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Tippman 22LR AR15 Review

Pete Moore tests the latest 22LR AR15 from Tippman and finds a near perfect plinker and cross-training tool!

The world of .22 military look-a-like semi auto rifles is a busy one and covers a lot of models from the classic, German MP40 and StG44 up to modern designs like the Beretta ARX 160 and the HK 36. But, by far the most popular, is the generic AR15, with a number of stand-out factory models, as well as customs from the smaller UK builders. Me, I’ve been a Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 fan for many years, which, price-wise, is still the most cost effective 22AR out there. However, with its all-polymer construction and rather different looks, it’s a bit Marmite. But, where it really scores are that its controls are identical to a full-blown 223 Rem AR!

REALITY CHECK There’s nothing more annoying than using a 22AR, only to find that the automatic last round hold-open, bolt release and forward assist are non-functioning, which is the case with many custom guns. Newer to the market, is Tippman Arms’ M4-22 Tactical Rifle, which in essence, is an M4 carbine type, probably the most popular of the genre. With a 6-position, telescopic butt, 4-way, Picatinny forend, flat-top receiver and fold-down iron sights, it’s a looker. What I have here is their M4-22 Elite L, pretty much the same thing, but and according to your view more up-market! These two models should appeal to the ‘polymer-haters’ and purists too, as the M4-22 uses proper, high-strength aluminum uppers and lowers, and most  importantly, offers a 100% real control layout and full functionality.

M-LOC FOREND The only real difference between the Elite L and the Tactical Rifle M4-22s is the former’s furniture, which offers a 12” M-Loc free-float forend. Advantages here are a decent sized gripping area, without the added girth and encumbrance of fixed Picatinny rails, which can be a bit too much. Leaving just one at 12 O’clock for optical and iron sight mounting, which aligns with the section on the flat-topped upper. M-Loc, as the earlier KeyMod, offers the user the ability to add or remove rail sections and adaptors to suit mission specific requirements. Or, for the sports community; lights, grips ‘n’ lasers etc.! The layout is standard AR15, with no extended or ambidextrous controls etc., however it’s compatible with most standard AR components and accessories, such as drop-in triggers etc. The left side of the lower receiver shows a standard safety catch, easily operated by the firing hand thumb; it flips up to FIRE and rolls forward for SAFE. In front on the upper, is the manual bolt release catch, which is also the automatic last round hold open, two functions that ensure good shootability!

On the right lower, in front of the trigger, is the magazine release button; again, well placed for instinctive operation, with the empty clip free-falling from the well. Above on the upper, the functioning forward assist plunger, that allows you to pump the bolt closed if you get a short round (not fully chambered). Plus, a case deflector and ejection port cover, always useful!