Kahr Arms Reintroduces Baby Desert Eagle. Why?

Back in June, Kahr Arms bought Magnum Research, makers of the famed and feared (often for its failure to fire) Desert Eagle (reviewed by TTAG here). Before cashing in their chips, Magnum’s mavens had milked the Eagle for all it was worth. (Which is just as bad as it sounds.) They’d expanded the Desert Eagle’s caliber options from .50 to .44 and .357 (or all three) and hatched a flock of eaglets: Desert Eagle 1911 (.45), Micro Eagle (.380) and Baby Desert Eagle “Fast Action” Pistol (9mm, .40 and .45, ). Not to mention the Big Frame Revolver or Mountain Eagle rifle (five calibers) and Magnum Lite MLR-1722 rifle (five calibers), which have had some issues. By the time Kahr took over, the Eagle brand had been extended towards extinction. In fact, Magnum had stopped importing the Baby Desert Eagle from Israel. And now . . . it’s back!

Here’s the pre-SHOT show presser:

Magnum Research, Inc. imported the Baby Desert Eagle model handguns, also called the Jericho, from IWI in Israel for 22 years.

Then, three years ago, MRI stopped selling the popular handgun, and consumer demand for it has grown ever since.

Kahr Arms will reintroduce the Baby Desert Eagle models to U.S. markets in the first quarter of 2011 at the SHOT Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Baby Desert Eagle II handguns will be available in 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP, with steel or polymer frames in black only. The full size and semi-compact models will include a tactical rail—resulting in a total of 19 model variations.

Growing demand? I’d bet dollars to deep discounts that Magnum didn’t stop selling the Desert Baby Eagle because they got tired of counting the money. As for 19 variations on the “new” BDE II, huh? Hasn’t Kahr heard of Stendahl Syndrome?

There I was thinking that Kahr Arms had bought Magnum for a song so they could kill the eaglets, focus on the .50 caliber DE, restore the brand’s rep and make a tidy little profit. After all, the Kahr brand itself is tightly gathered around four calibers (pink .380 ACP and all). But no.

Pricing for the Baby Desert Eagle II series ranges from $616 for the polymer frame models to $630 for steel frame models.

Orders will begin shipping in early Spring 2011.

Wow, that ain’t cheap. A .40-caliber Glock 22 clocks-in at around $450. What makes the Baby Desert Eagle worth another two bills? Impeccable pedigree, apparently. Or something. We’ll call and ask.

comments

  1. avatar Chris Dumm says:

    If I wanted a CZ, I’d buy a real CZ instead of a licensed clone with cosmetic modifications that try to make it look like a Desert Eagle. There are so many bad CZ clones in the world; why is Kahr importing another one?

    1. avatar Cody Bergland says:

      For the record, while it may draw many design features from the CZ, this was and ALWAYS has been a Jericho 941 which were locally produced in Israel for their military and police forces. There isn’t much difference at all between the Baby Desert Eagle brand and the Jericho 941. As a matter of fact, having shot both, I can’t recall ANY differences besides the name. Calling the BDE/Jericho a CZ is like saying the Galil is an AK (a discussion I could VERY rapidly discount not only because of incorrect nomenclature but because people are ignorant to the subject).

      I have shot my BDE for years, and it’s always been a great shooter. Polygonal rifling, relatively smooth double action trigger pull, buttery 1911 single action trigger, etc. One of the best features of these pistols is the great “feel” in the hand that sets it apart. I knew the moment I picked one up that it felt better in my hand than any other double stack .45 I have ever placed my fingers on.

      1. avatar Larry B says:

        I agree. Anyone who thinks the BDEII isn’t a damn fine handgun hasn’t shot one. Comparing it to a Glock, which feels to me like you’re shooting a Banana, is an insult.

