In this episode of Select Fire, we visited Maxim Defense in St. Cloud, Minnesota, to find out what this powerhouse new disruptor to the firearms industry is all about.
The company started small in 2014 with one employee, founder Michael Windfeldt. Originally working on products for the defense industry such as a replacement stock for the futuristic FN P90, Winfeldt hit on an idea to produce a short Silent Captured Spring System, partnering with JP Enterprises.
Then came Windfeldt's patented four-position CQB stock, which really put the company on the market. When collapsed, it only added 5.5 inches to the overall length of an AR-style rifle, but when extended it was the length of a standard carbine stock.
By 2016, Maxim was at its first SHOT Show – in a 10x10 booth in the basement.
"I had to hire a couple of local guys to help me run the booth," Windfeldt told Guns.com. "We ended up selling a ton of stocks. In that show, we sold like 530 stocks, and that was kind of the start of the whole thing."
Maxim's pistol brace evolved from the same system. Then, after its innovative designs continued to meet with acceptance by consumers and success on the market, the company was ready to take a bigger plunge. When SOCOM posted a call in 2017 for a new PDW-style weapon able to fire both .300 Blackout and 5.56 NATO rounds, followed shortly after by a similar solicitation from the Army to replace aging MP5s used by personal security detachments protecting high-ranking officers, the writing was on the wall.
"We were already known for the short stock," said Windfeldt. "We own and dominate that space. Then we saw the SOCOM PDW solicitation and so – we call it brute force development – within one year we were able to build and develop the PDX and were able to launch that at SHOT Show in 2019."
"For Maxim Defense, right from the beginning, we are a defense and security development company. We are focusing on developing products for the Special Operations community," said Windfeldt. "We don't do this for the money. It's about putting the best thing out there, and if we do our job the money will follow, and that we're going to make the best product possible. It's gonna cost what it's gonna cost, and we are going to charge what we have to charge based on that."
Now, moving past accessories and firearms, Maxim has expanded to its own line of advanced ammunition. Partnering with Fort Scott Munitions to produce a range of optimizing loads specifically for SBRs and large-format pistols, they incorporate Tumble Upon Impact, or TUI, technology for superior ballistic performance when compared to both expanding and fragmenting projectiles.
Finally, there are also a host of other, potentially momentous, lines and products coming in the very near future on an international stage that Maxim swore us to secrecy over. A company that causes a radical change in an existing industry doesn't come along very often, but Maxim is working hard to harness innovation, working with a core of almost irreplaceable talent behind the scenes.
They aren't in the basement anymore.
Banner image: Kristie Watson, Production Manager with Maxim Defense, getting some range time. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)