Ian’s Customs: Lage Max11A1/15 Light Machine Gun

I bought an M11A1 machine pistol several years ago, when I first heard about the Lage Max11/15 project (I chose the M11A1 because I wanted the shortest registered receiver possible). Well, the M11A1 version of that upper sat in ATF purgatory for more than two years, but it is finally out! (Note: yes, a realize that ATF approval is not a legal requirement for a product like this, but for Lage it was an important step for protecting themselves against a potential future ATF decision)

The basic Max11/15 upper uses a 10.5 inch barrel, and is designed primarily as recreational machine gun, along the lines of the previous Lage 9mm uppers. I wanted something more along the lines of a SAW/LMG, though.To start, I wanted a longer barrel, and chose a heavy-profile 16″ one to allow a bit of sustained fire. I also thought that a Blk Lbl integrated bipod/handguard would be a perfect fit for this build. I chose to use Lage’s Internal Recoil System to avoid needing any modification to my Mac, and I also upgraded several of the Mac parts. Specifically, I have a Lage hardened sear, grip, and trigger shoe on the gun. For optics, I wanted something that was suitable for the SAW role, and I chose to go with an Aimpoint CompM4 and 3x magnifier on a Spuhr BAM (Ballistic Adjustable Mount). This mount puts both the optic and magnifier on a BDC cam, adjustable out to 600 meters.

All the parts for this gun have been sitting around for the past two years, but in the interest of full disclosure, Blk Lbl gave me the handguard, Aimpoint gave me the optic, Spuhr gave me the BAM mount, and Lage would not let me pay for the upper. The Surefire mag was a gift from Jim Sullivan. I paid for the M11A1, Aimpoint magnifier, and everything else myself.


  1. I really enjoyed this and I’m considering purchasing the conversion upper for my NFA registered M11. Please keep us posted with more videos as you dial this in.

  2. I am not a big fan of rifles shooting full auto, but in this case, since this is basically a LMG to begin with, I like it. As a matter of fact I would not mind to give it a shot (or burst) myself. It needs supply of cheap ammo though.

    It looks like slick package overall. Good job shooting it.

  3. Ignorant, possibly stupid, question: If the longer barrel is meant to reduce heat buildup, isn’t that less necessary for 5.56 than 9mm? 9mm is meant to burn entirely inside a pistol barrel, so a longer barrel will distribute the heat better. But 5.56 with a short barrel will burn some past the end of the barrel, so a longer barrel provides as much extra heating as it does heat absorbing barrel.

    • “(…)But 5.56 with a short barrel will burn some past the end of the barrel, so a longer barrel provides as much extra heating as it does heat absorbing barrel.”
      Please note that longer barrel generally gives greater external area, thus it should cool down faster.

    • This is a complex issue. Erosion patters due to flame I observed on sliced barrels, be it 7.62 or 5.56 are most intense immediately ahead of chamber. I was involved in past in measuring temperature at various parts of barrel. Barrels were sometimes so hot you could observe bullets as they accelerate. The more of barrel mass, the better is the cooling effect, regardless of cartridge.

      The balance of heating/ cooling is very complicated affair; a diagram to describe it will look like a saw-teeth – climbing and dropping depending on heat input vs. dissipation. Counterintuitively, cooling ribs do not make much difference. There is no easy solution, any way you look at it. I think length of barrel in cases like you see here have more legal that practical impact.

      • For a registerd NFA machinegun barrel length rules do not apply. AFAIK & IANAL of course.

        Yes cooling fins do not ssem to add much in cooling. In some barrel designs like on the Hotchkiss MGs they add mass by making it thicker, but the bigger surface area does not seem to add much. If the ribs are along the length of the barrel they may add rigidity like an I-beam I think. Which may be desireable as well.

  4. Couldn’t an open bolt/fixed firing pin gun like this, when the gas port is set to just lock it back, result in a runaway gun if it becomes fouled or a different ammo is used that prevents the bolt from engaging the sear, but still allows it enough travel to feed a round out the magazine?

  5. I figure that mount would be on the expensive side.. I like the drop adjustement on it though. not the worst package thinkable.

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