Reincarnation is possible, at least for classic firearm designs with an avid fan base. With modern metallurgy and today’s tight CNC tolerances, retro-style designs can be safer, stronger and better performing than the original.
Enthusiasts know that process sometimes surrenders the attractive fit, finish and feel that endeared them to the gun in the first place. That’s not the case with the new .44 Auto Mag., which has somehow captured everything that captivated gun owners when it first appeared on the silver screen and managed to squeeze in improvements.
The task was not as simple as producing a clone, either. The .44 Auto Mag Pistol (AMP)—the original version’s name—was a recoil-operated semi-auto that first appeared in 1966. The bolt was rotary, much like that of today’s AR-15 and the .44 AMP cartridge it digested generated enough muzzle energy to rival that of the .44 Mag.
Unfortunately, the company ran into financial problems, name changes, bankruptcies and by 1982, production ceased at barely 9,000 units. As fate would have it, the next year, Inspector “Dirty” Harry Callahan cemented the design to enthusiasts’ memories on the silver screen. Clint Eastwood worked the behind the trigger in the movie “Sudden Impact.”
Shortly after, it was seen in “Beverly Hills Cop 2” with Eddie Murphy. Then came an appearance in the video game Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Seige.
Auto Mag LLC—a name that honors the original design—recognized the pistol has much more going for it than simply Hollywood legend. The company secured the rights in 2015 from the original designer’s son. It then invested six years in development and added 20 improvements, all without abandoning the original’s looks and feel. Today it markets it as “The Legend, Reborn,” for good reason.
There are two different models of the .44 Auto Mag are available—either 6.5" or 8" barreled models with brushed satin finish. The former’s starting price comes in at $3,495, with the latter carrying an MSRP of $3,795. For an extra $275, you can opt for a high-polish metalwork on either.
Both are chambered in .44 AMP, a cartridge based on the .308 Win. case. The guns ship with two, seven-cartridge capacity magazines. Grips are Hogue, either G10 or checkered wood. The front sight is fixed, but the Kensight at the rear is adjustable.