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Review of the Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22


Much has been written about the fantastic Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 – a .22LR version of their popular S&W M&P carbine rifles.  The M&P 15-22 is a near cosmetic and functional identical twin to my M&P 15 – it’s essentially a .22LR caliber AR-15:

The M&P 15-22 is certainly a fantastic rifle for doing everything from plinking to varmint hunting.  But if you own an AR-15 (and not just one from Smith & Wesson) the M&P 15-22 can be a tremendous asset as a low-cost training platform to hone your AR-15 shooting and operating skills – the main reason I acquired one.  Bulk .223 ammo runs around $0.33 a round.  You can buy .22LR bulk for about a tenth of that cost.  So, if you’re looking to reduce the cost of training with the AR-15, it’s hard to go wrong with the M&P 15-22.  Of course, you could be saying “why not simply buy a .22LR upper for my existing AR-15?  You could do that, sure – a good .22LR upper will run at least $200.00.  For only a couple hundred dollars more, you can have the advantages of having an entire 2nd rifle and for me it was well worth having a 2nd rifle.  In fact, since the M&P 15-22 is a relatively low cost rifle, and using it would be saving me a great deal of money over time in ammunition, I spent some extra money to make it more similar to my other AR-15.  The M&P 15-22 is so  similar to a MILSPEC AR-15 that many parts are interchangeable between the two.  That made it easy to set up my M&P 15-22 in a near identical configuration to its “big brother” M&P 15, which I also own.  I’ve installed an Aimpoint PRO red dot optic,  a Geissele SSA trigger, and a Hogue Rubber Grip
– all components found on my AR-15.  I’ve also installed a Magpul Vertical Forward Grip on my M&P 15-22 to simulate the ergonomics of the VFG I use on my M&P 15.

Spending the extra money on the accessories and modifications was money well spent – now I have no qualms about shooting my M&P 15-22 and getting legitimate value as a training tool.

Shooting the M&P is a rare treat.  The lack of almost any recoil means you can click off rounds as fast your trigger finger can move – and I can empty the 25 round magazines made for the M&P 15-22 pretty darn fast.  The almost negligible recoil also makes the M&P 15-22 an ideal candidate to introduce new and young shooters to carbine rifle shooting.

The M&P 15-22 is also remarkable precise and is rock-solid reliable, even with cheap value pack Federal .22LR.  CCI also makes a special line of .22LR tactical rifle ammo for which the M&P 15-22 is rumored to have been used as a test bed:

It’s my go-to ammo when I want to do any precision shooting.  Here’s what I can do from 50 yards with this ammo, using a non-magnified Aimpoint PRO optic from 50 yards:

Whether you’re looking for a training tool, a starter rifle for the family, or simply a fun gun to shoot, the S&W M&P 15-22 fits the bill.  Since purchasing it, my rifle shooting skills and accuracy have improved dramatically.

About John B. Holbrook, II
John B. Holbrook, II is a freelance writer, photographer, and author of, as well as and *All text and images contained in this web site are the original work of the author, John B. Holbrook, II and are copyright protected. Use of any of the information or images without the permission of the author is prohibited.

  1. I really enjoy your reviews of firearms and in particular the LE6940P and this S&W M&P 15-22. I am in the market for a 22LR carbine but have been looking at Colt and H&K. I am tending towards the HK. Do you think in the near future will add to your collection and add an HK or Colt to your arsenal and then follow with a review?
    Take a look at the HK and I think you will have a new favorite.


  2. My primary purpose for a .22LR carbine is to provide an inexpensive training platform. The M&P 15-22 seems to provide exactly what I’m looking for so I don’t seem me moving to something else anytime soon.


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