H&K Mark 23 v Desert Eagle


el Godfather
January 18, 2013, 02:46 PM
Dear THR:
Assumption ONE is that you want to buy a large pistol.
Assumption TWO is that the choice is between Mark 23 and Desert Eagle (caliber of your choice).

The assumptions are set to avoid the unnecessary bashing and rather focus on the question. If you hate the said pistols, please ignore this thread and spare us from negative remarks.

Now that said, which would you choose and why? What are your experiences with them if any?

Please consider the following factors:
1. Collection value.
2. Possible use in the woods for defense against four legged or hunting.
3. Reliability.
4. Accuracy.
5. Home defense.

I chose Mark 23 because in my opinion it was superior to DE in factors 3, 4 and 5. Whereas DE was superior in my opinion in 1 and 2 for collection value and more powerful round in the woods.

Thank you.

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January 18, 2013, 03:05 PM

I have both a Desert Eagle .50 and an HK .45 Tactical. Very close to the Mark 23. Both of these gun will be accurate. I wouldn't consider either one a collector item. Both will be reliable. I would not want to carry the DE for any length of time in the woods. It weighs 5 pounds loaded. The DE is also not well suited for a home defense gun. Too much penetration, too unwieldy! Could you imagine trying to ake a well placed follow up shot with a .50 AE? My vote would be for the HK Mark 23. Much much lighter. Much more reasonable cartridge for your intended purposes. Ammo is far less expensive and probably easier to find even today.


January 18, 2013, 03:21 PM
I picked Hk, just because I am a huge fan... I am sure either are fine pistols....

January 18, 2013, 04:08 PM
I didn't vote because I value the criteria differently than you did in your 1-5 list.

I would choose the DE though because it does something that is not available in many other handguns. It fires extremely powerful rounds in a semi-automatic package. The MK23 is supposedly an excellent pistol by all accounts, but it is basically a GIGANTIC .45. There are numerous pistols out there that do nearly the exact same thing in a practically-sized package...the HK45, USP .45, Glock 21, XD(m) .45, SW M&P .45, etc. All of these guns would function about the same as a Mk23 in criteria 2-5 while also being carryable (although still a bit large). To me, the DE at least offers something in return for its extremely large size.

January 18, 2013, 04:29 PM
I voted Desert Eagle, because I have fired one before, and (dare I say it), it's just fun. No "tactical" usefulness, just plain fun. :D

January 18, 2013, 04:31 PM
I think it's sort of a toss-up, but I voted DE for the above reason - the Mark 23 (although I like it a lot) is basically just a really big .45

The DE however, if you get it in 357 (I hope to this year) is a very powerful handgun with very low recoil. Plus, as long as you don't get it gold plated or polished chrome, it's pretty awesome looking.

January 18, 2013, 04:37 PM
HK is a combat pistol, the DE in .50 AE is for silhoutte shooting. I vote hk.

January 18, 2013, 04:55 PM
I voted the HK, but the Mk23 is overkill for most purposes.

When I think Desert Eagle, I think video game characters. I know silhoutte shooters use them, but who alse but a video game character would run around with a 5 lb gun holstered to their belt?

January 18, 2013, 07:36 PM
HK because of it's accuracy, reliability, comparative light weight, suppressor ready, robust nature and durability.

If I wanted a giant elephant dropping round, then I'd go for the DE, but I doubt I'll ever go for that.

January 19, 2013, 12:04 AM
I picked the DE...just because I hate H&K....

Plus a semi in .44 mag is a very fun package.

January 19, 2013, 12:32 AM
If you want a pistol with pure slob appeal, special order the Desert Eagle XlX in full gold plate, caliber .50 Action Express and with the newly offered 10" barrel.

If you want a pistol tailor made to function as a suppressed weapon and do so reliably and with target grade accuracy, choose the Mk23.

January 19, 2013, 01:52 AM
I would take Glock 21 over both of the above.

el Godfather
January 19, 2013, 02:52 AM
Sorry to tell you but I am afraid Glock 21 is not on consideration.

January 19, 2013, 03:37 AM
HK is a combat pistol,

If memory serves correctly, USSOCOM basically dumped them because they were unreliable and and too big to be practical. They were quickly replaced after being issued.

The general public however bought into the hype.

