Personal experience - considerably increased, but still, it is not enough[well, it never is ;)], but thanks to other DE owners who help and share their experience I know a lot more now. And since I get this question a lot, here's what I think and would like to say regarding the Desert Eagle pistol.
In my opinion this is an exceptional sporting and hunting handgun. Especially for target shooting, which, by the way was the original designation for DE. IMHO DE is a state of the art handgun and a very big fun to shoot. It is a very different handgun from whatever I've ever shot, and the difference is on the positive side. Of course like any other design DEP has it pros and cons. Some of them are arguable for DEP opponents, some are not. Either way, the final choice is yours :)
First of all, DE is a gas operated semi-auto handgun, allowing the fixed barrel construction unlike delayed blowback firearms. Hence the greater accuracy can be achieved, especially with the quality ammo. DEP is more sensitive to ammunition quality and more demanding with cleaning, but the results are well worth it. Also, not everything is more difficult with DE, for example the polygonal rifling makes its bore cleaning process a lot easier compared to standard rifling.
Secondly this is magnum caliber handgun, i.e. fires very powerful rounds for handgun. Here it the real beauty of Desert Eagle, for that it has the least recoil and muzzle flip then any other handgun (including revolvers and semi-autos) in the same caliber, and sometimes with larger calibers as well. Mostly I am referring to the revolvers above, because I've never tried any magnum caliber semi-auto, other then the Desert Eagle. Although the Desert Eagle has significantly less recoil then the other handguns chambered for the same caliber rounds, still handling and shooting DE is different, and takes some practice to get used to it, but once you get a grip, it is a pure pleasure to shoot :) Ok, to be totally honest .50 AE is a pleasure to shoot for the first 30-40 rounds ;) After that I get tired, but still no sore palms as with e.g. Colt Anaconda or Taurus Raging Bull.
About recoil - By all standards Desert Eagle is a real heavyweight :) An unloaded DEP weighs 4 lb. Yet the hammering of the shooter despite of the heavy weight is very significant by the mammoth rounds like .50 AE, and the .440 Cor-Bon is even stronger kicker. However the character of the recoil is different, IMHO it's much smoother than on delayed blowback semi-autos and revolvers.Now if we compare the recoil felt in desert eagle and other 'conventional' handguns, DE is definite winner here ;) I've had several chances to compare .50 AE desert eagle and .44 Magnum Colt Anaconda, Smith-Wesson, and Taurus Raging Bull, .454 Casull, and every single time, DE produced significantly less kick than the revolvers mentioned above. With a "small" round like .357 it gets even better :), My DE - .357 magnum with certain rounds, kicks less than my 9mm Taurus PT 99, firing Federal Hydra-Shock or Cor-Bon rounds. Gas operated system and recoil springs do an excellent job in conjunction with DE's heavy weight to reduce the recoil felt. And in my experience .357 DE is the most accurate handgun I've ever fired. Not that I am reaching the limits of handgun accuracy, yet it is much easier to shoot accurately with DE once you know how to shoot with it :).
I am not trying to convince anyone that desert eagle is a better weapon than any other... I wouldn't be a good judge or consultant here, because I simply don't like
revolvers, I like Desert Eagle too much, etc.
Yes, this is an expensive gun and its maintenance is expensive as well and yes, in general it requires more care than other handguns, although I think it depends what do we call more care here, I clean and lubricate all of my guns after every shooting and I think this is normal, however since Desert Eagle is a gas operated handgun it will not tolerate as much abuse and inattention as other handguns will, so before you buy Desert Eagle think about these aspects of your purchase too ;)
Conclusion - Desert Eagle Pistol is an excellent weapon for the purpose designed. It is accurate & reliable, pleasure to shoot with, if the proper care is taken and the quality ammo used.
Couple words about .50 Action Express
Now that's a blast. You better be an experienced shooter before you start shooting this one. This is 100% what's called - "Big Boomer". As usual I shoot 20 or maybe
30 at a time, first of all, ammo is kind of expensive, 22-25$ for a box of 20 is a "nice" price to pay, then there are too few manufacturers of this round: IMI ( MRI imports their
rounds under Samson-Ultra name ), Blount and CCI, plus there are very few "consumers" for this round, DEP is the only gas system operated gun capable of firing this
round, (for the rest of the guns operating with .50 AE check the DEP FAQ page for Who Else Uses The
IMI .50 AE cartridge?). Finally, hands & shoulders are mine after all, not rented :) Nevertheless gun has very reasonable recoil for that caliber round. However, as a hand
canon or say just an unusual, powerful handgun this is a remarkable piece of weaponry.
I wouldn't advise anyone to shoot .50 Action Express rounds without eye and ear protection. Muzzle flash is extreme and the gun is real loud :) For these reasons 10 or even 14 inch barrels are recommended for that round, although I shoot 6 inch one and it is okay.
P.S. Just in case you haven't seen some of those rounds mentioned above & to have impression click here to see, from left to right - 9mm Luger, .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, .50 Action Express.