Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Sport Review
Part 1 - Introduction, Specifications and Summary
August 1, 2016

Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Sport Review

Over the last several years I have seen the Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 rimfire rifle make it's way up the pack to compete head to head with Ruger's 10/22 platform.  Since my first review of a M&P15-22 back in August 2011 and having a first hand history with reliability and accuracy, I personally have recommended the S&W as an equal to the Ruger with the main differences being style (tactical versus traditional) and cost.  Looking at my friends who have purchased rimfire rifles over the last five years, I'm certain there were more S&W rifles that found new homes than Ruger rifles and I'm fairly certain of this because of the popularity of the modern sporting rifle (AR styled rifle).

This year, S&W tweaked their M&P15-22 AR styled rimfire rifles to produce their new M&P15-22 Sport platform shown below.

 

Figure 1 - New S&W M&P15-22 Sport
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Sport Review

Although for my original review I chose to get the camo rifle, the main differences between the "Sport" (above) and original (below) are the sights and handguard.  Based on my shooting preferences, I think S&W made a wise choice switching to the MAGPUL® MBUS® folding sights and the 10” M&P® slim handguard with MAGPUL® M-LOK™ capability.  I have always preferred a smooth and slim handguard and the one on the new "Sport" is a welcomed change.

Figure 2 - My Original S&W M&P15-22
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Standard

Currently (July 2016), S&W makes 9 different models of their new M&P15-22 Sport rifles which range from the basic to camo to MOE (Magpul Original Equipment) to Performance Center models in both standard and state compliant versions.  The standard versions (non state compliant) are shown below.  You can see all models and versions at the S&W website.  The different models range in price from an MSRP of $449 for the regular Sport, to $499 for the MOE and camo models, to $709 for their Performance Center models.

Figure 3 - M&P® 15-22 SPORT™
Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Sport

Figure 4 - M&P®15-22 SPORT™ KRYPTEK® HIGHLANDER™
M&P®15-22 SPORT™ KRYPTEK® HIGHLANDER™

Figure 5 - M&P®15-22 SPORT™ MUDDY GIRL® Camo
M&P®15-22 SPORT™ MUDDY GIRL® Camo

Figure 6 - M&P®15-22 SPORT™ MOE SL®
M&P®15-22 SPORT™ MOE SL® 

Figure 7 - M&P®15-22 SPORT™ MOE SL®
M&P®15-22 SPORT™ MOE SL®

Figure 8 - Performance Center® M&P®15-22 SPORT™
Performance Center® M&P®15-22 SPORT™

For this review I chose to review their basic Sport model in black which represents the lowest price rifle and may appeal to more consumers.  My review results should compare directly with the camo models except for the difference in exterior finish.  My review will very closely compare to the MOE models except for the buttstock, pistol grip and rail covers.  Since I feel the Performance Center version is such a different rifle, I wouldn't consider this review to be applicable except for understanding some of the basic features of the rifle and giving you an idea that whatever performance you get out of a regular M&P15-22 Sport, the performance will only be much better with a Performance Center model.

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 7/9/16 and gives the Key Features and Specifications for the M&P15-22 Sport Rifle.  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.

Key Features

  • 10” M&P® Slim Handguard with MAGPUL® M-LOK™
  • MAGPUL® MBUS® Folding Sights
  • Easy to Mount M-LOK™ Accessories
  • 2” M-LOK™ Rail Panel Included
  • 6-Position CAR Stock
  • Functioning Charging Handle
  • Shell Deflector
  • 2-Position, Receiver Mounted Safety Lever

