Exclusive: A Victory from Smith & Wesson

We love new guns. Especially when they’re fun, easy to shoot, and flat out reliable.

Meet the SW22 Victory from Smith & Wesson. According to the company, “the new SW22 Victory is a fully featured .22 LR pistol with a convertible design suitable for multiple sporting  applications. Dependable, easily modified and inherently accurate, the … Victory is constructed on a single-action, enclosed hammer-fired, blowback semi-automatic design. Chambered in .22 LR, the SW22 Victory comes highly featured with innovative design qualities that include a match-grade, interchangeable barrel for superb accuracy on the range or in the field along with a simple one-screw takedown design. The pistol’s high-end features, modern styling and enriched functionality place the SW22 Victory in a category of its own with an affordable price to match.”

Helpful info, sure. But Roy Huntington, Editor of Handgunner, has been living with an early prototype of the Victory for some months. Here’s his take so far…

… on reliability and accuracy: “I’ve had this early prototype of the Victory for six months or so. I’ve fired well over 1,500 rounds of assorted .22 ammo through it and there’s been exactly zero malfunctions, which is pretty much unheard of, especially in what is, by all rights, a price-point .22. Accuracy with the stock barrel at 25 yards using optics hovers around the 1″ mark, and the target barrel (shown) is a stunner, delivering .5” or less — usually less — at 25!”

Lead on case

… on accessorizing: “Right off the line, the Victory will have accessories like holsters and various barrel options available. And that long, fluted barrel has a comp, which screws off allowing a suppressor or other accessory. Nifty.”

Holster

Gun mount (2)

… on shootability: “The trigger is crisp and very predictable right out of the box. Being all stainless steel, it had a ‘heft’ to it the lightweight polymer guns don’t have, allowing a steadier sight picture — at least in my semi-aged hands!”

Gun and Barrels3

… on overall value: “With an MSRP of $409, the new Victory is pretty much within any shooter’s budget. Mount a longer barrel and an optical sight and you have an outstandingly accurate small game or target .22 auto.”

Thanks, Roy, for the insights!

Watch for my range review and long-term test in a future review. I’ll give an additional perspective on what it’s like to have the Victory in hand.

— Mark Kakkuri

37 thoughts on “Exclusive: A Victory from Smith & Wesson

  1. R Pettegrew

    Looks like a copy of Ruger’s Mark III. What’s it do that the Mark III hasn’t been doing for years?

    1. Trunkmonkey

      If you don’t have a .22 pistol, this is another great option. Why does there have to be one company that everyone buys from?

  2. DarryH

    Except for the fiber optic front sight, it looks like a winner. It would be nice if a long barrel with a decent front sight was available.

  3. Marc Miller

    Well that didn’t take S&W TOO long to come out with a competitor to Ruger’s Mark I, II or III… Appearance, characteristics and price point look about the same. Still, it’s nice to have more options.

  4. Darrell

    I’m sorry, the new S&W is a nice looking pistol, but can you say Ruger rip-off? A couple of things on the Smith are different, but not enough to differentiate from the basic Mark I series of .22’s introduced in 1949. I wish S&W all the best, but didn’t they learn from the Glock/Sigma fiasco?

  5. BigR

    Looks like Smith & Wesson is trying to copy Ruger’s firearms! To bad their engineers can’t design anything new!

  6. Roger Dickinson

    It is about time an american company made an affordable .22 that can be used for bullseye target shooting.
    I hope S&W makes a dedicated target model with a lighter adjustable trigger.
    Now if we could just get some affordable ammo!

  7. jjas

    While it may look like a Ruger (to some extent), it appears infinitely easier to take down and clean. Throw in the fact that barrels can be changed easily, it has interchangeable grips and a reasonable price point, and I can see S&W selling quite a few of these.

    IF they are reliable and hold up…..

  8. Grant Von L.

    I’m older than most of you so I’m familiar with a lot of the good ole guns. I miss the older Woodsman, the High Standard etc. but don’t sell this one short. They’ve given you what they believe you want and what will sell, I’ll bet they are right. Actually I still have most of those “good ole guns.” Any idea who made that holster?

  9. Frank

    Looks more like a Buckmark to me. I haven’t even seen this gun, but I already like it better than the Buckmark line. I hate the way that the Barrel and the slide are two separate pieces held to get her by two screws. I owned a Buckmark for a few months and sold it. I really dislike the design. I like the Ruger rimfire pistols, but the older style ones, which I prefer, are a pain the strip. I haven’t bought a gun a few years, but I really think that this gun would be worth owning. I think that I’m going to pick one up this spring.

    1. mark Post author

      Thanks for the feedback, Frank. Several have commented on the Victory looking like other similar .22 pistols. I guess there are a couple of perspectives on this, one being handguns designs are very mature — and so you’re going to have some overlap in “look” from time to time because, simply, that’s the design that works. Moreover, if a pistol looks like another manufacturer’s design, we can probably safely assume all the legal homework has been done and the new design carries some level of ingenuity or value or something to make it worth rolling out to the firearms market.

  10. Daniel Marsh

    Personally, I love it. I’m a wheelgun man from way back, partly because I hate having to strip a semi automatic to clean it. This one? One screw and I have access to the barrel, etc! This is the only semi automatic I’ve seen that I would consider owning.

