Some time in September 2005 I
first saw a post about this new upper on the market
that would transform your stock SWD M-11/NINE into a
truly nice SMG. Skeptical, I kept watching the message
boards for a few more reviews but couldn’t wait
any longer so I decided to take a risk and get my self
on the waiting list for one.
LAGE’s waiting list requires no money
down and no commitment. You can pull out any time, and
if you don’t have the money when your number is
reached you can drop out or move to the back of the
list again. You can go to
LAGE’s website here and request to get in
After I requested to be put on the waiting
list, Richard Lage personally emailed me and let me
know my number was 86, and the wait would be 8-12 weeks.
I offered to pay up front for the upper but he didn’t
want to accept it because no product had been delivered
By late March I had yet to receive a email
that my upper was ready so I emailed Richard asking
for a update. He said my number would come up mid-may.
Looking at some of the message boards I recall reading
a post that Richard had some issues with waiting on
a batch of barrels.
Sure enough, mid-may I received an email with
instructions and an order sheet because my number had
come up and my upper was ready. I sent the payment and
within 2 days the upper was at my door.
The shipping box had no markings that signaled
that anything gun related was packaged inside. This
is a good thing since it keeps postal employees with
sticky fingers from getting your stuff.
When you open the box and take out the contents
every part is sealed in it’s own plastic bag and
is wrapped with packing foam.
When I managed to get all the packing materials
off of the parts I couldn’t help but to just sit
there and admire how much thought went into this upper.
The upper is a simple & elegant design with no complex
retardation devices, or fancy gas systems to slow the
ROF down. Just a large and properly balanced weight
that is bolted on top of a M-11 bolt and fits into the
top portion of the upper.
Installation is simple and requires no modification
to the lower receiver of your SWD M-11/NINE. To install
the LAGE upper you remove the stock upper from your
lower and then insert the LAGE upper into the lower
the receiver. Once it is seated take the front hand
guard and slide it through the front of the barrel and
then into position so the take down pin can be inserted.
The LAGE take down pin can now be inserted to lock the
system together. And that’s it! I took it to a
friends place and put 1/3 of a magazine through it just
to see if it functioned.
A few days latter I was on my way to the Bullethole
range in San Antonio with a friend (known as daemon734)
to really test out the upper.
Before I get into my range report I want to
go over every thing the upper has.
Side charging conversion (charging handle is
on side of upper)
8-inch barrel threaded ½-28
Mil-Std-1913 full-length upper rail (will not allow
co-witness with Eotech’s)
Mil-Std-1913 accessory rail (bottom of hand guard)
2 additional rail mounts (sides of hand guards)
Adjustable AR-15 “type” sights
Compatible with STEN converted M-11s
ROF lowered to approx 600 RPM
From just looking at the list of features on this upper
you instantly get images of a “bubbafied MAC”.
Fortunately the entire package looks good and fits into
the M-11’s “lines” so well it looks
like a completely different SMG.
Now back to the range report, we brought approx
1,200 rounds of 9mm of Winchester White Box, a PACT
timer, and 5 STEN (my M-11/NINE is converted) magazines
With great anticipation I installed the first
magazines, shouldered my weapon, & then took aim
at the paper target. I pulled the trigger and felt the
bolt slam forward but the weapon failed to fire.
Perplexed I removed the loaded magazine and
pulled the bolt back slowly and noticed a round was
chambered and the primer was dented but it did not shoot.
Then BANNNNGGG!!! Luckily I had the thing pointed down
range even though the round probably cleared the first
berm. This was the first time I have ever had a round
do this, apparently some thing must have been wrong
with the primer because it went off a good 30 seconds
after it had been hit. And boy did I feel like idiot,
having a accidental discharge (even though it was the
ammos fault). Remember, safety is paramount!
Wanting to redeem myself I reloaded the magazine
and pulled the trigger again and the gun started to
shoot. I got approx 6 shots off and then it jammed.
Embarrassed because I was telling every one how this
upper should transform the gun and here I was with it
jammed. I cleared the jam and got another string of
shots off and it jammed again. Now I was really feeling
like an idiot. I let my friend try the magazine he just
loaded and just like the last magazine it would jam
every 5 or 6 rounds.
At this point I was telling every one it probably
just needed to be broken in. I inserted another magazine
and I was able to finish the entire magazine with out
a hiccup. My friend then inserted a fourth magazine
and was able to dump it down range with out a problem.
That’s when I had a “epiphany”,
the magazine’s were causing the problems. I reloaded
the first two magazines we used and sure enough these
would jam every few rounds.
When I would use the last two magazines though,
the gun ran flawlessly. STEN magazines are known for
having problems because of there age, but these magazines
all ran flawlessly with the stock upper so I assume
the slightly tighter tolerances of the LAGE upper were
causing issues with some of the magazines.
Now that we had filtered out the bad magazines
we were really able to put the LAGE upper through its
The first thing I noticed is the upper was
shooting a little low. So with a few clicks on the front
sight we had it adjusted perfectly. With a stock M-11
upper this would have been impossible.
Once sighted, we were able to put just about
every round in a magazine into the target even while
holding down on the trigger because there was almost
no muzzle climb.
Singles, doubles, triples, or even sixes could
be accomplished with out any trouble.
After about 300 rounds the targets were literally
pieces of paper with no center. When they called “cold
range” every one was laughing as we carried the
targets back because compared to all the other targets
with 2 or 3 small holes ours looked like it had been
through the shredder. We had to go purchase another
set because there wasn’t any thing left on ours
Once we had another set of targets mounted
we continued to shoot.
After about 150 more rounds down range the
cocking handle fell off. Apparently the screw had walked
out at some point because we forgot to lock tight it.
Even though the knob had fallen off we could still cock
the weapon easily with the bar that the knob slides
into. Unlike the stock upper your hands wont get sore
from trying to cock the weapon with the LAGE upper because
it uses a side cocker that is a much nicer and a safer
design. UPDATE: I emailed Richard and he is sending
me a replacement screw as apart of the warranty)
At this pointed we tried to time the gun’s
ROF with my PACT timer. I kept getting a reading of
1,275 which wasn’t correct, apparently it was
picking up the echo of the gun. If you divide it by
2 you get approx 637 RPM which I assume is the correct
I have noticed a lot of people claiming that
at 600 RPM the gun is boring because they can pull the
trigger on a semi auto faster then this. Well these
people are full of crap, unless they are “bump
firing” or are some kind of world record speed
shooter 600 RPM is way faster then any one can consistently
pull the trigger. In fact I will challenge any one with
a semi-auto M-11 (with out “bump firing”)
and race me to see who gets to the end of a 32 round
At the end of a 1,000 rounds the only malfunctions
operationally we experienced were all because of the
first two STEN magazines we used.
Overall the LAGE upper turns the SWD M-11/NINE
into a SMG that is in the same class as the MP-5 and
UZI all for significantly less the then cost of either
of the firearms. In my personal opinion the SWD M-11/NINE
with the LAGE upper is better then a UZI (don’t
hate me) because the heavy bolt in the LAGE upper distributes
the weight differently then the heavy bolt in the UZI
does so the gun doesn’t “knock” you
around when shooting it allowing more rounds to end
up where you want them. Also the LAGE upper has room
for expansion by adding two more rails (available now)
and the possibility of incorporating a adjustable bolt
weight to fine tune the ROF (there is talk of this).
The LAGE upper is the best $650 I have ever
spent, it truly transforms your stock SWD M-11/NINE
into a competitive SMG.