Smith and Wesson m&p 15 sport 2 Review

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smith and wesson mp 15 sport 2 review
smith and wesson m&p 15 sport 2 review (Image credit: Smith and Wesson)

The m&p 15 series of Smith and Wesson is one of the most sought-after AR-15 style rifles. When you hear the name Smith and Wesson, you know that it guarantees reliability. Smith and Wesson launched the m&p 15 in 2006 and its sport II model in 2016. The sport II model is made differently from the original m&p15 by adding a forward assist, dust cover, and changing twist rate. Also, the price of the sport II is less than the original m&p15. You can say that S&W has attempted to make a more user-friendly model of their popular series. This article is a detailed review of Smith and Wesson m&p 15 sport II.


TypeAR-15 style, semi-automatic
ModelM&P 15 Sport II
ManufacturerSmith and Wesson
ActionGas operated, semi-automatic
Caliber5.56 NATO/.223
Capacity30+1 rds
Stock6-position CAR
Barrel Twist1 in 9″
Barrel Length16 inches
Overall Length35 inches
Weight103.2 oz
Upper Receiver7075 T6
Lower ReceiverAluminum
Barrel Material4140 Steel
Frame MaterialAluminum Alloy
Frame FinishMatte Black

Features of m&p 15 sport II


The Sport II has a 16-inch threaded barrel which includes a flash suppressor. It has a nitride barrel finish. 

Barrel twist rate

The m&p 15 sport II has a 1 in 9″ twist rate. This twist rate is believed to give less accuracy because the conventional wisdom is that a shorter twist rate gives more accuracy with heavier ammunition. So it is expected that a 1 in 7-inch twist rate such as the original m&p15 will give more accuracy with heavier ammunition than a 1 in 9″ twist rate. The difference in twist rate is one of the significant differences between the two models. This change in barrel twist rate created much debate about the accuracy of sport II. How far the 1 in 9 barrel twist rate affects the accuracy of sport II is discussed in detail in the forthcoming paragraphs. 

The barrel is not chrome-lined

The sport II barrel is not chrome-lined. It is the general belief among shooters that the chrome-lined finishing increases the life of a rifle by preventing corrosion. But Sport II is a sporting rifle, and it is not used to the extent that it will require this sort of protection.

So, having chrome-lined finishing is vital for professional rifles, but a sporting rifle like sport II can do without it. Also, replacing chrome-lined finishing is one of the reasons for the price cut of Sport II.

Front and Rear Sight

The Sport II has a folding rear sight that includes windage adjustment knobs, a release button on both sides, and a dual peep aperture. 

The front sight includes elevation adjustment knobs and a standard A2 front sight post. The front sight post includes a bayonet stud and a permanent sling loop.

Firing Pin

The firing pin of Sport II is chrome lined and shrouded. It is debatable whether a shrouded pin is necessary or not, but still, it is preferable to an unshrouded one.


The Sport II has a rounded polymer handguard, and it does not include a heat shield. The absence of a heat shield is not a big concern when using the Sport II regularly, but it can become a problem if used excessively. Those who need a heat shield can buy an aftermarket part or use hand gloves.


The Sport II has a standard A2 grip. The A2 grip has a finger groove. It is different from other AR 15 style rifles like a Ruger AR-556 that does not have a standard A2 grip. 

Trigger and Trigger Guard

Sport II rifle has a standard mil-spec trigger with an integral trigger guard. A trigger guard is a protective loop that prevents the trigger from unintentional pulling and causing accidents. The m&p 15 sport II has a rounded winter trigger guard forged with its lower receiver.

Bolt Carrier Group

The m&p sport II has a well-functioning bolt carrier group. Both its bolt carrier and gas key are chrome-plated, which protects them from hot gases. The material of the bolt is carpenter steel, and the bolt exterior has a phosphate finishing. Its extractor has a black O-ring that allows for easy extraction. The outside of the bolt carrier has a phosphate finishing, and the inside has a chrome-lined interior. The inside of the gas key is also chrome-lined.

Additional Forward Assist and Dust Cover

The sport II model of Smith and Wesson has an additional dust cover and forward assist. These two features were absent in the original sport model and the m&p 15 as well. Now let us understand the use and importance of these two features.

Shooters use a forward assist to push the bolt forward if a malfunction occurs. But there are some disadvantages of having a forward assist as well. The Sport II is an entry-level rifle, and there are chances that inexperienced shooters can jam the bolt. It can also cause the cartridge to get stuck in the rifle and can lead to catastrophic failures. However, the customers appreciate that S&W has added this feature, but a sporting rifle can easily do without a forward assist. Also, the good part is that Smith and Wesson have managed to add a new feature and cut the price simultaneously.

The dust cover of an AR15 is important for preventing the rifle from dust or any other dirt from entering the bolt carrier group and the gun’s chamber. For this reason, it is important for the functionality of an Ar15.

As far as sport II is concerned, this rifle is primarily used in clean environments, so it does not need a dust cover. Hence, it was absent in the original sport model of m&p 15. But owing to customer demand, S&W has added the dust cover in the sport II model. Once again, it is good to have a dust cover, but it is not an absolute necessity for a sporting rifle like sport II.

