The Lage MAX-10 Mk2

By Frank Iannamico

In 1964 Gordon Ingram built the first Model 10 submachine gun. During 1969 Ingram’s Model 10 went into series production by the Military Armament Corporation in Georgia and soon became widely known as the MAC 10 submachine gun. A smaller .380 caliber submachine gun, designated as the Model or MAC 11, was also designed and manufactured.

After the demise of the Military Armament Corporation in 1975, a new company was formed called RPB after its three founders: R. Roby, Charles T. Pitts and Richard W. Brueggeman, all former MAC employees. The underfunded RPB was short-lived and was eventually taken over by Wayne Daniel. After experiencing problems with investors, the second RPB Company was liquidated and Mr. Daniel formed his new company he called SWD.

The MAC-type series of submachine guns with their hyper-fast cyclic rates and poor ergonomics had not been held in high esteem by most enthusiasts. While 1,000+ rounds per minute cyclic rate of fire was initially exhilarating to many shooters, the thrill soon wore off with the high consumption of ammunition, along with the inability to accurately engage targets. Soon many of MACs were relegated to the back of the safe or they were sold.

A New Role

In 1964 Gordon Ingram designed the original weapon. During the late 1960s the Military Armament Corporation started series production. During the 1980s Wayne Daniel concentrated on civilian sales. During 2002 Richard Lage began to take the little submachine guns to a whole new level in popularity, sixteen years after the last transferable gun was made.

The Inspiration

Richard Lage bought his first machine gun, a SWD M11/Nine for $700 in October of 2000. The transfer was approved, and he took possession in July of 2001. After shooting it for less than a year, the novelty of the fast cyclic rate wore off and he wanted to find a way to slow it down. It wasn’t long until Mr. Lage decided to convert his M11/Nine to the very popular TASK Slow Fire configuration, despite his reluctance to drill the required hole into the back of the receiver. With the rate of fire reduced to a reasonable level, he moved on to other improvements and created the Lage MAX-11/9 that he offered for commercial sale (not to be confused with the more recent MAX-11). The MAX-11/9 used a modified M11/Nine upper receiver. An aluminum rail attached to the top had front and rear sights and a short accessory rail for mounting a scope. A non-reciprocating cocking handle was placed on the left side of the receiver. A polymer foregrip with an accessory attachment rail was mounted on the bottom of the upper receiver. No bolt was provided with the upper, the customer was required to use their original M11/Nine bolt assembly. The barrel was 8.5 inches long and had a birdcage flash hider installed. There were only 22 of the MAX-11/9 upper receivers manufactured and sold.

Around this time Garrison Precision Machine was making their VSF Upper (Very Slow Fire) for the M11/Nine. It basically was an upper that was twice as tall as the original M-11/Nine upper and had a 1-inch square block of steel welded to the top of the bolt to slow the cyclic rate down. While this achieved the rate of fire reduction, it was not a particularly visually appealing design. Lage realized that a better upper could be made by using a lower profile bolt weight designed to extend over top of the trunnion. He made a prototype by cutting the top off of a stock M11/Nine upper and welding on a piece of steel channel to increase the height by a ½-inch and lengthening it at the front. A weight was fabricated and bolted on top of the M11/Nine bolt. Subsequent testing confirmed that the design worked, having the reduced rate of fire desired. Mr. Lage refined the design and it became the MAX-11. In 2004, Richard Lage won the Arizona State Subgun Match with an M11/Nine fitted with his MAX-11 upper receiver. The Lage MAX-11 upper receivers were produced from 2003 to 2013. It has now been replaced by the updated MAX-11 Mk2. Mr. Lage continues to compete and win in subgun competitions using his products.

Most products for MAC-type submachine guns have been designed for the increasingly popular M11/Nine manufactured by SWD during the 1980s. The (formerly) affordable price, smaller size, and lighter weight of the M11/Nine makes it more appealing for many. Although Lage Industries does offer products for the popular SWD M11/Nine they also have not forgotten the “Fat” or “Big” MAC Model 10 in both .45 and 9mm configurations, and the .380 caliber Model 11, which have been often overlooked by those offering products and upgrades.

