Smith and Wesson M&P10 – 308 – My first impressions

I have been wanting to explore the AR platform beyond 5.56/.223 and took my first dive into that area with yesterday’s purchase of a Smith & Wesson M&P10.  I am located an hour and a half from the nearest range that would allow me to shoot beyond 200 meters, so my first impressions of the rifle out of the box are below.  But first, a little history lesson on the M&P10.

S&W got into the AR market with their M&P15 line.  So far, the M&P rifles have been generally well received from those knowledgeable on the AR platform.  Everyone I know that owns one has nothing but glowing reviews of it.  The M&P line is marketed towards military and police (hence M&P) and the M&P line of pistols have made gains in the law enforcement market, an area S&W dominated until Glock moved onto that scene.  One negative thing about the M&P pistols has been the poor trigger feel (keep that in mind moving forward).

Before I purchased this rifle, I knew I was going to be making upgrades to it in order to make it more of a precision rifle than my AR-15s.  Enhancements already planned were a Magpul PRS stock, a free float rail, a bipod, a more ergonomic pistol grip, and an optic of some kind.  Specific items I have in mind for these are listed at the bottom of the post.

Spec sheet from S&W here

The good:
A very light weight considering it is a 7.62mm rifle.  The M&P10 weighs in at less than 8 lbs.
The rifling in the barrel is a 1:10″ 5R twist, which has had very positive things reviewed about it.  I cannot speak for the 5R part, but the 1:10″ twist is the same as many high-end .308 caliber rifles.
The rifle has an ambidextrous safety and bolt release.  Since I am a righty, I don’t see the need for them, but I do realize there are many southpaws that shoot.  I operated the ambi controls from my left side and they worked okay I guess.  The uncomfortableness I felt was probably just from me operating an AR’s controls with my non-dominant hand.

The flash suppressor looks like it will be very effective

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21st Century Françafrique

As French troops prepare for ground offensive in Mali (multiple reports now say French SOF are engaged in combat in the town of Diabaly), it is interesting to see how much French foreign policy has shifted over the past 10 years.  France’s staunch opposition to the US-led involvement in Iraq immediately comes to mind which led to all things remotely tied to France (save Chevrolet and buffet) were considered un-patriotic.  France today could be viewed as more hawkish than it was in 2003, but a deeper examination must be conducted. 

Although France wanted no part with the US/UK operation in Iraq, France has been a steady contributor to the NATO effort in Afghanistan.  That mission has now ended, so it would appear that France, like the US, is limiting their overseas involvement to focus on domestic issues. 

One look at Africa would show that is not the case.  France was one of the leaders for intervention in Libya, and the French are acting, from a European combat role, unilaterally in Mali.  There is logistic, intelligence, and other support being provided by other countries, but the major powers seem content with allowing France to take the lead in this. 

You could say that Mali and Libya are in France’s backyard so let the French deal with it, but I don’t see it that way.  France’s continued involvement in their former African colonies should at least draw questions and at brief hesitation from Russia and China the same way the Russians and Chinese oppose most US courses of action involving Iran that are put in front of the UN security council.

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