Into the Rab­bit Hole

A close look at the Maxim De­fense In­dus­tries MD-415 AR up­per

Firepower - - CONTENTS - TEXT & IMAGES BY JOHN SCOTT

s ome­times you’ll lock onto some­thing that piques your in­ter­est, whether it's a firearm plat­form or even a sin­gle ac­ces­sory, and it’ll start you down the path of dis­cov­er­ing other new things that you haven’t en­coun­tered be­fore. Thanks to the in­ter­net, new dis­cov­er­ies are found quite of­ten nowa­days. We jumped into a rab­bit hole a cou­ple of years ago when we dis­cov­ered the world of per­sonal de­fense weapon (PDW) stocks and a com­pany called Maxim De­fense In­dus­tries.

When Pdw-style stocks hit the mar­ket and be­came a pop­u­lar trend a few years back, one stock rose to the top and be­came a

fa­vorite of PDW builders, es­pe­cially among short-bar­reled ri­fle own­ers, far and wide.

You could say that the Maxim De­fense In­dus­tries CQB stock be­came the poster child for the Pdw-style stock move­ment. It is pricey, but its solid feel, ad­vanced de­sign and fine crafts­man­ship are be­yond re­proach. Maxim is back at it, only this time they’re onto some­thing com­pletely new to them.

The de­sign­ers and en­gi­neers at Maxim are con­stantly look­ing for dif­fer­ent, better ways to do things. Not look­ing to frivolously de­sign things for de­sign’s sake, they un­der­stand that form fol­lows func­tion and func­tion is of the ut­most im­por­tance. Lucky for us they also know that at­ten­tion to form makes for a better-look­ing firearm, and there’s noth­ing wrong with that in our book.

This time around, Maxim’s at­ten­tion shifts from the rear of the gun to the top of it. We were of­fered the op­por­tu­nity to get an ad­vanced look at Maxim’s com­pletely new MD-415 R-DI 11-inch com­plete up­per. The “MK-18” style up­per re­ceiver is made for AR-15 plat­form ri­fles and is the first com­plete up­per re­lease for the com­pany.

The up­per re­ceiver as­sem­bly fea­tures plenty of ex­clu­sives such as Maxim’s MD 7075 bil­let up­per re­ceiver and MD Slim­line hand­guard. Both pieces fea­ture pre­cise ma­chine work and true to Maxim’s pre­vi­ous of­fer­ings are en­dowed with vis­ually pleas­ing forms.

The up­per re­ceiver fea­tures clean lines and is topped with a light­ened Pi­catinny rail. A re­lief runs the en­tire length of the re­ceiver and into a match­ing re­lief on the rail of the hand­guard, help­ing with weight re­duc­tion and adding a mod­ern look to it too. The unique look of the hand­guard re­ally got our at­ten­tion. It locks onto the re­ceiver with a sin­gle screw and is quite slim, mea­sur­ing only 1-5/8 inches in width. The hand­guard has a full-length top Pi­catinny rail and is lined with M-LOK at­tach­ment points on the rest of its sur­faces. It’s not all about looks, how­ever.

The heart of the up­per is an 11-inch cold ham­mer forged bar­rel made by FN Her­stal

“The up­per re­ceiver as­sem­bly fea­tures plenty of ex­clu­sives such as Maxim’s MD 7075 bil­let up­per re­ceiver and MD Slim­line hand­guard.”

and is cham­bered in 5.56 x 45mm NATO. Yes, the same FN that brought you fa­vorites like the SCAR 17S and M249 SAW. The bar­rel that sits in­side the MD-415 is ac­tu­ally ma­chine­gun-grade and chrome­lined for ease of clean­ing and longevity of life. Its 1/9 twist rate can sta­bi­lize a va­ri­ety of bul­lets in both 5.56mm and .223 Rem­ing­ton cal­ibers. As good as that sounds, we haven’t even got­ten to the best part yet. If the bar­rel is the heart of the MD-415, it’s Maxim’s in­no­va­tive gas-reg­u­lat­ing, di­rect-im­pinge­ment sys­tem that is its soul. Yes, we said gas-reg­u­lat­ing. Un­like most other AR-15S, where the amount of gas re­turn you get is lim­ited by the bar­rel’s gas port size, or if you’re lucky, by an add-on ad­justable gas block, the MD-415 fea­tures a built-in sys­tem called the Maxim Reg­u­lated Di­rect Im­pinge­ment Gas Sys­tem. Maxim’s short­hand for this sys­tem is R-DI.

