I recently tested a Mossberg International 715T, a .22LR rifle with the form factor of an AR-15. This is the kind of rifle that — when combined with a brick of .22LR rounds — can provide for a very productive afternoon at the range. However, I selected this product to review because it has potential to be a serious law enforcement training tool.
It comes in four different configurations, including a carrying handle and a red dot sight version. I tested the flat top version, which came with adjustable front and rear sights. The flat top version gives me flexibility, including the ability to mount an optic.
The 715T rifle has a full rail on the top and a quad rail forend. It’s not machined like my free-float barrel AR-15 — it’s molded. This rifle is essentially a Mossberg International 702 Plinkster in a molded AR-15 (A2 style) shell. It weighs 5.5 lbs. and it has the same balance as a lightweight duty carbine. It has an effective flash hider/muzzle brake and the overall package is lightweight and balanced.
A Bargain, But a Word of Caution
Anyone who knows anything about Mossberg 702 rifles knows that this is the biggest bargain in rimfire semi-autos. They are accurate and reliable and the 10-round magazines are common and inexpensive. This one came with a 25-round magazine whose bottom portion has an AR-15 facade, and a six-position stock, completing the carbine look.
The 715T shares the same accuracy as the 702. When I got it to the range, I treated it poorly, fed it very cheap rounds, and failed to clean it until the test was finished. There were no jams and the bullets punctured the target where I placed them. When I train, I often use rimfire simply because it affords more trigger time. The 715T is capable of providing acceptable 100 yard accuracy and the iron sights gave repeatable performance, even when I dismounted and remounted them.
There are some things you should know about the 715T. It has a completely different manual of arms than an AR-15. It has a cross bolt safety and the mag release is a lever that pivots vertically, rather than a button like an AR-15. The bolt is manipulated from the side of the receiver. The T-shaped charging handle is just for looks.
So heed this word of caution: don’t let the differences between the 715T and your duty rifle create dangerous training scars. You still must do your repetitions with that duty gun — this tool should supplement to your training, not a replacement for it.
Maintenance is also a little different than an AR-15. The AR-15 facade is removed by unscrewing the two halves. Underneath, it’s all Mossberg 702. Sliding out the bolt explains why this gun has solid extractions and ejections.
Upside in the Intangibles
The “intangibles” may be the 715T’s strongest suit. The action is particularly smooth. It points well and the light recoil allows for swift follow-up shots. It’s fairly quiet and all the stuff one can mount on their duty carbine can go on this gun. Any shooter can shoot it all day and it’s perfectly suited for beginning shooters.
How should officers train with the Mossberg 715T? This is the perfect rifle to use for practicing team movement and building entry using live fire. If an officer wants to train moving and shooting, engaging at oblique angles and burning up ammo in the shoot house, this is the tool.
Why is everyone looking at the 715T? The MSRP is $375 on the Mossberg website.
That’s more bang for the buck.