FWB P44 10-meter target pistol: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

FWB P44
FWB P44 target pistol is Tom Gaylord’s dream airgun!

Morini 162MI Part 1
Morini 162MI Part 2
Morini 162MI Part 3

This report covers:

  • I love FWB target pistols
  • Right from the start
  • The cost
  • Trigger
  • The grip
  • Dry fire
  • Rear sight
  • Front sight
  • Weight
  • Anti-recoil mechanism
  • Fill pressure and shot count
  • Other stuff
  • Evaluation so far

Today is very special. I just received the FWB P44 10-meter target pistol for testing. Veteran readers know I already tested the Morini 162MI 10-meter target pistol in February and March of this year, and this is going to be not just a test of 2 top 10-meter target pistols — I’m also going to compare them for you. That’s something I don’t often do, but this opportunity is too great to pass up. That’s why I put those links at the top.

I love FWB target pistols

Let me state for the record that I love all FWB target pistols. I could never afford one when I competed, but they were the guns I aspired to. I always felt the combination of their superior triggers and grips would have added something to my score, maybe even boosting me into the top ranking. Of course we all think things like that, but every time I got to shoot an FWB pistol it shot as well as my Chameleon target pistol right off the bat. With familiarity I know my scores would have increased. So, I am biased toward FWB 10-meter pistols.

Right from the start

The moment I took the pistol case from the box I knew it was superior to the Morini. Instead of just a hard case with fitted foam, the FWB comes in a locking case! I doubt there is a huge cost difference between the two cases, as both are blow-molded plastic, but the FWB case is nicer.

FWB P44 case
The case has a combination lock!

FWB P44 inside case
Everything comes with the pistol, except a spare reservoir.

On the minus side, the Morini comes with two removable air tanks, and the FWB only has one. Both the Morini tanks have pressure gauges on the end, and of course the FWB tank also has one.

Both guns come with test targets that show 5 shots at 10 meters from that gun. They are pasted into the owner’s manual and serial-numbered to the airgun. The group that came with this pistol measures 0.018-inches between centers, while the Morini test group measures 0.058-inches between centers. That difference is huge, but when you see the groups it doesn’t look like much. Suffice to say either pistol will shoot where it is aimed.

FWB P44 test group
FWB P44 came with the smallest test group I’ve ever measured — 0.018-inches between centers for 5 shots at 10 meters.

The last thing I will comment on before we look at the overall pistol is the grip. The FWB grip fits me like a glove! It fits so much better than the Morini grip, despite both grips being designed by Morini. At least I believe the FWB grips are designed by Morini. His trademark is not stamped on them anywhere, but they are the classic Morini shape.

The cost

The Morini 162 costs right at $1700 and the FWB P44 is listed for $1,766. Both are close in features and performance, and if you plan to spend this much money I would advise you get the one you want. I have never had a P44 in my hands until now, and I have never had any airgun that shot 5 pellets into less than 2 hundredths of an inch at 10 meters. So I think this one’s going to stay with me awhile. If you want it, watch for my estate sale.

Trigger

Okay, let’s look at the design of the P44. It’s a 10-meter pistol, which means the trigger is highly adjustable for all things — pull weight, length of the first stage, overtravel and of course the position. You can also load a lot of the mandatory 500-gram weight into the first stage (which FWB calls the trigger slack). The second stage will then break with very little additional pressure. I will adjust the trigger to suit myself in part 2, where I will discuss what I do and show you.

The grip

The grip is also very adjustable, and I have found FWB grips on their precharged pistols to be the best I have ever encountered. The grips on my vintage FWB Model 2 10-meter CO2 pistol are crude by comparison, but Morini hadn’t perfected his design when that gun was made. The palm shelf moves up and down to accommodate hands of different sizes, though there are small, medium and large versions of this same grip available. So the adjustment is within the range for each grip size.

I like this palm shelf, because it digs into my wrist joint, forcing the pistol to be held with the muzzle elevated. I have to lock my wrist to get on target, which is exactly what I want!

Besides the palm shelf, the entire grip angle can be adjusted to force the wrist to lock when aiming. This is a huge advantage that really adds points to my score. The grip can also be swiveled side to side just a little. This also helps lock the wrist. The manual even explains what the adjustments do to the front sight, which is exactly what a competitor needs to know! I can’t wait!

