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Ammo B.B.’s Pistol Comeback Attempt: Part One

B.B.’s Pistol Comeback Attempt: Part One

FWB P44.

Today’s report covers:

  • The bench
  • It’s not the gun
  • FWB P44
  • How to proceed
  • Feet placement
  • Dry fire
  • Vogel pellets
  • Target one
  • Target two
  • Shazbat!
  • Next
  • Summary

Today’s report is one I felt I needed to do. And then reader shootski mentioned it in the comments to last Friday’s report and I knew it was time. Here is what he said.

“B.B. is (was) a pretty good pistol shot. A few months ago he talked about increasing his practice to see how much of it he could get back.”

“What do you think? Sounds like an interesting blog series to me! B.B.’s Pistol Comeback Attempt.”

So I let him name the series. He’s right in saying that I did mention that I was going to practice with my 10-meter pistol more and see if I could get back some of my former glory with enough practice. But it wasn’t shootski who pushed me over the line. It was that beautiful young woman shooter, Kirsten Joy Weiss. After seeing her break an egg at 300 yards, using a .22 rimfire she shot offhand I wondered what I was doing, always shooting from the bench!

The bench

Of course I know full well why I shoot from the bench. It’s because nobody cares how well I can shoot; we all want to know about the airguns I test. I’m right there with all of you readers on that. So I have created an established test regimen that keeps the tests as fair and equal as possible for all airguns.

But seeing that long range trick shot — one that I could never hope to do on the best day of my life — energized me to stand on my hind legs again. I toyed with picking up my Diana 35 breakbarrel rifle and shooting offhand from 10 meters. I gotta start somewhere.

Then shootski said what he said and pushed me over the line. I had to see how bad I had become and what it takes to come back. And he gave me this great title.

Can I come back all the way? I pride myself on showing you all the airguns I test, both the good and the bad. Now it is time for me to show you (and me) myself. I may still try the Diana 35 as well, but this series will be about me shooting a 10-meter target pistol

I will narrate every step of the way, because that is the story we are all interested in. Nobody cares how good a shot I am but what it takes to get me back to where I once was, which is an average of 535 points out of 600 at 10 meters. That’s shooting at the 10-meter air pistol target.

It’s not the gun

So many times, as I test airguns, I have mentioned that it’s not the gun as much as it is the shooter. Well, now we are going to see that played out. When I shot in national air pistol matches I shot a Chameleon CO2 target pistol. When I competed years ago my Chameleon target pistol was adequately accurate, but not much more than me. Its trigger was mediocre for a ten-meter target trigger. I had it adjusted down to 518 grams (500 grams is the lightest a 10-meter pistol can be adjusted for a match), but it was very creepy in stage 2. Yet when I stopped competing I was poised to become an expert in the national standings, which starts at an average threshold of 545 points out of 600. I think they use the average of your previous three competition scores to compute the average.


Many years ago I allowed myself to be enabled into purchasing an FWB P44 target pistol. I had tested it for you and couldn’t bring myself to send it back. It is the pistol shown above. It is light years more refined than my old Chameleon and it has a killer trigger. Talk about a glass rod breaking! And it has every adjustment one could hope for. In just a bit I will describe a trigger adjustment that had to be made, so we’re not done with the trigger just yet. I adjusted the pistol grip for my hand when I received it seven years ago and it still fits me perfectly. So that work doesn’t have to be done again.

How to proceed

I’m about 30 years older than when I competed, so I’m not starting at 10 meters today. And this is where I am drawing on one of the reports that I linked to last week. I tell you guys this because I am taking my own advice. Remember my report titled, Converting an anti-gunner AND teaching a person to shoot 10-meter pistol? That was where I taught my former father-in-law how to shoot a 10-meter pistol. I started him at 5 feet from the target. I stood 12 feet from the target today. That’s because I’ve done this before and also because I know what I’m doing. 

Because of starting so close I shot at a 15-foot BB gun bullseye target instead of a 10-meter air pistol target. As luck would have it, that turned out to be perfect!

