Smith & Wesson M&P 22 Compact

Smith & Wesson M&P .22 Compact Review

You could really do worse than choosing a slightly-smaller rimfire version of your main gun to practice with. That’s where the Smith & Wesson M&P .22 Compact gun comes in — a stand-in for your centerfire boomer. This Compact is 15% smaller than a full-size M&P 22. Speaking of M&P.

The M&P line of semi-auto pistols is a big seller for Smith & Wesson. Coming in calibers .22 LR, .380, 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP — these guns are solid choices for concealed carry or competition. They’re fun to shoot in the backyard. If you’re thinking of buying this gun, read this review first, so you can get a glimpse of its performance. Now, let’s begin reviewing this gun.

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The M&P Story

The original M&P handgun was of the revolver persuasion, not a semi-auto. The M&P moniker officially appeared in 1899 when S&W brought out the .38 Military & Police revolver. This was shortened to .38 M&P. This revolver, chambered in .38 Spl., was the standard police weapon well into the 20th century.

The military aspect occurred during WWII, when approximately a million of these guns were produced for the military. The gun, which was later named the Model 10, is still going strong today. Featuring a 6-shot cylinder and fixed sights, the four-inch version of the Model 10 is purchased for several purposes, not the least of which is home defense or concealed carry.

Fast-forward to 2005, S&W decided to expand its M&P line by bringing out a series of semi-auto pistols, branded M&P. The first handgun calibers included 9mm and .40 S&W. Eventually, .45 ACP, .22 LR and .380 pistols were introduced. The name was even carried over to rifles with the introduction of the M&P15 series, S&W’s take on the AR platform.

A 5.56mm version came out in 2005, with a .22 LR variant out in 2009. Our gun, the .22 Compact, dates to 2013. The M&P line has been good to S&W since that first revolver was introduced 121 years ago. It’s hard to say if we’ve seen the end of the introduction of M&P-branded guns.

Smith & Wesson M&P .22 Compact Specs & Pictures

Before we examine our S&W M&P Compact, here are its specs.

Caliber:.22 LR
Capacity:10 rounds
Overall Length:6.65 inches
Barrel Length:3.56 inches
Width:1.48 inches
Height:5.03 inches
Weight:15.3 ounces
Construction:Slide, aluminum alloy with Armornite finish; Frame, polymer
Sights:Front, white dot; rear, dual white dots, fully adjustable
Features:Ambidextrous safeties, magazine disconnect safety, reversible magazine release, loaded chamber viewport, internal key lock, Picatinny rail, spare magazine, lock, and owner's manual
"Real-World" Price:~$340

Now, let’s take a look at the gun up-close.

Smith & Wesson M&P .22 Compact Left side
Smith & Wesson M&P .22 Compact Right Side
Slide branding on the Smith & Wesson M&P 22 Compact
field stripped Smith & Wesson M&P 22 Compact

You can’t see it, but there is a hammer there — no striker on this gun. Note the barrel is fixed to the frame, as many .22 pistol barrels are. The takedown lever makes field-stripping easy. This is a good place to insert some quick take-down instructions.

  1. First, make sure the gun is unloaded.
  2. Rotate the takedown lever 90 degrees down.
  3. Slightly pull the slide to the rear and then lift it off the back of the frame.
  4. Separate the recoil spring from the frame. Clean and reverse process to re-assemble.
Smith & Wesson M&P 22 Compact rear sight
Fully-adjustable rear sight and front sight.
Smith & Wesson M&P 22 Compact front sight
Smith & Wesson logo
Smith & Wesson M&P 22 Compact muzzle
The business end.
Smith & Wesson M&P .22 Compact Picatinny rail
Picatinny rail for laser, light or whatever else your heart desires
M&P 22 Compact slide underside
recoil spring of the M&P 22 Compact
Recoil Spring

Note the recoil spring guide extension — it fits into a slot in the frame.

slide serrations on the M&P 22 Compact
Fish-scale slide serrations and ambidextrous safety.
M&P 22 Compact trigger
S&W’s hinged trigger

This is a different type of trigger safety than the bladed-trigger safety that Glock among others employs. You simply have to pull on the lower, hinged part in order to allow the trigger to move to the rear. This is protection against the gun going off if it is dropped, among other scenarios.

Smith & Wesson M&P 22 Compact mags

Magazines with the follower pull-down button.

This button is more comfortable than that on its larger .22 pistol cousin, the Victory.

Shooting the Smith & Wesson M&P .22 Compact

I shot three different types of .22 ammo. They were: CCI MiniiMag, Winchester Super-Speed and Federal Champion. Here is a sample target for each load.

target shot with CCI
CCI MiniMags. Not so good.
target shot with Federal
Federal Champion.

