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American Handgunner Nov/Dec 2012 Digital Edition - Page 30

WINNINGEDGE soLID ADvIce to Keep yoU AHeAD oF tHe coMpetItIoN DAve ANDersoN the Smith & Wesson M&P22 is virtually identical to the full-size M&P centerfire pistols in terms of appearance, size, handling and operating controls. S&W’s M & P22 S note the collar on the muzzle of the M&P22’s barrel, which protects a threaded portion of the barrel. mith & Wesson’s M&P22 is a high quality pistol, a fine choice for plinking, small game hunting, casual target shooting and training. It’s particularly suitable for shooters of the very popular M&P centerfire series. It’s not quite a dead-ringer for the full-size centerfire model, but comes pretty close. Weight empty is similar to a full-size 9mm (both around 24 ounces). Loaded, obviously a magazine loaded with 17 9mm cartridges weighs more than one with 12 rounds of .22 LR. The MP22 doesn’t have the interchangeable backstraps of the centerfire version. But operating controls are in the same place, trigger pull is very similar, and the .22 even has the accessory frame rail for practice with lights/lasers. The magazine release button is reversible. The .22 version also has the same high quality components and workmanship as the originals. Carl Walther in Germany makes the M&P .22. It has an ambidextrous thumb safety, which no doubt helped earn the points needed to be approved for import. The centerfire version is available both with and without a manual safety. A law enforcement buddy kindly loaned me his M&P 9mm duty gun so I could shoot the two side by side. His pistol has a manual safety, and allowed me to get a feel for shooting both guns. 500 Rounds Later T he M&P22 magazine holds 12 cartridges, with a 10-round magazine available for states that limit capacity. One magazine is provided, and for a plinking/hunting .22 I can get by with one magazine. For training purposes, a shooter really should have two magazines for use in reloading drills. Currently, extra magazines in either 10- or 12-round versions are listed as being available at $32. I really enjoyed shooting the M&P22, and running around 500 rounds through it — mainly CCI MiniMags, some Federal and Winchester match, plus value pack cartridges from Remington and Winchester. This was without disassembling for cleaning, though I did use a boresnake at about 250 rounds. I had one failure to feed (frankly, not uncommon with a .22 auto); otherwise function was flawless. Trigger pull was consistent and fairly smooth with weight-of-pull at 6¾ pounds. Disassembly for routine cleaning is fast and simple. Remove the magazine and check the chamber to be certain the firearm is unloaded. With the slide forward, rotate the takedown lever to point down and pull it about ½” out from the frame. Then retract the slide, lift the rear of slide, and move it forward off the frame. There’s no need to pull the trigger on the empty chamber prior to takedown. In fact, the hammer should remain cocked throughout. Final comparisons he M&P22 barrel comes threaded to accept an adapter, so a suppressor can be fitted. As delivered, the threaded portion has a thread protector tightly screwed in place. Those who don’t use a suppressor can just leave it as-is. For those who do, a wrench to remove the thread protector collar is provided. The rear sight is adjustable for elevation, and both the front and rear sight can be moved in their dovetail cuts to adjust windage. As delivered, the pistol on consignment shot several inches to the left. The front sight was off to the right rather than centered in the slide, so I used it to adjust for windage. Groups (five shots at 25 yards) averaged a whisker unde 2". Compared to the 9mm, trigger pull was very similar in terms of both weight of pull and trigger movement to fire and reset. While a .22 understudy is a useful training aid, it obviously is cannot completely substitute for centerfire training, especially in terms of learning recoil management and timing. On the other hand, a .22’s lack of recoil lets the shooter concentrate on technique, with less chance of learning bad habits (such as flinching and blinking), and at considerably lower cost. Searching on the Internet I see 9mm practice ammunition priced around $12 for 50, or 24¢ a shot. Yet, .22 LR ammo can be found for around 5¢ to 7¢ a shot. The savings from four or five bricks of .22 ammo would pay for the gun, and teach a lot about shooting in the process. T top is a fullsize S&W M&P 9mm, bottom the M&P22. the M&P22 lacks the tritium night sights and interchangeable backstraps of the 9mm, and adds a magazine safety. 30 * For more info: Watch Dave’s video on the gun at: WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER2012

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