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.
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.
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.
Caliber: 22 LR
Magazine capacity: 25
Length: 33.8 inches
Sights: Folding, Magpul MBUS
Action: Semi-auto blow back
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.
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.
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).