Project Victory: Upgrading the SW22 from Smith and Wesson, Part 2
Welcome to the second installment of my Performance Center SW22 Victory project. In part 1, I went over the specs, and my plans for this pistol. It received a TandemKross halo Charging Ring, and their hiveBrid grips. And then I took it out shooting. I’m happy to report that it’s plenty accurate for my use, and there were zero malfunctions with the ammo I had on hand. I did notice a few things that need to be addressed though. One of them is so annoying, that I felt the need to rectify it right away.
If the trigger on my Performance Center SW22 Victory is the best factory trigger I have tried, the safety is the worst. I truly want to meet the S&W designer who came up with the safety, slide lock, and magazine release. Not sure I want to shake their hand, but I want to at look at it. Because they must have a thumb much different from everyone else on the planet. Is that harsh? Maybe. Yes. But there’s a comment section below, if you’re one of those people who actually find something redeeming about this safety. It’s terrible, and somewhat of an anomaly on an otherwise pretty good design.
Why the hate? Well, with the factory TandemKross hiveGip, the thumb naturally rides below the safety. And it takes only the smallest amount of movement to bump the safety into the “Safe” position. Using that little grooved nub of plastic as a thumb rest to keep the safety from engaging isn’t a great option either. It’s too small, and quite irritating. With the swap to the hiveBrid grips, neither position was any better. Thankfully, TandemKross has provided a solution.
Cornerstone Safety Thumb Ledge
Although it’s still pretty small, the Cornerstone Safety Thumb Ledge provides a much better rest. They’re the same somewhat fragile-looking little bent metal piece, but the plastic part is smooth, and wider. This allows for what I feel is a much more natural grip, with the thumb straighter, and resting on the safety, rather than bent and below it. I’ve got similar ones on other pistols, and they’ve really grown on me.
Installing this part is a bit complex. I’d suggest reviewing the instructions here, before deciding if it’s something you want to do yourself. No shame in having a gunsmith do the work – there’s quite a few important parts at play here. And it’s your safety, so we all want it done right. Once installed, you’ll probably find it in your heart to forgive the designer. He was probably under pressure from accountants or lawyers to make the safety fit some criteria other than “Really good”. Of course, with the Cornerstone, it’s now great. The MSRP of $44.99 is totally justified.
Is this a review, or a rant?
Honestly, it’s a lot of both. While I was tuning my trigger, I probably bumped the safety a half dozen times. So I’d turn the pre-travel screw a little bit, rack the slide, and get nothing from the trigger. Because the Performance Center SW22 Victory is new to me, I failed to notice that it wasn’t a matter of the trigger not resetting, it was that annoying safety. Ever the optimist, I figured that what was a problem at my work bench wouldn’t be an issue when shooting. Off the top of my head, I can think of few situations where I was more wrong. But that’s behind me now.
What would really complement the Cornerstone Safety Thumb Ledge is a forward thumb rest (AKA “Gas pedal”). TandemKross does offer one, which can be found here. I’m just not ready to drill and tap my pistol frame for one. In the meantime, at least I’m not engaging the safety at the wrong time.
I usually try to cover a few different modifications in a single article. As long as I’m writing, might as well be efficient. Easier on you, the reader, too. One article, many accessories. But this piece deserved its own review, all by itself. Mainly because I have never had so much negative commentary for a single piece of gear. Even though the Cornerstone Safety Thumb Ledge isn’t perfect, it is at least 1,017% better. Or thereabouts. It neatly solves a terrible design detail. S&W should buy a bunch, and not just install them at the factory, but ship them out to every single person who bought their SW22 Victory. Since we know that’s not going to happen, maybe just reach out to TandemKross and get yourself one.
Eagle-eyed readers (okay, even those partially blind) will notice that there are some other new modifications on the SW22 Victory that I haven’t covered yet. They’re coming, very soon. Thanks for your patience.
I’d like to thank TandemKross for providing their products for my testing and evaluation. They offer innovative designs, fair prices, and comprehensive instructions, along with an excellent warranty.
Comments? Questions? Do any of our readers have a SW22 Victory and hate their safety? Have you tried the Cornerstone Safety Thumb Ledge? Feel free to share below.