AR-15s

Review: Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22 Sport .22 LR

Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22 rifle in the snow resting against a tree

When I recently stumbled across a solid deal on a Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22 Sport, let’s just say that I didn’t hesitate to take it home. I already owned a M&P 15 (chambered in 5.56/.223) for several years, and it has been extremely reliable and fun to shoot.

I figured a M&P 15-22 would be great to train with, due to the similarities between the two. I also imagined that it would be a great teaching gun for my kids down the road. I haven’t had too many S&W firearms disappoint me. Looking back at this one, it surely did not disappoint either.

Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22 rifle right profile
The M&P 15-22 Sport looks very similar to its larger caliber counterpart, the M&P 15.

Unboxing

Unboxing the 15-22, I found a neatly packaged soft rifle case, three 25-round magazines, and the gun. Unlike other .22 LR AR options I’ve shot, the M&P 15-22 does not look or feel cheap, despite having a polymer upper and lower.

There was a nice amount of factory lubricant applied, and the finish was immaculate. The fact that it was bundled together in the soft case, then a shipping box, kept everything clean and secure. As far as packaging and first impressions are concerned, there was nothing to complain about.

M&P 15-22 Features

I won’t bore you with discussing every specification, but I would like to touch on some the features you could get with the 15-22. There are several different sub-model packages that you can order, with different optic packages, compliant features, and a variety of color options.

The one I chose, in particular, looked to be one of the more popular models I’ve seen. It came with fewer options, but it sported a lower price as well. I’d rather spend less up front. Given my previous history, I’d likely swap some of the parts and add new ones anyway.

My Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22 came with flip-up Magpul MBUS front and rear sights with plenty of room to mount an optic in between them. I like having flip-up sights as a backup in case the optic fails. The M&P 15-22 also features the Magpul M-Lok system, making it easy to attach your accessories to the handguard.

Camouflaged gloved hand holding the M&P 15-22 rifle with a snowy ground for the background
Even with a full magazine, the total weight is just about five pounds.

A simple six-position buttstock was attached, but it does the job and is much preferred over a fixed stock, in my opinion. If you do choose to replace any parts, there are a ton on the market to choose from. Most parts such as stocks, grips, lights etc., that will fit on your standard AR-15s will also fit on the 15-22.

Specifications

Caliber: 22 LR
Magazine capacity: 
25
Length: 
33.8 inches
Sights: Folding, Magpul MBUS
Action: 
Semi-auto blow back
Grip: 
Polymer
Barrel twist: 
1 in 15 inches
Barrel length: 
16.5 inches
Weight: 
76.8 ounces

Range Time: Reliability and Accuracy

Over the last couple range trips, I put 200 rounds of 40-grain CCI Standard Velocity and 200 rounds of 36-grain Winchester White Box hollow points through the M&P 15-22. Surprisingly, the only issues I experienced were with the CCI ammo, which typically functions the best in my other .22s.

I saw six failure to feeds and one failure to eject. The failures to feed were all with the same magazine. Once I switched magazines, I didn’t see another over the next few hundred rounds. I’ll chalk those FTFs up to that specific magazine.

National Rifle Association official 25-yard target with multiple bullet holes low of the bullseye
The first grouping out of the box may have been low, but remained relatively tight. It only took a quick adjustment of the sights to fix this and it was smooth sailing.

Accuracy is exactly what I thought it would be, at least after adjusting the sights. The first 25 rounds at 25 yards wound up low, but were centered and fell roughly in a fist-sized grouping. After a few quick adjustments, I was able to get my groupings down to about the size of a golf ball, and I had no problem hitting six-inch gongs out at 100 yards. Thanks to the low level of recoil, quick follow-up shots stayed on target.

Final Thoughts: M&P 15-22

The 15-22 offers excellent bang for the buck. You get a reliable and accurate rifle, with quality features and a lifetime service from Smith and Wesson, all at an affordable price point. Whether you own a standard AR-15 or not, this rifle will be great for your training and plinking needs.

If you’re in the market for a new .22 LR, I suggest adding Smith and Wesson’s M&P 15-22 to your list of considerations.

Is there another AR-15-style .22 LR rifle that you enjoy shooting and have found reliable? Share your top choices in the comment section.

  • Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22 rifle on a shooting bench at an indoor range
  • Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22 with back soft rifle case
  • Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22 rifle right profile
  • Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22 rifle in the snow resting against a tree
  • National Rifle Association official 25-yard target with multiple bullet holes low of the bullseye
  • Camouflaged gloved hand holding the M&P 15-22 rifle with a snowy ground for the background

Bio: Ryan is a firearms and tactical gear enthusiast that has maneuvered himself into the firearms industry over the past decade.  While his full-time career is outside of the industry, he has consulted for dozens of firearms and tactical gear related companies.  He enjoys conducting tests and evaluations, shooting product photography and developing marketing strategies for them.

If he’s not spending time with his family, you’ll likely find him at the range or driving around looking for photo shoot locations. You can check out some of his photos and other content on Instagram (@theguygearreview).

About the Author:

Ryan Domke

Ryan Domke is a freelance writer, photographer and social media consultant with a passion for guns and tactical gear. He works with some of the largest manufacturers in the firearms industry, allowing him the opportunity to continuously learn from and knowledge share with the 2A community. When he’s not spending time with his family, you’ll likely find him at the range or starting a new DIY project. If you’d like to check out some of his other content, you can find him on Instagram at (@TheGuyGearReview).
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (13)

  1. You asked for other AR style 22lr that are dependable. I’ve found the Tippman to super well made and extremely reliable. The HK 416 22lr is also very good, I’m just not Gung ho on the barrel but it functioned well and you can’t complain about HK stuff.