      2. avatar sckarekrow says:

        There is NO difference. “Baby Eagle”, “Baby Desert Eagle”, “Uzi Eagle”, are all just MARKETING gimmick names assigned by the IMPORTERS. The manufactured name is JERICHO 941. That is what IWI makes it as (from some Tanfoglio parts), and that is what it is called in Israel.

    2. avatar sckarekrow says:

      You are grossly uninformed. The Jericho 941 is highly regarded as THE BEST CZ clone built. It is the only one with actual deployment time, and departmental issuance. There are a number of nations outside Israel that issue this weapon to their police forces, and to their militaries.

  2. The B’Eagle 9 was my second handgun purchase, and my main carry weapon for several years (til I ‘traded up’ for a .45). I liked the way it shot, in thousands of rounds I never had a FTE or FTF, and it felt good in my hand. I have a number of CZ clones instead of CZs because the CZs don’t fit my hand properly, they just don’t feel right.

    1. avatar MikeL says:

      Same here. I am constantly amazed at how so many trash guns they never held much less shot based on things that have nothing to so with how good a gun is. Sales favor the popular guns that guys see on TV and on the hips of LEO’s. just look at how many people ask what gun to buy in gun forums. Beta video tape recorders were superior to VHS and yet VHS won out in the market place. It is not unusual for a better product to not gain much market share for many reasons that have nothing to do with a product’s qualities. Colt stopped producing the Colt Mustang and now you would be hard pressed to find one of the new ones. Back in 1975 CZ75’swere selling for a grand if you could find one simply because they could not be imported. I bought one when they were imported again but the grip did not fit my hand well so now I have a nice clone that has been 100% reliable. When it comes to guns that are reliable cost is not a factor. I bought two Glocks last year that were jam-o-matics out of the box so I know that they can fail like every other gun even though some owners will not admit it. I used to attend training classes and saw Glocks fail all the time along with most other makes.

  3. avatar Jeff Odegard says:

    I love my Baby Eagle! Blocky Glocks don’t fit my hand properly. Unlike the Desert Eagle (which has an *entirely* different pedigree – gas operated vs locked breech – and spotty reliability), my baby eats anything I feed it, and it always works. I’ve never had a FTF, never a stovepipe, never anything but bang! and always on target. It is, IMHO, better than any other CZ clone, and the Israelis (who know a thing or two about designing weapons) engineered a few improvements into the line. It’s the IDF’s standard issue sidearm, and has been for years. My only hope in the transition is that Kahr doesn’t screw it up. I want to buy Baby Eagles for my boys when they’re old enough.

  4. avatar Tim says:

    I have a baby desert eagle in 40, I had it coated in NP3 and it is bad ass. I love the heft and the balance of it, with the hoge grips on it no weapon has ever fit my hand like this one does. In a combat shooting course I shot against Glocks, Sigs, Barreta’s, and two cops, it and myself out shot all but one of the cops. I will take the eagle any day.

  5. avatar Kris Leisman says:

    There actually was popular demand to bring the Jericho back, and I was part of it. I was looking for one last year and I came to find KBI had gone under, so many of us IMI/IWI fans wrote emails and letters to whoever would listen to please bring back our favorite handgun. Yes, the Jericho (Baby Eagle/Uzi Eagle) is very similar to the CZ, but the rounded nose makes for easier holstering (and yes, similar to the DE and in my opinion quite handsome), the polygonal rifling is superb, and by far the best feature is its ergonomically shaped grip. I bought one because it’s the most comfortable to hold auto pistol for me, and I’ll be buying another soon enough. My only complaint is yes, the “Eagle” branding is absolutely ridiculous, and we were all hoping Kahr would import them by their proper name, the Jericho 941. Enough with putting Desert Eagle on every single gun MR makes, it makes it impossible to have a conversation about any of their guns due to model name confusion. The poor and embarrassing marketing for these guns has actually hurt their reputation as solid pistols.

