Smith & Wesson’s M&P22 is a high quality pistol, a fine choice for plinking, small game hunting, casual target shooting and training. It’s particularly suitable for shooters of the very popular M&P centerfire series. It’s not quite a dead-ringer for the full-size centerfire model, but comes pretty close. Weight empty is similar to a full-size 9mm (both around 24 ounces). Loaded, obviously a magazine loaded with 17 9mm cartridges weighs more than one with 12 rounds of .22 LR. The MP22 doesn’t have the interchangeable backstraps of the centerfire version.
But operating controls are in the same place, trigger pull is very similar, and the .22 even has the accessory frame rail for practice with lights/lasers. The magazine release button is reversible. The .22 version also has the same high quality components and workmanship as the originals.
Carl Walther in Germany makes the M&P .22. It has an ambidextrous thumb safety, which no doubt helped earn the points needed to be approved for import. The centerfire version is available both with and without a manual safety. A law enforcement buddy kindly loaned me his M&P 9mm duty gun so I could shoot the two side by side. His pistol has a manual safety, and allowed me to get a feel for shooting both guns.
500 Rounds Later
The M&P22 magazine holds 12 cartridges, with a 10-round magazine available for states that limit capacity. One magazine is provided, and for a plinking/hunting .22 I can get by with one magazine. For training purposes, a shooter really should have two magazines for use in reloading drills. Currently, extra magazines in either 10- or 12-round versions are listed as being available at $32.
I really enjoyed shooting the M&P22, and running around 500 rounds through it — mainly CCI MiniMags, some Federal and Winchester match, plus value pack cartridges from Remington and Winchester. This was without disassembling for cleaning, though I did use a boresnake at about 250 rounds. I had one failure to feed (frankly, not uncommon with a .22 auto); otherwise function was flawless. Trigger pull was consistent and fairly smooth with weight-of-pull at 6¾ pounds.
Disassembly for routine cleaning is fast and simple. Remove the magazine and check the chamber to be certain the firearm is unloaded. With the slide forward, rotate the takedown lever to point down and pull it about ½” out from the frame. Then retract the slide, lift the rear of slide, and move it forward off the frame. There’s no need to pull the trigger on the empty chamber prior to takedown. In fact, the hammer should remain cocked throughout.
By Dave Anderson
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