Smith & Wesson M&P15: The AR-15 Rifle To Buy on a Budget?



Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22 rifle in the snow resting against a tree

When I recently stumbled across a solid deal on a Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22 Sport, let’s just say that I didn’t hesitate to take it home. I already owned a M&P 15 (chambered in 5.56/.223) for several years, and it has been extremely reliable and fun to shoot.

I figured a M&P 15-22 would be great to train with, due to the similarities between the two. I also imagined that it would be a great teaching gun for my kids down the road. I haven’t had too many S&W firearms disappoint me. Looking back at this one, it surely did not disappoint either.

Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22 rifle right profile
The M&P 15-22 Sport looks very similar to its larger caliber counterpart, the M&P 15.

Unboxing

Unboxing the 15-22, I found a neatly packaged soft rifle case, three 25-round magazines, and the gun. Unlike other .22 LR AR options I’ve shot, the M&P 15-22 does not look or feel cheap, despite having a polymer upper and lower.

There was a nice amount of factory lubricant applied, and the finish was immaculate. The fact that it was bundled together in the soft case, then a shipping box, kept everything clean and secure. As far as packaging and first impressions are concerned, there was nothing to complain about.

M&P 15-22 Features

I won’t bore you with discussing every specification, but I would like to touch on some the features you could get with the 15-22. There are several different sub-model packages that you can order, with different optic packages, compliant features, and a variety of color options.

The one I chose, in particular, looked to be one of the more popular models I’ve seen. It came with fewer options, but it sported a lower price as well. I’d rather spend less up front. Given my previous history, I’d likely swap some of the parts and add new ones anyway.

My Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22 came with flip-up Magpul MBUS front and rear sights with plenty of room to mount an optic in between them. I like having flip-up sights as a backup in case the optic fails. The M&P 15-22 also features the Magpul M-Lok system, making it easy to attach your accessories to the handguard.

Camouflaged gloved hand holding the M&P 15-22 rifle with a snowy ground for the background
Even with a full magazine, the total weight is just about five pounds.

A simple six-position buttstock was attached, but it does the job and is much preferred over a fixed stock, in my opinion. If you do choose to replace any parts, there are a ton on the market to choose from. Most parts such as stocks, grips, lights etc., that will fit on your standard AR-15s will also fit on the 15-22.

Specifications

Caliber: 22 LR
Magazine capacity: 
25
Length: 
33.8 inches
Sights: Folding, Magpul MBUS
Action: 
Semi-auto blow back
Grip: 
Polymer
Barrel twist: 
1 in 15 inches
Barrel length: 
16.5 inches
Weight: 
76.8 ounces

Range Time: Reliability and Accuracy

Over the last couple range trips, I put 200 rounds of 40-grain CCI Standard Velocity and 200 rounds of 36-grain Winchester White Box hollow points through the M&P 15-22. Surprisingly, the only issues I experienced were with the CCI ammo, which typically functions the best in my other .22s.

I saw six failure to feeds and one failure to eject. The failures to feed were all with the same magazine. Once I switched magazines, I didn’t see another over the next few hundred rounds. I’ll chalk those FTFs up to that specific magazine.

National Rifle Association official 25-yard target with multiple bullet holes low of the bullseye
The first grouping out of the box may have been low, but remained relatively tight. It only took a quick adjustment of the sights to fix this and it was smooth sailing.

Accuracy is exactly what I thought it would be, at least after adjusting the sights. The first 25 rounds at 25 yards wound up low, but were centered and fell roughly in a fist-sized grouping. After a few quick adjustments, I was able to get my groupings down to about the size of a golf ball, and I had no problem hitting six-inch gongs out at 100 yards. Thanks to the low level of recoil, quick follow-up shots stayed on target.

Final Thoughts: M&P 15-22

The 15-22 offers excellent bang for the buck. You get a reliable and accurate rifle, with quality features and a lifetime service from Smith and Wesson, all at an affordable price point. Whether you own a standard AR-15 or not, this rifle will be great for your training and plinking needs.

If you’re in the market for a new .22 LR, I suggest adding Smith and Wesson’s M&P 15-22 to your list of considerations.

Is there another AR-15-style .22 LR rifle that you enjoy shooting and have found reliable? Share your top choices in the comment section.

Bio: Ryan is a firearms and tactical gear enthusiast that has maneuvered himself into the firearms industry over the past decade.  While his full-time career is outside of the industry, he has consulted for dozens of firearms and tactical gear related companies.  He enjoys conducting tests and evaluations, shooting product photography and developing marketing strategies for them.

If he’s not spending time with his family, you’ll likely find him at the range or driving around looking for photo shoot locations. You can check out some of his photos and other content on Instagram (@theguygearreview).

About the Author:

Ryan Domke

Ryan Domke is a freelance writer, photographer and social media consultant with a passion for guns and tactical gear. He works with some of the largest manufacturers in the firearms industry, allowing him the opportunity to continuously learn from and knowledge share with the 2A community. When he’s not spending time with his family, you’ll likely find him at the range or starting a new DIY project. If you’d like to check out some of his other content, you can find him on Instagram at (@TheGuyGearReview).

FAQs

Is the M&P 15 22 any good?

The M&P 15-22 Sport has an excellent track record, and these new model variations can make entry into action-rimfire rifle competition an affordable affair. It can run a match out-of-the-box. Accuracy tests conducted from a 25-yard benchrest

(Get More Info)

When was my M&P 15 22 manufactured?

1) The box end label for a M&P15-22 that has had the bolt in- spection done will have a red dot (FIGURE 17). 2) The box end label will list a Date of Manufacture later than 020119 in the space circled in FIGURE 17.

