Range Reports

Range Report: Smith & Wesson M&P .22 Pistol

Looking almost identical to its bigger brothers and sisters, the S&W M&P .22 pistol is the perfect trainer if you own or plan to own one of Smith &Wesson’s 9mm or .40 caliber M&Ps.

Introduced in 2011, the .22 LR M&P is made by Carl Walther in Germany. Though the rimfire M&P looks similar to the centerfire models, the two are functionally different. The centerfire M&P is striker-fired; the rimfire models have an internal hammer. The centerfire M&P has a stainless steel slide. The aluminum aerospace alloy slide keeps the weight lower on the rimfire model.

One of the biggest differences between the two is the frame-mounted thumb safety on the .22 model. This thumb safety is an option on the centerfire models, but as of yet, S&W has not released the .22 model without the thumb safety.

Even though there are no interchangeable backstraps included with the rimfire handgun, both small and large hands fit naturally firm around the grip. For those with bigger hands, the pinky and ring finger may rest on the bottom of the extended magazine well. The placement of the controls is perfect for me. Regardless of the size of your finger spread, manipulating the ambidextrous thumb safety and magazine release will not be a problem.

Loading the 10-round magazine is quick and easy because the magazine spring is supple. You will not struggle inserting the last two rounds.

The slide feels as smooth as butter and those who have issues with pulling back a slide on a semi-automatic pistol will be pleasantly surprised at the ease of cocking it.

Even though the M&P .22 is not striker fired, it acts much like it is, and as is with all striker-fired polymer framed pistols the single-action trigger is mushy with no true breaking point. However, if you are used to shooting Glocks, XDs or the centerfire M&P the trigger should not be an issue. Smith & Wesson reports the trigger pull on the M&P 22 is set at 4.5 pounds. That is lighter than Glock’s standard 5.5 pounds.

The front sight dot on the M&P .22 is clear and bright, making for quick and accurate target acquisition.

Recoil is barely noticeable and with the combination of the clear dot sight, recovery time is next to nil for quick follow up shots. As far as Smith & Wesson reliability and durability go, the S&W M&P shoots CCI standard velocity, Remington Golden Bullet, Winchester Super X, Armscor Precision, and CCI Tactical with very few malfunctions. I liked the CCI standard the least. The Winchester Super X and Remington were comparable with only one or two issues, while, surprisingly, the CCI Tactical ran perfect through the M&P.

I have read the trigger pins on the centerfire models sometimes get loose and pop out. In fact, a police officer reported he experienced the issue in his duty gun. It remains to be seen if the rimfire model will have the same issues.

As a trainer pistol, teaching a new shooter, a fun plinker or rimfire competition gun, the S&W M&P 22 rimfire pistol is excellent for its ergonomics, reliability and functionality.


Ease of slide manipulation, Placement of controls, Lightweight, Grip, Clear front dot sight


Frame-mounted thumb safety, Drifting rear sight, Lack of affordable and available factory magazines    

S&W M&P 22
Action Semiautomatic, single-action only
Barrel Length 4.1 inches
Caliber .22 Long Rifle
Overall Length 7.6 inches
Weight Unloaded 24 ounces
Sights Adjustable
Stock or Grip Polymer grips
Capacity 10

Do you think full-sized rimfire pistols are a good investment for training and practice? Tell us why or why not in the comment section.

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 (24)

  1. Don 5, don’t know about you or your problems, but I currently own both Glocks (22 & 19) and S&W pistols M&P 9, SD9VE, 5904). My S&Ws are much better than my Glocks (better ergo & natural point of aim). Have never had a bobble or jam with better than 2000+ rounds shot. I love my S&W because they are AMERICAN made products by an AMERICAN company that plain work great.

  2. Why is everyone in LOVE with Smith & Wesson Shields?

    And any other Smith & Wesson products?

    It seams that the all GUN WRITERS, are biased towards
    Smith & Wesson products ,almost to the point it sounds like
    they are getting paid to say how good they are!

    The M&P pistols are cheap junk copies of GLOCKS.

    The M&P pistols are cheaply made, they jam and don’t feed!

    The AR-15’s have the same problem, they jam and don’t feed
    any better!

    The only way they work reliably is to spend big money with a
    Gun Smith, and even then its hit or miss if the guns will work!!

    Why can’t the GUN WRITERS tell the truth about Smith & Wesson products?

    1. A better factory trigger, more ergonomic grip, and lifetime warranty sure doesn’t sound like a “cheap junk copy” to me. Plus, how can the Shield be a copy when Glock still doesn’t have a single stack 9mm?

      It’s also telling that your experience with Glock has you going to a gunsmith rather than contacting customer service.

  3. I bought my granddaughter one for her 14th birthday; she had never shot a pistol previously. Took her to the range and she actually destroyed the 10-ring at 7 yards, first time shooting. Now all I hear is ‘Lets go to the range Granddad. Great shooting handgun! Functionally the same as my M&P40, M&P45, and M&P357Sig, but without any recoil.

  4. I bought the S & W MP22 with one mag. about a week ago and have been looking for magazines about everyday. The sporting goods store where I bought the S & W is going to call and order 4 for me . The hand gun is great no problems , shot about 500 rounds of CCI . I will post back if I receive these magazines.

