First AR 15 - 22lr vs other calibers

So I am wanting to get an AR15. I am thinking of getting the M&P 15-22. I have shot that and loved it. My soon to be 11 yr old son was also able to shoot it and loved it as well. And ammo is cheap when you can find it.

Thoughts on starting with the 22 vs. jumping right into the 5.56/223? While I know I can handle the 5.56/223 I really want to keep my son going to the range with me. I am concerned with him handling and also ammo cost.

I can pick up the M&P for sub 400. Looks like an equivalent 5.56 is 700-800.



Just a thought but you will outgrow the .22 in a short while. And a .22 “AR” is not really an AR, it’s just a gun built to look like one and operate similarly. You can get a regular AR nowadays for not much more since the prices are coming down fast and just get a .22 LR adapter for it so you have options. Like 2 guns in one.


I purchased an M&P 15-22 and love it! It’s fun to shoot without total destruction. I have not quite out grown it. That said, ammo for a traditional AR-15 is readily available whereas high velocity .22lr is not.


Enzo that is part of the reason I am asking but I am thinking when I out grow I could pass down. I am thinking in the next year I would buy another AR but it be a 5.56/223 model.

I am a newbie on AR platform and have only fired 22 versions. One was the M&P. It had the MLOK setup with magpul flip up sights. I only put about 10 rounds down range. I was fairly accurate at 20 yards and was able to have all but one hit the targets hand. The othe was in the forearm.

The other had the traditional style hand guard with tall iron front post with no rear sight. Again only about 10 rounds down range. I liked the weight of the rifle. At 20 yards I was able to keep all on the center mass but not a good group. It made me realize I prefer the MLOK hand guard.

The AR15s in 5.56 that I have seen with MLOK setup seem to be $750+. Even trying to build one I would be in the high 6s.

Through a combination of gift cards, etc. I can lay out 317 out of pocket fo the 22 or about 650 -700 at the same place for a 5.56.

I guess my question is…would the 5.56 be too much for my son if I ran 223 through it?


Mario thanks. I was able to get 1600 rounds of high power 22 lr on order. I should have in 2 weeks or so. Including tax it was only 11 to 12 cents a round.

Around me the 223/5.56 ammo is still 60 cents to over a dollar whdn you find it.

It does seem like ammo is start to free up some though.


Ammo prices are just starting to go down. Probably best to shoot some copper plated 22lr ammo. Palmetto State Armory has some good prices on ars, best to look around. Cmmg makes a nice adapter ( unsure of price these days. Couple of hundred?) You have to do what makes sense to you, funds permitting. always remember getting into firearms is mostly an expensive hobby.


Just to be clear, I did not mean to suggest a dedicated .22 AR is not fun or even a great training tool. I just meant that folks that really want an AR and “settle” for a .22 version often find themselves still longing for a “real” one.

Sounds to me like you have a plan in place for that occurrence and if that plan fits your budget and needs I say go for it. Everyone I know that has a .22 AR enjoys it tremendously.

MLOK indeed is a great way to go since every MLOK setup I know of gives you a free-floated barrel and as you noticed that tends to lead to better accuracy.

As far as recoil for your son, .223/5.56 ARs are super mild recoiling rifles and I don’t know anyone that can’t handle one from a recoil perspective. The issues would be more the weight of a true AR and the noise level. Those are the factors to take into consideration when introducing a new shooter to the AR platform. Even my 7.5” SBR is a relatively heavy little sucker and ARs are LOUD!!!


The CMMG Bravo kit includes the BCG & 3 magazines. They run anywhere from $190-$229 depending on retailer / sales.
But as has been said the .223/5.56 doesn’t have much recoil. Put an aftermarket brake on & your son shouldn’t have a problem.
That being said, I taught my wife & kids on .22’s due solely to ammo price. I wanted to ensure they could become as comfortable & familiar with shooting as possible without my wallet revolting.


don’t have one myself, but a couple guys at my club do and are happy with theirs.

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Thanks for the advice. I really do appreciate it. You have been a wealth of knowledge.

I can do either a 22 version or a decent AR right now. I wouldn’t be able to do the AR and conversion kit since I would have to feed it.

My neighbor is a super awesome guy and has said I can use his anytime but I will only do that if I take him to the range with me.

I really want a true AR but right now I am more concerned with keeping it fun for my son. I am hoping if my wife and daughter see how much he enjoys it they will go more often.

I will probably go to the range and rent a true AR. Seems like the sound would be the biggest issue for him.

Thank you for taking the time to help a newbie.


David thanks. I already try to go to the range with my EDC at 1 time every 4 to 6 weeks. I would go more but ammo is still hard to find and pricey.

Agree it can be pricey but man is it fun. Practical too.

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Nathaniel thanks. That is the kit I saw as well.

Since I am a newbie on the AR platform never even thought about adding an aftermarket brake. I will have to take a look.

In the long run it might be about the same to get the 22 for a dedicated trainer/ gun for family and then do the dedicated AR down the road.

Just trying to think ahead/ research before going to gun store. I tend to be a kid in a candy store when I go.

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Thanks for sharing the link to the review.

My one concern being a newbie to the AR world is the kit says for best results use a round hammer as a split hammer can cause issues.

I have no idea if one is standard vs. the other.

Go for 5.56, at 11 years old my father was training my brother and I on shooting AK-47 and shotguns. Don’t worry your son is strong.

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One concern I would have on waiting on purchasing the AR 15 is that a very vocal portion of the current majority in DC has stated that they are intent on banning them. They will have a very hard time passing a law that confiscates currently owned ones but there is a decent chance they can push through a new “assault” weapons ban that prevents you from purchasing one down the road. It would likely take years for the current Supreme Court to Maybe overturn it assuming the court doesn’t get packed with anti 2A justices.

The law is unlikely to ban fun semi auto 22s like the Ruger 10/22. So you could always get one, or the conversion kit later.

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Thanks. He is tall for his age so less concerned with actual handling vs. Noise difference making less enjoyable. We will predominately be shooting on an indoor range.

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Shamrock…dang you man. :slight_smile:

I just about had myself talked into the 22. Now you bring up probably the best argument for the full AR.

Thanks for pointing that out as I was not, but should have been considering that angle.

Sorry to muddy the waters for you! It does suck that we have to make purchasing decisions considering the fact that there is a group of people seeking to violate our rights:(

It forced me to stock up on standard capacity feeding devices last year instead of purchasing other fun toys.

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That’s the other joy of the AR platform- legos for adults! You can replace anything quite easily.
The round vs split is not a difference I’m familiar with but CMMG also makes entire Lower Reciever parts kits for $20. I had no gunsmithing experience when I started my journey and have replaced pretty much every moving part on my various platforms with out issue.


Nathaniel thanks. While I am pretty handy I have never done anything beyond cleaning my 9 mm.

I have watched a few videos and done a little research and think it is something I could do. I am lucky enough to have a PSA store pretty close to me. On my first one I am thinking one of theirs pre-built or going the complete upper & lower route. Then it is just a couple of pins. I am leaning that way simply because they have a lifetime warranty on their stuff. If I buy complete gun or complete upper&lower the warranty is good.

Oh yeah…they are starting to run deals now that make it pretty hard to build it for what the specil price is.

The stores and online don’t always have the same sales and prices.