Stock Up on Shooting Gear

Feet placement

How my feet are placed determines within a couple inches of where I will hit the target, so I spend no small amount of time getting them placed. The final test is for me to close my eyes and raise my shooting hand with my trigger finger pointing to where I think the target is. If it’s to either side of the target when I open my eyes I make small corrections to the feet and do the test again.

Feet placement.

Where your feet are placed determines where you naturally point. That determines where you will shoot within a couple inches, left or right, at 10 meters.

Dry fire

Once I was in position at 12 feet I started dry-firing at the target. And from that point until I changed targets I never moved my feet again. Oh, but I am a shaky old man!

If I was shooting at 10 meters I would have a table upon which to rest my pistol between shots. But where I stood there is no convenient way to place a table in front of me.

In fact, that was my one critical observation when I watched Kirsten Joy Weiss shoot that egg at 300 yards. She held the rifle too long in my opinion. However, she hit the egg, where I would still be waiting for it to explode from internal gasses after rotting over the many days I stood there missing.

rest pistol
I rest the pistol between shots.

When I compete in air pistol, though, I do rest the pistol between every shot. In fact all 10-meter pistol shooters do. I have 90 seconds to take each shot and, because the matches are held indoors, there is no wind to wait out. So I rest my pistol for 20-30 seconds between every shot and I only hold on target 3 seconds or less. That’s when I am trained up. Today I held on target for five seconds because I am a shaky old man!

Vogel pellets

After reviewing my past reports on the FWB P44 I discovered that the Vogel target pellet is the best. A few years ago I bought 5,500 Vogel target pellets for the bargain price of $55.00. Buying them one tin at a time would cost many times that amount. But these pellets are unsorted for head size and range from 4.49 to 4.53mm across the heads. At present I am not accurate enough to make those differences matter, but if I stick with this I will be. There was a time when I kept better than 89 percent of my shots on a pencil eraser at 10 meters. When I get that good again (hopefully), the head size of the pellet will matter.

What I have with the differing head sizes is a test within a test. Once I become a good enough shot I will start measuring the head sizes and sorting the pellets to find which one works the best in this pistol.

Target one

I shot about 10 shots dry-fire before shooting the first pellet. That got me comfortable with the trigger and also showed me what a shaky old man I have become. The first target then had a group of five shots that went into 1.079-inches at 12 feet. One of those shots went high and right and was a called pull. It was really a sniped shot when I pulled the trigger because I was holding on target too long.

Three pellets landed in the 10-ring in a group that measured 0.062-inches between centers. Back when I competed my five-shot groups at 10 meters were just a little larger than that.

target one

The first five shots went into 1.062 inches at 12 feet. There are three pellets in the 10-ring below the dime.

Target two

I shot target two right after shooting target one. I shot about 10 more dry-fires before starting to shoot live. Because I didn’t have a table to rest the gun on I was getting tired at this point. So I stopped shooting.

target two
The second five shots went into 0.997-inches at 12 feet.


Only after all shooting was completed this day did I measure the trigger pull. It was set by the factory and has remained that way since I received the gun back in April of 2016. It measured 446 grams on my electronic trigger pull scale. That’s far too light to compete, so I spent 30 minutes adjusting it back to break at an average of 536 grams. The first stage pull is now around 408 grams.

trigger adjust
To adjust the P44’s trigger the grip has to come off the gun.

The “after” trigger-pull numbers sound high if you are just reading them with no 10-meter target pistol trigger experience. But my trigger finger cannot tell the difference between 446 and 539 grams. And in national competitions they don’t use electronic scales. Your cocked pistol trigger has to pick a 500-gram weight up from a table without the pistol firing. Believe me — this test is not easy to pass and nobody adjusts their trigger down to 500 grams. I have seen as low as 510 grams once on someone else’s pistol.


I plan to fire no less than 25 dry-fire shots each day. At least a week will pass before I shoot pellets again, so I should be slightly better, but we’ll see.