Not bad, getting there. This load, of the three, merits more experimentation.

target shot with winchester
Winchester Super-Speed.

All loads utilize 40-grain bullets. The CCI is a hollow point, with the other two round-nose versions.

What do these targets tell me? The first thing I see when I look at these is that I’m not a very good shot with open sights — and that’s plainly obvious.

Secondly, I think I’d like to experiment with the Federal some more, then add more types of ammo to the testing process as I can. Ammo is hard to find right now, and .22 LR is included in that scarcity. I used the Federal Champion to sight my Victory pistol’s red dot sight in at 25 yards. That gun and sight combo can be very accurate if I do my part.

As far as these targets go, it seems that all handguns I shoot, I shoot to the right. Not sure what’s up with that, but adjustable sights make it a non-issue. At any rate, this little under-four-inch barrel, less-than-a-pound gun shot well considering the weather conditions today. I would think this might make a great little trainer or a gun to carry in your 4-wheeler or truck glove compartment. It would do just fine on up-close varmints.

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Smith & Wesson M&P .22 Compact Disassembly

Here’s a video showing how to field strip the S&W M&P Compact.

SW22 Victory vs. Smith & Wesson M&P .22 Compact

SW22 Victory on Bag

I think it’s important to compare the Compact with other .22 pistols out there and the SW22 is the other gun I have quick access to. As for the big-little difference. — my Victory is big and this Compact is little.

Little in length, in weight, and in overall size. The S&W M&P Compact doesn’t even weigh a pound, empty while my Victory comes in at a chunky 36 ounces. So, if you are buying this Compact to shoot in competitions or to hunt with, you may want to re-think that.

In my humble view, this little gun excels at what is was designed to do — be a trainer for its larger M&P centerfire cousins. You could use it, of course, in any capacity that you desire. It’s just that there might be a better gun out there to fulfill other uses. The M&P .22 Compact would make a decent truck gun. I could even see a recoil- and noise-shy person using it in a concealed-carry or home-defense role, with the right ammo. Heck, for a nightstand gun, you could even put a light or laser under the barrel, on the rail.

Make no mistake — it is accurate enough for just about any rimfire pursuit you care to pursue, with the possible exception of bullseye competition. However, it’s just very small and very light. My Victory would be at home in the woods or target range. But carried as a concealed-carry gun, not so much. On the other hand, the Compact is not designed to be a target gun. It’s just too hard to hold it on target, with its under-sixteen-ounce weight.

The Compact is a gun meant to be taken on a camping trip or a hike — it would excel at that. I could also see it going with me as I roam our woods when I wouldn’t want to tote a two-and-a-quarter pound gun with a red dot around all day. It would almost fit in a pocket, certainly a coat’s pocket for sure. With 10 + 1 of good .22 ammo in the gun and another 10 in the extra magazine, you’d be set.

There are many uses I see for this gun. Probably one of the main uses I haven’t mentioned yet is as an introductory gun for new shooters. It isn’t so heavy that they couldn’t hold it on target, and the recoil certainly isn’t much. Start at about 10 yards, have them shoot at a large target, and watch the holes appear in the target and the smiles appear on their faces. This is a non-intimidating gun, to be sure. I really like it.


The S&W M&P Compact .22 is worthy. It’s worthy of further shooting in an attempt to get better groups, and being used by a new shooter. It’s also an excellent trainer for your full-sized M&P 9mm or other. You can carry it with you, either in your person or in your glove compartment.

Small, light guns have a purpose. If you are looking for a fun gun that won’t break the bank that’s ready to go when you are, give this M&P a try. When you pick one up for the first time, there will be a smile cross your face — trust me. As always, keep ’em in the black and stay safe.

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  1. Hi Mike great article, for self defense I would try a bunch of different ammo when it becomes available so you find the right one that will go bang when you press the trigger. Definitely a great gun to train a young shooter or someone just starting to get involved with firearms. Be safe have a good week.

  2. I’m on my second M&P Compact…It’s good but not perfect. Both had a way too tight a curl on the trigger( I fixed that) The sights are just so so,.and I’m working on them. This comes from someone who owns a High Standard Victor, Smith 41, and a number of other 22’s. . It will be much better when I’m done.

    1. Kent, sounds like you’re no stranger to .22 pistols. The Compact here is fine for what it was designed for, training and plinking. If I were to shoot competition or take to the woods, your 41 or High Standard would be the ones to go with. Thanks for writing!

    1. Frosty, sure am. I’ve considered that as the reason I go right on the target, but I didn’t used to do that when I was younger – I think it’s a vision thing, with my newfangled progressive trifocals. At any right, that’s why they make adjustable rear sights – so I can move them all the way to the left! Thanks for your question – you’re the first person to ask it!

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