Dry fire

A switch beneath the loading trough is pushed to the left to dry-fire the gun (The trigger works, but no air can come out) and to the right to shoot pellets. Most competitive shooters fire many times more shots dry than they shoot pellets. I have always given the ratio as 5:1. So a dry-fire capability is mandatory on a target gun, and this one works well.

Rear sight

The rear sight adjusts in both directions with instructions engraved on the sight. This sight uses German adjustments, with the word bei before the L and R. Think of that word meaning “too”, so if you are hitting the target too far to the right, adjust it in the bei R direction. This is backwards of a U.S. sight adjustment process, but it accomplishes the same thing. Target shooters are used to it, because most target airguns have German sights.

FWB P44 rear sight
Rear sight adjusts as expected, plus the notch width adjusts. It can also be repositioned fore and aft on the airgun!

If you can’t adjust the rear sight high enough to force the wrist to lock when sighting, there is an additional adjustment screw for that. These Germans have thought of everything!

The rear notch is adjustable for width, as well. It will go as wide as 4.8mm, which is huge!

You can also move the rear sight 10 to 20 mm to the rear. This is an adjustment I’ve never seen, but I will play with it.

Front sight

The front sight can be positioned at any one of three distances from the rear sight. This has the effect of making the front sight blade wider or narrower.

While looking at the front sight I noticed three holes on top of the barrel that obviously work to cancel muzzle flip They are in addition to the muzzle brake. This pistol is fantastic!

FWB P44 front sight
Front sight can be positioned in any of 3 distances from the rear. Notice the 3 holes in the barrel that help cancel muzzle flip.

Weight

Ten-meter pistols are weighed in grams — not pounds. This one weighs 979 grams, which is 2.16 lbs. That’s light for me. I’m used to shooting pistols that weigh 1100 grams, though I haven’t shot in competition in many years. At any rate, the pistol comes with two 37-gram (1-1/4 oz.) weights that attach to the front of the receiver and lie parallel to the barrel. So the pistol can be increased to 1,053 grams. I’ll probably do that.

Anti-recoil mechanism

We say guns like this are recoilless, but in truth there is a wee bit of a rocket-like push when they fire. Most shooters will not notice it, but a 10-meter pistol shooter will pick up on it immediately, because the front sight will move when the gun fires. FWB has therefore installed an anti-recoil mechanism to counteract this tiny push. And, since this is a Feinwerkbau, that mechanism is adjustable! You have to love that level of attention to detail. It’s been years since I shot a P34 pistol that had this same anti-recoil mechanism, but as I recall, I could only tell the gun had fired by the sound of the shot.

Fill pressure and shot count

The P44 reservoir fills to 200 bar. Thank you, Feinwerkbau! No special exotic air source is required. You can fill from a hand pump that has a 200-bar adaptor or from a common scuba tank. If you have a carbon fiber tank you will get a lot more fills. And the manual says you can expect 160 shots per fill. I would advise anyone who competes to buy an extra tank and keep it filled, because you never know when you’re going to need it. But 160 shots will get you through two matches, including all the sighters you want.

Other stuff

Besides the weights, the gun comes with a 200-bar fill adaptor, a device for depressurizing the reservoir (useful to those who fly to matches), the owner’s manual, and a complete set of tools for making all the adjustments. It’s as compete a set as you could ask for, save the extra reservoir that is so necessary.

Evaluation so far

So far I love the P44 and I have yet to fill it with air and shoot it. Imagine what I will say when I do!

25 thoughts on “FWB P44 10-meter target pistol: Part 1


  1. B.B.,

    Very, very nice. I like things of fine quality. Design, function, adjustability, aesthetics, ergonomics, etc.. I like things that are well thought out,.. even,.. overthought. Very nice.

    I look forward to the ongoing reports. My only other thought is that if were mine,.. I would be looking up a local custom cabinet maker and have a real nice custom wood case made,.. exposed dove tail joints, fine hardware, leather handle. That baby needs “put to bed” in something much nicer than a plastic case,… even if it does have a combo lock.