  6. avatar Cavedweller says:

    I agree with you Kris. I wish they would have brought back the Jericho name and maybe market it as a 940 and bring back a combo 9mm-.40 s&w conversion kit like they first did with the 941 (9mm-.41AE)

  7. avatar Mark Huang says:

    Not to offend, but the author has some of the facts down wrong. The last company to import Jericho 941’s was Charles Daly, and that went under—not MRI. The pistol itself did not have bad sales; overall they were quite popular. Jericho 941’s are quality pistols, and I am extremely happy that Kahr is planning to reintroduce them (although for that price, they better be packaged with four magazines or something!).

    1. avatar Jesse says:

      It’s comes with the gun, one mag, a case, and two cleaning brushes. Last I heard anyway

      1. avatar Scott says:

        I just purchased one today, gun, case, 2 brushes, 2 mags, gun lock.

  8. avatar Mark Huang says:

    Over in Israel, IWI has Jericho 941’s in as many variants as GLOCKs are here in the States: there are compensated/ported versions and more comfortable polymer frames. I would be excited for a 4.41″ ported barrel / polymer framed .45 if it ever came out here. The SA/DA trigger is also quite crisp.

  9. avatar Zach says:

    The Baby Desert Eagle was not a variation of the Desert Eagle. It was not an “Eaglet” as you call it. It was actually a completely different firearm based on a CZ design.

    It is completely ignorant to assume they are the same, or even similar, weapons. The Desert Eagle has nothing in common, besides a slight resemblance, mostly due to the fact that both weapons had influence from IMI(currently known as IWI). In any case, there is certainly a demand for the Jericho 941 to be imported to the states. The Jericho’s are known for being exceptionally effective and efficient firearms, currently in use as the standard sidearm by IDF.

    What I can’t figure out is why Charles Daly/KBI/Magnum Research/KAHR would want to even compare the firearms given the DE’s utter uselessness whereas the Jericho is a solid, well rounded combat pistol. They should import it as a Jericho 941, or simply Jericho, and do away with all this Desert Eagle nonsense. The only people who buy into Desert Eagle are enthusiasts or action movie fanboys.

    Cheers,
    Zach

    1. avatar Franklin says:

      I sure hope you are wrong about “The only people who buy into Desert Eagle are enthusiasts or action movie fanboys” as I don’t see myself as either and I just bought one. Well, I do love action movies but I don’t ever really pay attention to what they are shooting.

      I have a 9 mm for self defense but I needed something a whole lot stronger. I need something for pirates when I start my journey around the world by sailboat. Unfortunately, guns are not allowed in many countries and in many countries where I would have to check it, I wouldn’t get it back, so I needed something I could hide on the boat (I couldn’t hide my 30-06).

      Now I have something that I can hide, but also shoot at least 100 yards and cause serious damage to either the pirate or the boat they are on. The DE is good for multiple attackers (pirates come in 4-6 for small boats) as it requires less bullets per target and because I am good with both hands, I can handle the 9 mm in one hand and the DE in the other for short range targets as well. I also have something I can hunt with as well.

      Sure, I know of all the issues (over penetration, flash, jamming, weight, size) with the DE, but unfortunately, it’s the only thing that seemed to address all that I wanted for protection against pirates and I think I can handle the issues. The M16 had a ton of issues too but I was able to address those better than most in my years in the military.

      So please be a little respectful in your condemning a group of people who own a certain weapon…you may not know all the facts just like I may not know about all the options on the market, but I made my choice off of my research the best I could and I don’t need some jackass on the internet calling me a “action movie fanboy”.

      1. avatar Zach says:

        Take no offense to the generalization, but unfortunately the problem with stereotypes is that they are usually true.

        The fact of the matter is, there is nothing a DE can do that cannot be done in a better package. The DE is riddled with problems, many of which you mentioned yourself. Why do you feel the need to pack a .50 AE pistol, even if you want the maximum defense round? You can get better accuracy, reliability, afford-ability, portability, AND conceal-ability with a .454 casull revolver, which will also boast better range AND stopping power. Plus, you’ll be able to shoot down any battle-ship class pirates attacking you with that bad boy =P The ammo is also cheaper and more ubiquitous.

