Smith & Wesson M&P22 Compact 22 LR

The least expensive handgun tested was also the most reliable, beating the Glock on that grade and without the shooter errors the Ruger was prone to. The M&P22 is accurate enough for field use and kit gun chores and makes a good trainer. Downside: Not identical to the S&W Shield.




The barrel is fixed. We liked the takedown; twist a lever and pull the slide back and up. The S&W is finished in a nice, dark anodizing on aluminum slide, and the frame is black polymer. The safety is ambidextrous. The slide lock is left hand only. The M&P22 features an adjustable rear sight. The pistol features a light rail that allows mounting modern lights and lasers. The rear sight was rated the top sight of the test by all raters, with one comparing the sights to the legendary Bo-Mar brand in efficiency. The sight appears more robust than the plastic Glock sights. The front post is a good design for accuracy. The slide is reasonably easy to rack, and the grip was rated the best of the test. While the shooter might feel a slim-line 9mm recoil more with such a thin grip, the size was deemed nearly ideal for most hands. A sore spot was the trigger action. The trigger breaks at 7.6 pounds, heaviest of the test. Despite this, we were able to do good work on targets. During the combat-style phase, we included firing at pine cones, dirt clumps on the berm, and other small targets. The pistol proved fast handling and came on target quickly. The safety is positive in operation, and the trigger, while heavy, is smooth and breaks clean. The pistol was controllable and accurate and produced good, tight groups on paper and wasn’t difficult to use on small targets at known and unknown distances. A counterpoint to the performance of both the Glock and the Ruger rimfire handguns came when the final of the initial 700 cartridges were fired. There were no gun-related malfunctions. The pistol never failed to chamber, fire, or eject. There was a single failure to fire. The cartridge had a good indent on the case rim. We wrote this off to the vagaries of rimfire production. The CCI subsonic cracked off when we re-chambered it, ensuring the firing pin hit a different area of the cartridge-case rim. Firing off the benchrest for accuracy, we learned the S&W M&P22 could produce good accuracy. With five-shot groups of 2.0 to 3.3 inches, the pistol is accurate enough for training and informal target practice. A 22 understudy doesn’t need to be much more accurate than its centerfire counterpart, but both the Glock 44 and the S&W 22 are more accurate than their closest 9mm counterparts.

Action TypeBlowback, single action
Overall Length6.7 in.
Height 4.8 in.
Max Width1.2 in.
Weight Unloaded15.3 oz.
Weight Loaded17.1 oz.
Slide MaterialAluminum
Slide Retraction Effort9.5 lbs.
Receiver MaterialPolymer
Front Strap Height2.3 in.
Back Strap Height3.25 in.
Barrel3.6 in.
Grip Thickness Max0.9 in.
Grip Circumference5.15 in.
Magazines(2) 10 round
Rear SightAdj. windage and elevation, white dot insert
Front SightPost with white dot
Sight Radius5.4 in.
Trigger Pull Weight7.6 lbs.
Trigger Span2.55 in.
Trigger Travel/Reset Travel0.24 in., 0.5 in.
SafetyManual Safety/Trigger Lever/Magazine Safety
Made InUSA
Telephone(800) 331-0852
Our Team Said: The pistol is more compact than the Glock and enough larger than the Ruger to improve accuracy. We like the safety system. The sights are excellent. No gun-related malfunctions. Buy this one.


  1. The new website still sucks. I was trying to find out about M&P 22; I was LOGGED IN, have paid my subscription into 2021 and cannot read the article, or anything else, as it says I must be a paid subscriber. I AM! and my account info says so; it shows at the top of page I’m logged in… and this is really annoying, it’s the second time I’ve had problems with the website. I haven’t looked at it for 4 months because of the problems last time, now this. Ugh!

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      W. Sharpe

  2. I assume you logged in and have a userID, and password. I had similar problems, but checked everything and I had not logged in carefully. After I did the site works very good, especially fun to find past tests of almost any gun I am interested in. GUN TESTS is simply the BEST gun magazine in the world for serious and even beginning shooters. I will always be a subscriber!



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