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.

Rimfire look-alikes are great for training new shooters who may have issues with recoil and noise at first. Image by Michelle Cerino.

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.

Images by Dick Jones and Michelle Cerino

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  • I agree 100% on the training with a 22LR and even so far as to say you should train with your 22 on a regular basis. As mentioned in the article, it allows you to practice your basics with less cost monetarily and physically. I shoot M&Ps, Kahrs, 1911s and my 22LR of choice is a Browning Buckmark Practical URX. Have a Ruger MKIII but my Browning is more accurate, reliable and easier to clean. I also use a S&W 22LR Model 617 6″ when I want to do revolver training at a reduced rate. That is one incredible firearm too. I tell anyone I meet that wants to get into shooting, to pick up a 22LR of some flavor. I’ve thought about getting an M&P, but for now I’m going to stick with the Buckmark. I thought about getting a 1911 22LR Conversion kit, but I think the Buckmark is a good compromise and I have added a 4″ barrel to mine. The M&P line of handguns are very nice shooters and the Shield in 40SW amazed me with it’s accuracy the first time I shot it. Great gun!