        It’s simply that the DE is a poorly engineered weapon that really serves no other purpose than intimidation. Which it shouldn’t, as it will more than likely break down with extended use.

        If you want one, buy it, but don’t expect great things. Unless the design specs and engineering of the DE has changed remarkably in the last decade, I doubt it is worth your time.

        And besides, I’m just a jackass on the internet so it doesn’t matter what I think, bro! If you like DEs, enjoy them!

        1. avatar GrayMatterz says:

          I have owned my DE 50 for 2.5 yrs. now. I load all the ammo I shoot. My Eagle is the black, 6inch plain jane, but it is one of the first of the new line manufactured in the new MR plant in Pillager, MN, USA!!! Now i had read all the awefull blogs about common failures with the DE. I purchased several complete spring kits, gas pistons, and guide rods. The only item I have used is one replacement gas piston because the original was not as perfectly machined as I like. I have had zero failures of any kind,except a failure to feed a round with a Sierra 350 gr. bullet that was too long to chamber properly!!! Talk about accurate??? This pistol shoots like a rifle. Built like one too. Before you go diss ing a weapon, you might try shooting it for yourself. I love my HK’s and FN’s too. I just purchased a new DE Baby Eagle II in .45 cal. It is accurate, reliable, points well, and is built to military spec..P.S. I often carry my DE 50 in a shoulder rig concealed!! Fine piece of machinery!!!

  10. avatar Thomas Stone says:

    I have a Jerico baby eagle model 941 with 9mm and 41AE barrels and magazines. Where can I buy a 40 S&W conversion barrel, spring, and magazine to convert my 9mm to 40 S&W?? Thanks

    1. avatar Zach says:

      Unfortunately, I do not believe they make a conversion kit for the Jericho. The reason the 9mm and .41 AE are interchangable is because the .41 was a .41 mag shell cut down to 9mm Lugar specs to make it workable in a semi-auto package. The mechanism for loading and firing is, essentially, using the same round with only slight dimension changes, so you can simply swap out the barrel and mag for .41 AE.

      A .40 S&W, on the other hand, is a significantly different round, and thus cannot be worked with the same firing mechanism. You will have to purchase a .40 S&W Jericho if you want to use that round. Sucks…

  11. avatar Jake L. says:

    Back in January of 2010 I bought one of the all-steel KBI Jericho 941’s in .40 S&W; it was heavy and ridiculously accurate. About a week later KBI went under and I started to notice that the grip screws and roll-pins on the weapon were all easing out! Then the safety stopped working (the trigger would move the hammer back when the safety was on, but the internal safety inside the bolt assembly would still keep the gun from firing.) The polygonal rifling was about the only good thing about the thing.

    All-in-all the gun was close to worthless for $575. If the now-Kahr-owned MRI hasn’t fixed the problems with the Isreali-side quality control, then the gun is still worthless. And as it goes, what sources can anyone cite for the Jericho being the side-arm of the IDF? Last time I checked, they got a bunch of cheap Glocks and use those instead.

  12. avatar Larry says:

    I have one of the new generation MR Baby Eagle II’s in 9mm.

    I am a 1911 fan, and I have 4 of them. But when it comes to a day of fun, affordable time at the range what do I take? Not my 1911’s (too expensive to shoot weekly). Not my M9 Limited Edition (can’t seem to warm up to the M9). No, none of those.

    Yep, I take the BE II 9mm. I absolutely LOVE the way it shoots. It’s low bore axis makes follow up’s almost automatic. It has 1000 rounds through it and not a single FTF or FTE. This is all on Federal Bulk, with about 10% Federal HST 147’s tossed in for verification testing.

    It’s also very simple to maintain.

