M&P-10 Sport – Bargain Bin Price That Is Big On Performance.

 

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.

Economics

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.

Details

The handguards are the round plastic Delta ring style that harkens back to the original M-4 rifles before we had Picatinny rails.

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.

The M&P 10 Sport features ambidextrous bolt and magazine releases

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.

Picatinny gas block rather than a fixed front sight.

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.

Specifications

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

Performance

Black Hills 168 grain ammunition gave the author a 4.5 inch group at 700 meters. Impressive!

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.

Conclusion

A bolt release on the right side is unusual for a gun in this price range.

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.

***Check out GunsAmerica for your next Smith & Wesson Rifle***

 

About the author: Clay Martin is a former Marine and Green Beret, retiring out of 3rd Special Forces Group. He is a multi-decade and -service sniper, as well as 3-Gun competitor and Master ranked shooter in USPSA Production. In addition to writing about guns, he is the author of “Last Son of The War God,” a novel about shooting people that deserve it. You can also follow him on twitter, @offthe_res or his website, Off-The-Reservation.com

{ 38 comments… add one }
  • Ted June 20, 2020, 9:23 am

    I love this guy’s writing style. “ If you shoot somebody with a 308, you will hurt more than their feelings.” LOL “[Same] price as a Craigslist ‘89 Honda.” HAHAHA

  • DRB September 8, 2018, 7:55 am

    A 223 is simply not enough gun for hunting any type of animal except very small predator, below 100 pounds.

  • Fred Gasparino March 15, 2018, 3:24 pm

    I think I’d love to have one, but it weighs 8 lbs and only has a 16″ barrel. My Rem 760 in 308, may not shoot as fast, but it shoots better, is lighter, and has a 22 inch barrel.
    I see the attraction, but not for me.

  • J. Smith March 7, 2018, 1:15 pm

    Just wanted to say price point instead of price, one more time!

    Several options in 308 available well below this price for a non-significant ar-10 in DI.

    Built many, jp, dpms, palmeto…

    Recommend a PWS 214 spend the money, its worth it.

  • Archangel March 5, 2018, 6:04 pm

    Impressed easily?
    I put together an 80% DPMS style AR-10 (and that was when parts were scarce) for only $635 and that includes all the little individual shipping charges for each part ordered!
    Yeah, I did not buy those $500 barrels or any of those high priced custom add-ons, but I have a decent .308 rifle with a basic scope, an 18″ barrel, fixed stock (my preference) with a free float hand guard and a bipod!

    • Ted June 20, 2020, 9:19 am

      Of course you can build one for cheaper, that’s not the point of this review.

  • Wes March 5, 2018, 5:59 pm

    Maybe we can expect to see a 6.5mm option soon

  • Jake March 5, 2018, 1:04 pm

    You can easily attach a Harris bipod to any AR with GI hand guards. Harris makes an adapter that fits inside the lower hand guard and leaves you with a swivel attachment protruding. I have these on several uppers. Worked perfectly for many years now.

  • Brett March 5, 2018, 12:58 pm

    I bought one of the first M&P10’s that came out at about $1600.00 , which was much cheaper than the Latue or JP Ent. I wanted and it was ambidextrous as well . It’s functions every time and is more accurate than I’am . Wish it had been $1000.00 when I bought it , but I believe the current gun glut is bringing everyone’s prices down ( except Larue , JP & Wilson) so for me it fits the bill . Have taken 3 deer with it so far with far more knock down power than my 6.8SPC . I hope more affordable 308’s hit the market and become somewhat more standardized in the future .

  • GregFL March 5, 2018, 12:37 pm

    Another option for a good “Budget” AR-10 platform would be Aero Precision. You can pick up a complete lower, complete upper (Ballistic Advantage barrel with 15 inch Free-Float handgaurd in KeyMod or M-LOK), nitride bolt and charging handle for around $1100. That’s what I did (except for a few upgrades like 20″ barrel, etc) and I had a 10% discount code via. their email list. I thought real hard about buying a S&W, but by the time I replaced the handgaurd with a Free-Float (a MUST for me), gas block, etc., I was money ahead going with the Aero. There are good deals out there if you look around.

  • Sailorwannabe March 5, 2018, 11:41 am

    I just bought, March 3 2018, an DPMS 308 ORACLE. Still in the box, have not shot it yet. I was looking for a Rock River Arms 308 when I stumbled across the DPMS. The price on it was $665.00! The Rock River I was about to buy was $1499, so I opted for the cheaper option obviously. At well under half the price I just couldn’t see why not to buy the DPMS. I can upgrade every part that matters and still come out cheaper. The other side is RRA has proprietary Mags that are around $35 ea. Savings all around on the M&P and DPMS. I say less expensive does not always mean cheap quality. Maybe one day when I win the lottery I’l buy the $3,000 trophy rifle and mount it above my fireplace. I am very happy to be able to buy the caliber I want for well under $1000.

