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Smith & Wesson’s Versatile M&P10

By Todd Burgreen

Sport Optics Ready AR Platform Ready for All Users

For a rifle to be considered versatile, it must be able to satisfy multiple roles with equal aplomb. A viable rifle candidate for this title is the Smith & Wesson (S&W) M&P10 SPORT Optics Ready (SOR) chambered in .308Win/7.62x51mm. The M&P10 SOR joins the growing number of AR-style platforms chambered in .308Win/7.62x51mm. The potency of this caliber in terms of ballistics and terminal effect makes it a favorite among our troops and law enforcement (LE) personnel in more rural environments. The M14’s staying power in various forms within our military and the recent introduction of several AR-style rifle models in .308Win/7.62x51mm support this observation.

In general terms, ARs come in two patterns: AR-15 and AR-10. The AR-15 is most associated with 5.56mm/.223Rem and the AR-10 with .308Win. The AR-10 is generally heavier, due to its greater size to accommodate the larger .308Win cartridge. Many would characterize the AR-10 as an AR-15 on steroids, with its increased size, caliber and weight. In fact, the AR-10 predates the AR-15. Eugene Stoner first introduced the AR-10 in 1956 in a hasty effort to compete against the M14 in the U.S. Army weapon trials. Stoner designed the AR-10 using an innovative straight-line barrel/stock design with composite and forged alloy parts. In 1957, the basic AR-10 design was scaled down and substantially modified by ArmaLite to accommodate the .223 Remington cartridge and given the designation AR-15, with the rest being history.

Modern sporting rifle terminology for the AR is an industry attempt to help define the growing role that AR-type rifles have assumed beyond that of strictly a tactical assault rifle. While ARs were quickly adopted for varmint hunting, caliber expansion has seen their popularity increase with larger-sized game as well. AR rifles are versatile, easily accessorized and suitable for a wide variety of recreational, sport shooting and professional applications.

Combining the AR platform with the increased power of the .308Win cartridge is the key to the versatility of the S&W M&P10 SOR. Specifically, this rifle marries lethality and effective range with the ability...

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V22N4 (April 2018)
and was posted online on February 23, 2018

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