    I do want to put a better set of sights on it (night sights) and find a nice pair of wooden grips. Other than that, it needs nothing.

    I also like the Safety/De-cocker arrangement.

    One gripe. The design of the slide makes this a gun that’s hard to rack. It’s actually a good thing the Safety/De-Cocker is up on the slide because it would be hell to rack without it being there.

  13. avatar Tom says:

    FLAME DELETED

    1. avatar Luke says:

      I just got a 9mm baby eagle that was sitting in a safe for over 20 years…

      It’s brushed chrome, unfired, and the safety is on the frame, not the slide.

      Can anyone shed some light on this gun?

  14. avatar Dwayne says:

    Ya know, I have to wonder after reading trash talk about the Desert Eagle, Baby DE, and IWI/Magnum Research, et al – how many of these people actually own and fire these weapons on a regular basis? I have owned many Magnum Research firearms; a .50AE BFR revolver, .50AE Desert Eagle, .44 Mag Desert Eagle, and a .45ACP Baby Desert Eagle. I still own the .50AE Desert Eagle and the .45ACP Baby Desert Eagle. While the concensus on the full size DE’s being just “fun guns” and “expensive toys” is pretty accurate (they are huge and not exactly concealed carry material), they don’t jam like some people claim. If you limp wrist most any semi-auto, it will jam and THAT’S the real issue. I have had one jam that I can remember, and that was when I first bought it, and probably because I didn’t grip it firm enough. Since then, I’ve not had a single jam or stove pipe, and I shoot it at least twice per month and put at least 20 rounds through it every session. Every Magnum Research firearm that I have owned has been of top notch quality, with a high degree of fit and finish. All are easy to take down and clean as well. I love the full size DE, and being able to change calibers by simply swapping the barrel and mag is very cool. I do have both .50AE and 44 Mag barrels and mags, but use the .50AE mostly.
    Now, on the “Baby Desert Eagle”… this was a recent acquisition. I had been wanting one in .45ACP for a while, but never came across any at the multiple gun shows I attend. I finally came across an original steel .45ACP made in 2001, but never fired, for $525 at the last gun show I attended, and I fell in love with this hand gun after handling it for about 5 seconds. I’ve never held a pistol that felt so good and balanced in hand! After firing about 50 rounds through it, I set aside my 1911 and the Baby Desert Eagle became my new daily carry gun! It is a SUPERB weapon in every way. As with all IWI weapons, the fit and finish are top notch. Balance is excellent, and the feel in hand is just perfect IMO. And the most important factor for any hand gun – how accurate is it? My .45ACP Baby DE is the most accurate hand gun I own. I can consistantly shoot 3 inch groups at 50 feet, even double tapping! The gun comes back on target quickly and is a joy to shoot!

    The author asks “What makes the Baby Desert Eagle better than a Glock 22?”
    Answer: Quite frankly, everything. The Baby DE is superior to any model Glock in every way, and in the real world, who pays MSRP? The truth is, the Baby Desert Eagle can be had for maybe $75-$100 more and it’s worth every single penny!

  15. avatar senior care says:

    Incredible! Mega insightful piece of writing. I am storing the particular website at the moment. Kudos!

  16. Just bought my first Baby Eagle polymer Sub compact 15 +1 round 9mm. Feels and shoots better than any Sig, Glock, Ruger I have owned.

  17. avatar bob45 says:

    People don’t like the DE because they simply can’t handle holding the gun when it fires. 9 times out of 10 its the users fault whether they want to admit it or not. But I’ve had kn for 3 years and yes at first it jammed every other round. Until I learned how to properly compensate for a .50 inside a pistol. I haven’t had a jam for about 2 years now.

  18. avatar collecting says:

    I know this is old but I found a 9mm baby eagle for $300 and really like how it felt. Is this a decent price?

    1. avatar Dwayne says:

      Yes it is. I’d snag it in a hurry!

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email