Looking for a small-caliber range toy that delivers full-sized performance in a reduced-sized package? Well, in response to consumer demand for .22 caliber handguns that deliver the same look and feel as their full-sized brethren, Smith & Wesson has just announced the release of a slightly smaller version of their popular M&P pistol chambered in .22 Long Rifle.

The Smith & Wesson 22 Compact has all the whistles and bells of an M&P 9/40, but in a package that’s about 15 percent smaller that of the full-up handgun. The pistol comes equipped with a white dot front sight and an adjustable white-dot rear sight, has an ambidextrous safety and sports a Picatinny equipment rail for lights and lasers.

“This is a little, tactical plinking kind of gun,” said Smith & Wesson marketing chief Paul Pluff, who added competition from other companies such as Ruger, Walther and Sig Sauer prompted his company to enter the compact tactical 22 market.

“Most of the guns we’re competing with are just scaled-down [caliber] versions of the full-sized pistol,” he said.

Smith & Wesson does offer a full-sized M&P 22 made by partner Walther, but the new M&P 22 Compact is made in Springfield, Massachusetts, and was designed from the ground up as a distinct handgun. The pistol features an overall length of 6.7 inches with a 3.6-inch barrel, and is a grip-pleasing one-inch thick. The M&P 22 Compact has a 5.8-pound trigger with a .15-inch reset and the entire package loaded with a 10-round magazine tips the scales at 18.1 ounces.

On the range, the M&P 22 Compact is funner than heck to shoot and the white dot sights make it easy to quickly acquire targets and start plinking. The pistol did OK with most 22LR ammo we fed into it (with some failures to feed and failures to eject), but the single action, hammer fired, blowback handgun performed flawlessly with higher-velocity ammunition like Federal Champion 40 grain 22 at 1,240 feet per second.

Smith & Wesson says the M&P 22 Compact is available to dealers and distributors August 12 and carries a suggested retail of $389.