Keeping the .22 LR platform nimble and keeping it more shootable, the Integra 15-22 Suppressed Upper is a worthy investment for the MP15-22.
Let’s face it… if you aren’t shooting rimfire suppressed nowadays, you aren’t shooting rimfire. Yes, the gritting of teeth among the traditionalists out there is deafening and certainly, you can still pitch lead without a can. Yet, not taking advantage of the shooting tech available today, well, it makes about as much sense as staying wed to black powder after the advent of nitrocellulose.
Nowhere is this more evident than in adding a suppression system to a rimfire. Less recoil, dampened report, faster shooting, improved accuracy potential… the list of benefits goes on and on. While a bold statement, almost nothing beats shooting a suppressed rimfire. Well… perhaps one thing—shooting an integrally suppressed rimfire.
For devotees of Smith & Wesson’s snappy little AR-style .22 LR, the MP15-22, things couldn’t be better in this arena thanks to the company’s subsidiary Gemtech. Launched earlier this year, the company’s Integra 15-22 Suppressed Upper kicks the already solid carbine’s game up a notch, not only offering exceptional sound suppression but in an inconspicuous package that maintains the integrity of the platform. In short, it makes an already sweet rimfire even sweeter.
Why Go Integral?
Truth told, there are a slew of top-notch direct-thread and QD options for the .22LR available today—many quite a smidgen easier on the pocketbook. This piques the question, why go all top shelf and pony up $654 (MSRP) for the Integra? For the MP15-22 owner the answer is performance, but perhaps not in the manner you first might guess. Yeah, it hits the aforementioned notes—we’ll get to those in a moment—but where the system excels is in maintaining a nimble and deft platform.
Consider this, most rimfire cans are going to add anywhere from 5 to 7 inches of length to a barrel. In the case of the MP15-22, this takes a 16.5-inch carbine and modifies it into anywhere from a 21- to 23-inch rifle. Furthermore, with roughly 3 or 4 ounces of weight getting tacked on past the muzzle, the balance of the rifle is thrown all out of whack. On the other hand, at just .25 inches longer in overall length and tipping the scales at nearly the same weight as a stock 15-22 upper, Integra seamlessly interfaces with the platform.
Any practical use—picking off varmints or competition—this advantage pays dividends, maintaining the carbine’s inherent dexterity. This is particularly notable shooting the Integra offhand, with gun’s fulcrum perhaps a few fractions forward, but not enough to make a marked difference shooting. For many, that alone is worth the price for entry.
Certainly, preserving the nimbleness and feel of the 15-22 is important, but the Integra brings some other assets to the table. To get to these, however, we should touch on a few points of its construction.
Matted to a 15-22 upper is a 9-inch barrel that is pinned and welded to a 7.9-inch monocore baffle, this ensures the upper meets the 16-inch minimum length and keeps it a “one-stamp” purchase. The ample monocore gives the upper a one-two punch. The more notable is it cuts the carbine’s report down to safe levels—so safe that when tested at Cancon the folks a Gemtech insisted on the removal of electronic ear protection, which would have amplified the report.
A less considered point of the ample monocore, it has the potential to cut down on the need for cleaning, as fouling is less apt to clog it in a short period of time. Furthermore, made of 17-4 PH stainless steel, the monocore resists overheating quickly—given the thermal-resistant nature of the material.
Encasing the monocore is a lightweight .925-inch aluminum tube, that fits snugly around the internals. It is black-oxide finished and interestingly has no gas seal. This is a benefit to its sound suppression, expanding the overall size of the expansion chamber, but means fouling does have a way of finding its way into nooks and crannies.
This all sits in what is essentially the stock MP15-22 handguard, a slimmed-down affair that offers plenty of accessory mounting options thanks to M-Lok slots at the 3-, 6- and 9-o’clock positions. Up top, there’s a full-length Picatinny rail and flat-top receiver, making the addition of an aim solution easy to install and flexible to modify.
At The Range With The Integra
Getting the chance to run the Integra at Cancon, in Savannah, Ga., in October, one couldn’t but walk away impressed. As has been ballyhooed repeatedly, the upper offers unparalleled sound suppression, making the MP15-22 positively safe for naked ears. This lends a lot to a plinker, making it an ideal option for beginning shooters to cut their teeth with almost no perceptible recoil and very little report, thus eliminating flinch. Also, for a long afternoon sending ground squirrels to varmint Valhalla, well the Integra makes for comfortable shooting sans muffs or plugs.
Veteran shooters have plenty to appreciate in the integral upper as well. This is particularly true if they want to really run the gun, and accurately so. With little to no kick or muzzle rise, you have the ability to work the trigger and fast, something put to the test at Cancon. Suffice it to say, emptying the magazine in the first run on a steel popper was one long stream of pings of lead smashing into steel.
That sort of experience should be enough to sell anyone on the Integra.
Obviously, if you can’t pick a nit on any gun, accessory or component, then likely you aren’t looking closely enough. And there is one aspect of the Integra 15-22 Suppressed Upper some might not cotton to—it’s only compatible with the MP15-22. Hey, Gemtech is a Smith & Wesson company, can’t blame them for keeping it in the family.
While this might not sit well with owners of other AR-style rimfires, it doesn’t diminish what the Integra brings to the table. Furthermore, for those whose interest is piqued, it’s a great excuse to add a 15-22 to your arsenal. The gun is a slugger in and of itself but takes on a whole new dimension when paired with the Integra upper.
Integra Suppressed Upper Specs
Diameter: .925 inches
Overall Length: 23.75 inches (Overall Length of the Suppressed Upper 17.5-inch Barrel Length)
Weight: 2.7 pounds (Includes charging handle and bolt carrier assembly)
Mount Type: Fits M&P15-22 lower receiver
Tube Material: 6061 T6 Aluminum
Full Auto Rated: No
Tube Finish: Matte Black Hard Coat Anodized