    • J. Smith March 8, 2018, 10:10 am

      Exactly! You nailed it. Where is the wow here that justifies the fanfare and additional $350 over what you described? I had a custom DPMS DI built in 260 rem w/ 24″ stainless fluted heavy barrel with a couple other add ons for “the price point” of under $1100. Shot 1/2-3/4 MOA with Handloads.

      I added a DPMS 308 upper for like $350 or something.

      I dont get it. Guess that is why i dont do gun reviews.

  • John Severson March 5, 2018, 11:18 am

    I bought the LE/MagPul version when I was still on Active Duty. $1180 with the rebate from S&W. Haven’t taken it past 200 yet, but a good shooter. I get around 1.8 MOA at 100 with 168 grain match ammo.
    It’s a great deal for a .30 cal AR. Recoil is stiffer than my SCAR-17 or an 18 inch barreled Fulton Armory M-14.

  • John F. March 5, 2018, 10:28 am

    The author obviously has not spent too much time to really ring out and research this weapon because if he had then he would not have said that you can easily update and modernize this gun just like any other AR because it’s an AR. It isn’t any other AR. It is a very proprietary AR. Which means the bolt carrier group, handguards, barrel and a variety of other important parts, some which are prone to break in AR platforms, are only available from the mfg.

    That said, the gun is NOT well supported by S&W. They won’t sell you extra parts for your gun if you try to call them or if you try to order them from them they won’t let you unless they verify exactly which one it was where you bought it which state it was in and whether or not they deem that they should or shouldn’t replace the part based upon their position and not on what you as a customer’s needs are Smith & Wesson in this regard sucks with a capital “S”

    If you want a $1,000 308 AR-15 that is not supported by the factory and doesn’t accept anyone else’s replacement or upgrade parts and this is the gun for you.

    • elnonio March 5, 2018, 5:38 pm

      +1. I tried to upgrade the barrel on mine (that clearly did NOT shoot 1.5 MOA, nor even 2.0). Picked up a Bergara barrel hoping for a quick fix… Only to discover that the barrel extension is proprietary, as is the bolt and bolt carrier. Even the gas tube length is not exactly the same as the most common style out there (DPMS it seems).

      Long story short, ended up putting the rifle back to stock and sold it; with the same amount of cash I sold it (+ cost of barrel of course, and some bits I had already on the MP10 like the Geisele), I put together an Aero version that shoots much better, and I can rebarrel much easier in the future, free floated.

      So no. I would definitely NOT recommend the MP10 if the intent is to modify. Magpul furniture will work; Geisele triggers will work. The full ambi features are a plus, agreed. But anything that touches the barrel, practically, is proprietary.

    • J. Smith March 8, 2018, 10:18 am

      Good info. See my other comments. Total boondogle.

  • John O'Connor March 5, 2018, 10:23 am

    Clay, outstanding review…especially appreciated was the view from the common-man’s price-point…I also appreciate the “blank-canvas” aspect, an affordable & fully functional starting point, for a custom personal rifle…thank-you…jo’c

  • Jon March 5, 2018, 9:12 am

    What I can’t figure out on this one is why the $600 price difference between the M&P 10 Sport ($1000 and change list price), and the standard M&P 10 ( $1600 and change list price)..

    Two differences I can see, the barrel looks to be 16 inches on the sport and 18 inches on the standard model, and the standard model has a larger version of flash hider. Seems like for $600 there ought to be more than that.

  • James Ward March 5, 2018, 8:33 am

    I own one. Good review Clay. The first thing I did to mine was get rid of the A4 hand grips and the gas bock. I put Midwest’s picatinny on instead. Also replaced the charging handle.

  • joefoam March 5, 2018, 8:10 am

    Too bad this rifle will be tossed in with the rest of the ‘assault rifles’ and soon will be banned if the anti-gun advocates get their way.

  • LexMorpheus March 5, 2018, 8:04 am

    Always have to laugh when gun sites list a “Purpose” in the specifications, like we the people need it explained to us…actually some of do…so why not tell the truth, instead helping perpetuate the pervasive ignorance of the false narrative?