Specifications

  • SKU: 10208
  • Model: M&P®15-22 SPORT™
  • Caliber: .22 LR
  • Action: Semi-Auto Blow Back
  • Capacity: 25+1 Rounds
  • Barrel Length: 16.5” (41.9 cm)
  • Front Sight: Folding MBUS®
  • Rear Sight: Folding MBUS®
  • Overall Length: 33.75” (85.7 cm) Extended, 30.70” (77.9 cm) Collapsed review rifle measured 35" and 31.75" and I believe specs shown exclude the flash hider and I found this same error 5 years ago on the original rifles
  • Grip: Polymer
  • Weight: 5 lbs. (2,268.0 g) review rifle weighed in at 4.8 pounds with a 25-round magazine included
  • Barrel Material: Carbon Steel
  • Upper & Lower Material: Polymer
  • Finish: Matte Black
  • MSRP: $449

This review is broken down into multiple parts with this page providing links 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:

  • The slim handguard with the fixed Picatinny rail at the 12 o-clock position is following the market trends and provides an overall better feel for most people but still allowing the possibility to install various attachment via the M-LOK system.
  • The Magpul MBUS sights provide great value and functionality and are a perfect choice for the out-of-the-box sights on this rifle. It is great that S&W provides this rifle with the MBUS sights because all you need to do is add ammo and you are ready to go.  Also, if you choose to mount some type of optic that does not require or allow these MBUS sights, you can always use them on another rifle.
  • Like most of the .22LR firearms on the market, the M&P15-22 Sport really liked the CCI Standard Velocity 40gr Lead Round Nose ammunition which gave me my best 5-shot 50 yard group average of 0.76" (based on five groups).  I would imagine that if I decided to spend more on the ammunition I could have achieved a slightly better group average, but having a best group size of 0.54" at 50 yards is pretty good (at least to me).
  • I feel the S&W M&P15-22 rifles are one of the best when it comes to having a low cost training alternative for an AR style centerfire rifle.  The ergonomics and controls of the M&P15-22 match that of the standard AR rifles and this cannot be said for other dedicated rimfire AR styled platforms.

Pro/Con/Comment (you decide)?:

  • The biggest difference shooting the M&P15-22 versus a standard AR is the weight.  The M&P15-22 comes in at about two pounds lighter and you can clearly feel the difference.  Some people using this as a training rifle may or may not like this, but at only 4.8 lbs with an empty 25-round magazine, the rifle is easy to handle for even the youngest shooters.
  • The trigger pull on this rifle averaged 5.0 pounds based on 10 pulls using a Lyman digital pull gauge.  The trigger had some creep then seemed to break fairly crisp with a little overtravel. Overall it was fairly good for a mil-spec-ish trigger setup.

Cons:

  • One thing that I'm always surprised about is that S&W does not include an exploded view and parts list for the rifle.  Personally I feel that this should be standard in all firearm instruction manuals.  This is also the same con from my review 5 years ago.  If you want to see some exploded views of the original rifle you can look at the patent images here.
  • The buffer tube extension is slightly undersized for a standard "mil-spec" buttstock which attributed to slightly more rattle of the buttstock.  This rattle can be reduced with some properly placed black electrical tape down the sides and top of the buffer tube extension.

 

Bottom Line:

My thoughts on this rifle are based on a combination of what I have re-studied doing this review, witnessed with my shooting friends over the yeas and personally experienced over the past 5 years with my original rifle.  The S&W M&P15-22 Sport is an accurate, reliable, and well-built rifle that has the feel and functionality of a centerfire AR styled rifle yet allows you to target shoot, hunt and/or train with low cost .22LR ammunition.  The build quality of this rifle seems on par with S&W products and the addition of the Magpul sights and new slim handguard will appeal to today's consumers.  If you are in the marked for a great rimfire rifle that takes the form of todays Modern Sporting Rifle (AR styled rifle) then you will not go wrong making an investment in any version of the Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Sport rifles.


Please subscribe to be notified of future reviews

Or

If you would like to be notified about future Gunsumer Reports reviews via Facebook, make sure "You Like This" by clicking the Facebook "Like" button at the bottom or top of this page.  If it already says "You Like This" beside the button, clicking it again will uncheck the "Like" status and you will not be notified.

 
 
Share on Facebook

comments powered by Disqus

© 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 & 2017 Gunsumer Reports™, All rights reserved.
FTC Disclosure