Smith & Wesson has issued a consumer safety alert on all models of M&P 15-22 rifles and pistols manufactured prior to Feb. 1, 2019. If you have one of the firearms, immediately cease use until it has been inspected and, if necessary, the bolt replaced.
The company has identified two recently produced M&P 15-22s with their breech face counter-bore depth not within manufacturing specification. In those firearms, the lack of depth could allow the bolt, upon closing, to crush the rim of the case, causing the round to fire, cycling the bolt and potentially resulting in multiple discharges without depressing the trigger.
If out of spec, using the release to allow the bolt to drop freely on a loaded magazine could ignite a round as the bolt closes, without engaging the trigger, regardless of the safety position—generating multiple discharges. It’s also possible with a round chambered, loaded magazine and safety disengaged. In that scenario, depressing the trigger will cause a round to fire normally, however, as the bolt cycles the next round may be ignited as the bolt closes and crushes the rim of the cartridge.
Smith & Wesson believes the out-of-spec firearms are isolated incidents, however, any unintended discharge of a firearm has the potential to cause injury. The company has, therefore, developed an inspection procedure and is asking customers to refrain from using their M&P 15-22 until the bolt has been inspected and, if necessary, replaced.
Full details on the inspection procedure are available on an advisory web page [PDF] and a convenient video has also been created to walk owners through the process. The posted safety bulletin also includes a convenient serial number verification tool (bottom of the page) to determine if an M&P 15-22 requires inspection prior to its next use. An FAQ [PDF] answers a variety of questions.
Owners can send their bolts back to Smith & Wesson for free inspection and replacement—if necessary—or do it themselves by contacting the company for a free M&P 15-22 Bolt Inspection Gauge. The part number is 3012155 and it can be ordered online. Questions can also be directed to MP15-22SafetyAlert@Smith-Wesson.com.