Times have changed. In the past, there’s was a claim about pistol suppressors that, up until recently, still had relevance. The claim was that compared to rifle suppressors, pistol suppressors made less sense. Yes, a suppressor adds length and an uneven weight to a pistol but neither of those is the real gripe. The real gripe was that in a world of practicality, the suppressed pistol was void because you couldn’t holster it. Instead, you’d have to thread the suppressor on your pistol at the range, and then lay it on a table or something similar in between shooting sessions. This would make serious training with a suppressed pistol less likely to occur. On the other hand, a suppressed rifle can hang harmlessly and comfortably on a sling or sit on a bipod allowing the operator to load mags, and do other administrative duties without having to put the firearm in a less than ideal location. This theory held water until now, with the release of SilencerCo’s Maxim 9.
- Type: Striker-fired semiautomatic; recoil operated
- Cartridge: 9mm
- Weight: 2 lbs., 5 oz./ 2 lbs., 7 0z.
- Overall Length: 9.54 -10.75 inches
- Barrel Length: 4 in.
- Diameter: 1.58 x 5.41 in.
- Capacity: 17 +1 rds.
- Magazine: Glock 17 Type
- Sights: 3-dot tritium inserts
- Mfg. Noise Rating: 139.9 dB (hearing safe with subsonic)/ Hearing safe with all 9mm ammo
- MSRP: $1,499
- Manufacturer: Silencer Co.
The Maxim 9 is an integrally suppressed pistol chambered in 9mm. Let’s address the obvious; the Maxim 9 looks otherworldly. At the risk of dating myself, it first reminded me of the pistol wielded by RoboCop. Actually, RoboCops’ automatic pistol looks less futuristic than the Maxim 9. Just like any gun-guy would, I immediately sent out pictures to other gun-guys to get a gauge on the aesthetics of the Maxim 9. A good friend said it best “I honestly think those are cool, maybe they are a gimmick, but at least it’s ***** innovative.” Innovative, that’s it. If you could design an integrally suppressed pistol, would it look much different from the Maxim 9?
The Maxim’s aesthetics aside, it’s actually full of features that we’re used to seeing and they all culminate in this one product. The feature that is less familiar is the integral suppressor. The Maxim 9 uses stackable baffles that rest on two guide rods. These guide rods thread into the front of the frame and allow the baffles to be placed in different length configurations. If you’ve seen the also-innovative SilencerCo Salvo shotgun suppressor, it’s very similar. Individual baffles cut from 7075 aluminum stack one in front of the other.
In its full glory, the Maxim is 10 3/4 inches long. In this longest configuration, the Maxim 9 is at its quietest. At this length even supersonic ammunition falls under the magic 140 dB hearing-safe threshold with an average rating of 136 dB. Keep in mind that this rating can vary with ambient conditions and altitude.
The full-sized Maxim is an angular beast and close in length to a 6-inch barreled revolver. But in all honesty, it doesn’t feel any less balanced than a typical full-size pistol. SilencerCo has done an excellent job of distributing the weight of the Maxim. It makes sense when you consider that basically all of the internal workings are situated over the grip itself. The Maxim 9 weighs 39 ounces, which while isn’t svelte, is a nice weight for an 1911 chambered in 9mm. This weight should help tame recoil.
Balance is slightly improved by removing two baffles and reducing the Maxim to its 9.54-inch length, but naturally, you lose sound reduction performance. Less volume means less sound attenuation. This short configuration requires the use of subsonic ammunition to be hearing safe. It’s a fair trade-off though.
The Maxim 9 features a 4-inch barrel. Forward of the barrel is a lightweight series of baffles. Only the rearmost 3 inches, which is the slide of the Maxim, actually cycles. The barrel is fixed and does not tilt, much like a Beretta 92. The Maxim 9 has dual recoil guide rods and springs which are located in the uppermost portion of the slide and extend into the forward portion of the frame. There they are captured by a recoil rod lever latch. Lifting this latch while pressing a button on the rear of the slide allows the Maxim 9 to be field stripped. It’s fairly simple and another sign of solid, forward-thinking innovation form SilencerCo.
The Maxim 9 is a striker-fired pistol with a trigger that was developed by SilencerCo. If there is one complaint about the pistol, this is it. A few days of dry firing and handling the Maxim 9 and it begins to feel like any other pistol and its uniqueness becomes a welcomed excitement. But during dry-fire sessions, the trigger almost feels like a bad joke in an otherwise very serious firearm. It’s stiff, gritty and feels like it wants to get stuck—and that’s just in the first stage. Then it hits a wall and takes what seems like another 9 pounds to get it to fire. An assumption can be made that a trigger upgrade will be made available for the Maxim 9. Let’s hope so because the rest of the pistol is so good. I should note the Maxim 9 utilizes a trigger safety much like other striker fired pistols, as well as an internal drop safety.
The grip was designed for average-sized hands. I fall in the category of smaller hands and found the Maxim 9 grip to be acceptable. Trigger actuation was made easier by choking up on on the grip and inserting more finger in the trigger guard. It’s unclear whether this is due to a larger grip or the bad trigger. My intuition tells me a trigger fix will fix a lot, including any grip challenges. Feeling the backstrap of the Maxim 9 from inside the magwell you get the feeling there may be room for interchangeable backstraps in future iterations.
The magazine release can be relocated on the left or right side of the grip. The Maxim 9 is fed by Glock 17 mags. Longer, Glock compatible magazines will fit, and SilencerCo. provides a Magpul PMAG GL9 with each Maxim 9. The slide lock is ambidextrous and the Maxim 9 sports steel sights with 3-dot style tritium inserts.
Advanced pistols need to be accessory-ready and SilencerCo addressed this with a removable plate on the top of the slide, for the attachment of miniature red dot optics. On the bottom, three KeyMod slots sit at the ready for the attachment of a light or other accessory.
Shortening the Maxim 9 is an easy chore. After confirming the pistol is unloaded, loosen the two hex bolts in the front of the suppressor. After that, you can slide the baffles off of the two baffle guide rods. Next, you unscrew the guide rods and replace them with the shorter versions included with the Maxim 9. Secure the shorter rods, replace the baffles in the short configuration, and tighten the hex bolts in the front.
There are no surprises when shooting the Maxim 9, which seems to be the expectation, based on its unconventional looks. It shoots like a good pistol should, minus all the noise and concussion. The extra weight helps keep recoil down. The trigger becomes less of an issue as well.
Firing the Maxim at 25 yards revealed that the sights on this sample were off by quite a bit with all groups printing on the left side of the target. We didn’t have the best targets for testing so it was difficult to make out a point of aim. Regardless the Maxim 9 managed smallest groups in the 2-inch range, with three different types of ammo. The SIG Sauer V-Crown 147-grain worked well with the Maxim 9 and had the best average at 2.6 inches.
The Maxim 9 is a departure in conventional thinking, and a welcomed one at that. It’s a true viable suppressed pistol that is practical in its function and use. Whether you use it for carrying, which can be done with the proper holster, or for home defense, the worry of permanently damaging your or someone else’s hearing is eliminated. More pistols like this need to be developed. With all the available technology there’s no reason for manufacturers not to continue moving toward hearing safe firearms.
The Maxim 9 represents what’s possible and maybe more so, what’s necessary in the gun world. Is it perfect? No. But it’s more than a good start. Nice work, SilencerCo.
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To purchase a Maxim 9 on GunsAmerica, click here.