A close up on the Great War-era Maxim suppressor
The U.S. Army in the early 20th Century did some research and field trials on several early silencers for use on the M1903 Springfield. Suppressing a .30-06 is no easy task even today but two companies were ready to tackle it.
Between 1908 and 1910, the Army’s Ordnance Bureau purchased 100 Maxim models in .30 caliber as well as another 100 from a chap named Mr. Robert A. Moore. Both of these were by default the M1910 Silencer in the Army’s parlance.
(1) The lesser recoil of the rifle with Silencer operated in two ways: It greatly facilitated instruction of recruits in rifle firing. It materially lessened the fatigue of the soldier in prolonged firing, such as would occur in modern battle, which is a distinct military advantage.
(2) The muffling of the sound of discharge and the great reduction in the total volume of sound which permits the voice to be heard at the firing point about the sound of a number of rifles in action, greatly facilitate the control of the firing line, and extends the influence of officers and non-commisoned officers. It was found where the tactical conditions required a quick opening of fire, a sudden cessation of the fire and several quick changes of objective – all of which are difficult with several rifles firing – that verbal commands could easily be heard, and that it was possible to give perfectly audible instructions when the Silencer was used.
While a few were acquired, most were disposed of through the Director of Civilian Marksmanship by 1925, (yup, today’s CMP!) with a few of both kind kept at Springfield Armory for reference.
One is also at the Cody Museum in Wyoming, and in a rare treat, here it is close up from The Armorer’s Bench: (stay tuned for confirmation in the video that at least some made it “Over There” in WWI)