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Smith & Wesson M&P®22 Compact – Threaded Barrel A nifty plinker and small varmint dispatcher

8/31/2020
Ah yes, the cold is coming; mind numbing, soul sucking, frigid air, and butt deep snow. Yes, I do realize I moved to Maine voluntarily, but that was to flee California socialism, an intrusive government, and associated loss of personal freedom. Which, ironically, is about what Maine has gradually drifted into over the past twenty years. As of late, it seems Maine’s primary source of income has been out of state, liberal PAC billionaires, successfully buying up our U.S. House and Senate seats. There is hope for change this year.

In any event, a more real life issue has been the demise of my fourteen year old tractor mounted snow blower that got my wife and I to the main road without fail. Deep snow, wet snow, gale winds blowing snow, the tractor would chug along, effortlessly spewing a forty foot plume a blue whale would envy, from house to street, one hundred yards and knock outs and walkways as easily. Unfortunately, breakage of a literally irreplaceable gear case placed it on the scrap pile out back.

I almost had a replacement tractor mounted blower, twice, but none panned out, either because of availability being mid winter, or because they were too fragile of a product to fit the bill. So the tractor has been relegated to landscaping duty and I went in search of a suitable walk behind. A two week headache of searching, researching, detailed investigation and thorough review of reviews.

As large as 36″, as small as 28″, I settled on 30″ because it is a four run trip with either a 30″ or a 34″ blower to clear and the 30″ had the same big motor, heavy traction weight, and auger and impeller and accelerator… three stage blower. The auger gear case is steel instead of the aluminum case more typically found. Warranty is 5 years on the gear box and 3 years on the rest. Yes, it is pretty. Yes, I do carry a picture in my wallet, along with pictures of my kids and grandkids.

Not inexpensive initially but, in rural Maine, equipment like this means survival and, hopefully, the cost amortized over the life of the blower, it will prove to be inexpensive. I also do not wait until I am in the midst of a crisis before attempting to avert disaster. It is a lot like firearms. I wouldn’t own a “cheap” firearm, because a firearm is just more necessary equipment. So they are chosen wisely, valued for quality that will play out in reliability and longevity.

Smith & Wesson M&P®22 Compact – Threaded Barrel

No, this is not a just released model. Nor is it a derivative model. In production since the end of 2014 / beginning of 2015 the M&P®22 Compact, unlike the German manufactured striker fired S&W M&P22 full size, the Compact is made in U.S.A. and a blow back, hammer fired design.

Smith & Wesson defines the M&P 22 Compact’s application as “recreational shooting”. Plinking, varmint control, small game hunting, firearm safety and operational training? Yes, I can definitely see this pistol in any or all of those roles. Why do I say that? Hmm… let me think about that for a moment.

The M&P 22 Compact is actually quite compact within the universe of rimfire pistols that are made to fit and be shot with an adult male hand. Compared to a S&W Victory pistol, that is also suppressor ready, the M&P is just about 2″ shorter at 7.3″ overall length, and that length includes a 1/2″ barrel extension on the M&P that mounts a silencer. Compared to centerfire M&P models, the M&P 22 Compact is scaled down by approximately 15%.


The M&P 22 Compact is an easy field strip; pull mag, check for empty with slide locked open. Then remove the 1/2×28 thread adapter, rotate the take down lever to the down position, pull back and lift the rear of the slide and ease the slide forward and off the frame. The grip frame is poly, the internal frame that mounts the 4130 carbon steel barrel and fire control/safety components is steel, the slide is fashioned from 7076 T651 aluminum. The dual recoil spring is captive.

As pictured above, the barrel is stationary and the blow back slide moves to cycle eject and chamber. All M&P 22 Compact pistols have a threaded barrel, 3/8×24,fitted with a flared bushing that assist in consistently centering the slide when moving to battery. This bushing terminates at the face of the slide. The subject model replaces that bushing with bushing and thread adapter, 1/2×28, the standard for rimfire silencers. The step up facing shoulder requires bushing removal for field stripping; a wrench is included and a thread protector is included for use when the pistol is not being shot suppressed.

Top side, thread protector in place. Dovetail mounted front white dot sight and fully adjustable rear sight. The top side port aft of the barrel is a loaded chamber check point and it permits checking for a protruding firing pin.