I would, however, pick it over the DE. Yet would rather own a Louisville Slugger over either!

el Godfather
January 19, 2013, 05:28 AM
They were unreliable?? Kindly state your source.

January 19, 2013, 09:24 AM
I have both the Mark 23 and DE.

January 19, 2013, 09:25 AM
If memory serves correctly, USSOCOM basically dumped them because they were unreliable and and too big to be practical.

Your memory isn't serving you correctly, because the 23 is as reliable as a pistol gets.

January 19, 2013, 09:30 AM
If memory serves correctly, USSOCOM basically dumped them because they were unreliable and and too big to be practical. They were quickly replaced after being issued.
Dumped? When?

Unreliable? The MK23 holds the record for reliability with over 6000 rounds between stoppages. No 1911 ever came close to that.

Quickly replaced? They've been in service for 25 years and then replaced by the newest generation of HK.

Big? Yeah, you're right on that one, it's a big boy gun. They are as big as any other high capacity, suppressor ready, 6" barreled .45 though, and lighter than most.

January 19, 2013, 10:24 AM
Like I said my memory was a little hazy.

However, it wasnt even put into USSOCOM's "toy box" till 1996. Not quite 25yrs. I do remember the mk 24 mod 0 was the P226 for the Navy... What year that happened I do not recall?
Im sure there might be a unit or two with the mk 23 just as there are units with just about any weapon...

January 19, 2013, 11:18 AM
I do remember the mk 24 mod 0 was the P226 for the Navy

That is also incorrect, the MK24 is the designation for the HK45ct, the .45acp, suppressor ready sidearm. The MK25 is a Sig in 9mm.

Here's a link to a short but informative comparison done between the MK23 and MK24.

el Godfather
January 19, 2013, 11:21 AM
Sir, is there anything you dont have? Impressive..

Alteredd Ego
January 19, 2013, 01:25 PM
I too own both and would not consider getting rid of either one. Both are way fun to shoot, BIG and filled with awesomeness. If I had to choose, I would favor the MK23 due to its incredible accuracy and reliability, but the DE does get points for more calibers and it's WOW factor. Both always attract questions at the range and put a large smile on peoples faces when I ask if they care to put a few rounds down range.:D

January 19, 2013, 08:39 PM
Sir, is there anything you dont have? Impressive..


When it comes to handguns, I'm a pretty hard core collector. I own most of them. If not the exact model, something similar.

January 19, 2013, 08:57 PM
For an actual fighting handgun, the Desert Eagle has dubious value. Try to take one through a combat pistol course. Rapid follow-up shots are very difficult, ammo is very expensive, in my experience you have to feed them premium ammo to make them run well, an el-presidente drill would be very difficult, you would be worn out early because it's so heavy, I doubt your wife can run it very well, and it's not something that's fun to shoot one-handed.

January 19, 2013, 09:23 PM
I chose Mark 23 because in my opinion it was superior to DE in factors 3, 4 and 5. Whereas DE was superior in my opinion in 1 and 2 for collection value and more powerful round in the woods.

Well. I've had a Mark I DE since the 80's and frankly, I can see only three upsides: Collectibility, hunting and medium range accuracy. It's just about as bulky as handguns come, mine's been reliable and very accurate, but I consider it a novelty I rarely shoot and no longer hunt with. It's a gun I love to own but hate to shoot and especially carry in any situation.

I'm not really a Mark 23 fan either, but I consider it much more usable than DE, especially if we're talking about owning just one large pistol.

January 19, 2013, 10:01 PM
If Illinois would ever allow semiauto handguns for deer hunting I will buy a 10" Desert Eagle Mk XlX in .44 Magnum.

If Illinois would ever allow supressors I would buy a Mk23 or a USP Tactical just for suppressor use.

As it stands neither of these things are legal here so I shoot this USP Elite in .45 acp
at 7000 rounds I replaced the recoil and firing pin springs, that was 3000+ rounds ago.
This pistol is my MOST accurate and reliable .45 acp and I own five other guns in the caliber.
It has never malfunctioned, not once, not even a little.

January 19, 2013, 10:13 PM
For me it would depend upon the purpose of the gun.

For SD/CCW, it'd be the HK.

For serious hunting, it'd be the Desert Eagle.

