Are Desert Eagles Legal In California?

With its imposing size and power, the Desert Eagle pistol stands out as one of the most iconic handguns in popular culture. But if you live in California and want to own one of these .50 caliber monsters, you may be wondering – are Desert Eagles legal here? Given California’s reputation for strict gun laws, you might assume these mega-sized pistols are banned in the Golden State. However, the legality of Desert Eagles in California is not as clear-cut as you might think. While restrictions do apply, they are not an outright prohibited firearm. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about legally owning a Desert Eagle in California.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Desert Eagles are legal in California, but with significant restrictions. Only pre-2000 models without magazine disconnect safety are allowed. Magazines are limited to 10 rounds maximum capacity. Overall length requirements and assault weapon ban exemptions also apply.

Overview of California Gun Laws

California has some of the strictest gun laws in the United States. It is important for gun owners and enthusiasts to be aware of these laws to ensure they are in compliance and avoid any legal issues.

Handgun Roster

One aspect of California gun laws is the Handgun Roster. This roster is a list of handguns that are certified for sale in the state. The purpose of the roster is to ensure that the handguns meet certain safety and performance standards.

Only handguns that are on the roster can be legally sold by licensed dealers in California. It is important to note that not all handguns, including the Desert Eagle, are on the roster, making it illegal to purchase or sell them in the state.

Magazine Capacity Limits

California also has restrictions on magazine capacity. The law prohibits the sale, purchase, or possession of magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. This means that even if you legally own a Desert Eagle, you would need to modify the magazine to comply with the state’s magazine capacity limit.

It is worth noting that these restrictions apply to both handguns and long guns.

Assault Weapon Definitions

California has a specific definition for assault weapons, and owning one is strictly regulated. The state law defines assault weapons as firearms that possess certain features, such as a detachable magazine and a pistol grip.

The Desert Eagle falls under the definition of a handgun and not an assault weapon. However, it is important to understand that assault weapons are prohibited in California, and modifications to firearms to meet the definition of an assault weapon are illegal.

For more detailed information on California gun laws, you can visit the official California Department of Justice website at

Are Desert Eagles Banned in California?

The Desert Eagle is a powerful handgun known for its distinctive appearance and high caliber rounds. Many gun enthusiasts wonder if this iconic firearm is legal to own in California. While the Desert Eagle is not on the roster of handguns approved for sale in California, there are exemptions that allow individuals to legally possess them.

Not on Roster but Eligible for Exemptions

California maintains a roster of handguns that are deemed safe for sale and possession within the state. Unfortunately, the Desert Eagle is not included on this roster. However, there are exemptions that allow individuals to legally possess handguns that are not on the roster.

One such exemption is the Single Shot Exemption, which permits the sale and possession of a handgun if it is modified to fire only a single shot. This means that while the Desert Eagle may not be readily available for purchase in California, it is still possible to legally own one through these exemptions.

Magazine Limits Apply

It is important to note that even if you are able to legally possess a Desert Eagle in California, there are still restrictions on magazine capacity. California law limits the capacity of detachable magazines for handguns to a maximum of 10 rounds.

This means that any magazines for the Desert Eagle must be modified to comply with this limit. It is also worth mentioning that possession of high-capacity magazines that were acquired before the ban in 2000 is legal, as long as they were registered with the state.

Length Requirements

Another consideration when it comes to owning a Desert Eagle in California is the length requirement. California law has specific regulations regarding the overall length of handguns, including the barrel and grip. The Desert Eagle, with its large dimensions, may not meet these requirements.

It is important to ensure that any modifications or accessories added to the firearm maintain compliance with these length restrictions.

For more detailed information on California’s firearm laws and regulations, it is recommended to visit the official website of the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Firearms:

How to Buy a California-Legal Desert Eagle

California has some of the strictest gun laws in the United States, and it’s important to understand the regulations when purchasing a firearm like the Desert Eagle. Here are a few important things to consider before buying a California-legal Desert Eagle:

Private Party Transfers

In California, private party transfers are subject to certain restrictions. If you are purchasing a Desert Eagle from another individual, both the buyer and seller must go through a licensed firearms dealer to complete the transfer.

This ensures that a background check is conducted on the buyer and a record of the transaction is kept. It’s always a good idea to consult with a licensed dealer or visit the California Department of Justice website for more information on private party transfers.

FFL Purchases from Out of State

If you’re looking to purchase a Desert Eagle from a licensed dealer located outside of California, you’ll need to find a Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder in California who can receive the firearm on your behalf.

