Smith & Wesson M&P-22 Semi-Automatic 22 LR Pistol

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

January 13th, 2012



Click pictures for a larger version.




Comfortable grip is same size and profile as centerfire M&P pistols.



Adjustable sights.



Ambidextrous thumb safety.





Witness hole serves as a loaded-chamber indicator.



Ambidextrous slide release.



Reversible magazine release.



25 yard groups from Ransom Rest.







These days, we are blessed with a wide variety of very good semi-automatic twenty-two rimfire pistols. From which to choose. One of the better ones on the market today is this Smith & Wesson M&P-22 shown here. This pistol is built to replicate the look, size, feel, and operating controls of the excellent centerfire M&P pistols, such as the M&P 9, M&P 40, and M&P 45 service pistols, which I have reviewed here before, in addition to the M&P 357. The centerfire M&P pistols have made inroads as popular choices among law enforcement agencies and with those who carry for self defense. The M&P line of pistols has excellent ergonomics, and can be purchased with or without a manual thumb safety. Unlike the centerfire M&P pistols, the M&P-22 does not have interchangeable backstrap inserts, but other than that, the grip looks and feels the same as that on the centerfire pistols. The slide profile is the same with both the rimfire and centerfire M&P pistols, but the slide on the twenty-two is made of a lightweight alloy, instead of steel as on its centerfire brethren. Also differing from the centerfire line is the method of operation. The centerfire pistols operate on the short-recoil locked-breech principle, and are striker-fired; the M&P-22 uses a straight blowback operation, and has an internal hammer.

The magazine on the M&P-22 is stainless steel, with a nylon follower. The pistol is available with either a ten-shot or a twelve-shot magazine. Included is a wrench to remove the thread protector at the muzzle, to attach an adaptor for a sound suppressor.

Critical specifications for the M&P-22 pistol are listed in the chart below, along with the specs on the M&P9 for comparison. My 9mm M&P has no manual safety, so a comparison could not be made in that regard. The weights are listed in ounces, and linear measurements in inches. Weight includes an empty magazine. The grip and frame widths were measured at their widest parts. The maximum width is measured across the ambidextrous thumb safeties. The height includes the sights and standard magazine base. The trigger pull on the M&P-22 pistol was smooth and light. The trigger pulls are listed as pounds of resistance, as measured on my Lyman digital trigger scale.

  M&P-22 M&P-9
Weight 22.7 oz. 24 oz.
Height 5.5" 5.54"
Length 7.6" 7.625"
Slide Width 1.02" 1.02"
Maximum Grip Width 1.24" 1.24" (varies with insert)
Frame Width 1.02" 1.1"
Maximum Width 1.63" 1.24" (no safeties)
Trigger Pull 3.9 lbs. 4.2 lbs.
Trigger Reach 2.7" 2.7"
Trigger Reach to Reset 2.48" 2.48"
Barrel Length 4.18" 4.25
Magazine Capacity 10 or 12 10 or 17
Magazines Supplied 1 2
Slide Material Lightweight Alloy Steel

I tested the M&P-22 pistol with several brands of 22 Long Rifle ammunition for velocity and function. The results with each brand and type of ammunition are listed in the chart below. HP is a lead hollowpoint bullet. Solid is a lead roundnose bullet. Velocity readings were taken at an elevation of 541 feet above sea level, with an air temperature of 26 degrees Fahrenheit, with humidity in the fifty-three percent range. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second (FPS), and were recorded ten feet from the muzzle of the S&W pistol. Bullet weights are listed in grains.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
Federal Bulk HP 36 903
Winchester DynaPoint HP 40 897
PMC Match Solid 40 822
Wolf Match Solid 40 907
CCI Stinger HP 32 1105
CCI Mini-Mag HP 36 1001
CCI Mini-Mag Solid 40 954
CCI Velocitor HP 40 1112
Remington Yellow Jacket HP 33 1003
Remington Hi-Speed Solid 40 1006
American Eagle HP 36 933
PMC Zapper HP 38 956
Olin Solid 40 922
Winchester XPert HP 36 949
Hansen Solid 40 900
Remington Bulk Solid 37 922

Shooting the M&P-22 was a delight. The magazine loads easily, and the slide is easy to operate. There was only one malfunction noted, which was ammo-related. I had one of the bulk Winchester XPert rounds fail to feed. Other than that, with a wide variety of ammunition, the pistol functioned perfectly. Recoil is almost nonexistent, and a lot of ammo can put placed into the target quickly and accurately. While this pistol would make an ideal understudy for cheap practice for anyone who owns a centerfire M&P pistol, relegating this pistol to only that purpose is selling it short. While not the first choice of most professionals for defensive use, the M&P-22 can serve in that role as well, under the right circumstances. As I have stated before, recoil and the manual-of-arms to operate a pistol is critical to some users, such as those with weakened hand strength. For those, this pistol would be an excellent choice for defense. The slide is very easy to cycle manually to load the first cartridge, the trigger pull is smooth and light, and there is almost no recoil. Fully loaded, this pistol can be stored with up to thirteen rounds at the ready, and those bullets can be placed accurately into the target in under four seconds, by someone with minimal training. The manual safety pushes down to fire, and can be used or not, depending upon the owner’s preference. This pistol will not fire until the trigger is pulled, so if your centerfire M&P has no manual safety, it is not necessary to use the one on this rimfire pistol, unless desired. Should you choose this or any other 22 for defense, the ammo is very inexpensive, allowing plenty of practice.

Accuracy was very good. I secured the M&P-22 into my Ransom Master Series Rest, and fired for accuracy at twenty-five yards. While not marketed as a hunting pistol, this M&P has plenty of accuracy for small game hunting, and the adjustable sights are well-suited for such purposes.

This M&P-22 is a dandy pistol, made for Smith & Wesson by Carl Walther in Germany, and sold through any Smith & Wesson dealer. Suggested retail price is only $419 US at the time of this writing.

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For the location of a Smith & Wesson dealer near you, click on the DEALER LOCATOR at

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Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.


M&P 22 comes with hard case, instructions, one magazine, thread protector wrench, and sight adjustment wrenches.



Wrench removes thread protector.





M&P 9mm (left), M&P 22 (right).





Disassembly is quick, easy, and requires no tools.



Unlike the striker-fired centerfire M&P pistols, the M&P-22 has an internal hammer.



Hammer-block safety prevents the weapon from firing unless the trigger is pulled.