Trigger time builds skill. Live fire requires ammo. Cheaper ammo allows  for more skill-building practice. Ergo, the rationale of what the great gun writer Jan Stevenson called “understudy guns”: firearms that work the same as a large-caliber service handgun but are chambered for the .22 LR.

One of the best of these is part of the Smith & Wesson Military & Police series, the semi-auto M&P22. The original model had a 4.1-inch barrel and a proportionally sized frame.

I tested one for a gun magazine and liked it so much that I bought the test sample to keep. Smith & Wesson recently introduced the M&P22 Compact, a smaller version. I recently hit the range to test the M&P22 Compact, compare its design against the full-sized M&P22 and figure what this new model might do for you.

The M&P22 Compact features a 3.56-inch barrel that is threaded, because sound suppressors are enjoying a new renaissance, weighs 15.9 ounces with its aluminum slide (almost 9 ounces lighter than the full-sized M&P22) and has a shorter butt.

Unlike the larger version of the M&P22, the Compact’s slide stop lever is on the left side only. It does not have the interchangeable backstraps of the centerfire M&P series, and its grip frame is roughly comparable to the smallest of the larger-caliber models.

To read the entire story on the Smith & Wesson M&P22 Compact, please visit

This story was taken from the 2015 Complete Book of Rimfires. To subscribe, please visit For more information on the M&P22 Compact, please visit or call 800-331-0852.

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