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Posted By FFL Dealer Network on 01/16/2019 in Reviews

The 429 Desert Eagle by Magnum Research

The 429 Desert Eagle by Magnum Research

First look - Desert Eagle 429

Magnum Research produces some quality firearms.

The 429 Desert Eagle is not one of them.

The Desert Eagle 429 is the Desert Eagle .50 Action Express necked down to accept a .429 pill, the same as loaded into the .44 family of cartridges. This does a lot of things, but mostly it lets the company brand a cartridge much like Gaston Glock did with the .45 GAP.

Much like the .45 GAP, the Desert Eagle 429 is going to be a round and a gun cherished by a very few and forgotten by most. Desert Eagle fans are the main target consumer for this gun.


To the point, this gun has shooting issues. Other writers have experienced the same thing. At the range, the FFL Dealer Network shooting team all had failure to feed (FTF) and ejection issues. Sometimes the gun simply would not chamber and lock after firing and ejecting a spent brass. One time the gun locked open with a round still in the mag.

This is not a case of limp-wristing. The team counted two firearms instructors; Joe Saxon is a serious expert in handguns. Accuracy, in the hands of the marksman, was on the low side of fair.

Soft points at 240 grains and hollow-points at 210 grain did not matter. Mixing the loads did not matter. The same issues came up.

The gun also spits empty brass backward. Hot brass bounced off several shooters' faces, when the brass was ejected at all.

The magazine is a .50 AE mag straight from the factory. This created loading problems because of the 429 Desert Eagle's shoulder and where the top lips of the mag sit. The round going in wanted to hang on the shoulder of the round already loaded. The lips, if set further back, would give space to start the next round below the shoulder.

The mag itself felt like it used the coil springs from a compact car. The mag holds seven rounds, but it takes two hands and plenty of force to get that last round down the stack.

The Desert Eagle 429 has what appears to be an ambidextrous safety on the top just forward of the hammer. Given time, the safety might be easier to work, but on the range it was a two-handed operation. One hand held the gun. The opposing hand put a thumb on one lever and a finger on the other side to draw the safety to the fire position. Going back was easier. Definitely not a one-thumb operation.

The mag wiggles when seated. Police department Major Richard Purvis stood with the gun on the range slapping the mag several times hoping it would secure. It was secure. Even the manual says the mag has a 1/16th-inch play when fully seated. It is possible this accounted for some of the FTF issues.

Ben Baker, FFL Dealer Network firearm journalist, discusses magazine slop on the Magnum Research 429 Desert Eagle.  Possibly the reason our Georgia based shooting team had so many failure to feed issues with the firearm.


This hand cannon has a lot to like. It is stainless steel, sweet to see. It is a definite monster of a pistol. Imagine Crocodile Dundee showing up at the range and saying, "That's not a pistol. THIS is a pistol!" and drawing the 429 from a hip rig. No concealed carry here.

Knockdown power is excellent. While on the super heavyweight side for a handgun at close to five pounds loaded, it is light compared to a shoulder-fired firearm. Throwing big slugs at decent velocities combined with light recoil should make this a winner. If Magnum Research can work out the cycling issues, it is a winner.

This handgun has light recoil, very light. Test shooter Ben Baker carries a snub .38 and it has more jump than the Desert Eagle 429. That's due in part to the weight of the gun, the fact it is weight forward and the muzzle brake integral to the barrel. An experienced shooter can shoot this with one hand.

The weight-forward and light recoil means return to target is fast.

The gun does not throw brass very far.


Ashburn Police Department and firearms instructor Maj. RIchard Purvis gets a failure to feed during his first shots with the 429 Desert Eagle during an FFL Dealer Network range day.

The specs on this hand cannon are impressive. With a six-inch barrel, the Desert Eagle 429 promises 25 percent more FPS and 45 percent more energy v. a .44 mag with a six-inch barrel. That of itself is impressive, but still falls slightly short of an earlier Magnum Research round the .440 Cor-Bon. The Desert Eagle 429 and the .440 Cor-Bon are both based on the .50 AE round.

The Desert Eagle 429 round has a 30-degree shoulder.

The pistol - the Desert Eagle 429 is a true pistol as the barrel is fixed to the frame - comes with a pic rail top and bottom. This means optics on the top are barrel mounted so theoretically changing the barrel will not change the point of impact for any optics. Spare barrels are available.

As the Desert Eagle 429 uses the .50 AE bolt, the frame can support the 429 and the .50 AE platforms.


With an MSRP of $2,143 and more than $2 per round of actuary ammo, the company should produce a handgun that is reliable. The Desert Eagle 429 is not.

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