Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review
June 05, 2012
Smith & Wesson’s M & P22 is designed for recreational shooting, personal protection, home protection and professional training, according to the company. I don’t really like the idea of using a .22 LR for personal or home protection, but I’ve just done the majority of an extended weekend shoot and handling the new model and I see the M & P22 is useful for training and exercise recreational shooting.
For starters, the M&P22, announced in 2011, looks almost exactly the same as the S&W 4.25-inch Centerfire M&P and feels really nice in my medium-sized hand. It weighs 24 ounces, is unloaded, and comes with a solid 4.1-inch barrel. Unlike its larger-caliber brothers (9 mm, .357 SIG, .40 S & W or .45 ACP), the M & P22 does not have interchangeable back straps. However, the .22 pistol is ergonomically inexpensive in other respects compared to the standard 4.25-inch barrel M&P. The total lengths are practically the same. Widths are the same. Heights are the same. The curb weight is the same as the 9 mm M&P with a 4.25 inch barrel.
The M & P22 was manufactured by Carl Walther, GmbH, for Smith & Wesson. The weapon has many of the familiar operating features of the S&W M&P service pistols. As such, it makes a pretty good “understudy” (as one writer put it) to the larger-bore pistols. The visor is a white-dot, drift-adjustable post that is very similar to the visor of the Centerfire model. The visor is a fully adjustable, sleek, low profile black visor.
The frame of the M & P22 is made of polymer with inner inserts made of metal and, like the frame of the Centerfire model, contains an integrated Picatinny-style accessory rail. The rimfire sled is made of an aluminum alloy, while the centerfire sled is made of steel.
The controls – the two-handed slide stop release, the magazine release and the removal lever – correspond exactly to the controls of the central fire. Incidentally, the magazine release of the M & P22 is reversible just like the magazine release of the Centerfire model. The M & P22 has an ambidextrous thumb safety device similar to that of some versions of the larger diameter models. All versions have an articulated trigger, a magazine separator that prevents the pistol from firing when the magazine is removed, and a loading chamber indicator.
The really big difference between the Rimfire and Centerfire models is the ignition mechanism. The single-acting, recoil-operated rimfire pistol uses a hammer mechanism with an internal hammer. The double-acting Centerfire model is a mechanism fired by a striker. For those of you who don’t know the difference, the hammer mechanism, as the name suggests, uses a spring-loaded hammer that pivots on a pin to strike the firing pin. In simple terms, a striking mechanism uses a spring-loaded striker that moves in line with the cartridge, eliminating the need for a separate hammer.
The real joy of any new gun review is getting the gun within range for a few shots. I put the new M&P22 through its paces by shooting 10 different .22 LR charges ranging in bullet weight and style from 31-grit plated hollow points to the age-old classic 40-grit lead solids. Also included were lead hollow points and plated round noses. I shot target ammunition at standard velocity, subsonic loads, high velocity rounds, and hypervelocity ammunition. In total, I did nearly 350 laps through the M&P22 and it didn’t miss a beat.
In terms of accuracy, the results on paper weren’t exactly great. I have to admit that the single white point sight and the simple black sight are not the ideal combination for me to shoot at small bullseye targets. At 25 meters, the visor completely covered a 3-inch porthole. With my poor eyes being what they are, I just couldn’t group loads better than 2.00 inches. Most loads were in the 3.0 to 4.0 inch range at this distance. In the interests of full disclosure, in addition to my poor eyesight, I also had to deal with winds up to 30 mph while spinning the new M&P22. Make it what you want.
A more satisfying part of the shooting session came when it was time to shoot the M&P22 at my swinging steel target. In my opinion, the main function of this pistol is training, so I was pleased to see that the pistol shone while shooting this way. It was a real blast, setting my 4 inch wide steel gong in motion at various distances (from 3 to 10 meters) from every angle I could think of and moving – excuse the pun. I just glued the white visor to the gong and let go of the shots. Double-taps were hugely effective, due to the lack of recoil from the rimfire round. Unless you have to deal with a lot of recoil and muzzle jump, it’s a lot easier to focus on pulling the trigger and placing the visor. I know this type of shooting is important and should be taken seriously for training purposes, but you have to admit that shooting fast at a reactive target is also great fun.
I think the new M&P22 makes a lot of sense for anyone shooting a Centerfire M&P pistol for use or personal protection. It has been said that an action must be performed at least 3,000 times in order for it to become instinctive to a person. When you consider that the cost of the cheapest .22 LR ammunition at my Wal-Mart is 3.6 cents per round and the cheapest 9mm ammunition is 20 cents per round, the cost savings of firing 3,000 training shots is .22 LR as opposed to 9mm is $ 492. With that in mind, the M&P22 looks pretty good.