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.
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
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™
Figure 4 -
M&P®15-22 SPORT™ KRYPTEK® HIGHLANDER™
Figure 5 -
M&P®15-22 SPORT™ MUDDY GIRL® Camo
Figure 6 -
M&P®15-22 SPORT™ MOE SL®
Figure 7 -
M&P®15-22 SPORT™ MOE SL®
Figure 8 -
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.
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.
Pro/Con/Comment (you decide)?:
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.