During my summer trip to the Great North filming episodes of Select Fire for Guns.com, I spent some time at Magnum Research in Pillager, Minnesota, to see how Desert Eagles and BFRs are made.
Yup, that’s a .45-70 revolver…
Now part of the Kahr Firearms Group along with other lines such as Thompson and Auto-Ordnance, Magnum Research was established in 1980 in The Gopher State, and the company’s best-known product, the Desert Eagle, began factory production in 1984 with serial number 3,001.
Fast forward over 35 years later and the “Deagle” remains the company’s most popular firearm.
For more and the full factory tour, check it out at GDC.
Much as the HK91 was a civilianized version of the G3, soon after the very sci-fi looking G36 hit the market in 1997 HK moved to give hungry fans what they wanted.
I mean, who wouldn’t want a G36, right?
First introduced in 2000, the .223 Rem caliber SL8 used a short-stroke piston actuated gas operating system with a 20.8-inch cold hammer forged heavy barrel. Semi-auto with a grey carbon fiber polymer thumbhole stock– it debuted during the Federal Assault Weapon ban– with an adjustable cheekpiece and buttstock, the initial version of the rifle included a removable Picatinny rail, an ambi charging handle that folded into the centerline of the gun, and adjustable sights.
So this is the “G36” consumers in the U.S. got stuck with:
The original SL8-1. Originally imported 2000-2003 and then again in 2007-2010, the first generation model now known as the SL8-1 included 10-round mags and a grey thumbhole stock.
In 2010, HK updated the design to the SL8-6 which ditched the space cadet grey for an all-black format and added an elevated Pic rail/carrying handle. It also had a vented handguard, closer to the G36 original. Unfortunately, this model was only imported for a year.
Now, the SL8-6 is back, and it is still kinda wonky but, if you call people like TBT, they can turn it into something great.