The current study investigates the usefulness of the DSM-5 maladaptive trait model to better understand the building blocks of the dark triad personality traits. Specifically, differential associations with 25 maladaptive personality facets are examined to uncover similarities and differences between the dark triad traits (objective 1). In addition, incremental validity of Five-Factor Model (FFM) maladaptive and FFM general personality domains as predictors of the dark triad traits is examined (objective 2). Data were obtained in a sample of Romanian law enforcement personnel (i.e., police officers, gendarmes, fire-fighters; total N = 266). With regard to the first objective, Machiavellianism and psychopathy, more than narcissism, showed multiple associations with facets from the maladaptive trait model. Grandiosity was found to be the only maladaptive facet that connects all three dark traits. Regarding the second objective, results indicated that DSM-5 maladaptive domains outperformed general Big Five domains when they were considered simultaneously as predictors of the dark triad traits, although the predictive effects of Big Five domains did not disappear completely when maladaptive DSM-5 domains were also taken into account. The results expand the understanding of the dark triad and indicate how abnormal traits supplement normal traits when looking at interrelatedness within the triad. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.