The first large lots of official surplus M-22's that came out of Fort Polk, LA and Ft. Hood, TX DRMO auctions were in surprisingly good physical shape. The majority of damaged binoculars in these lots were usually ruled unserviceable due to some type of water intrusion into one of the body cavities. The intrusion point was always rather hard to locate and the body side with the moisture penetration could be tossed away and a matching good side could be cannibalized to replace it. Surprisingly, collimation issues were almost never a problem for these salvaged binoculars. I can only assume the Army at some point took the same approach, as the majority of surplus lots were generally filled with at least 10 to 20 percent body halves of varying condition.
The binoculars that had structural cracks or had chunks/pieces of the black Bayer makrolon fiber-reinforced polycarbonate missing, exposed some rather concerning internal design issues. First and foremost, if there was a magnesium fluoride coating on the internal optics, it was very thin and of poor quality. A light "dusting" would be the most optimistic description. Several prisms were so poorly coated that I often wondered if there was even a coating present! The external objective and ocular lenses were unquestionably coated to a reasonable military standard. Body parts were held together, sealed from the elements, and internal lens settings were reinforced by a hardy silicon-based glue. Construction certainly was not impressive and I always wondered how they stayed together as well as they did.
The external laser filters actually screwed onto the main body. A very small one-way pressure valve was present to atmosphere the space in between the laser filter and the objective. The screw-on laser filters were usually rather hard to remove due to liberal use of the silicon glue acting as a water-proofing measure. Once the laser filter was removed, a replacement neutral density filter (which Deutsche Optic sold at one time) could be screwed back on as a replacement. Protecting physical damage to the filter itself, was what was described by the folks at Optic Options as the "laser filter donut". This thick and hefty round rubber "donut" was the most frequently missing part, other than the obligatory missing eyecup/s. My most fond memory of the effects of the laser filter was the "pinkish" hue that was present when viewing through the binocular. At first glance it was a bit comical to see the world in such a "pink" state, but at dusk, low light performance was measurably affected. After extended periods of viewing, it clearly became an irritant for me and the majority of actual users that I spoke with.
For all of the failings associated with the construction of the M-22, it had a strange ability to take "blunt" impacts. I can't tell you how many times I would throw a moisture-damaged body half against the flat, hard ground as aggressively as I could without external body damage, along with surviving internal optical damage. On the other hand, if there was any type of protruding object associated with the surface, the makrolon body would often puncture and splinter. The rubber armor did a very good job of protection, as long as it was not violated. Even when accidentally dropped on hard concrete, I rarely had a disaster. I certainly question whether modern alloy binoculars would have outperformed the M-22 in this respect.
Over the years, I always asked active Army and Marine troops who used the binoculars their opinion. I don't think I ever received a positive response, only complaints about the binocular's weight and bulk or "shoot-me" filters. One Marine Force Recon scout/sniper team that I visited with told me that their biggest liability was having to "lug two sets of shoot-me binoculars around in a rucksack all the time." The team suggested to me that the best way to avoid being detected from the glint was a light misting of flat black paint over the filters. Another marine sniper told me he often "greased the filters down with a little face paint, to keep his spotter calm and making good calls!" The torture our precious military optics must go through in the field!
The most bizarre variation of the M-22 was a Steiner sales volume award presentation binocular given to the Farris family who own SWFA Binocular sales. The binocular was encased with slightly