The Maxim machine gun was the first gun in history that can be truely considered an automatic machine gun. The genious of the Maxim system was using recoil energy to automatically reload the gun after every shot. All guns before this required an operator to complete this operation. Once the operator was free from this distracting operation, the efficiency of the guns rose dramatically. With the outbreak of World War I it became clear that the machine gun would forever change the face of warfare.