Desert Eagle – A Matter of Branding

Branding is always necessary for a company to succeed. Some branding is great, and some are not. I assure you whenever you say something like ‘my brand’ in reference to your 30-follower Instagram account, you just sound like a douchebag. Today, we are talking about good branding and how sometimes it can go a little far and even get a little confusing. The branding comes from a mix of Magnum Research and IWI. It all revolves around the Desert Eagle.

The Desert Eagle is an absolute legend. It’s a massive, magnum-powered pistol that has over 600 appearances in film and TV. This massive weapon stands out and is eye-catching. It doesn’t look like any standard all-black pistol, and if you need to harm a hero or a villain with something memorable, then a Desert Eagle will do it.

The Desert Eagle is a very successful pistol. Much like the AK, the Uzi, and M16, it’s a household name. Everyone knows the Desert Eagle. That is good branding. It’s also branding that can go a little too far. Magnum Research has taken the Desert Eagle branding to new levels. At this point, they have a flock of Eagles, and many can argue they’ve taken it too far or at least created some confusion with their branding.

Desert Eagle / Baby Eagle / Uzi Eagle

When Israel needed to produce a handgun, they turned to the CZ-75 series and effectively cloned the pistol in the form of the Jericho. The Jericho pistols are DA/SA guns that feed from a double-stack magazine. They primarily come in 9mm, but also .40 S&W and 45 ACP. The gun has been imported and produced in several variations. It’s also been imported and produced under several different names.

This includes simply calling it the Desert Eagle. I even have one with the name Desert Eagle inscribed on the slide. The Jericho certainly has some of the Desert Eagle looks with its distinctive slide. Calling two guns Desert Eagle didn’t work for long, and they later decided to combine two of their popular guns in one name. Thus, it became the Uzi Eagle.

Finally, seeing potential in the brand and wanting to clear the air, it became the Baby Eagle. The Baby Eagle is still imported by Magnum Research, and IWI produces the Jericho under its Jericho namesake.

Lone Eagle

With magnum in the name, the Magnum Research brand is all about big and powerful guns. The Lone Eagle is a bolt action handgun that fired rifle calibers. The gun was designed by a former alumnus of MAC and Cobray and was called the Ordnance Research SSP-91. It was designed for silhouette handgun shooting as well as handgun hunting.

The handgun fired calibers like .22 Hornet, .22/250 Rem, 7mm-08, .308 Winchester, and many more. The Lone Eagle certainly appealed to a very niche crowd of shooters and wasn’t a huge seller. It’s loud, and the recoil can be fairly nasty. Plus, the ultra-short barrels greatly affect the velocity of a rifle round.

Micro Eagle

The Micro Eagle wasn’t developed by Magnum Research, but you couldn’t tell. A look at the front of the gun and its shark-like appearance and front slide gives it that Desert Eagle look. Maybe that’s why Magnum Research was keen to pick it up. It’s a pocket-sized .380 ACP that uses a very interesting gas-assisted blowback system. This cuts reocil while keeping the gun small and compact.

The Micro Eagle is teeny tiny and fits in well with guns like the Ruger LCP. Unlike the LCP, it’s all metal and a bit of a brick. That also likely helps with recoil. The 14-ounce weight makes it heftier than most. Six shots of 380 ACP and a double-action trigger ensure it’s up there with most pocket pistols.

MR9 Eagle

The last in the Eagle family (for now) is the MR9 Eagle. Magnum Research and Walther teamed up to produce this P99 clone. There are two models produced, one being a standard 4-inch model and one with a slightly longer 4.5-inch barrel. The slide on the longer variant has the same upward curve and shark-like appearance of the Desert Eagle family and is one of the most unique P99 clones.

The MR9 Eagle is a great gun, and they were super affordable. Sadly, just like the P99, they were underrated and never sold very well. The MR9 Eagle is certainly a distinct and different pistol, and it is just another Eagle in the flock.

Taking Flight

The Desert Eagle series of handguns isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It also seems like Magnum Research has taken a break from naming guns eagle as only the Desert Eagle and baby Eagle remain in their catalog. Here’s to good branding, even when it doesn’t always work out.

Travis Pike
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.