Range Reports

Range Report: Smith & Wesson M&P .22 Pistol

The S&W M&P 22 slide functions smooth as butter.

Looking almost identical to its bigger brothers and sisters, the S&W M&P .22 pistol is the perfect trainer if you own or plan to own one of Smith &Wesson’s 9mm or .40 caliber M&Ps.

Introduced in 2011, the .22 LR M&P is made by Carl Walther in Germany. Though the rimfire M&P looks similar to the centerfire models, the two are functionally different. The centerfire M&P is striker-fired; the rimfire models have an internal hammer. The centerfire M&P has a stainless steel slide. The aluminum aerospace alloy slide keeps the weight lower on the rimfire model.

One of the biggest differences between the two is the frame-mounted thumb safety on the .22 model. This thumb safety is an option on the centerfire models, but as of yet, S&W has not released the .22 model without the thumb safety.

Even though there are no interchangeable backstraps included with the rimfire handgun, both small and large hands fit naturally firm around the grip. For those with bigger hands, the pinky and ring finger may rest on the bottom of the extended magazine well. The placement of the controls is perfect for me. Regardless of the size of your finger spread, manipulating the ambidextrous thumb safety and magazine release will not be a problem.

Loading the 10-round magazine is quick and easy because the magazine spring is supple. You will not struggle inserting the last two rounds.

The slide feels as smooth as butter and those who have issues with pulling back a slide on a semi-automatic pistol will be pleasantly surprised at the ease of cocking it.

Even though the M&P .22 is not striker fired, it acts much like it is, and as is with all striker-fired polymer framed pistols the single-action trigger is mushy with no true breaking point. However, if you are used to shooting Glocks, XDs or the centerfire M&P the trigger should not be an issue. Smith & Wesson reports the trigger pull on the M&P 22 is set at 4.5 pounds. That is lighter than Glock’s standard 5.5 pounds.

The front sight dot on the M&P .22 is clear and bright, making for quick and accurate target acquisition.

Recoil is barely noticeable and with the combination of the clear dot sight, recovery time is next to nil for quick follow up shots. As far as Smith & Wesson reliability and durability go, the S&W M&P shoots CCI standard velocity, Remington Golden Bullet, Winchester Super X, Armscor Precision, and CCI Tactical with very few malfunctions. I liked the CCI standard the least. The Winchester Super X and Remington were comparable with only one or two issues, while, surprisingly, the CCI Tactical ran perfect through the M&P.

I have read the trigger pins on the centerfire models sometimes get loose and pop out. In fact, a police officer reported he experienced the issue in his duty gun. It remains to be seen if the rimfire model will have the same issues.

As a trainer pistol, teaching a new shooter, a fun plinker or rimfire competition gun, the S&W M&P 22 rimfire pistol is excellent for its ergonomics, reliability and functionality.


Ease of slide manipulation, Placement of controls, Lightweight, Grip, Clear front dot sight


Frame-mounted thumb safety, Drifting rear sight, Lack of affordable and available factory magazines    

S&W M&P 22
Action Semiautomatic, single-action only
Barrel Length 4.1 inches
Caliber .22 Long Rifle
Overall Length 7.6 inches
Weight Unloaded 24 ounces
Sights Adjustable
Stock or Grip Polymer grips
Capacity 10

Do you think full-sized rimfire pistols are a good investment for training and practice? Tell us why or why not in the comment section.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog. "The Shooter's Log", is to provide information - not opinions - to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decicions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (24)

  1. Don 5, don’t know about you or your problems, but I currently own both Glocks (22 & 19) and S&W pistols M&P 9, SD9VE, 5904). My S&Ws are much better than my Glocks (better ergo & natural point of aim). Have never had a bobble or jam with better than 2000+ rounds shot. I love my S&W because they are AMERICAN made products by an AMERICAN company that plain work great.

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