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How reliable is the M&P 15?

Smith and Wesson built this rifle to be tough as nails, and it will stand the tests thrown at it. For budget ARs it is one of the most reliable on the market. Built to be tough and work when you need it most, this AR isn’t going to fire like some tricked-out SIG AR variant

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Review: Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22 Sport .22 LR

Review: Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22 Sport .22 LR When I recently stumbled across a solid deal on a Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22 Sport, let’s just say that I didn’t hesitate to take it home. I already owned a M&P 15 (chambered in 5.56/.223) for several years, and it has been extremely reliable and fun to shoot. I figured a M&P 15-22 would be great to train with, due to the similarities between the two. I also imagined that it would be a great teaching gun for my kids down the road. I haven’t had too many S&W firearms disappoint me. Looking back at this one, it surely did not disappoint either. The M&P 15-22 Sport looks very similar to its larger caliber counterpart, the M&P 15. Unboxing Unboxing the 15-22, I found a neatly packaged soft rifle case, three 25-round magazines, and the gun. Unlike other .22 LR AR options I’ve shot, the M&P 15-22 does not look or feel cheap, despite having a polymer upper and lower. There was a nice amount of factory lubricant applied, and the finish was immaculate. The fact that it was bundled together in the soft case, then a shipping box, kept everything clean and secure. As far as packaging and first impressions are concerned, there was nothing to complain about. M&P 15-22 Features I won’t bore you with discussing every specification, but I would like to touch on some the features you could get with the 15-22. There are several different sub-model packages that you can order, with different optic packages, compliant features, and a variety of color options. The one I chose, in particular, looked to be one of the more popular models I’ve seen. It came with fewer options, but it sported a lower price as well. I’d rather spend less up front. Given my previous history, I’d likely swap some of the parts and add new ones anyway. My Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22 came with flip-up Magpul MBUS front and rear sights with plenty of room to mount an optic in between them. I like having flip-up sights as a backup in case the optic fails. The M&P 15-22 also features the Magpul M-Lok system, making it easy to attach your accessories to the handguard. Even with a full magazine, the total weight is just about five pounds. A simple six-position buttstock was attached, but it does the job and is much preferred over a fixed stock, in my opinion. If you do choose to replace any parts, there are a ton on the market to choose from. Most parts such as stocks, grips, lights etc., that will fit on your standard AR-15s will also fit on the 15-22. Specifications Caliber: 22 LRMagazine capacity: 25Length: 33.8 inchesSights: Folding, Magpul MBUSAction: Semi-auto blow backGrip: PolymerBarrel twist: 1 in 15 inchesBarrel length: 16.5 inchesWeight: 76.8 ounces Range Time: Reliability and Accuracy Over the last couple range trips, I put 200 rounds of 40-grain CCI Standard Velocity and 200 rounds of 36-grain Winchester White Box hollow points through the M&P 15-22. Surprisingly, the only issues I experienced were with the CCI ammo, which typically functions the best in my other .22s. I saw six…

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Smith & Wesson M&P15: The AR-15 Rifle To Buy on a Budget?

Smith & Wesson M&P15: The AR-15 Rifle To Buy on a Budget? Smith and Wesson is known as one of the oldest firearms makers in the United States, and they’re famous for their budget guns. Will their M&P AR platform live up to the test? Let’s find out. Accuracy The M&P15 isn’t exactly a competition gun, but the accuracy is very respectable. At fifty yards, I was consistently keeping 1.5 inch groupings on man-sized targets which pleasantly surprised me. It’s extremely easy to acquire targets with this AR, and the nearly pinpoint accuracy made me feel like I was firing a high-end AR. Great accuracy means great effect, so easily a 10/10 on accuracy in my book. Reliability Despite being a budget AR, the M&P15 is built to military specs and therefore not always the smoothest. However, this rifle is definitely tough and able to perform. I only encountered one malfunction with this AR, which was more than likely due to switching to an extremely low-tier ammo. I fired this all day in a humid, extremely rainy environment and I was blown away by how durable it was. Smith and Wesson built this rifle to be tough as nails, and it will stand the tests thrown at it. For budget ARs it is one of the most reliable on the market. Handling Built to be tough and work when you need it most, this AR isn’t going to fire like some tricked-out SIG AR variant. It handles well but isn’t buttery smooth, which is perfectly fine as it’s intended to be reliable, not a sports car. Reloads, however, were exceptionally smooth on the M&P15, and I was extremely happy with it’s user-friendliness, making it excellent for gun users of any experience level. Taking corners or quickly acquiring new targets was also very good to the excellent ergonomics of this rifle. Trigger With about 6.5 pounds of trigger pull, the M&P is a relatively light trigger pull, which was surprising. This allows for a pleasurable rifle to shoot for even the most novice shooter; a huge plus for this rifle. Even with dirt and grit getting inside the inner-workings of the M&P15, the trigger never once failed to function properly. You may feel a bit of grittiness, but it will not let you down, arguably the most important trait in any rifle’s trigger mechanism. Magazine & Reloading The thirty round MAGPUL magazine that comes with the M&P15 is no frills, but extremely reliable and functional. This is perfectly up to par with even high-priced AR configurations, so I give this a 10/10. Reloading was identical to any other AR platform, and my reloads were consistently under six seconds. For a ‘budget’ AR, you will feel like you are using a customized weapon and shooters of any experience level will have no trouble during reloads. Length and Weight At thirty-five inches, the M&P15 is standard for most M4-based AR designs and is extremely suitable for all situations and environments. Even while maneuvering in…

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Smith and Wesson M&P 15- 22 review

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