Smith & Wesson’s Mighty .22

The fun gun of the year?

After testing quite a few 9mm and .45 handgun not to mention the .357 and .38 revolvers I often review it is a pleasure to fire a fun gun for a change. The Smith & Wesson M&P .22 Magnum is a fun gun by any definition. The M&P .22 Magnum is a polymer frame hammer fired .22 Magnum automatic with a thirty round magazine. The top of the slide is nicely serrated while the slide itself is well finished. The slide features a long flat on each side running into a bevel. The inner barrel is nicely crowned.  The rear sight is nicely serrated. A set screw is loosened to allow adjusting the sight for leverage. The front sight is dovetailed and features a fiber optic insert.. The frame is polymer. An accessory rail accommodates a range of lights and lasers. The safety is ambidextrous. So is the slide lock. The safety doesn’t lock the slide in place when applied. This means the pistol may be loaded with the safety on. The safety is positive in operation. To disassemble the pistol tap out the takedown lever as you hold the slide about .25 inch to the rear. The takedown lever slide/stop is easily taken out. Remove the recoil assembly and next the barrel. Easy enough. The gas operated Temp system features a barrel inside a shroud. Rotate the barrel to remove the inner barrel for cleaning.

The trigger is a flat type with a safety lever set into the trigger face. The pistol features a firing pin block as well. A nice mix of pebbling marked the grip frame.  The trigger action is crisp with a sharp reset. The trigger breaks at 4.0 lb on the RCBS trigger gauge. The magazines are polymer with an orange follower. The 30 round magazines are easily loaded. Most of the ammunition fired was CCI MaxiMag. There are alternatives but why fired cheaper ammunition when it is a buck cheaper? Actually CCI loads are the el primo for the .22 Magnum and were less than PMC and Armscor at making ammunition choice a no brainer. After a couple of short cycles in the first thirty rounds CCI ran one hundred per cent for more than three hundred rounds. Later I had an opportunity to fire Fiocchi, Armsor and Winchester. The malfunction rate was a total of around two per cent with these loads. Most of the time it was a bent cartridge case.  With CCI .22 Magnum loads the pistol never failed to feed chamber ignite eject and feed against normally. For hunting and small game use any would be OK but for serious use load a reliable loading. I think folk recommending the .22 Magnum for defense are at a different place in study than I am. I would hate for you to roll snakes eyes on account of too little gun!

Most 40 grain loads will clock 1350 to 1400 fps. Firing from a solid braced barricade five shot groups are 25 yards are two inches for CCI 40 grain loads. When I do my part. The other loads were not bad- 2.5 to 3.0 inch at 25 yards. This isn’t a wide spread. At 10 to 15 yards all practically cut a ragged hole. Small game and pests will fall to this gun. Its primary appeal is as a fun gun. It is a joy to fire and use. As for personal defense and home defense you are far from naked. Aim for the arterial region or cranium. The Magnum has plenty of penetration. It isn’t my first choice but way above a rock or stick. The pistol is a must have the gun accumulator and a purchase you will enjoy more than most.

The .22 Magnum is a great rimfire cartridge.

Smith & Wesson M&P22 Magnum

  • Type: Internal hammer-fired semiauto
  • Cartridge: .22 WMR
  • Capacity: 30
  • Barrel: 4.35 in.
  • Overall Length: 8.4 in.
  • Width: 1.3 in.
  • Height: 5.9 in.
  • Weight: 22 oz.
  • Finish: Black Armornite
  • Sights: Adjustable rear notch, fiber optic dovetail front, optics cut
  • Trigger Compression  3.0 pounds
  • Contact: Smith & Wesson, (800) 331-0852,