.
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