    Chris


  2. LOL! You did it! You finally got the P44! I am so happy for you!

    I am with Chris. That baby needs a real nice felt lined nicely figured walnut case so it can sit in a prominent place in your office. You can keep the plastic case around to hold the accessories and use when you take it out on a date somewhere to show off.


  3. BB,

    Something doe not jive. Am I correct that the first picture is a “stock” picture and the one in the case is the actual pistol you have?

    The first picture shows a short trigger guard, an inlaid medallion in the grip and the pistol has a blue action and guard and the one in the case has a long guard, no medallion and the action appears black.

    I know, big whoop do right? I just want to know which pistol I will be buying at the auction. 😉


  4. B.B.

    What a beautiful pistol! In the rear sight segment, the first time you mention “bei” you spelled it “bel”.
    Lets see if you can keep the tight groupings….

    -Y



  5. B.B.

    Do you have the DIN adapter so you can fill it ? I had to swipe the one for my 200T to get air in my 800 .
    Looks like we have the same accessory kits .

    twotalon


  6. B.B.,

    This pistol is just gorgeous, but not in the usual way pistols are attractive. This FWB (like all of ’em, I guess) exudes “function.” Not only is everything of the highest possible quality of design, materials, and build, but FWB seems to think of everything. Of course they do not actually do that, but from everything I’ve read in every new model FWB incorporates significant improvements based on top shooters’ suggestions. Each new model is more and more refined to the point that it probably becomes difficult to find any fault at all. For FWB cost is not a consideration. But even so, just imagine if every manufacturer did that.

    When it comes to thinking of everything, a case in point is that “the trigger is highly adjustable for all things.” Yep, that’s a Feinwerkbau all right. When I first shot my 601, the thing that really got me was that the trigger was adjustable even for the angle of the blade/shoe from left to right!

    This P44 is a marvel.

    Michael



    • Jo,

      Yes, the manual states that. But this practice is so universally accepted that if FWB did it any other way they would damage their reputation.

      Cooper Firearms actually did do something like you suggest. They include a 5-shot group with each new rifle, but they do not state the distance at which it was shot. The assumption is 100 yards, but the truth is, about 35-40 yards. Cooper damaged their reputation when they started doing this.

      B.B.


      • BB,
        Thanks for the info. I almost purchased a .22LR bolt action rifle made by Cooper Firearms about 5 years ago. The gun retailer won’t give me a better price than an Anschutz, so I purchased the Anschutz instead, glad I did.


  7. *sigh* FWB 44 *sigh*

    …$2105.00 Cdn at the local dealer.

    Expensive – yes and no – the “smile factor” is so high on these pistols that even at a penny-a-smile it would be payed off in full in no time. Then you shoot one, start grinning and can’t stop – and don’t care if anybody notices.

    I am on good terms with Joycelyn, time I poped in for a visit – maybe he will let me fondle a 44 a bit – if I promise not to drool on it 🙂

    Totally distracted now.



      • Yeah, I’m with you Peter!

        I lucked into a deal on a FWB 100 PSP 10 meter target pistol years ago when the PCP models just came out.

        They are awesome to shoot – would love to go to a PCP like the 44. Can’t really justify it but we can dream 🙂



  8. I would be very interested in the details of how the anti-recoil mechanism actually works. Will you go into that in the upcoming posts on this pistol? I think the main difference between my FWB602 and the later 603 is that the 603 has an anti-recoil mechanism. I can actually feel the recoil when I fire the 602 – amazing really considering the weight of the rifle and the low muzzle energy of my detuned example. If a fairly unsophisticated plinker like myself can feel the recoil on the 602 I can see how a reduction in recoil on a 10M pistol would be desired by a real 10M shooter.


  9. BB,
    I still have my Tau-Brno 7…Lo these many years (at least 20 & counting) and like it’s first cousin, your Chameleon, it’s still a much better shot that I am. Perhaps one day…
    Nonetheless, in my ongoing project to eliminate less-than-the-best hardware variations (even if better than me anyway,) I have taken into my head the FWB Piccolo might be the thing for me. Perhaps either an inclusion in this test/comparison or a review all by its (reduced length) self?


  10. Pingback: FWB P44 10-meter target pistol: Part 2 | Airguns: Air Rifles and Pistols

  11. Pingback: FWB P44 10-meter target pistol: Part 3 | Airguns: Air Rifles and Pistols

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