  • Andre SMITH March 5, 2018, 6:09 am

    Why is the upper receiver purple or plum color? Maybe it’s just my eyes, but a cool rifle at the right price

    • Bobby March 5, 2018, 9:11 am

      Yeah I saw that too. Like an eggplant color. Haha

  • Bad Penguin March 5, 2018, 5:48 am

    Clay,
    Good basic tell it like it is review. This rifle is as ugly as the original AR-15s but it does the job it is mean to do and it shoots better than most people reading your review can. To many people overpay for Barbie Doll rifles so they can dress them up like a Barbie and then either complain about the weight or are afraid to take it out to the field and get it dirty or scratch it.

  • Luther Smith March 4, 2018, 4:25 pm

    One other thing, why 308 Winchester? Why not 7.62x (49?), I’m not sure of the length that the M14 used. I went through basic training with the M14 and fell in love with and always wanted one for a deer rifle, but could never get one. The 308 Winchester is an expensive round and most common people can’t afford to buy a lot of target rounds, where I believe the M14 round is somewhat cheaper because you should be able to buy military rounds

    • Trevor March 5, 2018, 6:37 am

      The Smith will shoot the mil rounds and 308/7.62×51 are common and cheap for rifle rounds, not 5.56 cheap, but certainly affordable.

    • FAL Phil March 5, 2018, 7:06 am

      308 Win and 7.62×51 NATO are interchangeable. Look it up on the SAAMI website if you don’t believe me.

    • Luke H. March 5, 2018, 7:20 am

      You mean 7.62×51? 7.62×51 can be fired in .308 Win chambered firearms. I guess you haven’t bought “cheap” M-14 (7.62×51) in a while. It’s around $0.60-$1.00 a round these days.

    • kyle March 5, 2018, 7:21 am

      You don’t know a whole lot, do you?

    • Dr Motown March 5, 2018, 7:31 am

      .308WIN is the civilian equivalent of 7.62×51 NATO….If you like the M14, get a Springfield MIA, which is the civilian equivalent too

    • shrugger March 5, 2018, 7:44 am

      The M14 used the 7.62×51 NATO. The .308 Winchester in metric, just in case your unaware, is also 7.62×51
      The (only) real difference between the two is that the 7.62×51 is a lowered power version of the .308
      If the rifle is .308 rated then you can run either round through it.
      If you reload do not mix the two. A .308 powder charge will overpressure a 7.62×51 case.

    • MagnumOpUS March 5, 2018, 8:25 am

      To all you critical dipwads who previously responded: Luther was referring to the 7.62×39 round commonly chambered for in AKs!
      So yes, this would be a good bit less expensive to shoot regularly than .308/7.62×51.
      LOL!

      • jj50cal March 5, 2018, 9:23 am

        thanks Magnum dipwad, but 7.62X39 is NOT what he said, it could have gone either way but if he really wanted an M14 type rifle there are a few out there for under $1500 brand new, and if you look around hard you can run across some for under $1,000, but they will most deffinately shoot 7.62 x (51). also known as .308.

      • Barry Lynne March 5, 2018, 9:42 am

        The whole point of this rifle is to get a FULL powered cartridge not an Assault caliber cartridge.(want one of those get the AR 15 7.62×39 platform, readily available.(beware of feeding issues due to mag issues.)
        The reason for the good groups is the 5 R barrel, I have owned 10-15 of them Bolt guns, and I will never own any other(and only in SS),talk about zero machinate or excessive cleaning, and easy 10 rd break in.This rifle would be a lot better seller at 18″ IMO.

      • RTW365 March 5, 2018, 2:14 pm

        Yes, it kills me to read some of the “ex-spurt” comments from anonymous “lap-top commandoes”. I also think a 7.62×39 AR would be a great deer rifle…the round roughly makes 30-30 energy levels. For more “power”, the S&W in 308/7.62×51 would be an excellent choice for a hunting rifle…not a “range blaster”.

    • james johnson March 5, 2018, 9:51 am

      Hi
      M14 also in basic ended up training people to shoot them also. Never could fit it into my budgets but you found me this morning looking again for one.
      Iron sights and squat position 400 meters great mix. 50 years later and I still think about the E2 model.
      Still brings a tear.
      Jim J

  • Luther Smith March 4, 2018, 4:17 pm

    WHY aren’t there any iron sights? EVERY new weapon should have basic iron sights so the weapon could be used straight out of the box without haven’t to buy either iron sights or an expensive scope.

    • kyle March 5, 2018, 9:10 pm

      Because they didn’t want to include something that people would most likely replace right away anyway. Most rifles don’t include sights of any kind unless it has the standard battle rifle configuration like A2 sights or sights that come standard on an M1A. It’s a world of rails and options now.

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