Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review
Part 3 - External Features
January 6, 2011

Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

In this part of the review I show and comment on all of the externally visible features of the Smith & Wesson M&P22 Pistol.  To start off, I have included 4 photos showing the different primary isometric views of the M&P22 Pistol.  These photos give you a good overall look at the pistol, but I cover the details of the features further in the review.  Throughout this review, you can click on a photo to bring up a higher resolution image showing greater details.

 

Figure 1
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

Figure 2
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

Figure 3
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

Figure 4
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

I have also included these next photos to show the basic plan views of the M&P22 Pistol.  Overall I would say the pistol has an attractive look and feel just like the other M&P pistols.

Figure 5
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

The pistol measured 7.56" in length, 5.53" in height, and 1.63" in width (the widest part being across the ambidextrous thumb safety.  The barrel measured 4.13" in length.  These measurements matched (after rounding) those stated in the specifications of 7.6" in length with a barrel length of 4.1".  The M&P22 has an aluminum slide that S&W states as being an "Aerospace Alloy".  Although not stated, I believe this to be 7075-T6 aluminum alloy which has become somewhat of the standard for aluminum alloy in critical components such as receivers and slides when aluminum is used.  On the right side of the pistol you have the ambidextrous slide catch and thumb (manual) safety.  Although not shown configured for a right side magazine release, you can see the opposite end of the reversible magazine release button.

 Figure 6 - Right Side
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

In the specifications, S&W states the frame is made from metal and the grip is polymer.  This may be a little confusing because when you look at the lower portion of the pistol in the photo above, all you see is the polymer material.  The frame is housed inside the polymer material and the two pins shown in the photo above located behind the thumb safety and above the front of the trigger guard hold the frame in place inside the polymer housing (which I will refer to as the "polymer frame").  There is a window in the polymer frame above the grip area that shows the serial number of the pistol that is stamped in the metallic frame.  You can see more of this in Part 5 of the review where I cover internal features.

Figure 7
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

On the left side of the pistol you have the takedown lever, slide stop, thumb (manual) safety and magazine release.

Figure 8
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

The unloaded pistol with an empty magazine weighed in at 22.8 ounces which was slightly less than the specified weight of 24 ounces.

Figure 9
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

The M&P22 also comes with a short 3-slot Picatinny rail on the polymer frame measuring about 1.5" in length.  As mentioned earlier, the barrel measured 4.1" in length.  With the slide forward you will notice that the barrel gives a first impression of being a sleeved barrel. 

Figure 10
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

When you pull the slide back, you see that there is a barrel nut which looks like a thread protector on the end of the barrel.  The wrench provided with the pistol can be used to fit over the slots in the nut to remove the barrel nut (see Part 4 for more detail).  The portion of the barrel you see behind the nut is actually a sleeve.  It is possible to purchase an aftermarket adapter that will replace this barrel nut and interface directly with the 1/2-28 thread found commonly on small bore silencers.  You can find these adapters at Advanced Armament Corp, GEMTECH or other locations on the web.

Figure 11
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

The front sight is an aluminum dovetail sight that can be used to adjust windage by loosening the set screw using the small Allan wrench provided with the pistol and drifting the sight as needed.  Although the Instruction Manual only states using the rear sight for windage adjustments, clearly windage adjustments are possible with the front sight as indicated by the website specifications.  The front of the slide is contoured to assist with pushing the slide rearward.

Figure 12
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

There are several markings on the right side of the slide, barrel and polymer frame.  The slide contains the primary branding information "SMITH & WESSON, SPRINGFIELD, MA U.S.A." plus a proof mark (explained below).  The polymer frame contains the manufacturer's branding information and caliber "CARL WALTHER ULM / DO, M&P22 CAL. .22L.R." along with "MADE IN GERMANY".

Figure 13
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

Proof marks exist on the three primary structural pieces of the firearm; the slide, the barrel and the metallic frame.