    1. mark Post author

      Dain, I’ve put in a question to Smith & Wesson for an official answer but in the meantime, here’s a word from one of our resident experts: According to the S&W web site, they make only two styles of magazines for .22 pistols: one style for the M&P (full size and compact sizes) and the other style for all their other .22’s. They show the same magazine fitting the 41, 422, 622, and 2206. It appears to be the same magazine as the one used in the Victory. Stay tuned for a follow up from me when I hear from S&W on this…

  11. mark Post author

    Here’s the final word on magazine capability with the Victory and the Model 41: The SW22 uses proprietary magazines so no other current model mags will work with it. And that’s that.

  12. Chris W

    I have a MkIII and realy enjoy it. The SW22 is much easyer to disassemble and clean thant the MKIII but sacrifices nothing in the accuracy department. I think the SW22 will be easier to live with.

  13. Jared

    I got to handle the SW22 Victory at Chosin, in Huachucha City, AZ. They’re heavy, but it feels good in my hand. I’m also sold on the easy of disassembly (for cleaning, mostly). I’m seriously considering making this my first handgun. I currently own a Ruger 10/22 Carbine (Stainless Steel) and love it!

    1. mark Post author

      Thanks for your comment, Jared. Let us know if you do get the Victory as your first handgun… I’d love to hear your thoughts!

      1. Jared

        It’s been ordered. Paid Cash. $379.05 (tax incl.) @ LSB (Lock, Stock, and Barrel) in Sierra Vista, AZ. My wife gave me $200 towards it (belated Valentine’s gift) Should be in my possession within a few days (by Friday, at the latest, hopefully). I’ll report how it behaves, shortly thereafter.

  14. bill

    I picked one of these up a couple of days ago. They’re selling like hotcakes in the central Ohio market. Cabelas advertised them at $369.99 for a 10-day sale window and sold out by 6PM the first day. I went across the street to Field&Stream and snagged their next to last one at $399. I’ll be killing alot of paper with this one.

  15. Brian

    I was able to see one in person a few weeks ago. After doing some shopping I’ve went ahead and ordered one this week. (They’ve been selling rather lively in Central Indiana as well.) I see where Volquartsen is making a couple of barrels for the pistol, which I also plan on purchasing at some point. The article mentions barrel options. Is there another manufacturer at this time? Is Volquartsen the sole manufacturer?

    Thanks,
    Brian

  16. John

    I just got back from the range with my new SW22 Victory. I like it a lot. Sorry folks, it ain’t a Ruger rip-off. I have a Mark II 22/45 with bull barrel, which is one sweet shooter, but the Smith is a different gun. The SW 22 Victory is very, very good out of the box. I won’t even get a trigger job for it. My Baretta Neos is a good shooter also, but needed a trigger job in the worst way. There is a serious problem with the Victory, however. I have read at least one review from one professional gun writer/gun wh….e stating the Victory’s ability to work well with any ammo. Either somebody was lying or S&W gave him a carefully adjusted gun to test. In my hands all ammo tested gave good accuracy. However only standard velocity LRN, or Aguila’s subsonic 60 gn. lrn cycled reliably. The high velocity copper plated simply failed to eject for about 20% of the time. I don’t know if the problem was the ejector or the recoil spring and need to check some more ammo types to refine my observations. I like the gun and if I have to be careful about the ammo I buy for it, fine. Just be aware that your gun may not “eat anything you feed it.” Mine certainly doesn’t; I intend to talk to the S&W people about it. I sell guns and like to tell my customers what my experiences with a given firearm have been

  17. Marc

    I just put 300 rounds of various cheap 22 lr rounds through mine. Not a single misfire. I too own a Ruger 22/45 Lite which causes me untold troubles with failure to fire and failure to ejects. On average i have two failures per magazine. I am very happy with the SW22. i ordered an aftermarket barrel for it also

  18. Jared

    Finally got to shoot mine. We don’t go out as often as we’d like (yup, I go with my wife and son; wife shoots her .380 and 9mm Glock, 17 yr. old son shoots his .45 S&W, and I’m enjoying my Ruger 10/22 and SW22 Victory). 😀

    I’m having a little issue, though (second time out shooting with the Victory. If I have no ammo in the magazine, it drops out, no problem. If I have it loaded with ammo (10 rounds; using Winchester copper-coated Super X ammo; red box), it hangs at about 25% dropped. Takes quite a bit of fiddling to get it to come out.

    Anyone else had this issue? It fires just fine, though. Wasn’t having this problem before, using this same ammo, the first time we went out shooting. Seems a tad stodgy (stubborn; not very willing; like a mule… though I just found out this is not an original word I made up (as I thought), but a word that means something rather different, though it can mean something slight similar to what I mean) lately.

    If anyone can help, thanks!

    1. mark Post author

      Thanks for posting your experience with the Victory. Hopefully our readers can comment and help you out. As you know, follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding use, ammo selection, and so forth…

  19. Don giglio

    I have a victory and so does a friend and we are both having the same problem, the mag when empty and yu eject it it hangs up about 25% of the way,I’m gonna call smith next week,thanks Don.

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