Full Review! Smith & Wesson Volunteer XV Pro

AR-15 Gun Reviews Mitchell Graf Semi-Autos

Smith & Wesson Volunteer XV Pro topped off with Eotech HWS and G45 magnifier in a field with cows in the background
Smith & Wesson Volunteer XV Pro topped off with Eotech HWS and G45 magnifier

New from Smith & Wesson is the Volunteer™ Series MSR platform called the Volunteer XV Pro. I have been a fan of their previous M&P15 Sport lineup after seeing how well they perform for the price, so I was excited about this new upgraded option. Straight from the factory, the Volunteer XV Pro provides the advantage of high-end accessories coming from Radian™, Magpul, B5 Systems, and Bravo Company. Featuring 5R rifling, an upgraded flat trigger, and Primary Weapons Systems muzzle brake, this factory rifle is a great option. For those who want to save money and avoid the process of sourcing individual parts to upgrade a more standard rifle, the Volunteer XV Pro is a well-thought-out system that is built to meet your every need. 

Smith & Wesson Volunteer XV Pro against a brick wall with lots of different optics installed.
Volunteer XV Pro setup in multiple different configurations. From left to right: Eotech HWS & G45, Eotech 1-10, Vortex Strike Eagle 3-18, and the Vortex Razor 6-36

Features: 

  • Mid-length gas system
  • 15.0″ aluminum S&W® M-LOK® forend
  • B5 Systems SOPMOD stock
  • PWS 556 muzzle brake
  • Williams Gun Sight Company Folding Sights
  • B5 Systems P-Grip 23 pistol grip
  • Ambidextrous Radian Raptor-LT™ charging handle
  • Flat-faced trigger
  • Target-crowned, threaded barrel
  • 2″ M-LOK® rail section included
  • Magpul® Type-2 M-LOK rail covers included
  • Forward assist
  • Dust cover
  • Chromed firing pin
  • Forged, integral trigger guard
  • Armornite® finish on barrel (internal and external)

See Also: Radian Model 1 – Ambi Magic(Opens in a new browser tab)

Specifications: 

  • Caliber: 5.56 NATO
  • Size: Rifle
  • Action: Gas operated 
  • Barrel Length: 16″
  • Barrel Material: 4140 CM
  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Number of Magazines: 1

Factory Upgrades

As previously stated, Smith & Wesson included a lot of great upgrades for this rifle straight from the factory. Opening the box, it comes with a muzzle break, iron sights, an upgraded trigger, a Radian charging handle, a B5 stock, and a B5 grip installed. Sitting next to them is a safety lock, Picatinny rail section, single 30-round Magpul M2 PMAG as well as a box of Magpul Type 2 rail covers. 

Smith & Wesson Volunteer XV Pro in the factory box.
The Volunteer XV Pro and included accessories

B5 Furniture

While mil-spec rifles leave a lot to desire, the Volunteer XV Pro is one of the few factory rifles where I don’t want to change things up. They include a B5 Systems P-Grip 23 pistol grip and an Enhanced SOPMOD stock. The Type 23 P-Grip has good texturing and a steeper grip angle to ensure a proper trigger index. The Enhanced SOPMOD Stock has a great ergonomic design that is comfortable when shooting. Featuring water-resistant storage compartments, dual steel anti-rotational QD sling mounts, and a “sure grip stock latch,” the B5 stock has a lot going for it. 

Smith & Wesson Volunteer XV Pro buttstock
B5 Enhanced SOPMOD stock and Type 23 P-Grip

Trigger

Smith & Wesson includes one of their own flat-faced triggers in this rifle. While curved and flat-faced don’t really make much of a difference, I have slightly been preferring flat as of late. I measured the pull weight of this trigger and got results of between 4.5-5lbs. I found it to have a fairly gritty takeup with no defined wall, then a very positive and audible reset after the shot. While not great, I could still get consistent hits out to 500 yards. 

Smith & Wesson Volunteer XV Pro trigger
Smith & Wesson Flat Faced trigger

Radian Charging Handle

While a solid trigger is normally my first upgrade for a rifle, a Radian charging handle comes in second. This rifle features an ambidextrous Radian Raptor-LT™ charging handle which combines 7075 aluminum and over-molded fiberglass reinforced polymer to provide the best combination of weight, strength, and durability. These really improve handling and weapon manipulations so I was excited to see one included. 

Smith & Wesson Volunteer XV Pro Radian charging handle
Radian Raptor-LT charging handle

Handguard

Utilizing a 15.0˝ aluminum S&W® M-LOK® forend, the Volunteer XV Pro leaves plenty of room for mounting accessories. I am a big fan of M-LOK handguards as they provide a great combination of durability to weight savings. This handguard provides a full-length Picatinny rail at the top, and 5 sides of M-LOK slots. Another appreciated feature of this rifle is the included Magpul® Type-2 M-LOK rail covers. They are low-profile, lightweight, easy to install and provide the perfect amount of added texture to the front of the handguard. There are six panels included which each cover a single M-LOK slot. 