  5. I bought mine in Feb 2013 and have several thousand rounds through it. I’ve run all kinds of ammo and it functions as well as a .22 auto-loader should. The only ammo it doesn’t reliably feed is Win 555 bulk. Thunderbolts run great but after 100 rounds or so they start leading up your barrel. You’ll know when you start missing your targets and see lead on the barrel crown. Last time was so bad I couldn’t get a brush through the barrel. Took a lot of solvent and a bore snake to clean it all out. Got a brick of Rem Golden Bullets and they run about perfect. My trigger pin just started loosening up. I bought a 3/32″ punch and tapped it back in. Hope it stays. Fun little pistol. I was able to get 2 mags on Gunbroker, and 2 10 rounders (easily converted) online when they came in stock for 2 minutes. Picked it up from Grab-a Gun for $320 + local FFL fee.

  6. I have had mine for a year now and love the gun. It performs flawlessly, looks great, feels great, and so much fun to shoot. I never did care much for the rear sight though.
    I was able to get 2 additional mags from S&W (10 rounders for $12 each) before all this nonsense about “gun control” hit. Like #14 JIM said all you have to do is take the little spacer out of the 10 round mags and you’ve got a 12 rounder! very easy to do.

  7. @#15 DavidH, yeah good luck with the wish list, I’ve been doing that since about the end of January but a few weeks ago gave up and found some on Gunbroker.com, I was able to buy two for a hundred bucks ($50 each) does seem kind of high but that included shipping and since S&W wants $32 for one I figured I didn’t get bent over to bad. They should have included 2 mags at least to begin with.

  8. If anyone knows where i can get magazines, please advise. The S&W web site ONLY allows adding to a wish list. Frankly i think its really horrible for S&W to sell the gun and not make magazines available for MONTHS ON END??? What am i missing?


  10. When the “.22lr” fever hit I opted for the SIG 1911-22 and never looked back–That said, I have shot my bud’s M&P .22 and it’s a great gun indeed (their M&P AR rocks as well!). I might even pick one up (in particular when .22lr ammo becomes readily available once again…?).

  11. I’ve had a full size and compact M&P .40’s for a couple years now and just got the .22 earlier this year and after several hundred rounds through it, mostly CCI mini-mags, both LRN’s and hollow points and mixed bulk stuff, there hasn’t been a single problem with it. for KB on number 5, you should recheck your barrel, lock the slide back and if there’s about a 3/8th inch tip on it with flat grooves for the wrench then it’s threaded and Brownells carries the adapters.

  12. Love the gun. I am just upset that Smith and Wesson didn’t produce enough clips. The gun only comes with one clip. Smith and Wesson are unable to identify a “get well” date.

  13. I actually purchased this pistol during a Veteran’s Day sale at Hoffmans Guns in CT for $299!
    It is an awesome gun. I also have the full size M&P 9 and the shield, and this is a nice addition.
    Put around 500 rds. through it with zero malfunctions. Only downside is the governor just made the 2 12 round standard magazines I have for it illegal!
    Highly recommend.

  14. I’ve had the opportunity to test fire one of theses on the range and agree with the evaluation above for the most part. I was not as comfortable with the grip but I’m pretty sure that was just me and in time this wouldn’t be a factor. Also put my GemTech Outbach II on it with no noticeable change in balance or accucery. The mag availability is a problem as the owner of the one I got to fire lamented. He as been unable to get any additional mag ‘s at all, there just not available. Like most products from S&W they are well engineered and do S&W proud. I’m going to just stick to my .22 Rugers I think but would consider this offering as n addition to my collection.

  15. Mine cost me $399. I love it! I can’t tell the difference in weight/feel between it and my M&P 9mm when I close my eyes and hold one in each hand. It is great to practice with and a lot cheaper to shoot (as long as you can get 22 cartridges!).

  16. This is a great gun for training and plinking.
    It is easy to shoot and very reliable. It is easy to transfer skills to a full-sized model.
    Because it is similar to a standard full sized auto, I was able to use my regular holster. I like this because I do not need to purchase any odd sized gear and it integrates well with my combat rig.
    There is one very huge drawback – you cannot find any extra magazines for the pistol !
    This is disappointing.
    I highly recommend that you use copper jacketed rounds to prevent lead fouling.

  17. I have 2 and love them. I picked one up for $359 after negotiating with the gun store owner on a large purchase. Most places I have talked with are right aroun $400.

  18. I am 6’4″ 280 lbs male with large hands and I think this weapon is absolutely fantastic. It fits my hands well, and is very very easy to shoot accurately. However, the pictured gun includes a threaded barrel, something which mine did not come with out of the box.

    For my M&P .22 I paid $349 (plus tax) at a gun show post-Newtown.

  19. The magazines are now available. I waited 4 months but Smith & Wesson sent it at a fair price not like crazy EBay prices! This is a very nice fun gun everyone should own one!

  20. I installed fiber optic sights on mine and use if for steel challenge. It runs 100% with no malfuctions on CCI Mini-Mags and is very fast to come on target. Benchresting produces 2+ inch groups at 25 yards. It’s a keeper.

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