The Smith and Wesson M&P 22 Compact incorporates numerous safeties, something very welcome in a pistol intended for training, plinking and recreational target shooting. The drop safety connects the trigger to a plunger in the frame along side the hammer. When the trigger is pulled, the plunger is lifted until it lifts a firing pin release embedded in the slide, allowing the firing pin to travel forward. No finger on trigger, no plunger travel, no firing pin release. The intent is to prevent a dropped pistol from accidentally discharging.

As noted before, a top of slide view port permits checking for a loaded chamber and a protruding firing pin. It is not intended to replace removing a magazine and pulling the slide back to assure an empty chamber as activities require. The ambidextrous safety is thumb actuated to engage or disengage. The hammer key lock prevents unauthorized use of the pistol, as in when it is stowed and not to be at the ready, to prevent any number of accidents or theft from leading to a shooting.

The S&W M&P 22 Compact was shot with and without silencer; easy enough to change back and forth. Use of the silencer did not hamper the pistol’s reliability with any ammunition tested and influence on velocity, either way, was negligible. Sights were high enough to easily clear a dedicated rimfire silencer like the AAC unit installed.

Cartridge Bullet Weight
Grains
MV FPS
24″ BBL Rated
MV FPS
3.6″ BBL
Open
MV FPS
3.6″ BBL
Silencer
50 Foot
5 Shot Group “
Federal Champion 36 1280 954 943 1.8
Rem Thunderbolt 40 1255 730 871 2.2
Rem Golden 40 1255 972 915 1.7
Winchester Super Speed 40 1300 926 962 1.9

Shooting impressions… That was Jay Leno

S&W M&P22 Compact Threaded Barrel

Manufacturer Smith & Wesson
SKU # 10199
Country of Origin U.S.A.
Type Single Action
Operation Blow-Back Auto Loader
Caliber 22 Long Rifle
Mag Capacity 10
Barrel Length 3.6” 1/2-28 Thread Adapt
Rifling 1:16″
Weight 15.3 Oz.
Overall Length 7.3″
Grips Frame
Poly
Slide 7076 T651 aluminum
Rear Sight Adjustable Two Dot
Front Sight One Dot
Trigger Pull 5 Lbs. 14 Oz.
Manual Safeties Ambi Thumb & Key Lock
MSRP $409.00

Breaking news, firearms with a 3.6″ barrel do not generate the same velocity as firearms with a 24: SAAMI standard test barrel. If it seems slow, I can only comment that my 45 Automatic bullseye gun love 185 grain SWC handloads with a muzzle velocity of 780 fps.

I found that paper targets and random plinking targets don’t require a good deal of pursuit. How about small varmint and game hunting? More than enough power for a timely ending. For suppressed shooting, short pistol barrel velocity is naturally subsonic so no sonic crack, just the mechanical racket component of an autoloader to contend with.

The most endearing characteristic of the M&P 22 Compact was what it did not do, jam or fail to fire. Wandering around in the woodland behind the shop for a few days… at least from 8AM to noon, I got to shoot the Compact a good deal. In the absence of a suitable holster, it fit comfortably in a hooded sweatshirt pocket, ammo and silencer in the other.

With most shooting within ten yards, the pistol consistently hit where aimed, the white dots framed in black stood out against virtually any backdrop.

When the shooting was done, a cloth wipe cleaned it up like new. The S&W M&P 22 Compact shot pretty cleanly even with the silencer in place. A nice 22 LR pistol, made in USA, from the folks at S&W. If I would make one suggestion it would be to skip the large scale contrasting logo and return to the practice of small, conservative black on black markings. But I’m an old guy, so maybe that’s just me.

Smith & Wesson M&P® Bodyguard® 380 Self defense... Yes, that is a thing

08/23/2020
These days, more Americans are purchasing firearms and practicing legal concealed carry than ever before. Who would blame them? Politicians are running for leadership positions on a hate America and Americans first platform, state governors and big city mayors are working to crush a robust economy and put people out of work. Violent, rioting mobs occupy large portions of our major cities, terrorizing local residents. At the same time, city governments work to defund and disband their own law enforcement and tie the hands of the remaining by imposing no arrest or no bail release policy on the police. Jails and prisons are emptying violent prisoners into the streets.