January 19, 2013, 10:14 PM
The Mk23 if you're a Metal Gear Solid fan, the Desert Eagle if you're a Call of Duty fan.. Can't see a practicality either of them have that make them more suited for any task than less expensive alternatives.

January 19, 2013, 10:22 PM
Sometimes it isn't the price that matters.
It is the pride of ownership...

el Godfather
January 20, 2013, 08:33 AM
How is your Elite in accuracy?
Its a very nice gun as well- how does it compare to Expert?

Too bad IL laws are too restrictive.

January 20, 2013, 08:39 AM
The HK, simply because of weight/size, and I trust HK's reliability record.

I wouldn't particularly want either, to be perfectly honest though.

January 20, 2013, 12:15 PM
Haven't shot the Expert so I can't compare.
My Elite is obscenely accurate out to 50 meters.
MOST accurate .45 acp I have EVER owned!

January 20, 2013, 12:23 PM
I've found that Godfather and I share a love for HK. I would go with the Mark 23. To me, the desert eagle seems to be more of a novelty weapon that a serious, combat handgun. I'm sure it has its uses, but I personally have experienced Hk reliability and quality, and wouldn't hesitate to add more to my collection.

January 20, 2013, 12:48 PM
As cool as the Deagle is, the Mk 23 gets my vote for the fact that it's in a the reliable short recoil operated mechanism, very accurate has enough stopping power for my needs, plus it can easily suppressed.

January 21, 2013, 04:06 AM
Unless you plan on putting a can on the MK 23, I'd get the Desert Eagle in .357 for plinking and light hunting, .44 for hunting and light plinking, or .50 AE for hunting and or collecting purposes.

January 21, 2013, 01:17 PM
The Desert Eagle does has a certain appeal to it and it's gas action (and heavy weight) makes for pleasant shooting with the .44 Magnum. But aside from its possible use in hunting with it I really don't see it being much of a collectors gun nowadays or having much use beyond that of being a novelty item or range toy.

From a more practical (and possibly tactical), application I would have to say the H&K Mark 23 would be my choice between these two guns.

el Godfather
January 21, 2013, 02:30 PM
I just hope that one of these days some takes mk23 to test and posts a detailed thread on it that will cover accuracy, reliability, parts analysis, use analysis etc.

January 21, 2013, 08:01 PM
The MK23 would make much more sense and have a better niche if only it wasn't simply a 12+1 .45ACP. When it boils down to it, the USP45f and the USP45 Tactical handle better and achieve the same goals as their more expensive, more beastly, more heavy big brother. I love HKs but the MK23 has no practical use, even for the units it was designed for. All this because of the unnecessary size and weight for a .45 pistol.

Desert Eagles have no real good use, except for putting a huge smile on your face. Who would want to carry a 5 lb. pistol for hunting when you could carry a 5 lb. bolt action rifle instead? Nonetheless, they are a technological marvel and everything about them makes you say "Wow!" Mine is a Magnaported, Stainless .357 MKI from 1984. Slightly smaller than the MKXIX guns b/c there was no need for increased slide mass. It recoils like a 9mm, makes a huge boom, and flings a huge piece of brass. It's a very gratifying experience. Lots of people don't understand the operating envelope of these guns, so when they have failures from the wrong ammo they write off the gun as a POS. Gun experts...

Neither gun makes much practical sense. If you are gonna have a huge, ridiculous gun, why not have it fire a potent cartridge?



January 22, 2013, 04:31 PM

I foolishly sold mine to make way for my suppressed 1911 project. I was pissed that the barrels moly coating wore away and chipped after only 50rds and sold it off. I'm over it, I want another MK23.

My comparison video...


Sent from my iPad

January 22, 2013, 10:33 PM
do you have a .45 cal can/suppressor?

if not, don't get the MK23. the only benefit is the higher/taller sights to see over your can.

get the HK45

* much much more comfy and adjustable grip (I have both a P30 and a USP, so the .40 cal little brothers of these 2, so I know the grips)

or you can split the difference and get the HK45 tactical:



el Godfather
January 23, 2013, 04:33 PM
I like your advice. However, i already have 23 and DE. Nevertheless, i am planning on getting H&K 45 tac in that yellow plastic :)

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