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Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 Semi-Auto Rifle
 

Every now and again a new firearm hits the market and you decide you just want it.  There is no rational reason (is there ever?) for your acquiring it.....other than it looks like it would be fun to shoot.  Hey, at least it is a reason, right?  When I read the release articles and a few subsequent reviews on the net, I decided I wanted one of these little rifles.  I convinced myself it was cheaper to shoot this model than my Eagle Arms EA-15 .223 rifle.  (I didn't bother to include the cost of the new rifle in my number crunching!) 

So, to the local store I went only to find I was literally a day late....they sold two the day before and didn't have any more in stock.  Having recently bought my Kahr PM9 from the guy standing behind the counter, I told him I really needed one.  I was promised I would get the first one that arrived (they had several "in transit").  Sure enough, in less than a week (4 days to be exact), I got a call bright and early on a Saturday informing me that my .22 rifle was waiting for me.  I grabbed a hot cup of coffee and headed off to pick it up.  Being a CCW holder, the process is pretty quick....no waiting for a NIC confirmation.  About 10 minutes after I started putting my name on the form, I handed over my $$ and home I went.  I wasn't going to make it to the range until the following Monday and so I spent some time cleaning the rifle and applying some lube.  The bore had a fair amount of what looked to be a rust inhibitor....nasty stuff but it finally all came out. 

I couple of phone calls and I was ready to hit the range with a buddy from work.  After stopping by his house to pick him up, we were headed off to have some fun.  I brought my normal range gear (a hard box and a bag) along with an assortment of .22LR ammo I had sitting on the shelf.  Long, long ago, I picked up a cheap red dot optic from an on-line store that was dumping a bunch of them for next to nothing.  I tossed it in the range bag in hopes of it maybe working if I took the time to try and mount it. 
 

So this is what the Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 .22LR rimfire rifle looks like right out of the box.  It ships with one 25 round magazine.  The A2 style sights work well.  The front sight is adjustable for elevation while the rear sight accommodates both windage and elevation.  Both are easily removed from the rails and in my opinion, do a great job of maintaining zero after being reinstalled.  (been there, tried that, worked great)

The rifle weighs a bit over 5 pounds with an empty magazine.  The six position adjustable stock has a mount for a sling but you will have to supply your own forward attachment point.  The manual of arms for the M&P15-22 is just like any other AR-15 pattern rifle.  While nothing to brag about, the trigger isn't too bad.  I've no doubt that some will roll their eyes from my saying that but I could easily live with it and have certainly shot rifles with worse.  I may or may not opt to make some changes to it later on.  For now, I'll take a wait and see attitude and visit the idea after it's been to the range many more times.
 

To ensure as much similarity exists between the M&P 15-22 and its .223 brethren, the .22LR cartridges are housed in a full sized magazine.  While you can't slip an AR-15 magazine into the mag well of the M&P 15-22, the size is a very close match.  Enough, in my opinion, to provide valuable training time using this nearly identical configuration.  A note here.....the magazine does fit in my AR-15 magazine holder that I wear on my belt.  It is not a 100% perfect fit, but certainly good enough to practice mag swaps and other various drills. 

Smith & Wesson's written specs indicate a 1 in 15 inch twist in a 16 inch precision match barrel on the M&P 15-22.  The business end of the barrel is lacking a flash suppressor.  I realize that .22LR doesn't generate much (any?) of a flash signature, but it really needs that finishing touch.  It looks naked without one!  S&W went to great lengths to provide a .22LR that rivals an AR-15 (except in fire power).....come on guys, don't stop just a few feet short of the finish line.  I've read that S&W might provide a flash suppressor at some point and I hope they do.  However, I wouldn't put off getting this rifle in hopes of getting one later with a flash suppressor.

Update:  Since this review was written, S&W has introduced a model that comes complete with a flash suppressor.  So, if you can't live without one, now you have no excuse. 

Update to the update:  Since the previous update was added, I added a flash suppressor.  You can see the flash suppressor installation here. 
 

The magazine release is in the correct location.  The M&P 15-22 doesn't sport a forward assist....and I believe most agree it's not needed.  The charging handle is fully functional.....just remember it doesn't move quite as far as the one on your other black rifle. 
 

This side of the receiver provides a functional safety and bolt release that matches those on the .223 variety.  The takedown pins are retained in the lower receiver.  The bolt locks back on an empty mag.  You can also depress the lower end of the bolt release when the bolt is back to lock it in position (when you don't have an empty magazine).


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