With the feel and look of its bigger-caliber relatives, the Smith & Wesson M&P 22 is not just a great training weapon, it’s a heckuva lot of fun to shoot. Of course, we had to increase the fun factor by adding a suppressor, but with or without a can, you can have a great time with this handgun.
Following on the surge of 22-caliber clones of popular handguns, Smith & Wesson introduced the M&P 22 in 2011 to meet the needs of the consumer market. Smith & Wesson developed the M&P 22 to cut down on ammunition costs when training, but also to have a fun plinking pistol that looks and feels like the bigger bore inspirations.
There are a few differences distinguishing the M&P 22 from the 9mm, .45, .40, and .357 SIG versions. You’ll notice the barrel is slightly shorter—4.1 inches versus the 4.25 inches of the full size, though the overall length of the weapon is the same. Walther machined the first versions of the M&P 22 imported into the U.S.; these feature a thumb safety to comply with importation restrictions. The newer, domestically manufactured versions do not feature this thumb safety. Fans of the M&P centerfire versions will be quick to note that the M&P 22 does not have the interchangeable backstraps; so what you see is what you get.
Internally, the engineers had to make a pretty major design change to accommodate the rimfire cartridge. The 22 uses a single-action, hammer-fired mechanism as opposed to the double-action, striker fired action of the centerfire models. Despite the completely different actions, the pistol handles much the same—albeit with a substantial decrease in recoil—and makes for excellent training. For added enjoyment, we added a Tactical Solutions Cascade Ti suppressor. Though the .22 LR cartridge doesn’t have as loud of a report as most other calibers, adding the suppressor turns the M&P 22 into about as loud as a stapler. Needless to say, if you were introducing a new shooter to handguns, this combo would be perfect: no ear-ringing report, no punchy recoil. Since it is the same size and feel of a centerfire handgun, it is easy to correct improper grip and technique before a bad habit forms. However, if you’re a seasoned shooter, you might enjoy this combo just as much!
Have you shot suppressed? Tell us what you think in the comment section.
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