The out-of-state dealer will ship the gun to the California FFL holder, who will then conduct the necessary background checks and paperwork before transferring the firearm to you. Be aware that certain restrictions and fees may apply, so it’s important to contact the FFL holder and understand the process before making any arrangements.

Magazine Restrictions

Another important consideration when buying a California-legal Desert Eagle is the magazine capacity. In California, it is illegal to possess or sell magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

Therefore, when purchasing a Desert Eagle, it’s important to ensure that the magazines included with the firearm comply with California law. If you already own high-capacity magazines, you may need to modify them or permanently block them to meet the legal requirements in the state.

Remember, it’s always a good idea to consult with legal professionals or visit authoritative websites like the California Department of Justice for the most up-to-date information on California gun laws.

Stay informed and make sure you are following all regulations to ensure a legal and responsible purchase of a California-legal Desert Eagle.

Specific Desert Eagle Models Allowed in California

California has strict regulations when it comes to firearms, and it’s important to understand what models are allowed in the state. In the case of Desert Eagles, there are specific criteria that determine their legality.

Let’s take a closer look at the different factors that determine whether a Desert Eagle is legal in California.

Pre-2000 Manufacture

In California, certain models of Desert Eagles that were manufactured before the year 2000 are allowed. These older models are exempt from the state’s current roster of handguns that are approved for sale.

However, it’s important to note that any modifications made to these pre-2000 Desert Eagles may affect their legality. It’s always recommended to consult with local law enforcement or a knowledgeable firearms dealer to ensure compliance with the law.

.50 AE Caliber

Desert Eagles chambered in .50 AE caliber are legal in California. This powerful caliber is known for its impressive stopping power and is popular among gun enthusiasts. It’s important to follow all state laws and regulations regarding ammunition purchases and storage to ensure compliance.

Barrel Lengths

California has specific regulations on barrel lengths for handguns, including the Desert Eagle. According to current laws, the minimum barrel length for a Desert Eagle in California is 6 inches. This regulation is in place to ensure the firearm meets certain safety standards and reduces the risk of concealment or misuse.

It’s crucial to keep in mind that firearm laws can change over time, and it’s always a good idea to stay updated on the latest regulations. For more detailed information on the specific models and features of Desert Eagles allowed in California, it’s recommended to visit the official California Department of Justice website at

Legally Carrying and Using a Desert Eagle in California

When it comes to firearms, understanding the laws and regulations in your state is crucial to ensure you stay on the right side of the law. In the state of California, the legality of carrying and using a Desert Eagle, a powerful semi-automatic handgun, is subject to certain restrictions and regulations.

Open and Concealed Carry Laws

In California, open carry of firearms is generally prohibited. This means that individuals cannot openly carry a Desert Eagle or any other firearm in public places. However, there are exceptions for certain individuals, such as active and retired law enforcement officers.

On the other hand, concealed carry is allowed in California, but it requires a permit. To obtain a concealed carry permit, individuals must meet strict criteria set by the state, including completing a background check, completing firearms training, and demonstrating a justifiable need for carrying a concealed weapon.

Allowed Uses

While carrying a Desert Eagle in California is subject to certain restrictions, there are legal uses for this firearm. The primary purpose of owning a Desert Eagle or any other firearm is typically for self-defense.

As long as the firearm is used lawfully and responsibly in self-defense situations, it is generally permitted.

It is important to note that the use of a Desert Eagle or any firearm must be justified and in accordance with the laws of self-defense in California. The use of excessive force or using a firearm in a situation where it is not deemed necessary can lead to legal consequences.

Restricted Areas

While California allows the concealed carry of firearms, there are certain areas where carrying a Desert Eagle or any other firearm is restricted. These include government buildings, schools, airports, and other locations deemed as “gun-free zones.”

It is essential for gun owners to familiarize themselves with the specific laws and regulations regarding restricted areas in their locality to avoid any legal issues. Ignorance of the law is not a valid defense.

For more detailed information on the specific laws and regulations regarding carrying and using firearms in California, it is recommended to visit the official website of the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Firearms at


In short, Desert Eagles are legal in California but subject to significant capacity, vintage, and configuration restrictions. Pre-2000 models without a magazine disconnect safety are allowed, but limited to 10-round magazines. Barrel length and overall length requirements apply as well. While legal to purchase and possess with the proper exemptions, usage for self-defense and concealed carry is still largely prohibited under California law.

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