Trusted Review™ Scorecard
Today, ammunition is not only hard to find, it is expensive. While for some reason .22LR is one of the harder-to-find calibers, it’s still available in bulk packs with a high round count at prices that are more reasonable than anything else.
I’ve always been an advocate of the .22 as a training tool. In fact, I believe many shooters would progress faster with a rimfire pistol than with the centerfire they eventually plan to shoot. The light recoil and noise of a .22 reassures new shooters and allows them to focus on sight picture and trigger management without fear of a loud report and recoil. A rimfire can provide everything but recoil management skills.
One of my favorite striker fired pistols is the S&W M&P series. They are reasonably priced, they have good triggers, and they’re as reliable as anything on the market. When I found there was an exact copy in the form of a rimfire, I was jazzed. The first time I handled the Smith and Wesson M&P .22LR Rimfire Pistol, I liked it.
I got my version the same week my friend Chris Cerino, of Cerino Training Group, got his. We were spending family vacations together and shot them every afternoon. We both agreed they were great guns. One of the reasons was the trigger. It was consistent and precise and it instilled confidence when you shot the pistol. Though lots of pistols are similar or better in accuracy, I just like the way the M&P operates and it seems the easiest to shoot well. Of all the look-alike rimfires I’ve shot, and I’ve shot most of them, it is the most likable.
I use the M&P .22 as a trainer, using it in the same holster as its bigger brother and working on draw and accuracy with paper and plate targets. Students like it because it’s easy to use and fun to shoot. Since it shoots like other striker fired guns, it works well as a trainer for almost any striker fired semi-auto. Chris Cerino likes them so much he has a fitted case with eight M&P .22 pistols and extra magazines. He uses them in novice classes for Cerino Training Group.
The S&W M&P .22 also is a hero in the ammunition department, it ran all the ammo I’ve tried in it without a burp. The magazine looks flimsy but it works really well. It will eat anything. This is a very good gun; it looks like there are no bugs to work out on this one.
The M&P .22 isn’t up to the same quality of the centerfire models, but it’s a workable and accurate trainer gun. The finish seems less rugged than the centerfire models. The magazine works well but appears flimsy. Since the recoil spring is so light, it makes the gun feel less substantial than a Ruger, the standard by which most rimfire pistols are judged, but the fact that it’s such a wonderful trainer counterbalances the shortcoming.
I experienced almost zero malfunctions and with a rimfire semi-auto pistol, that is remarkable. I say almost zero because I’ve had the gun for quite a while, using it in numerous training situations and I simply can’t remember a malfunction.
Selling for around $375, the M&P isn’t a price leader. The Ruger 22/45 costs less and is more substantial and accurate. What makes the M&P a great gun is the identical operation to the centerfire version. A little pricey compared to some of the competition, but there is no rimfire that gets you closer to shooting a standard striker fired service pistol.
To someone who needs a companion rimfire trainer for a striker fired pistol, I think it is simply the best bet. There are more accurate pistols and more substantial ones, but the identical operation makes it hard to resist. I’d prefer it over the Ruger 22/45 for my use.
Images by Dick Jones and Michelle Cerino