Why is there a .22 rimfire like this in the pages of Combat Handguns? Because all work and no play makes Jack a dull operator, that’s why. What, you think tactical types don’t have days off? And just what do you suppose they do with their free time, play shuffleboard?
The Smith & Wesson M&P15-22P is distinctly a fun gun—a cut-down version of the M&P15-22 rifle. That gun has utility as a low-cost trainer for those with limited firearm experience or no access to centerfire-capable range facilities. Though S&W has orders for the rifle in that capacity, a lot of sales are the result of what the gun really offers—big fun. This pistol version may not have a stock and incorporate a shorter barrel, but there is no diminution in the fun factor. In fact, in some ways it is considerably increased.
The flash suppressor on a .22 is primarily for aesthetics, while the rails provide an opportunity to train with the gear that augments today’s ARs.
First, it looks wicked cool. And looking cool is half the appeal of any fun gun. The M&P15-22P comes with a stubby little barrel with a birdcage flash suppressor attached. The first M&P15-22 rifles didn’t have a flash suppressor and, while such is purely an affectation, the guns didn’t look “right.” Worse, they evoked memories of the Assault Weapons Ban. S&W quickly introduced flash suppressor-equipped versions.
The vented forend has accessory rails all around. Does a .22 LR barrel require venting? Of course not… but it does looks awesome.
Atop the pistol is a Picatinny rail that allows a host of sighting options. Even better is the inclusion of actual sights. While it is becoming the trend to ship tactical-style guns without sights, and while I can see the logic of it in actual combat arms, I still very much like the fact that S&W included them here. It’s nice to have a gun that is ready to go when you take it out of the box. What sights to put on this gun aren’t going to be part of a life-and-death equation, so there’s no reasonable objection to stock sights.