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Smith & Wesson Performance Center 629 V-Comp - Tanaka

Tanaka revolvers. They are becoming a bit of an obsession with me.

Having finally got hold of a Performance Center 629, I thought my quest was over, but when I saw an even more radical and more elegant 629 V-Comp sell on a forum whilst I was on holiday I was kicking myself.

Another beautiful Tanaka revolver - Wood grip is not standard.

So, it was a great surprise when, a couple of weeks later, I received an e-mail asking if I would like to buy the same gun! Seems the owner REALLY wanted a NATO green 629 and one had appeared on the forum. There was never really any doubt and after a few emails, the V-Comp was mine.

In the Box

Like most of my Tanakas this was a used gun and the loading nozzle and 'speedloader' were missing, but normally the box would contain these items, a few BBs and a manual, much like any other Tanaka N Frame Smith & Wesson.

Under the usual lovely Tanaka box lid (black background with a photo of the gun inside - in this case shown sporting lovely wood grips) was the silver Tanaka PC 629 V-Comp.

As I bought the V-Comp - With Hogue grip.

First Impressions

My first impressions were that the V-Comp was slimmer in the barrel than the PC629 and more elegant for it.

According to sources on the Internet, the V-Comp is so designated because the barrel is V shaped in cross section (It's broad at the top and tapers down to a point at the bottom, looking down the barrel). It also features a compensator (hence V-Comp) on the end of the barrel. On real V-Comps the compensator can be swapped for an uncompensated barrel end, but this option doesn't come with the Tanaka version.

The most notably difference between the 629 and the V-Comp is the cylinder. It's a normal fluted unit on the PC 629, but is unfluted on the V-Comp (part of the reason I wanted this gun) and looks quite different.

Compared to the PC629, the V-Comp is less bulky in the barrel.

At first, I felt the finish of the cylinder was less realistic than I had come to expect of Tanaka, but I should have been more trusting, as photos of the real thing look very similar, as you can see below.

A real V-Comp

Despite that appealing box art, the fitted grips were the familiar Hogue Monogrips. Some love these, but I'm not keen, so they were swapped with the wood grips that have been on every N frame Tanaka I have owned (and I have sold and re-bought once!).

The V-Comp was slightly damaged when I received it. The usual wear marks on the left side of the frame, where the cylinder rubs when open, were there, but the slight bump behind the cylinder (below the larger one) had been knocked off at some point, leaving another hole in the silver finish. Neither piece of damage, though, affected the operation of the gun and I will tidy the damage up at some point.

Generally, the V-Comp looked as great as the other 3 Smith & Wesson 29/629s I've owned and even more unusual, with the unfluted cylinder and the compensator vents on the barrel end.

Metal parts include the trigger, hammer, entire Cylinder and crane unit, RHS frame panel, safety and sights.

Closer Look

The silver frame bears the Performance Center logos and the cylinder lock/safety is also shaped differently on the PC versions of the 29s than on the standard 29 I have.

Markings are, as usual, excellent (if not 100% accurate) with the PC logos being matched with the usual "Made in Japan" "Marcias Registradas" "Smith & Wesson" "Tanaka A S G K" on the frame's right hand side. The barrel is marked ".44 Magnum" on the right side, with "Performance Center" along the left.

Unfluted cylinder, specially shaped safety/cylinder lock and Performance Center logos

Aside from the cylinder, which, lack of fluting aside, is identical to the other 29 cylinders, the most notable differences to the V-Comp are all in the barrel assembly. Unlike the PC629, the barrel is never wider than the frame, which makes the gun more elegant and wieldy.

V shaped section to barrel visible here

The barrel, in section is 'V' shaped or, more strictly, a curved cornered triangle, with the wide section at the top (the barrel) and tapering to a 'point' at the base of the lug. As with the PC629, there are removable weights in the under barrel lug, and the 3 vent compensator also has the same section

Heavily lugged barrel has cut outs - In rear one you can see extractor rod

The lug features cutouts along the right side (looking forward) and in the rear one you can see the end of the extractor rod. With the cylinder swung out, you can see straight through.

The sights are fairly standard 29 units, with a fully adjustable rear notch and a red marked blade foresight, which is dovetailed in. Knowing Tanaka's reputation for accuracy (Some US airsofters have reported than the internals of the frame are a straight swap for the real thing), I imagine real steel optional sights would fit the dovetail, although I have never seen airsoft replicas.

Fully adjustable rear sights.

The cylinder features the usual PEGASUS system, in which the BBs and gas all go into the cylinder. This, it must be said, makes loading AND regassing fiddly, but the tradeoff is power way beyond that offered by any other revolver system and most other GBBs and NBBs.

Usual fake shell, Pegasus system cylinder. Rubs away silver on frame, though.

If you only own one Tanaka revolver, don't lose the thing brass gas nozzle extension!

Shooting Impressions

The Tanaka revolvers are all powerful and firing them at a target always results in a very satisfactory THWACK as the BB hits home, making the guns sound louder than they actually are.

Click on image for bigger version in separate window.

Carrying out my standard 5m/6 round, off hand test, the results were a bit disappointing, compared to the PC629.

The best 5 grouping was 3 inches (7.5 CM) across, although I suspect this was due to less than precise realignment of the sights by me on each shot (fired single action). The sixth round went wide to the left, but I know this was user error on my behalf, snapping the shot off too early.

Over 10 shots, the V-Comp averaged 366 fps (using 134a gas) indoors (around 20C). With the stronger gases I chronoed the other Tanaka 29/629s with, the performance would be around the 400 fps mark (as they are).

Shot      FPS
1 378.6
2 383.7
3 385.3
4 363.3
5 373.1
6 379.2
7 254.2
8 373.8
9 379.6
10 388.8

The trigger pull test produced a weight of 48 Ounces (1,360 grams), which is a medium-heavy revolver trigger pull and some 500g MORE than the PC629, rather disappointingly.


Overall, there's little to add to my previous reviews of Tanaka S&W Model 29s.

The V-Comp, to my eyes, is more elegant than the bulky PC 629 (but I have to say I seriously considered keeping both!) and, with the unfluted cylinder, makes a different looking gun to go with my midnight blue Model 29.

Performance is exactly what you would expect of a Tanaka 29 and the build quality and finish are of the usual high standards (with the usual proviso about the cylinder wearing away the silver paint on the frame).

The best looking Tanaka 629?

I really liked the Performance Center 629, which had a lighter trigger and better accuracy, and would recommend it to anyone, but I think, with the V-Comp, that I have found the 629 I will keep.

Weight : 860g

Realism : *****
Quality : ****
Power : *****
Accuracy : ***

Real Steel link at World Guns
Another review of this great revolver

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