For the “Rimfires” column in the August 2014 issue of COMBAT HANDGUNS, author Will Dabbs detailed the advantages of using platforms like Smith & Wesson’s M&P series to transition between full-size .40 models and their cheaper .22 LR counterparts for training purposes. To illustrate his points, Dabbs set out to the range with Smith & Wesson’s M&P40 and M&P22 models.

“S&W’s Military & Police (M&P) tactical handguns are utterly reliable and indestructibly robust. They also come with interchangeable backstraps and the obligatory railed dust cover. The most appealing piece of the M&P design to me, however, is the grip-to-frame angle,” says Dabbs. “In this regard the M&P nicely approximates the general geometry of the 1911 and, to me at least, points just a little bit better than its popular Austrian cousin. Additionally, with the proper grip insert installed, the M&P feels perfect in my hands. The magazine release is reversible, and the striker-fired trigger system simply divine. There is a pivoting safety mechanism built into the trigger itself.”

Dabbs proceeds to detail how the M&P22 offers a practical (and cost-effective) training platform for its powerful sibling, the M&P40. “The market is awash in cool .22-caliber pseudo-tactical pistols. Taurus, Ruger, ISSC and Sig all produce handguns chambered in .22 LR that are cute as a button and fun to shoot. The only real problem is that few of them accurately replicate their big-bore brethren. The exception is the Smith & Wesson M&P22,” says Dabbs. “The greatest strength of the S&W M&P22 is that it is fairly big. Unlike most .22 pistols, the M&P22 is about the same size as the full-bore tactical version. This means that your hands find the controls naturally, and holster drills are literally seamless between the two platforms. Aside from recoil disparity, the simulator is about perfect.”

According to Dabbs, another bonus was the ease of training new shooters on the .22 LR platform before stepping up to similarly sized handguns in higher calibers. “The smaller sibling actually boasts some unique capabilities. The barrel mounts in the same manner as that of the P22. This means that a cheap thread adaptor lets you drop any commercial .22 suppressor in place and run the gun without earmuffs. There is no better way to introduce a novice to the art of tactical handgunning than to use a suppressed .22 pistol.”

For more information on the Smith & Wesson’s .22 LR and .40 S&W, visit:

To read the full article on the Smith & Wesson M&P Combo Training, check out the August 2014 issue of COMBAT HANDGUNS, available on newsstands May 6, 2014. To subscribe, go to

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