Also Read: How to clean Smith and Wesson m&p 15

How accurate is the Smith and Wesson Sport II?

The m&p Sport II has a 1 in 9 barrel twist, and the conventional wisdom is that a 1 in 9″ barrel twist rate doesn’t give accuracy with heavier grain bullets. I conducted some tests to know how far this statement is true. For my tests, I mounted a Nikon P-223 3-9×40 to my Sport II. The first group I tested was the 55-grain group. The first ammunition shot was the Tal ammunition which is the cheapest in the 55-grain group. As expected, this ammunition at 100 yards shot a group at about 2.5 inches. The second load I shot was the American Eagle 193. This ammo shot nothing better than the first one at about 2 and 3/4 inches.

The next was the PMC bronze. This one-shot at about one and three-quarter inches; better than both Tal and American Eagle. The next load I shot was 55 grain Norma USA. This one is a match grade, and like the PMC Bronze, it shot at about 1 and 3/4 inches. The best performing ammo was a 55 grain Hornady TAP. This one is an expensive group that shot about a one-and-a-half-inch. The results here show us that the better performing ammunitions here are the ones that are of better quality, such as Hornady TAP and Norma USA.

The second group I fired from my sport II had heavier grain bullets. Many people believe that these heavier bullets do not perform well with the 1 in 9″ barrel twist of the m&p 15 Sport II. However, the experiment proved the opposite to be true.

The first ammunition from the heavier group I used was a 62 grain Green Tip American Eagle XM 855. This ammo shoots about more than 3 inches and is not suitable for mid to long-range shooting. The next load used in this category is a 75 grain Hornady Match. This one-shot about a 2-inch group through the Sport II. The next in this category is 62-grain Fusion MSR which fired about two and a half-inch group through this round. The two best performing rounds in this category are from Federal Premium Gold Medal Match King Boat Tail Hollow Point. One is a 77-grain load that shot near 1 MOA, and the other is a 69-grain bullet shot at 1.5 inches. The experiment here dispels the myth that Sport 2 cannot give accuracy with heavier bullets as much as with 55-grain bullets. 

One thing that is important to consider here is that you should pick your ammunition according to your purpose of using the rifle. Therefore, for short-range tactical shooting or plinking, the cheaper 55 grain is extremely accurate; however, for medium to long-range use the heavier grain bullets such as Federal premium 69 and 77 grain. Although American Eagle XM 855 belongs to the heavier ammunition group, it is not suitable for use at mid to long-range. 

Problems with m&p Sport II

With all the fantastic features and efficiency, the Sport II has some problems as well. 

Sport II is a carbine-length rifle that results in over-gassing and more recoil impulse. To solve this problem, you can replace your gas block with an adjustable gas block.

Secondly, the barrel front of the sport II is a bit heavy, which can be problematic for new shooters.

Moreover, Sport II has a 1 in 9″ barrel twist rate, which is believed to be less accurate in dealing with heavier ammunition than a 1 in 7″ or a 1 in 8″ twist. 

Lastly, the heat shield is absent in the handguard. You can solve this problem by buying aftermarket parts or simply wearing gloves.

So, all these issues are minor and manageable, and Sport II is a nice gun overall. It gives you exactly what you want.

Smith And Wesson M&p15 Sport 2 Upgrades

Why should you buy one?

Quality and reliability

Sport ii is a good quality and reliable rifle; it has the standard Smith and Wesson quality. It also comes with a Smith and Wesson lifetime service policy.


The experienced AR shooters will tell you that it is difficult to find a reliable AR-15 for less than $900. However, the m&p15 Sport ii is an exception; its average price is $800.

Availability of aftermarket parts

If you are not satisfied with any of the parts or accessories of the rifle, you can replace it with aftermarket parts of your choice. The good part is that the aftermarket parts and accessories of the Sport II are widely available. For example, The Sport II doesn’t have a quad rail, but you can buy one for your rifle and easily attach it. You can always make your rifle more efficient by adding the correct scope with it. There are a wide variety of scopes available for Sport II. You can add a red dot, a holographic sight, or iron sights. And if you want to add support to carry your rifle easily, you can add an appropriate sling to your m&p 15 Sport 2.


Is the M&P 15 Sport 2 a good gun?

M&P 15 Sport II is a reliable and affordable gun. It has all the necessary features of an AR and also gives accuracy. 

What is the difference between the M&P 15 and the M&P 15 Sport 2?

Sport II is the latest model of the m&p 15 series. It is different from the original m&p 15 due to its 1 in 9″ twist rate, additional forward assist and dust cover, and price cut.

Is the M&P Sport 2 an AR15?

M&P Sport II is an entry-level A15. Similar to an AR15, the Sport II is chambered in 5.56/.223. It also has basic AR features. If you are a newbie in the world of AR, then sport 2 is a reliable and affordable option for you.

What caliber is the Smith and Wesson M&P 15 Sport 2?

The m&p Sport II is chambered in 5.56×45mm NATO.

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Hannah Anderson is a gun enthusiast. She developed a knack for guns and ammunition when as a teenager she started accompanying her grandfather to his hunting ventures. Now, she shares her passion and immense knowledge on the subject with the readers.

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