My next distance to the target will be the full 10 meters, but I won’t go there until I know I can do it. I remember enough about this sport that I don’t need any intermediate steps. I just need to get the basics under my belt.


I was guilted into this report but not by you readers. It was after watching that young lady break an egg at 300 yards with a .22 long rifle. I may be old and decrepit, but I should still be able to hold a 10 when I have to.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

39 thoughts on “B.B.’s Pistol Comeback Attempt: Part One”

  1. B.B.,
    Based on your performance here, I think you’ll be back up to snuff rather quickly.
    And that FWB P44 is a real beauty! 🙂
    Blessings & good shooting to you,

    • I think that Davemyster is likely correct that you will come back rather quickly – providing that you have not had serious neuro-skeletal-muscular surgeries or injuries and are NOT on some kinds of psycho-active medications (and they need not be meds for psychological causes, but by-products for other purely physical problems).

      The actions of shooting, beyond the brain calculations and visual acuity issues, are already pre-programed by years of shooting and thousands upon thousands of repetitions. You are already trained in the discipline, but you have not used it in a while. I suspect that the training will kick in rather quickly as the brain (which is all that really matters, in the end) already has “ancient neurological files” that it can pull up and begin to utilize again. Those “ancient files” are persistent, and, when stored in the long-term memory system are permanent in the neurons.

      As a former alcoholism and drug counselor, those pesky “ancient files” are part of the foibles that I had to deal with in helping veterans beat addictions issues at our state veterans home. Indeed, it is no big deal to NOT open a bottle, anyone can NOT do that. The problem for the addicted person and his/her counselor is to help that person tamp DOWN the “ancient files” that want to replay on the RAM of a person’s conscious and unconscious mind. Those pesky addiction experience files (and not surprisingly, the addictive files of “good” inebriation) want to play and are subtly cued up. So much of the recovery process is to get the person to play wholesome files constantly to interfere with and replace the unwholesome ones. Nevertheless, those unwholesome “ancient files” NEVER go away and lurk in the background.

      That appertains to your likely “recovery” of the old free hand pistol shooting. The more you practice the more the successful “ancient files” should begin to return and guide your performance. Just about the only thing that might interfere with that utilization of the old files would be an history of brain injury or current medications that inhibit neurological functioning. I suspect you will see a remarkable “ramp up” with practice not unlike an upside down parabolic curve if one would graph it.

      It will, indeed, be interesting to see how this real-time experiment plays out. Please consider saving your targets and writing down the results. This should be instructive for all of us.

      • LFranke,

        Thank you for you work with the Veterans.
        Although i do consider myself to have been a Bing Alcoholic, very common among Naval Aviators, my true addiction was smoking cigarettes. I fully understand what you have related. I tried to stop smoking many times and succeeded for various lengths of time failing each time until on one day; I was fortunate to have my son say these words to me back in 1986: “Dad will you please stop smoking I really want you to be around for a very long time.” As the years and decades have passed i have replayed those words hearing his voice as if he was saying them. I have not had another cigarette. I replay his words less and less as time moves forward but thank him every year on the anniversary of his request.
        I think you are spot on in your thoughts on Tom’s skill set files returning. It is always a real memorable Überraschung (surprise is the translation but it really doesn’t translate very well!) when it happens.


        • Shootski: We share an addiction to tobacco. Although I quit on 03 January 1988, I am “still waiting for it to become safe again!” Obviously, that is the power of those old addiction files promising a nicotine benefit even after all these years. My relapse cravings are very few and far between and occur at odd times (amusing now, but where once really Siren Songs).

          Because of the long-term repetitions and the pleasure associated with the tobacco files, they will stop functioning approximately a week after my funeral service! In the negative, relapse phenomena are the effects of those old use-associated learned files, BUT in Tom’s case, the positive files associated with competitive shooting successes and the fellowship mated to those matches can also replay and boost his return to shooting.

          It will be interesting to see how fast he comes back to a resemblance of his former skill level.

