Smith & Wesson M&P15R: 5.45x39mm AR-15 announced

Steve Johnson
by Steve Johnson

S&W have announced the M&P15R, an AR-15 chambered for the 5.45x39mm. The idea being you can save costs by shooting the cheaper round instead of 5.56mm.

The product spec sheet says the launch date was “May 1, 2008”, yet the website says coming soon.

M&P15R. No surprises if you have seen an AR before 😉

It will also be available as a complete upper.

It ships with one 30 round 5.45x39mm magazine.

Model: M&P15R

Caliber: 5.45 x 39 mm
Capacity: 30 Rounds
Action: Semi-Auto
Barrel Length: 16”
Barrel Twist: 1 in 8”
Front Sight: M4 Post
Overall Length: 35” Extended ,32” Collapsed
Stock: 6-Position Collapsible
Weight: 6.5 lbs.
Barrel Material: 4140 Steel
Receiver Material: 7075 T6 Aluminum
Finish: Hard Coat Black Anodized
Chromed Comp: Barrel Bore, Gas Key
Bolt Carrier, Chamber

Another photo:

When I interviewed Magpul they were planning on releasing a 5.45x39mm conversion kit for the Masada so that trips to the range would cost less. I wonder if Bushmaster is going to follow through with this with the ACR.

Press release after the jump

SPRINGFIELD, Massachusetts — Smith & Wesson Corp., the legendary 156-year old firearms maker, announced that it has introduced the M&P15R, a new addition to the company’s M&P tactical rifle series. The new AR-15 style rifle is capable of firing the economical 5.45 x 39mm ammunition and is available as a high quality semi-automatic rifle or as a complete upper receiver assembly kit.

Based on a combat-proven design, the M&P15R incorporates the standard features found in all Smith & Wesson M&P rifles. Engineered to meet the needs of recreational shooters and AR-15 enthusiasts, the M&P15R features a flat-top receiver and an M-4 style post front sight. The rifle is standard with a 16-inch barrel with a twist rate of 1 in 8 inches. Reliability features of the gas-operated rifles include a chrome-lined gas key, bolt carrier and barrel. A six position collapsible stock allows the M&P15R to accommodate a variety of shooting positions. The rifle measures 35 inches in length when fully extended and measures a compact 32 inches with the stock collapsed.

“The M&P15R offers AR-15 enthusiasts as well as those shooters who are looking for a less expensive option when heading to the range, a high grade semi-automatic rifle for recreational use,” said Tom Taylor, Vice President of Marketing from Smith & Wesson. “The new rifle, which is chambered in the less expensive 5.45 x 39mm, will allow consumers to spend more time on the range for less cost. The M&P15R will also be available as a complete upper receiver assembly, allowing those who already own an M&P Series rifle or one of the many other variants, the opportunity to change calibers with ease.”

The black anodized rifle is manufactured with a durable upper and lower receiver made from 7075 T6 Aluminum. A single stage trigger with a 7 lb. trigger pull is standard, as is the A2 Birdcage compensator. The M&P15R is designed to accommodate a variety of optics or a traditional back-up iron sight. The rifle is shipped with a 30-round magazine and has an unloaded weight of 6.5 pounds.

The M&P15R joins a comprehensive family of Smith & Wesson products designed and manufactured to meet the needs of firearms sports enthusiasts worldwide. Other models include the M&P15, M&P15A, M&P15T, M&P15X, M&P15OR, M&P15ORC and the M&P15FT rifle. In addition, the Smith & Wesson Performance Center is also manufacturing a high-end extension to the M&P Rifle Series, the M&P15PC.

Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson

I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!

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4 of 47 comments
  • Jack Jack on Apr 10, 2011

    Obviously I must be missing something, how's shooting a 5.45x39mm any cheaper than shooting a standard 5.56? I just checked a few retails outlets on prices and it looks like there's NO price difference. 5.56 rounds are .16-.21 cents each on average and so is the 5.45, yet the 5.45 packs in less powder, thus less range and less power...that's an advantage?

    And what's so great about the S&W AR? Again, I must be missing something? The S&W M/P model doesn't have anything my home built AR's already have and I made them for less money. I could match S&W's weapon point for point and I still come up with more gun fro the money.

    Here's a tip for you AR shooters: Get yourself a decent chamber brush and then use it correctly. They sell for about $5 and if there's one consistent problem with the AR's it's keeping the chambers clean to prevent jams. AR chambers are tough to clean, so you need a specially designed chamber brush to kick loose the bits of residue and copper before they compact and you have a bigger problem. Do this one thing and you should have a trouble free weapon.

  • Steve from tampa Steve from tampa on Apr 11, 2011

    Wow.................cannot believe the last comment. 5.45 x 39 ammo is way, way cheaper than any 223 out there. One can buy 750 rds of Wolf zinc plated case for under $270 shipped ! If one wants Russian military commercial ammo which is considered corrosive, then expect to pay under $200 shipped for almost 1,200 rds. Do not even think about shooting SS109 in your 223 as the cost for those rds have really jumped thru the roof. Try JG Sales in Prescott AZ and it takes only 30 seconds to look at their site and realize how much less the 5.45 ammo is.

    The advantage is wound characteristics. The advantage is the design of the round so that it begins to yaw after a very short penetration even with a 1/8 barrel twist. This is a very accurate round. It was designed to create as much damage as possible and the soviets used the 223 for years in their labs to perfect this new round. On paper it looks substandard to the 223. Now with the M4 223 having this ridiculous 1/7 twist with a short barrel, the stopping factor has went way down. The US military has countered this twist by pumping up the weight of the bullet itself which makes sense but still is not doing the job. Too many multiple hits are required to finish off an assailant. Even the older version of the M16 with its 1/12 twist and 55 gr bullet is a much better stopper in terms of first shot incapability. The 5.45 x 39 is the result of many years of hard work by our former (?) enemy. The Afghans in the first year of the war with the Russians were absolutely astonished by the range and the deadly effectiveness of this round. Wounds were so devastating that Soldier of Fortune Magazine (which my friend was editor) sent people over to capture one of these weapons and ammo to see why it was so great. Take a few minutes and actually look at the bullet design itself. Very easy to see what will happen when it hits any resistance. I have seen the after effects of an M16 (Vietnam 2 tours Army 70 - 72) and have to admit that our own little round is very good. The 5.45 just adds a little more to this smaller class of rd size.

    We continually use AR15 magazines to shoot this round and have had not ONE burp yet. I would dare say that you can use a BETA mag with no problems. Not totally guaranteeing it but I do not see why it would not work. These 5.45's work in Thermolds, 20 or 30 rd steel/aluminum mags, and all other AR magazines. I know that in the AK223 situation, those mags will also feed the 5.45 real reliably. Hope this all helps. Getting back to the price difference........................well, there is a big difference. If one wants to really clean their rifle after shooting the surplus Russian ammo, then there is no better way to go. Plenty of this ammo also. Unreal quantities. Flat shooting accurate rd and does not share the rainbow trajectory of the standard AK47 rd. Very easy to get hooked on. I just gave up on the 223 situation but still own my 223's. If you want to actually shoot and shoot.....................then this is the round for you. After seeing what this rd can do (still penetrate both sides of a steel VN era helmet) at 800 will be sold on it.

    • See 1 previous
    • Tom Tom on Jul 04, 2012

      @Luke what? I bought 1080 rd tin for 169.00 plus shipping, its a lo cheaper and if you read Dr martin fackler's research its a hell of a close range round to boot!