Figure 14
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

The four proof marks that are cryptic in nature are explained in detail below.  Basically the combination of these marks mean this firearm was proof tested in Germany by the Beschussämter proof house in Köln, West Germany in the year 2011.

Figure 15
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review - The letters "DE" stand for Deutschland (Germany) which identifies the origin of the marked parts was Germany.

Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review - This is the symbol that indicates the pistol was fired with two proof rounds at 30% greater pressure than the CIP (Permanent International Commission for Firearms Testing) maximums.  The "N" below the eagle with spread wings indicates that nitrocellulose is the propellant type for this firearm.

Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review - This symbol indicates the proofing was done in the Beschussämter proof house in Cologne (Köln), West Germany.

Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review - This is the date code representing the year of proofing and for this firearm it represents 2011.  The date code is related to dates as shown below.  The letters represent the last two digits of the year.

Proof Date Codes for German (actually CIP) Proofed Firearms
A B C D E F G H I K
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

The M&P22 comes with a passive loaded chamber indicator which is an opening at the front of the breech block that allows you to see if there is a round in the chamber.  The photo on the left shows an empty chamber and the photo on the right shows a loaded chamber.  In the right photo you are able to see the brass rim of the cartridge by looking through the opening.

Figure 16                                                            Figure 17
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review   Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

The M&P22 comes with an aluminum dovetailed adjustable rear sight.  The Instruction Manual states you can adjust windage by loosening the set screw using the 1/16" (large) Allen wrench provided with the pistol and moving the sight in the direction you want your group to move, then retighten the set screw.  Elevation is click adjustable by turning the flat head screw up or down to move your group up or down.

Figure 18
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

The rear of the slide contains the standard scalloped side serrations used on the M&P pistols which provide plenty of gripping surface when drawing the slide rearward on this rimfire pistol.  In the photo below you can also see the proof marks on the slide and barrel along with the slide stop and manual safety.

Figure 19
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

This view of the rear of the pistol shows two things.  First, the slide rides on the metallic frame.  The other is that there is no exposed hammer or indication of striker.  This is because the M&P22 is a single action pistol with an internal hammer under the slide.

Figure 20
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

These next two photos show looking down the sights with the focus shifted between the rear and front sights.  The front post has a white dot and the rear blade is all black.  If for some reason you are not happy with these sights they can be replaced with other dovetail mounted sights.

Figure 21                                                            Figure 22
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review   Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

On the left side of the pistol is the takedown lever, slide stop and thumb (manual) safety.  The slide has the Smith & Wesson logo just forward of the serrated area.  The thumb (manual) safety is in the fire position.

Figure 23
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

The photo below shows the thumb (manual) safety moved up into the safe position.  With the safety in this position, you are not able to pull the trigger to release the hammer.

Figure 24
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

The forward end of the slide contains the "M&P22" model name and the polymer frame has molded into it the branding "SMITH & WESSON" and "SPRINGFIELD, MA U.S.A.".

Figure 25
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

The M&P22 Pistol has a polymer trigger guard that is an integral part of the polymer frame.  This pistol also incorporates a full polymer trigger with trigger safety lever.

Figure 26
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

The trigger is made of two primary parts.  The upper part I will call the main trigger and the lower part the trigger safety lever.  The trigger safety lever is spring loaded forward so that when this safety lever is forward a ridge hangs down below the back of the main trigger.  If the main trigger is pulled without the safety lever being pressed, this ridge makes contact with the frame of the pistol and the trigger is blocked from being moved to release the hammer.  The photos below show the trigger in the normal position (Position 1) and then with the main trigger pushed back so the ridge contacts the frame.  If the trigger safety lever is pulled, the ridge moves up in to the main trigger and allows the main trigger to be pulled fully back.

