Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review
Part 1 - Introduction, Specifications and Summary
January 24, 2012

Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

Maybe I'm just a value minded person, but I have always enjoyed .22LR rimfire firearms.  It has never mattered whether they were rifles or pistols because with both I could shoot until I was eventually tired of reloading (since ammo for a .22LR is so affordable).  When I first started shooting about 40 years ago, growing up in my modest world the rimfire options seemed to be limited to very traditional bolt rifles, semi-automatic rifles and revolvers.  I'm sure there may have been some other styles on the market, but I'm speaking from what was available with my family and friends for me to shoot.  Today it seems you can get a rimfire firearm in just about any style from a very traditional to a very tactical configuration.  Today we are also now seeing more manufacturers produce rimfire pistols that match their big brother pistols in higher calibers such as 9mm, .40S&W and .45ACP.  Doing this makes these rimfire pistols excellent training weapons because they have the same basic feel and controls as their higher caliber brethren.  Additionally, even if you don't have the higher caliber companion, these new rimfire pistols make for great fun.

Last year, Smith & Wesson introduced their new M&P22 Pistol which closely matches their M&P9 and M&P40 full size pistols with thumb safeties.  The two photos below show the M&P9 and M&P22 side by side so you can get a good idea on the visual similarities of these two pistols along with the controls such as the slide stop, thumb (manual) safety and magazine release.  When you compare the specifications of these two pistols you see that the overall length and weight of these pistols is nearly identical at 7.6" and 24 ounces.  Clearly, since the M&P22 shoots .22LR, there will be some internal differences.  But externally, I can see that the M&P22 would make a great affordable training weapon for the M&P9 or M&P40.

Figure 1 - M&P9                                                    Figure 2 - M&P22
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review   Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

 

To produce the new M&P22 Pistol, Smith & Wesson called on the team at Walther (actually Carl WALTHER GmbH) in Germany.  By doing so, Smith & Wesson was able to leverage the experience that Walther has in making semi-automatic rimfire pistols (i.e. Walther P22) which would bring a quality .22LR pistol to the Smith & Wesson M&P series of handguns.  Smith & Wesson states a suggested retail price of $419 for the M&P22, but a quick search on the internet reveals you can purchase this pistol for around $350 plus S&H and transfer fees.

During my reviews I like to compare my results to the manufacturer's claims where possible so the following text in colored italics was taken directly from the Smith & Wesson website on 1/3/2012 and gives an Overview and Specifications for the M&P22 Pistol.  The , and are my way to keep up with details that I have covered in this review with either photos, commentary or both.  I may also add commentary after these marks as necessary to explain some items if needed.

Overview

  • The M&P22 is sure to be a popular addition to the M&P line of semi-auto pistols.
  • Designed as a dedicated .22LR, the M&P22 pistol combines the look, feel and familiar operating features of the trusted M&P series of centerfire pistols.
  • The M&P22 is ideally suited for training or simple shooting enjoyment with the popular and inexpensive .22LR cartridge.
  • Made by the .22 experts at Carl Walther, GmbH for Smith & Wesson.

Specifications

  • Model: M&P22
  • Caliber: .22 LR
  • Capacity: 12+1 Rounds
  • Action: Single Action
  • Barrel Length: 4.1" / 10.4 cm
  • Front Sight: Drift Adjustable
  • Rear Sight: Click Adjustable
  • Overall Length: 7.6" / 19.3 cm
  • Weight: 24 oz. / 680.4 g Actual review pistol weighed in at 22.8 oz. empty with magazine.
  • Grip: Polymer , Fixed Backstrap
  • Frame Material: Metal
  • Slide Material: Aluminum-Aerospace Alloy
  • Finish: Black
  • Other Features: Ambidextrous Manual Safety , Ambidextrous Slide Stop , Reversible Magazine Release , Picatinny-Style Accessory Rail
  • Purpose: Recreational , Personal Protection, Home Protection, Professional / Duty I can see this pistol being great for recreational and training purposes, but I struggle with it being for protection and professional / duty.  I believe these are just a cut/paste error at the website.
  • MSRP: $419 Street Price of about $350

This review is broken down into multiple parts with this page providing links below to each part along with an overall summary of the specifications, pros and cons, and my final "bottom line" comments.  Make sure you take time to checkout the other parts of the review because they contain many photos and lots of commentary.  Also, there is an extreme amount of detail in those parts which is not covered on this page.

As you read these Pros and Cons below, keep in mind that it is hard to keep my particular preferences from creeping in the equation.  Therefore, it is important that you take the time to look at the other parts of this review so you can decide yourself on items which may be more of a personal preference.

Pros:

  • 12-round magazine which has 2 rounds more than many other rimfire pistol magazines.
  • The M&P22  has the same full size feel of the centerfire M&P pistols and does a great job of matching the M&P9 and M&P40 size, weight and ergonomics.
  • Ambidextrous slide stop and thumb safety and reversible magazine release button.
  • Adjustable sights.
  • The M&P22 has a barrel nut as part of the barrel assembly and this allows the opportunity to purchase an inexpensive adapter to make this pistol suppressor ready.
  • Capable of 1.5" groups (or better depending on the shooter) with the right ammunition at 13 yards.

Pro/Con/Comment?:

  • There are some clear similarities (barrel & metallic frame) between the Walther P22 Pistol and the Smith & Wesson M&P22 Pistol, but I don't think you could say that the M&P22 is a copy of the P22.
  • The rear sight has a slightly dark picture since it has a black blade with no dots, but there was ample space in the notch to allow for aligning the front sight.
  • Out of the nine different types of ammunition I put through the pistol, only one type of 36 grain bullet ammo seemed to be an issue (Winchester Xpert).
  • This pistol does not come with the interchangeable grips like the M&P9 and M&P40.  It comes with a medium sized fixed backstrap grip.

Cons:

  • The M&P22 only comes with a single magazine.  It would have been very nice for S&W to have included another magazine even if it raised the price slightly.
  • I wish that S&W would include an exploded view and parts list as part of their Owner's Manual.

 

Bottom Line:

I'm a fan of both rimfire pistols and rifles and I'm now a fan of both the M&P22 Pistol and M&P15-22 Rifle.  I reviewed the M&P15-22 Rifle earlier in the year and was very impressed which sparked my interest in the M&P22 Pistol.  The Smith & Wesson M&P22 Pistol lived up to my expectations.  The quality and craftsmanship of the M&P22 are excellent and this pistol should give you lots of enjoyment.  I can see why this pistol makes a great economical training platform for some of the other M&P pistols.  If you are in the market for rimfire pistol, and especially if you already own some M&P pistols, I recommend you take a close look at a M&P22 Pistol the next time you are at the gun store.  As always, carefully study this review and others on the internet to become an informed consumer before any purchase.


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