  2. S&W could probably expand their market on this one if they would just include ambidextrous charging handle and safety. I am sorry but the ambidextrous safety on AR style firearms, is a no-brainer, to include us “correct” handed people. Ironically, being left-eye dominant, I have found the 10/22 with a few left-hand friendly accessaries is still hard to beat. FYI: For anyone having magazine related issues, like FTF, I suggest checking out the GLOCK video on how to properly load the G-44 .22LR magazines to avoid feeding issues. I have since learned the Glock video seems to pertain to other manufactures of .22LR semi-auto magazines as well. So if you are having Failure To Feed issues on your favorite .22, give the Glock G-44 magazine video a peek. Keep that TOP or FIRST round, from NOSE-diving.

  3. Hey RICHARD SPITLER – I suggest using Federal bulk 22 LR ammo. I buy 800 rounds in a box for about $72. I also suggest getting the CMMG 25 round mags. They are readily available. I just picked up 6 myself

  4. Richard…it’s the MAGS, but they aren’t bad. Once loaded, pull the assist lever down the last few centimeters it will allow you, and tap the BOTTOM of the mag several times on the table…it’s a somewhat known thing…that I researched and had same issue. Now I may have about one or two failures per 4 or 5 mags…reasonable!

  5. My experience with this rifle is frustrating. I’ve had it to the range several times and cannot go through a 25 round magazine without jamming several times. Whether it’s ejecting or loading. Every time. I’m using Winchester ammo and just recently purchased some CCI that I haven’t tried yet. I have 1 magazine that came with the rifle and due to supply issues, there are none to be found. So as of this time, I cannot try another one. Any suggestions? Rifle defect? Ammo? Magazine?

  6. Great review Ryan. I have a Smith & Wesson M&P 15 Sport II chambered in 5.56/.223. I bought a CMMG 22 LR conversion kit. The kit comes with three 22 LR MAGS and a .22 LR bolt carrier. It takes about 10 seconds to convert from 223/556 to .22 and provides tons of shooting fun for not much money. This was a much cheaper solution than buying a separate 22 LR AR. BTW, similar to your experience, I did get just a handful of hangups and only one failure to fire. All in all it is a great range day solution.

  7. Great review Ryan. I have a Smith & Wesson M&P 15 Sport II chambered in 5.56/.223. I bought a CMMG 22 LR conversion kit. The kit comes with three 22 LR MAGS and a .22 LR bolt carrier. It takes about 10 seconds to convert from 223/556 to .22 and provides tons of shooting fun for not much money. This was a much cheaper solution than buying a separate 22 LR AR. BTW, similar to your experience, I did get just a handful of handouts and only one failure to fire. All in all it is a great range day solution.

  8. The author forgot to mention a 15/22 is an excellent suppressor host! CCI Standard Velocity or American Eagle 45-grain Suppressor is Hollywood Quiet! Another good .22 AR is the Tippmann. More metal, but more expensive.
    Also, I believe the 15/22 is still banned by Appleseed, unfortunately.

  9. I bought an M&P 15-22 years ago and it is the best semi-auto .22 I have ever owned. It feeds every type of ammo I feed it without any problems. It almost never, if ever, had a feeding or ejecting problem. The only difference it has compared to the one in the picture is that it doesn’t have a threaded barrel which means no flash hider and it didn’t come with the pictures soft case. Even with the pictured sights it is very accurate with these iron sights. After firing 25 rounds at 25 yards it’s difficult to count how many shots I’ve fired because it seems like all of the bullets go through the same hole and I just cut out a small hole in the center to the target. For me, this rifle is a winner in all aspects. It’s my favorite .22 semi-auto rifle.

  10. I am V-P of a Scholastic Action Shooting Program in San Antonio, Texas. I personally own a M & P 15-22, which my grandson was using for competition in our program. We had an instance where the rifle fired from an open bolt. I spoke with the folks at Smith & Wesson, and they advised me that there was a certain production run of these rifles that left the factory with a bolt assembly that was out of spec. In addition, I spoke with our National Headquarters for SASP…they advised me that they had three instances of “malfunctions”…another “open bolt” situation which injured the coach standing next to the athlete standing at the firing line, another instance where the rifle went full-auto, and an incident where the trigger pins walked out. We spoke with the engineering staff at S & W, and they were at a loss as to how to explain our “incidents”…subsequently SASP (Scholastic Action Shooting Program) has banned the use of the M & P 15-22 from use by any of the 3,600 teams nationwide. This was 3 years ago, and to date, the folks at Smith & Wesson have not come up with a remedy. Thought that it was important that you know all the facts.

  11. I overpaid for mine at the height of the hysteria of the pandemic. Still glad I did…probably overpaid by about $150. What I have done, is enjoyed the heck out of it. Yeah, love my 556, but at 8 cpr vs 75 cpr, I get uncontrollable urges to shoot. This helps tie me over until I don’t mind breaking out the 556 which now costs more than a night at the local strip joint.

    Now I have the McFadden speedloader, a MUST! It feeds my mags quicker than a 400lb Oprah at the all you can eat Golden Corral. Oh, and I have it in “pistol (brace)” format. Soooo much fun.

  12. Great review. There’s another incredible .22 LR AR that readers may find enjoyable. IT’s the HK-416. This .22 version of the gun used to bring Osama Bin Laden to justice is available in both rifle and handgun models. Mine is the handgun version and with a stabilizer brace and silencer it’s like being part of an anti-terrorism task force. This gun is a delightful way for new shooters to become acquainted with the sport without dealing with noise and recoil.

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