I must confess that sometimes I am a bit of a gun snob, especially as it relates to rifles. I don’t have any full custom second mortgage guns, but I generally look well above the price point of the M&P 10 that came in for review this week. As a retired military sniper and competitive shooting nerd, it is easy to overlook the entry level guns in this category.
The M&P 10 is about the cheapest way you are going to get into the large frame AR game. Abnormal for a review, I am going to post the MSRP right here because it is something you want to keep in mind for the entire read. Smith & Wesson set the price at $1049, which means real world is just south of $1000. And at that price, a lot of the details should not be all that shocking.
The M&P 10 Sport is an extremely plain rifle. In appearance, it reminds me very much of a late 90’s edition DPMS AR-15. The flash hider is standard M16A2. The handguards are the round plastic Delta ring style that harkens back to the original M-4 rifles before we had picatinny rails. The hand guards are mid length, so slightly longer than an M-4, but well short of the full length hand guards in common use today. The pistol grip is M16A2 standard, and the buttstock is a replica of the original M-4 six position collapsible. The only modern twists on the entire gun are ambidextrous bolt and magazine releases, a nice addition for lefties, and a picatinny gas block instead of an A frame. In short, it is a $1000 dollar rifle that looks like a $1000 dollar rifle.
None of that is necessarily bad though. The first thing that comes to mind with this rifle, at least for me, is how bad I wanted a 308 AR as a young man. When I was a broke college student, I spent hours lusting over the only 308 option on the block back then, the Armalite AR-10. With it’s green furniture and man-sized caliber, it called to me like a sirens song. I don’t remember what the price was exactly, but it was well past $1000 in the money of the day. And you know what? I never got that rifle. I wouldn’t have a semi-auto 308 until I was almost 30, unless you count the ones the Army loaned me.
So my point here is that the M&P 10 fills a gap. Yeah, it’s not the sexiest rifle on the block. But it comes at a price point that every consumer can have one if they want it. It might take a lot of hours of mowing lawns, but it isn’t out of reach for the younger market. And we are talking about an AR. You can buy this one now, and spend years upgrading it to exactly what you want. With the benefit of being able to shoot it while you hoard pennies for parts. At 1/3rd the price of most large frame AR’s, this one is hard to beat.
Model: M&P®10 SPORT™ Optics Ready
- SKU: 11532
- Caliber: .308 WIN/7.62 x 51
- Capacity: 20
- Safety: Manual Safety on Lower
- Barrel Length: 16″
- Overall Length: 34.0″
- Front Sight: None
- Rear Sight: None
- Action: Gas Operated Semi-Auto
- Stock: 6-Position Telescopic
- Grip: Synthetic
- Weight: 128.0 oz / 3,628.7g
- Barrel Material: 4140 Steel
- Barrel Twist: 1 in 10″ – 5R Rifling
- Purpose: Home Protection, Hunting
How about performance wise? In that category, the M&P punches well above its weight. I was fully prepared for a 2 MOA gun, given the price, I still would have found that acceptable. My best 100 yard group was actually 1.25 inches for 5 rounds, and some of that may have been me. I was shooting off the new foam rest from foam action sports. Not that this is a bad product, it is excellent. It acts just like sandbags, at a weight that makes them easy to carry. This is more about preference. Some very good shooters get better groups off sandbags and some better groups off bipods. I fall into the bipod category, and there is no way to attach them to the M&P. If we discount a single flyer from the group, it shrinks to ¾ inches. That is probably closer to reality since the gun also gave me a 4.5 group at nearly 700 meters. I was using Black Hills 168 grain ammo, but that is still a very impressive group for the price point. I was blown away, and that leaves me with nothing but good things to say about the M&P. Results are results, regardless of cost or sexiness.
I can see this rifle as a very viable option for anyone getting into the AR game. The caliber makes it perfect for dual use, hunting, and home defense. I am not sure what size game 308 is good for on the max end, but it is good enough for deer and pigs, covering most of the lower 48. And I know this from experience. If you shoot somebody with a 308, you will hurt more than their feelings.
I am walking away from this gun stunned by the value for the dollar. An extremely accurate 308, for the same price as a Craigslist ‘89 Honda Civic. If you looking at getting into the big AR’s, this one is really hard to say no to. At the price, you can still afford to feed it. And the look on your trust fund friends faces when you blow their doors off at a match, using your bargain basement ugly duckling? Absolutely priceless.For more information about Smith & Wesson, click here.