It’s time to wrap up my Project Victory. I started with a pretty good base – the S&W Performance Center version of their SW22 Victory. From there, I did some simple mods, replacing the grips and adding a halo Charging Ring. Then I upgraded the horrible (in my opinion) safety, and swapped out the barrel. My magazines got upgrades in the name of capacity and reliability too. At some point, I added an optics mount to replace the plastic rail. Finally, the guide rod and extractor got replaced. I’m also covering the hammer that I dropped in there, which surprised even my jaded soul.
Shadow Mount V2.0 for the Smith and Wesson SW22 Victory
S&W includes a polymer (yes, polymer!) rail atop some versions of their SW22 Victory. This is perfectly fine if you’re okay using a Picatinny mount and don’t mind having your dot tower over the bore axis. I’ve got that setup on a few of my other pistols, and it’s totally acceptable. But for best results, a low profile mount that allows you to attach the optic directly to it is preferred. Get that dot down low. The $44.99 aluminum Shadow Mount V2.0 does just that. And it’s drilled for a variety of optics, plus it includes mounting hardware. That’s a bonus for Project Victory, as I like to swap optics across my pistols.
After clearing the pistol, and checking it twice, replacing the rail with the mount is pretty easy. A single hex head screw holds the factory rail in place. Remove that, and then determine which orientation you want for your Shadow Mount. It has options for mounting the optic closer to the barrel, or at the rear of pistol. The factory screw holds it in place, and with that snugged down, just follow the chart here to make sure you select the correct hardware and mounting holes for your optic. I really like that one mount can work with so many optics, as I have three different ones that I could use. Much better than a dedicated mount that only works with a specific reflex sight.
Eagle’s Talon Extractor for the Smith and Wesson SW22 Victory
Rimfire extractors are pretty much a consumable item. Over time, they get some wear as they pull hundreds, then thousands of rounds from the chamber. This wouldn’t be too much of a big deal if they weren’t usually a stamped steel part. But they are, so even a factory new one doesn’t have an overly sharp edge, nor is it super hard. If you’re planning on doing any volume shooting, or just want the added reliability, it’s easy enough to swap one out.
For just $14.99, the Eagle’s Talon is machined from hardened steel, which should last a lifetime of shooting for most of us. Not only is it easy on the wallet, but it’s easy to install. I’ve embedded the TandemKross installation video below. Like most of the Project Victory upgrades, it’s one of those jobs that’s quick and simple, but yields great results. As you’ll notice in the video, the biggest concern is really the guide rod and spring. So that’s the third item I’m covering in this article.
Sentinel Stainless Steel Captured Spring Guide Rod for the Smith and Wesson SW22 Victory
Somewhere, some accountant is patting himself on the back for saving S&W maybe a buck or two per unit, by going with a two-piece guide rod and spring set. On a pistol which carries an MSRP of between $746 and $945. There are pistols costing hundreds of dollars less that come from the factory with a captured spring. TandemKross comes to the rescue again, as the Sentinel retails for only $19.99. And as usual, it’s pretty easy to install too.
The stainless guide rod includes an upgraded spring, and isn’t open on one end. Yes, you should still wear eye protection when working on your SW22 Victory. But at least now, you don’t need to worry about the spring launching itself out of the bolt. This part isn’t a necessity, but it’s certainly nice to have. Maintenance is easier, and I expect that the operation is probably a little smoother too, although not noticeably so. If you watched the video for the extractor above, you’ll see how really easy this is to install as well. It’s truly a “drop-in” part.
Thunder Hammer for the Smith and Wesson SW22 Victory
I’ve become accustomed to my pistols having a pretty ordinary trigger from the factory. Maybe a bit too much pre and over-travel, coupled with a higher pull weight than I would like. An upgrade is almost always in order. So when I reached out to TandemKross for some suggestions on my Project Victory, of course they included their Thunder Hammer. It’s lighter than the factory unit, and promises a reduced lock time, crisper break, and lower pull weight. For only $64.99, that’s a solid bargain compared to actual trigger work or a full aftermarket trigger.
This might be where I would usually cover the installation, and then after a little testing, could point out the night and day difference between the factory trigger, and the Thunder hammer upgrade. But I’ve got the Performance Center model, which already had a nicer adjustable trigger than the base model. Now I have a trigger with pretty much no creep, which breaks at under two pounds. It’s definitely nice for a competition gun, but a bit light for a field pistol. If you have a non-Performance Center SW22 Victory, definitely get this part. If you already have a Performance Center model, then keep in mind it’s improving on something that was already really nice. I’m not saying it’s the nicest trigger I have now, but it rivals the one in a dedicated competition pistol that I also own.
A little more range time
I’ve put a lot of rounds through this pistol, most of them over the course of Project Victory. Even then, as I was finishing this article, it had been several weeks since I had taken it out. So before I completed this, the final article, I took it to the range one more time. Every trip to the indoor range involves showing the guys that work there my latest project. And this was definitely a hit. After everyone got a chance to handle it, I took it out on the range to remind myself why I like it so much. It’s just a joy to shoot. Cycles smoothly, and without a single hiccup. Easy to shoot well, making me look like a better shot than I am. And that trigger. Yeah, it’s really sweet. For a pistol that I thought was unattractive, it sure has grown on me.
Out of the box, the Performance Center SW22 Victory is a good pistol. I hate the safety, as I made clear earlier. Yet other users have no issue with it. The halo Charging Ring is on the list of “must-have” items though. For the standard model, I would upgrade the hammer for a better trigger feel. The Thunder hammer is next level though. Grips are a tough call too. I went back to the grips it came with, which happened to come from TandemKross as well. If you’re not competing, buy the extractor and guide rod, but wait until the factory extractor gives up the ghost, or you’ve got it apart for some other reason, and then swap both parts in.
For anyone who only ever uses a single optic, and shoots at roughly the same distance most of the time, the factory rail is fine. If you want to try different optics, and/or plan on shooting at widely varying distances, then the Shadow Mount V2.0 is a bonus. The barrel? Yes, it’s nearly as much as a used SW22 Victory. But it adds the forward thumb rest, is very accurate, and looks awesome. Magazine upgrades? This is America, who doesn’t want an extra round of capacity, just in case? The smoother feeding and ease of swaps also make that upgrade worthwhile, although outside of competition, it’s a bit pricey. S&W made a good pistol. With a few TandemKross upgrades, it really is a great pistol. You just need to choose wisely, based on your needs. Rest easy knowing that they offer a lifetime warranty too.
I’d like to thank TandemKross for providing all their parts for Project Victory. It’s great to see so much aftermarket support for one of my favorite pistols. And speaking of support, TandemKross sponsors shooters of all ages, which helps sustain our sport.