There are three Desert Eagle® models: Mark I, Mark VII, and Mark XIX. Although all three models may be found in the used market, only the Mark XIX is in production. The best source for explaining the difference between the models is Magnum Research itself. Their most-excellent Frequently Asked Questions page not only has a link to two documents--Distinctions between Mark I/VII/XIX and Differences Mark VII/XIX that explain the visible differences, but the page has much other valuable information, as well.

MRI's Frequently Asked Questions page also has a link that allows the user to download a copy of the current user manual: Desert Eagle Pistol owner's manual download. The manual is a must for all Desert Eagle® owners, no matter what model you might be lucky enough to own!

Below, you will find two tables. The first lists the key differences of an un-altered Desert Eagle. If your pistol is un-altered and possesses the characteristics shown in one of the three rows, then it is the Mark model shown in the first column. The second table presents detailed pictures of the differences (and similarities) among the Mark I, Mark VII, and Mark XIX and is basically a pictorial representation of the first table.

Mark Model
Magnum Caliber
Dovetail Width
Safety Lever Shape
Number of Slide Catch/Release Serrations
Mark I
.357/.44
3/8"
Teardrop
One
Mark VII
.357/.41/.44/.50
3/8"
Hook
Three
Mark XIX
.357/.44/.50
7/8"
Hook
Three

 

Mark Model
Dovetail
Safety Lever
Slide Catch/Release
Mark I

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Mark VII

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Mark XIX

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Top: Mark I, with a 6" Barrel

Middle: Mark II with a 6" Barrel

Bottom Mark XIX with a 10" Barrel