Sounds dire? Worrying? It should, because it is. Especially since the national Democrat platform says:

“Democrats will enact universal background checks, end online sales of guns and ammunition, close dangerous loopholes that currently allow stalkers and some individuals convicted of assault or battery to buy and possess firearms, and adequately fund the federal background check system. We will close the “Charleston loophole” and prevent individuals who have been convicted of hate crimes from possessing firearms. Democrats will ban the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high capacity magazines. We will incentivize states to enact licensing requirements for owning firearms and “red flag” laws that allow courts to temporarily remove guns from the possession of those who are a danger to themselves or others. We will pass legislation requiring that guns be safely stored in homes. And Democrats believe that gun companies should be held responsible for their products, just like any other business, and will prioritize repealing the law that shields gun manufacturers from civil liability.”

According to the NRA, additional proposals include so-called “universal” background checks, the elimination of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System’s three-day safety -valve provision, and gun owner licensing, which would turn the right to keep and bear arms into a privilege dependent on the whim of government bureaucrats. The Democrats would empower government intrusions into the home to dictate how Americans keep and store firearms for self-defense and to confiscate firearms without due process based on the flimsiest of evidentiary standards. Moreover, the draft platform calls for a ban on commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms and their magazines, something explicitly prohibited under the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Second Amendment in District of Columbia v. Heller.

So when your democrat buddy says, “Obama never took your guns”, remind him it wasn’t for a lack of trying. Instead, he delegated the honors to anti gun governors, mayors and town council surrogates who passed a record number of gun restriction, elimination, and seizure laws than had passed the thirty years prior. The New York AG is currently suing to dissolve the NRA, the largest pro gun lobby group in the world. New gun buyers aren’t panicking, nor are they paranoid. They just see very real threats coming, on many fronts, and they do not want to be defenseless. These days, I always carry a quality 380 Auto subcompact pistol, a combination that definitely has a role in self-defense.

S&W M&P Bodyguard highlights

I am told, giving people a sense of the size of an unfamiliar object is best accomplished by placing it in the proximity of something very familiar. Well. Everyone knows Albert and he knows more than a little about relative relationships, so, there you go. Initially, the S&W M&P Bodyguard was compared to a mechanical pencil, laying on my drafting board. However, a survey of people under the age of 90 suggests more people know the exact height of this Einstein bobble head, 8″ tall – 2.75″ at the base, than are familiar with the terms “mechanical pencil” and “drafting board”. And, yes, I could have placed a ruler next to the pistol, but what fun would that have been?

There are no surprise control surfaces, just the usual suspects, and where you would expect to find them. Always good in a defensive firearm. Side controls, back to front: thumb safety, slide stop, take down lever and, aft of lower trigger guard, magazine release. The M&P Bodyguard is supplied with two magazines and both flat and finger groove extender floorplates. Extender version shown.

Take-down is straight forward; remove magazine, check for empty, lock slide open, rotate down and remove takedown lever, move slide forward and off.

The M&P Bodyguard is a camming, tilting barrel design that fires from a closed, locked breech. It is double action, not a striker or blow back design, and hammer fired. Combined, the Bodyguard features make for a stronger and more reliable pistol and delayed opening after firing often results in higher velocity and certainly greater reliability. Double action also allows a second strike at a stubborn primer, where training regimen permits. The dual, staged recoil spring eases racking effort, but provides proper energy storage and resistance for a reciprocating slide.

There is a dropped gun safety in the form of a firing pin blocking plunger embedded in the slide, which requires a trigger pull before getting out of the way of firing pin travel.  So no blade safety poking through the trigger. The Bodyguard will fire with or without a magazine inserted.

An open top, low ejection port and oversize extractor contribute to the Bodyguard’s reliability. Dovetail mounted, blackened stainless steel front and rear sights are durable they stay put where adjusted. Alternative sight sets are available from S&W and third party suppliers. The M&P Bodyguard is a sub compact, so it is… brief in the area of the polymer frame.

With trigger finger at trigger level, I can get two fingers on the grip, with my pinky curled under the floor plate. No, not as much control as having all fingers around a grip as might be the case with a full size pistol, but more than enough control to back up a 10.5 lb double action trigger pull.

The M&P Bodyguard is tucked in all over. Some pistols sport diminutive dimensions when they are built around the 380 Auto cartridge, but then they go with thick grips or a thumb safety that expands the envelop. Not the case here and there are no sharp, snagable… it’s a word now, to hang up on clothing. Yes, I am stalling with pictures because I have not yet thought how to address the 380 Auto Loxodonta in the room. So read the spec table for a few minutes while I think.

