Meet the Maxim PDX pistol. If looks were enough reason to purchase a pistol, then this is the pistol to buy! This is one gorgeous AR-style pistol. But first, let’s talk about the manufacturer, Maxim Defense Industries. 

Maxim Defense started off as a manufacturer of firearms parts, but it made the decision to transition into firearms manufacturing. The PDX was one of the products born out of this transition. 

Let’s Dig In

This is a sleek 18.75-inch semi-automatic pistol, or SBR, depending on how you want to configure it. This gun was designed specifically to meet the needs of Tier 1 military operators for CQB situations as a personal defense weapon with serious teeth. It is relatively lightweight, concealable, and chambered in great fighting calibers, namely 5.56 NATO, .300 Blackout, and 7.62x39mm.

Looking at the PDX, the compact size immediately draws you in. It’s a great option for close-quarters fighting. The stock of the PDX is the proprietary Maxim SCW stock system, which reduces the stock length to 4 inches. This offers a very nice six-position brace.

It has an integrated bolt-carrier group, or BCG, with interchangeable buffer weights that greatly enhance the gun’s flexibility. The H3 buffer is shorter and heavier, allowing for a slight delay when firing and aids in BCG longevity. It also mitigates the felt recoil. The BCG is slightly shorter than standard and boasts a nickel-boron bolt. 

This is an ultra-compact system. The contoured upper receiver reduces the width between the stock rods as well as allowing the rods to be positioned higher on the receiver. This provides easier access to the safety control. This pistol has a barrel length of 5.5 inches and an overall length – with closed brace – of 18.75 inches. That makes for a lot of compact firepower. The total unloaded weight is just under 5.7 pounds with its 7075-billet aluminum lower receiver.

The innovation starts right at the muzzle with the Maxim Defense patented Hate Brake muzzle booster. This cone-shaped booster pushes the flash signature, gas, and concussion forward and away from the operator. This also assists in reducing recoil. The gas block has a threaded jet port which allows for custom tuning of the gas flow.

The aluminum handguard is compatible with M-LOK accessories but is also designed to accept the proprietary Maxim M-Rax Picatinny rail, which is spring-loaded piece that assists with placement. The handguard also has ambidextrous QD mounts.


A full-length Picatinny rail provides generous options for sights, optics, lasers, etc. The rail is slightly elevated to place sights a little higher, aiding in quick sight picture access. The charging handle is a Radian Raptor-LT, which is an excellent choice. As for other controls, an ambidextrous magazine release and standard AR bolt catch/release lever are standard and topped off with a Radian ambidextrous safety selector.

The trigger is an ALG Combat Trigger, which is a great trigger system with mil-spec internals. This trigger has a very crisp pull and a positive and short reset. ALG boasts that it is similar to the “QMS but it is sharper, and the grittiness of the stock trigger pull has been removed while the traditional reliability of a stock trigger remains.” The trigger pull weight is approximately 5.5 pounds. 

The trigger guard is ample in size to accept a gloved hand with a Reptilia pistol grip. The grip is slightly shorter than a standard grip, which adds to its concealability. There is nice stippling treatment on the front and back straps. The magazine well is also nicely contoured and flared to help with quick reloads. 

The take-down is easy and similar to other ARs, with the exception that the sequence of removing the pins is probably easiest if you pull the front pin first and then the back pin. The upper and lower actually push apart because of the unique buffer spring system.

Maxim Defense PDX AR Pistol
The Hate Break muzzle device does a great job of reducing recoil and keeping the firearm compact. (Photo: Rutsen Eagle/
Maxim Defense PDX AR Pistol
For a "tiny" gun, the PDX offers plenty of firepower. (Photo: Rutsen Eagle/
Maxim Defense PDX AR Pistol
It doesn't get more compact than the PDX when it comes to PDWs. (Photo: Rutsen Eagle/



On the Range

We were shooting both PMC .223 Remington 55-grain FMJ-BT and PMC 5.56mm 55-grain FMJ-BT. Both performed flawlessly in the PDX. We quickly noticed the soft recoil from this very short-barrel pistol. Not that the 5.56 round is a heavy recoiling round, but recoil was relatively light regardless.

After shooting a few magazines through the PDX, the barrel became very hot. That was not unexpected but worth noting if you want to shoot higher volumes. But the Hate Brake did an excellent job of pushing the gas and concussion forward.

We tested accuracy out to 100 yards, which is probably the maximum distance for this pistol for most uses. We were able to get consistent hits on steel with 3-to-4-inch groups. Remember, this pistol was designed for CQB situations, which are within a few yards. So, overall, the performance of this gun was excellent for its purposes.


Any Negatives?

Maxim Defense PDX AR Pistol
Sure, it's small. But the PDX is not lacking in power. (Photo: Rutsen Eagle/

As far as performance, there were not any real negatives. One note that comes to mind is the small size, but that’s all about remembering the purpose of this pistol. I only mention this because you need to practice with this pistol before you try to put it to practical use. Training with this gun is essential, but that should go without saying.

In Conclusion

This compact system is extremely well made and well thought out. Maxim Defense made a high-quality gun with a specific purpose in mind. It is an excellent firearm for the price and, above all else, the PDX fits a very unique space and practical purpose in any safe.