Range Report: S&W M&P15 QC


The S&W M&P15 has become very popular due to its low cost and availability.  My personal experience with owning one was that my M&P15R had an incorrectly cut upper that would not hold the ejection port door closed, the stock was not installed correctly and was crooked, and the fire control group was defective and would double.  S&W replaced the lower on my rifle, and I did not bother to have them work on the upper.

Often at the range I have seen people have minor issues with M&P15s.  The new low cost model (around $700) came with a near useless rear sight.  This cheap copy of the detachable carry handle often would not index correctly.  Last Sunday, I saw this issue.  This new, out of the box, M&P15 came with a broken bolt catch.  While I have no doubt that S&W will fix this, I have been less then impressed by S&W quality control on their rifles.


  1. I have to agreed with S&W AR’s having sub par QC. I recently posted on an AR-15 site of a problem a friend of mine had with a S&W M&P AR while I was teaching a class. Were were shooting and he was short stroking, it looked like, with a new S&W. He could not get more than one round at a time to fire. I did a lot of trouble shooting in the field and even changed out mags, the bolt carrier, buffer and spring and it still would not work. The S&W had a free floated troy rail on it and cost him around 1800 dollars. He asked me to take it as I was AR15/M16 armorer certified to dive into it deeper. Once I got it home and took it down, I found the gas block had moved forward. I found the gas block under the 9 inch troy rail had not been pinned and only two small set screws were holding it on. Ordered a tapered pin for the gas block and it was good to go. Can’t believe it left the factory without it in the first place.

  2. These issues are nothing new, I was issued an M&P15T when working on an overseas PSD contract in Iraq. Everyone on the contract had serious issues with their rifles, in addition to the problems you listed we suffered the following: Out of spec. BGC’s, bad ejectors, out of spec picatinny rails that prevented mounting or zeroing of optics, out of spec magwells that prevented magazines from dropping free, out of spec gas ports… these were brand spanking new still in the factory shipping boxes when issued.

    Lots of “gun plumbing” and either “acquiring” or having private purchase uppers sent through the mail via friends/relatives (on account of ITAR).

    Be a cold day in hell before I ever purchase a S&W rifle

  3. I too had issues with the first two M&P 15’s I bought. Mainly the tube sliding stock was loose and rattled constantly and half the time the detent pin to adjust the length wouldn’t snap in the slot. I finally traded up to Rock River and SIG 556 with no problems.


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