The 380 Automatic… the cartridge

S&W M&P Bodyguard

Manufacturer

Smith & Wesson
SKU 109381
Origin USA
Type Semi Auto DA Only
Caliber .380 ACP
Capacity 6+1
Metallic Sights Drift Adjustable
Barrel/Slide Stainless/Armornite
Grip Frame Polymer
Finish Matte Black
Overall length 5.3″
Height 4.3“
Grip Width 0.75″
Sight Radius 4.5″
Barrel Length 2.75″
Weight – Empty 12.0 oz. Actual
MSRP $379

Designed by JMB, the 380 Auto  first made an appearance for use in the Colt Pocket Automatic in 1908. It was introduced in Europe by FN of Belgium in 1912 as the Browning Short. It has seen substantial use in both military and law enforcement applications, as well as a civilian defensive weapon.

The 380 Automatic has had been assigned a variety of nomenclatures including, but not limited to: .380 Colt Automatic Pistol, .380 ACP, 9mm Browning Short, 9mm Kurz, and 9x17mm. The official SAAMI name is “380 Automatic”, no decimal point.

I often carry a 380 Automatic. Sometimes as a backup to a primary, but also when working outdoors around the house where there is a good deal of physical activity and both hands are occupied with the task at hand. It is a comfortable and not conspicuous carry and it offers protection where none otherwise exists.

Maine has more than an infrequent number of rabid fox attacks on residents, without provocation. Not a probability, but a very real possibility, and preparedness is always good. Additionally, we now live in a strange world with lots of people drawing satisfaction from harming others and my wife and I choose not to be victims.

Ammunition selection

The S&W M&P Bodyguard is not sensitive to ammunition brands, bullet weights or bullet types. Very important as ammo selection varies greatly from one individual to another and, sometimes, from one application to another.

Two approaches I’ve taken with factory ammunition and component bullets. Far left – Interceptor ARX and ARX injection molded 56 grain ARX copper/nylon compound bullets. Above right, Remington Golden Saber ammunition or 102 grain brass jacketed hollow point component bullets. Over a chronograph, fired from the Bodyguard, ARX MV clocked 1,263 fps and the Golden Saber generated 753 fps.

As published ballistic gel results seem all over the place, when I have the time and inclination, I gather my own data in a setting under my own control. ARX penetrated 14.5″ and the Golden Saber 13.0″. By comparison, a non expanding PMC 90 grain FMJ penetrated 20.5″.

The ARX does not expand, but it does generate a significant lateral fluid pressure load. How do I know? Tie a string with a slip knot around the gel block at 2″ intervals. Mark the string where it passes through the knot, shoot the gel block and measure how far the string has pulled through the knot. It is a good relative indicator.

The Golden Saber or brass jacketed hollow point expands to approx double its original diameter even at 380 Auto velocity levels, but still penetrates 13″ which is good; bare gel, no denim, flannel, or sheet rock barriers in front of it. The PMC FMJ is a good illustration of why the 380 Auto earned a poor reputation in the distant past. Zero expansion, minimal lateral load and over penetration. The ball ammo design, in ancient times, was required to make a 380 auto loader cycle reliably. Not needed now.

Why not use a simple blow back 22 LR rimfire? I won’t put my foot in my “22 LR is not powerful enough” mouth, because #war_harbinger will tell me that he routinely lion hunts with a 22 LR, but I will say that subcompact 22 LR pistols are about as reliable in function as a jamming desk stapler. Is that better? Again, subcompact auto loaders, as quality rimfire pistols with a 3.5″ barrel and longer barrels tend to be reliable… a reliable pistol with an anemic cartridge, with unpredictable terminal ballistics.

Accuracy, shot to shot

Ten yard, five shot groups; Remington Golden Saber left, Interceptor ARX right. Both measure 1.8″ with the biggest challenge coming from the long double action trigger pull. From my perspective, excellent performance from this type of firearm and for its intended purpose.

In sintesi

The Smith and Wesson M&P Bodyguard is an excellent 380 Automatic pistol; materials, quality of design and quality of assembly. Subsequently, it is also highly concealable, reliable and accurate as a subcompact pistol. It may not have the power of a 45 Auto or even a high capacity 9mm Luger chambered pistol, but it is easy to use, easy to control and light and small enough to carry where other pistols might be left at home. Nice gun.

 

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Real Guns is a membership supported publication. Membership offers access to: all current and archived articles, handload data, ballistic calculators, and the Real Guns Image Gallery. Membership is available for $29.95 for twelve months.

Please either Sign inorJoin Real Guns.