Smith & Wesson Volunteer XV Pro handguard
M-LOK hand guard and Magpul Type-2 rail covers

Iron sights

Including a set of Williams Gun Sight Company folding sights, this rifle is ready to go out of the box. These metal folding sights seem to be well-made, and I like their locking mechanism. They are adjustable, and the rear sight has both a large and small aperture for different types of shooting. 

Smith & Wesson Volunteer XV Pro Iron Sights
Williams Gun Sight Company folding sights
Smith & Wesson Volunteer XV Pro irons sights shown co-witnessing
Iron sights provide a lower 1/3 witness with the Eotech EXPS3-0

Muzzle Brake

The included PWS 556 muzzle brake worked like a charm throughout testing. While 556 doesn’t have much recoil to begin with, it has essentially no recoil with this muzzle brake attached. It kept a fairly small ground signature and allowed for quick follow-up shots. 

Smith & Wesson Volunteer XV Pro muzzle brake.
PWS 556 muzzle break

Testing

So enough about the features, how does the Smith & Wesson Volunteer XV Pro actually shoot?! For the few hundred rounds I was able to put downrange, this rifle ran great. The only issue I had was a couple of failures to feed when I was trying to use “Cheapest Ammo, LLC” steel-cased 56gr FMJBT cartridges. Otherwise, it powered through all the brass ammo I threw at it without a single hiccup. Ergonomically the rifle and all its included accessories ran well. Using a red dot paired with the muzzle break I was able to quickly burn it down up close, and by throwing on the new Vortex 3-18×44 scope, I could stretch the rifle out to get consistent hits out to 500 yards. I enjoyed testing out this rifle, especially after setting it up in a more designated mid-range platform. For utilizing a 16″ barrel, it handled nicely and felt well-balanced. 

Smith & Wesson Volunteer XV Pro range testing over shooting bag.
My dad took his first shot ever past 250 yards and nailed the steel silhouette at 500 yards on his first shot while running the Vortex Strike Eagle 3-18 in the Vortex Pro Series 34mm rings
Smith & Wesson Volunteer XV Pro shooting steel target
Mag dumping into a tree trunk testing out how well the muzzle break reduces recoil with the Holosun 507C mounted on the offset Valhalla Tactical Rukh mount

Accuracy

Wanting to see how accurate the 4140 CM barrel with 5R rifling was, I set up paper targets at 100 yards, grabbed an assortment of ammunition, and started shooting groups. While some people just shoot 3-round groups and call it a day, I feel like 5-round groups give a better representation of how a rifle actually performs. While 5-round groups normally have a larger deviation, take from them what you will. My best groups by far were with Norma Golden Target Match 69gr. I was able to get a .90 MOA measured on paper. However, after that, the group size went up. I ended up getting 2.8 MOA with 62gr LAP PMC X-TAC, 3.5 MOA with 55gr FMJ Norma Tactical, 3.5 MOA with 55gr FMJ PMC Bronze, and 3.9 MOA with 56gr FMJBT Cheapest Ammo LLC. While these are not great groups with more affordable ammunition options, it is good to know that 1-MOA groups are within reason with premium ammunition such as Norma Golden Target. 

Smith & Wesson Volunteer XV Pro Accuracy Target
Top left: 55gr Norma Tactical, Top right: 69gr Norma Golden Target, Middle: 56gr Cheapest AMMO LLC, Bottom left: 55gr PMC Bronze, Bottom right: 62gr PMC X-TAC

Summary

Out of the box, I think the Smith & Wesson Volunteer XV Pro is a fantastic option. Currently, the MSRP for this rifle is $1569 while the street price is around $1400. It comes with a lot of high-end accessories that work great and keep the end user from worrying about upgrades down the road. When paired with brass ammunition it proved to be reliable, and I had no issues hitting C-Zone-sized silhouettes out to 500 yards even with 20 mph winds. 

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  • Heavyguns31 December 15, 2023, 7:37 am

    $1400?? I’ve never built an AR that groups that poorly….and with sales and a LEO and or Mil discount on parts I usually come in under that price by a hundred or 2.
    Ps. I shoot both of those PMC loads (much better) and then you really see the potential with federal or Hornady match loads.

  • Tom Szczepaniak May 5, 2023, 6:51 am

    I totally agree Mr. Barrios.

  • Tommy Barrios May 1, 2023, 12:48 pm

    I’ll just keep on building my own custom AR’s I don’t need some company to do it for me and my patterns will be a lot tighter than that I guarantee you! HELLO!
    By the way how many of you plan on shooting something at 100 yards or greater, I guess no knows know what 100 yards is anymore, when most contact with any animal or even humans is less than 50 yards, humans less than 25 mostly, much less than the old hundred yard accuracy!
    Another words you can custom build more accurate rifles for the same price or less!

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