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Guns of Pop Culture: “Snatch” & the Desert Eagle

In this Guns of Pop Culture, we look at Guy Ritchie's film "Snatch" and the Desert Eagle used by Bullet Tooth Tony.

Dags, Pikeys, and diamonds make up the quick-moving plot of the film Snatch.

Snatch is one of Guy Ritchie’s best films, and it’s a good mix of comedy and action, with a smart plot and lots of players.

The Desert Eagle .50

Ritchie’s style drips and oozes in the film, making it a stand-out movie for the early 2000s. 

The film follows the adventures of a pair of boxing promoters, some English organized crime figures, and a massive diamond that everyone wants.

Bullet Tooth Tony
Bullet Tooth Tony

One character, Bullet Tooth Tony, famously carries a Desert Eagle Mark 1 pistol in .50 AE throughout the film.

Early in the film, he even lays it down and says, “…the fact that you’ve got ‘Replica’ written down the side of your guns…And the fact that I’ve got Desert Eagle point five O written on the side of mine…”

The problem here is that the Mark 1 Desert Eagle was never made in “point five O,” aka .50 AE — though, Tony’s not lying when he says his gun has Desert Eagle .50 AE CAL written on the side.

These markings are not original Magnum Research markings so, presumably, the filmmakers added them.

So, let’s get into it…

Fly, Desert Eagle, Fly 

Desert Eagle (2)
.50 AE Desert Eagle, but not a Mark 1

The Desert Eagle has over 600 film credits in some of the most popular movies in the world.

Why? Simple, it’s camera friendly.

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Seriously, is there a more distinctive automatic pistol? It’s huge, has a unique shape that shows up well on camera, and makes an impression on the viewer.

Desert Eagle has always meant magnum caliber rounds in a semi-automatic pistol. 

The Mark 1 in the film came in .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, .41 Magnum, .50 AE .429 DE, and several more calibers.

This gun utilizes an operating principle unique to the Desert Eagle. It’s a gas-operated handgun that uses a rotating bolt in which the bolt uses the slide as its bolt carrier. A gas piston connects to the slide.

Gas diverted from a fired round hits the piston and forces the slide and, therefore the bolt, rearward to operate the weapon. 

One can convert their Desert Eagle’s caliber pretty easily by swapping the barrel, bolt assembly, and magazine.

I guess it’s possible Bullet Tooth Tony could have converted a .44 Magnum Deagle to .50 AE, but it seems unlikely. 

What’s more likely is that .44 Magnum blanks are easier to obtain, and the armorer already had a Desert Eagle in .44 Magnum.

Admittedly, the point five O line sounds cool as heck, so I see why Guy Ritchie kept it in place. 

On Camera 

The Desert Eagle .50
The Desert Eagle .50

Desert Eagles look great on camera but in real life aren’t all that practical for combat purposes. The pistol weighs 4.5 pounds and is nearly a foot long with a 6-inch barrel.

It’s big, mean, and loud. 

If you’ve fired a Desert Eagle and a magnum revolver, you might notice that the Desert Eagle is soft shooting for a magnum pistol.

Snatch Bullet Tooth Tony

But shoot it beside a 9mm, and you’ll realize it’s still got a hearty recoil. For defensive shooting, the recoil is a bit too much and slows down your ability to lay down follow-up shots. 

Bullet Tooth Tony isn’t a small guy, and Vinnie Jones is a strong guy, but even he tends to prefer a two-hand grip when extending the firearm outward.

Snatch Desert Eagle two hand grip
Bullet Tooth Tony shows off that two-handed grip

In the scenes where he holds the weapon with a single hand, notice that it never seems to be straight out in front of him. 

A gun shooting blanks don’t have much recoil, and we see Tony controls the weapon just fine.

Snatch Bullet Tooth Tony holds his Desert Eagle to Sol's head
That angle isn’t just to make contact with Sol’s head

He takes advantage of the magnum caliber to shoot through the wall and save Avi and even gets a reload in after shooting eight shots…although a .50 AE only allows for a seven-round magazine. 

We know he doesn’t keep one in the chamber either because he racks the slide before firing, so that means eight in the magazine.

Final Thoughts

The Desert Eagle might be a silly gun for combat shooting, but in a film like Snatch, it does its job well.

That job is being visually interesting and eye-catching. When your name is Bullet Tooth Tony, you need a striking firearm, and the Desert Eagle is just that. 

What did you think of Snatch Let us know in the comments below. To see more Guns of Pop Culture, head to our Fun Archives.

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