Note: Because the M11/Nine is similar in appearance to the original Ingram design, the submachine gun is often, incorrectly, referred to as a MAC 11. The SWD M11/Nine was not designed or manufactured by the Military Armament Corporation, also known as MAC. The MAC or Model 11 is based on the larger Model 10, and is a scaled down version of that weapon chambered for the .380 caliber cartridge.

The Lage MAX-10 Slow Fire Upper Receiver (Mk1)

In 2007 Lage Manufacturing, L.L.C. began to offer a host of upgrades for the Ingram/MAC Model 10. The Lage MAX-10/9 Slow Fire Upper Receiver was introduced for the 9mm Model 10, with adjustable front and rear sights, full-length M1913 scope rail and hard mount points for additional M1913 rails on the right, left and bottom of the front handgrip. A heavy bolt assembly was used to reduce the cyclic rate from 1,100 rpm down to approximately 500 rpm. The bolt weight was securely attached to the bolt assembly with two hardened cap screws. With the reduced cyclic rate the operator could easily manipulate the trigger to fire single rounds or short round bursts.

Lage Manufacturing, L.L.C. also offered the slow fire upper for the .45 caliber Model 10, designated as the MAX-10/45. The upper receiver featured fully adjustable front and rear sights, a full-length M1913 scope rail and hard mount points for additional M1913 rails. A heavy bolt was used to reduce the cyclic rate from 1,100 RPM down to approximately 600 RPM making it possible to manipulate single, double or triple round bursts. With the slow cyclic rate, muzzle rise was reduced enhancing the operator’s ability to stay on target. The early Lage uppers were made of steel and since the introduction of the lighter aluminum Mk2 version in 2013, the early models are often referred to as the Mk1. Despite being very successful, the steel Lage “Mk1” uppers have been discontinued.

One substantial advantage for all Lage upper receivers, and accessories, is that they attach to the stock lower receiver without any modifications. This is important to many owners as any permanent modifications to their registered receiver could possibly reduce any current or future collector value.

The MAX-10 Mk2, for the Model 10

The inspiration for the MAX-10/9 and MAX-10/45 Mk2 design originated from the Lage MAX-11S upper. The MAX-11S is an upper receiver designed to convert the semi-auto M-11/Nine pistol into a 9mm carbine or rifle. A MAX-11S semi-auto prototype was made from steel, but the total gun weight was considered to be too heavy; the only feasible way to make it lighter would be to make the upper out of aluminum.

There were concerns that the lighter weight would affect the performance of the gun, such as increased recoil and staying on target. Additionally, it was not known how the aluminum would hold up to repetitive impact and shock of repeated full-auto shooting. The Mk2 design uses a steel trunnion insert for the bolt face to impact on to protect the aluminum upper from the constant hammering of the bolt. A steel shell deflector was designed to protect the finish behind the ejection port. There are radius cuts at the stress points in the upper to prevent cracking. After extensive field testing, it was determined that the design met all of the strength and durability requirements. The CNC machined aluminum design eliminates welding, reduces parts count and increases dimensional consistency compared to welding together multiple steel components.

The Mk2 styling is partly a result of adding strengthening features. The sides have a reinforcing bar along the upper’s length and the walls are thicker above the upper receiver. The area around the ejection port area is also reinforced for additional strength. The handguard area has angled cuts along the sides to provide a gripping surface and also is more ascetically pleasing than just leaving it flat sided. The front of the upper is designed to follow the lines of the original Mk1 upper with the addition of a hand stop and raised portions on the sides to index the shooter’s thumb on. Some design elements are purely style, such as the cooling vent slots. They could have been slots with a simple radius on each end like on the Mk1. Functionally, they could have just been a series of drilled holes, but the trapezoidal shape compliments the lines of the original MAC design. All of the new Mk2 designs have a lower profile that brings the sights closer to the bore. The MAX-10 Mk2 is approximately 1-pound, 5.33 ounces lighter than the earlier models.