The R-DI al­lows the shooter to fine-tune the weapon’s gas sys­tem with the sim­ple pull and twist of a self-lock­ing knob found at the gas block of the up­per. It fea­tures four gas ad­just­ments, which in­clude (in or­der of least amount of gas re­turn to most) Off, Sup­pressed, Stan­dard and Ad­verse. Piston-driv-

“The de­sign­ers and en­gi­neers at Maxim are con­stantly look­ing for dif­fer­ent, better ways to do things.”

en AR-15S have a sim­i­lar setup, but it’s rare to be found in DI guns.

We found the ad­just­ments eas­ily made with pos­i­tive clicks felt and heard be­tween each of the ad­just­ments. No tools re­quired—the knob can be turned by hand, although we rec­om­mend avoid feel­ing the burn by us­ing gloves if mak­ing ad­just­ments af­ter the gun has been fired. A bul­let-sized hole is pro­vided if you wish to use a tool as well.

The up­per also in­cor­po­rates a slick nickel boron-coated en­hanced bolt car­rier group for re­li­able func­tion­ing. The bar­rel is topped off with the old stan­dard, an A2 flash hider. Some read­ers would be in­ter­ested to hear that we’ve heard that this up­per has been se­lected and might al­ready be in use by an agency for of­fi­cial gov­ern­ment busi­ness. Maxim says that the com­mer­cial ver­sion will be kept pretty much iden­ti­cal to the dot-gov ver­sion as pos­si­ble.

How much will this fine piece of ma­chin­ery run you? We won­dered the same thing. Un­for­tu­nately, at the time of this ar­ti­cle’s print­ing, the MSRP was still not de­ter­mined. We were for­tu­nate enough to be some of the first to get a test piece and wanted to show it to you as soon as we could. Check Maxim’s web­site to see if a price has since been re­leased.

Dur­ing our time with the up­per, it per­formed flaw­lessly and oozed in­no­va­tion and style that you come to ex­pect from Maxim De­fense. We added a Sure­fire flash hider to the up­per so we could test its sup­pressed func­tion­al­ity. With a Sure­fire SOCOM762-RC2 sup­pres­sor at­tached, it also shot with­out so much as a hic­cup.

The ad­justa­bil­ity helped us run a va­ri­ety of am­mu­ni­tion and kept us from eat­ing too much spent gas.

Be­ing able to reg­u­late gas right out of the box in a DI gun is great if you’re for­tu­nate enough to run sup­pressed. It also works well if you need to fine-tune your gun for dif­fer­ently pow­ered am­mu­ni­tion as well. The look and feel of this up­per re­ceiver is ev­ery­thing we would ex­pect from the in­no­va­tive com­pany. If you’re al­ready a fan of Maxim’s PDW stocks, you’ll def­i­nitely want to take a good close look at the MD-415 R-ID up­per. If Maxim De­fense In­dus­tries is new to you, wel­come to the rab­bit

hole. Your jour­ney is just be­gin­ning.

“reg­u­lat­ing gas is great for sup­pressed, or for dif­fer­ently pow­ered am­mu­ni­tion.”

Maxim De­fense’s MD-415 R-DI up­per as­sem­bly is made for AR-15 plat­form ri­fles and is the first com­plete up­per re­lease for the com­pany.

A re­lief runs the en­tire length of the re­ceiver and into a match­ing re­lief on the rail of the hand­guard to help with weight re­duc­tion. The hand­guard locks onto the re­ceiver with a sin­gle screw, with a full-length top Pi­catinny rail and M-LOK at­tach­ment points across its other sur­faces.

The up­per re­ceiver in­cor­po­rates a slick nickel boron-coated en­hanced bolt car­rier group for re­li­able func­tion­ing. Ac­cord­ing to Maxim, the com­mer­cial ver­sion of the MD415 will be kept as close to the dot-gov ver­sion as pos­si­ble.

The R-DI al­lows for tun­ing of the weapon’s gas sys­tem with the sim­ple pull and twist of a self-lock­ing knob found at the gas block of the up­per. It fea­tures four gas ad­just­ments: Off, Sup­pressed, Stan­dard and Ad­verse.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.