JUNE 22, 2017

Skill Set: The Ultimate .22 AR

Smith & Wesson's M&P 15-22 is a great platform. It fires .22 Long Rifle caliber, which isn't a cheap as it used to be but still less than firing .223/5.56. The 15-22 is reliable. I haven't had any problem with mine, and it doesn't get cleaned that often. As far as manipulations go, it's very close to the actual AR platform. Plus, with aftermarket parts you can set one up just like you want. Everyone should have a 15-22.
My goal was to assemble a 15-22 that was a match, at least as close as possible, to my MHT Katana AR. Putting it all together would require a new stock, handguard, front and sights and a red-dot. The stock was easy. Magpul's MOE stock fit the bill perfectly. The comb is wider, which provides a better cheekweld, and it's full adjustable. Although my "work" carbine has a fixed stock, the MOE is the same size and shape so it's a good match. To attach a different type handguard to the M&P requires using a modified barrel nut. Tacticalcool22 offers a "Handguard Conversion Kit" that has everything you need. It comes with the barrel nut, which has the proper threads for attaching any free-float handguard. (You can also use it for factory type two-piece handguards.) You get the barrel wrench - a long tube that goes into the stock handguards from the muzzle - to remove the factory nut. The kit also includes the wrench for the new barrel nut and a set of barrel clamps, which are like "real" ones except in miniature. Removing and replacing the handguard is a simple process. Remove the original nut, using the special wrench, install the replacement nut and you're ready to attach any type handguard. For my clone, I went with PRI's Gen III Delta. This is the exact handguard on my Katana, with plenty of rails to attach anything you need. I run fixed sights on my carbines. For the 15-22 rear sight I used the Daniel Defense A1.5 fixed sight, which attaches to the rail on the receiver. The front sight was a little different. Due to the diameter of the M&P barrel it won't take a standard AR sight base. A little research turned up a company that was modifying standard sight bases to fit 15-22. Again, Tacticalcool has you covered with their 15-22 sight base. You'll need to pick up the actual sight, spring, detent and other small parts but that's easy enough. After installing the front sight base and small parts I threaded on a three-prong flash hider, again to get the same look as the Katana. Finally the 15-22 was looking good, but to complete the build I needed a red-dot. Brownells had just what I needed, Bushnell's TRS 25 sight, which has a 3 MOA dot and comes with the mount The final parts were a DuckBill Tactical grip, again to match the Katana, and an Agile Sling, which is a simple two point sling with a quick release. The finished product is almost a perfect match to my work carbine, except it weighs less and it's cheaper to shoot. In other words it's fun. I know what you're thinking – "This is an expensive build." You may not want to go with these same parts. The beauty of the AR is its modular design; with the parts now available the M&P 15-22 is almost the same. Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy, located in northern Alabama. He is the author of "The Book of Two Guns" - http://shootrite.org/book/book.html writes for several firearms/tactical publications, and is featured on GunTalk's DVD, "Fighting With The 1911 - http://shootrite.org/dvd/dvd.html McKee's new book, AR-15 Skills and Drills, is available off Shootrite's website: http://shootrite.org/AR15SkillsBook/AR15SkillsBook.html http://www.facebook.com/pages/Shootrite-Firearms-Academy/156608611038230?ref=ts