There are several barrel options for the customer to choose from. The Mk2’s standard 9mm barrel is 8.5-inches long with 1/2-28 threads that comes fitted with a bird-cage style flash suppressor. Optional at extra cost is an 8.5-inch barrel with 3/4-10 threads for the mounting of an original old-school MAC suppressor.

The .45 caliber 9-inch long barrels come standard with a 7/8-9 thread for mounting an original MAC type suppressor. An 8.5-inch barrel threaded for modern 5/8-24 suppressors is optional. All Lage barrels are made of 4140 chrome-moly steel with a black oxide finish.

Other accessories available at extra cost include both fixed and side-folding buttstocks made of black polymer, in a choice of lengths to accommodate any shooter. A collapsible buttstock with a fixed polymer butt plate is also offered. All stocks have a provision for attaching a sling.

The Lage two-piece molded polymer pistol grip features a finger groove, a ribbed front and stippling on the sides. The rounded backstrap is more comfortable than the stock grip and extends lower. The bottom of the grip features a funnel shape on the bottom to facilitate faster magazine changes. However, there isn’t a specific grip available for the 9mm Model 10, but a Lage M11/Nine pistol grip can be easily adapted to fit with a file or Dremel tool work.

Another grip is available for the .45 caliber MAC 10 with the addition of a lever above the grip to activate the heel mounted magazine release. The grip is the same as the standard two-piece molded grip except it has an internal mechanism to activate the heel mounted magazine release with a thumb actuated lever at the top of the grip. When used with “drop-free” magazines, you will be able to release the empty magazine while reaching for a replacement magazine. This facilitates the fastest possible reload you will be able to perform with the M-10/45.

An available vertical K-Grip is designed to attach to any M1913 Picatinny rail. The forward canted angle allows a natural shooting stance that is more comfortable than a straight vertical grip. The clamp is made from 6061 aluminum and finished in black anodize. The grip portion is made from black polymer.

For those who need additional accessory rails for attaching accessories to the sides of the MAX-10 Slow Fire Upper Receiver such as flashlights or lasers, Lage offers left and right side mount rails made from 6061 aluminum and finished in hard coat black anodize. Each rail is 5-inches long with 10 slots.

Other available products include an extended safety lever that mounts at the front of the trigger guard. The lever makes it quick and easy to positively engage and disengage the safety on a MAC. Great for use in subgun competitions. The Lage safety will fit the M-11/9 or the Powder Springs M-10/45 or M-10/9. Also available is an internal safety slide is designed to have more bearing surface and is made from steel with a black oxide finish.

Many of the original rubber buffers that came in the old MACs have disintegrated over time. Lage Industries offers a precision cut replacement buffer manufactured from 1/4-inch thick neoprene designed to fit both the M-10/45 and M-10/9.

Richard Lage was not the first one that has attempted to tame the fast cyclic rate and improve upon the poor ergonomics of the M11/Nine, MAC 10 and MAC 11 submachine guns, but he has certainly had the most success and longevity of those who have tried. In the past some potential buyers of similar products paid up front, only to find later that the individual or company has gone out of business. With Lage you get on the waiting list and pay when your purchase is ready to ship. Being in business for over twelve years and having a growing waiting list is testament to the quality of his products and service.


Lage Manufacturing, L.L.C.
Phone: (480) 219-8893
E-Mail: Sales@max-11.com 
Web: www.max-11.com/

Primary Arms Optics
Phone: (713) 344-9600
E-Mail: info@primaryarms.com
Web: www.primaryarms.com/

Tom Bowers
Suppressors and MAC
wipeless upgrades
Phone: (503) 992-8697
Web: www.subguns.org/

Gordon Ingram, the MAC MAN
Chipotle Publishing, L.L.C.
Phone: (702) 565-0746
Web: www.smallarmsreview.com

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V19N2 (March 2015)
and was posted online on January 23, 2015


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