 Figure 27 - Position 1                                                     Figure 28           
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review   Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

The next three photos show a series of  four distinct positions the trigger has when pulled.  Position 1 is actually in the photo above and is when the trigger has not been touched.  Position 2 is after enough pressure has been applied to move the trigger safety lever until the main trigger is ready to move.  Position 3 is after all the movement has been taken up in the trigger and it is now working to release the hammer.  Position 4 is after the hammer is released and the end of the trigger lever makes contact with stop on the trigger guard which prevents you from breaking trigger safety lever.  In reality, you may never pull the trigger back all the way to Position 4, but I'm sure this stop is in place for a reason and someone new to firearms is probably going to test it out.  On this pistol, the point where the hammer actually is released is at a travel position about mid way between Positions 3 and 4. 

I inserted a fired case and tested the trigger pull.  The trigger pull averaged 5.7 pounds based on 5 pulls using a Lyman Trigger Pull Gauge.  When pulling the trigger to fire the weapon, the trigger takes up whatever flex there may be in the polymer parts and then appears to break crisply.  Trigger pull is a hard thing to describe so to sum it up I will say it was good.

Figure 29 - Position 2                       Figure 30 - Position 3                     Figure 31 - Position 4
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review   Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review   Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

The M&P22 Pistol comes with a medium sized fixed backstrap grip which has some texturing to prevent slipping in your hand.

Figure 32
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

The bottom of the grip where the magazine is inserted is tapered to allow the magazine to be quickly and easily inserted into the grip.  The magazine dropped out easily with a press of the magazine release button.

Figure 33
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

When an empty magazine is in the pistol after firing your last shot or when you pull the slide back, the slide will automatically lock open as shown below.  You can also lock the slide open without a magazine inserted by pulling the slide back and pressing up on the slide stop.

Figure 34
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

With a magazine in place, the slide stop is automatically pushed up into the notch in the slide as shown below.  Another safety feature that is not easily visible is that a magazine must be inside the pistol to fire the pistol.  Without a magazine inserted, you can not pull the trigger to release the hammer.

Figure 35
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

Although Part 4 of this review covers the internal features of the M&P22 Pistol, I have included these three photos showing views looking at the top of the magazine, breech block face and barrel chamber face.  These are the areas that you would be able to see when looking at the pistol without disassembly.  One thing to note is that the breech block is a steel part that is housed in the aluminum slide.

Figure 36
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

Figure 37                                                         Figure 38
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review   Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

This model of the M&P22 Pistol came with a single 12 round magazine.  The magazine body is made from stainless steel and includes a polymer follower and base plate.

Figure 39
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

You can see that on the front of the magazine are two flared out pieces of steel (one on each side) where the magazine catch holds the magazine in the pistol.

Figure 40
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

On the left side of the magazine is a cutout in the steel body at the top of the magazine.  This cutout, along with the notch on the follower, work in conjunction with the slide stop to lock the slide open after the last round is fired.  Also on the left side of the magazine is a steel button on the follower to assist with loading the magazine.

Figure 41
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

Figure 42
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

This view looking at the top of the magazine gives you a good idea on how the notch on the left of the follower works by pushing up on the slide stop.  The bottom of the magazine butt plate contains the S&W logo along with a warning to read the safety manual (always a good idea).  Also note the center button in the butt plate which you would push to be able to slide the butt plate forward to disassemble the magazine for cleaning.

Figure 43                                                             Figure 44
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review   Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

The cartridges actually load into the magazine in a slight double stack configuration at the rear of the case.  You can see this in the photo below

Figure 45
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

 

Thoughts

I can see why the M&P22 would be a great training pistol for those owning M&P9 and M&P40.  The feel and ergonomics of the pistol are nearly identical to the 9mm and .40S&W versions, except for the difference in weight of a loaded magazine.  I can also see why the M&P22 would be a great firearm for general training and plinking pistol.  The added safety features help with inexperienced shooters and the ambidextrous slide stop and thumb safety make it immediately shoot-able for either a left or right handed shooter.  The overall quality and craftsmanship of the pistol is what I would expect from a Walther made firearm and it looks like having Walther make this pistol for S&W was a good move on S&W's part to take advantage of Walther's experience.

For more detailed photos and commentary, make sure you check out the other parts of this review and feel free to leave comments on my Reader's Comments page.  The following links are provided to help you see other parts of this review. 


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