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I believed that Smith & Wesson leapt aboard the AR train as it was rushing past the station, a hurry-up move to catch a ride with a gun that was totally alien for a handgun company. I cynically thought that the company saw the AR as a quick way to boost sales.

smith-wesson-556-2.gifAt first, my cynicism was reinforced when the initial M&P15s were built with major components from other AR manufacturers and hurried to market. However, S&W simultaneously pulled out all the stops and applied the full resources of their engineering team to tool up to produce their own major components. In short order, the M&P15s were being manufactured in-house.

So for me of little faith, I ate my words of doubt. I should have realized that with S&W’s engineering prowess and “lean” manufacturing methods, an in-house designed and manufactured M&P15 would be a flagship gun. Now, having spent almost six months shooting an M&P15T, I’m not so sure if the M&P15 isn’t the best production AR on the market.

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