While the war between Glocks and 1911s continues on, new handgun designs are emerging on the market that don’t elicit much more than a grunt of approval from enthusiasts and speedy dismissal. But the Israeli manufacturer, Israeli Weapon Industries (IWI), is on to something worth taking notice of with their Baby Eagle II. Not ostentatious nor ugly, not bulky but substantive, the Baby Eagle incorporates the double-stacked capacity of a Glock with the all-steel heft of a 1911.
Plastic with a stippled surface, the Baby Eagle’s grips provide a positive surface in a variety of weather conditions. However, if these grips don’t do it for you, replacement grips are nearly impossible to track down for the .45 model (which has a different mounting screw placement than the 9mm and .40 models).
Double Action/Single Action (DA/SA) 12 – 13 lbs (DA), 4.5 – 5 lbs (SA). I would have preferred to have a little more consistency between the DA and SA trigger pull, even if it meant having the SA trigger pull break more heavily. As it is, you have a very heavy first pull followed by a surprisingly light second. Even as a practiced shooter of DA/SA pistols, this one caught me off guard. Trigger reset after the first shot is very short, as well, which makes rapid firing or double-tapping a thing of ease.
Combat type, white three dot, fixed. Clear and vivid, even in low-light conditions.
Like the CZ pistols the Baby Eagle emulates, the slide is actually machined to fit inside the frame, rather than the frame fitting inside the slide as is the more conventional design. This lowers the bore axis, bringing it closer to your grip, rendering the recoil easier to control, and making it a more accurate shooter. However, this also presents a challenge when it comes to charging the Baby Eagle or power stroking the slide: the low-profile slide has only a few shallow cocking serrations at the rear, making it difficult to secure a positive grip.
The Baby Eagle’s design features an ambidextrous slide-mounted safety/decocker which, even with my large hands, is difficult to operate dexterously. I would have preferred a frame-mounted safety/decocker, instead. On the plus side, the Baby Eagle’s magazine capacity, 10+1, is very impressive for a gun this size, and the frame-integral, machined-steel tac rail is a nice addition too—adding just a little more weight on the front end, helping reduce muzzle rise, and providing a solid platform for a weapons light, laser, or if you’re feeling really crazy, a bayonet. The Baby Eagle’s polygonal-rifled barrel was new to me, but I saw no noticeable difference in performance or accuracy because of it. It was easier to clean than a traditionally rifled barrel, for what that’s worth. The finish seems to be a hard-wearing manganese phosphate (“Parkerized”), but in a matte black. Very sharp-looking.
The Baby Eagle II’s MSRP is $630, which, for an Israeli-built, all-steel piece of hardware with this high-class fit and finish, is a very competitive price.
At first, I had no intention of carrying the Baby Eagle. Its all-steel construction makes it heavy for its size, and, having a double-stack magazine, is not particularly thin. That said, while carrying it in a shoulder holster, I found it to be no more bulky or heavy than my old Hi-Power I carried for years.
I found shooting the Baby Eagle to be pleasantly surprising. The recoil is very controllable, and as a .45, is less noticeable than many 9mms I’ve shot. Much of this is due to the pistol’s weight, the low-profile slide, and the ergonomic grip. Overall, I’m extremely pleased with this gun. It’s got an undeniable aesthetic appeal, high capacity, excellent accuracy, and robust construction.
Caliber: .45 ACP
Weight: 39.8oz (unloaded)
Frame material: forged steel
Slide material: forged steel
Barrel length: 3.93in.
Overall length: 7.75in.
Overall height: 5in.
Featured image courtesy of magnumresearch.com.