  2. Good luck Tom.
    Best I can hold my extended arm absolutely still for is less than 1 second. I better learn how to fire when I pass over a target.
    Or get one of those new airguns that automatically fires when it detects a laser dot prepositioned on the target as I go over it with the trigger pulled already.
    Heck I could just close my eyes and wildly swing the pistol around till it accidently lines up and fires.
    You did say something new and wonderful was about to come out?

    • Bob M,

      I would like to try out one of those new laser activated airguns you are talking about, but I would not want to own it. What am I saying? I could probably not afford one.

    • Bob M,

      I’m sure you already know this but….long range “smart rifles” that “aim themselves and make a long range sniper out of anyone” is relatively old technology that is still being perfected.

      Tracking Point, a company out of Austin Texas, brought out their first version in 338 Lapua & 300WM in 2013. They introduced an updated version of their “smart rifle” in Barrett 50 cal in 2017:


      • kevin,

        This is probably nit picking but it needs to be addressed.

        Note that in your Link it says: “…turn ANYONE into a sharpshooter.” A sharpshooter is a very long way off from being a Sniper!
        Most of the Sniper’s skill set doesn’t involve the actual shot.


      • Kevin
        Yes, I am well aware of it. It’s the cover story in the Premier Copy of Trigger Magazine and I still have it.
        Another amazing device is black box-controlled firing of multiple rifles at the same time.
        When the team members have their target locked on and pull the trigger nothing happens until everyone is holding on their target and pulling on their trigger. If one member lets go of his trigger all the rifles are on hold and nothing fires until they are all being pulled again.
        Takes care of all the hostiles at once. Good deal for hostage situations.

  3. Tom,

    Is there anything in the rules that say you should take a shot after aiming the pistol at the target? I mean if you find yourself wobbling badly could you put you hand and pistol down and then attempt again within the 90 second window?

    I believe you can get back into form. It might take a while but you will get there. You have the whole peanut gallery rooting for you!


  4. BB-

    If no room for a table to rest between shots- Could you (or neighbor Denny) attach a small square of plywood to the top of a spare camera tripod to take the table’s place. Smaller footprint, collapsible and all that. Good luck and looking forward to your comeback.

  5. This series has come at just the right time for me as I’ve recently set myself the same challenge. My goal is to get up to a 90 average by the end of the summer. My previous best was a 92 so I’m trying to be realistic, as I’ve been out of practice for quite a while.
    This will hopefully motivate me and perhaps others. Maybe we can all share our progress through the blog?

  6. B.B.

    Good for you!
    From what I remember from your earlier posts on 10M pistol shooting, the feet placement and the way you “locked” your elbow were the two things I remember the most. Please repeat how you locked your elbow.


    PS what impressed me the most about seeing Ms Weiss shoot was how close her misses were.
    I wonder what ammunition she was shooting? Most .22 rimfire rounds are not that accurate.

  7. *** I remember enough about this sport that I don’t need any intermediate steps. I just need to get the basics under my belt. ***


    I’ve been waiting for this blog series. Hope the you will go over the intermediate steps in detail for those of us who are still learning the basics and will be following along.


  8. Tom,

    I take my hat off to you, Sir!

    While I lack a serious 10 Meter air pistol, I do have some accurate air pistols, including a Daisy Avanti 747. I might attempt to improve measurably with one to see how much that is possible given my progressively worse vision.

    You are not just an enabler Tom, you are also an inspiration!


  9. B.B.,

    Thank you for taking on this task; I believe you may find it a life altering one.
    “It’s because nobody cares how well I can shoot; we all want to know about the airguns I test.”
    From your Readerships comments so far i don’t believe that for a minute. I also think this is going to go down as one of your greatest enablements EVER!
    I will just say that you also could add bit of workout to your routine. A few minutes a day will pay high return dividends. I would recommend Low Planks @ 15 seconds × 3 repetitions with 1 minute rest between reps. If those seem to easy after the first three days add 15 seconds to the duration of each rep. The last item is lifestyle change and that is simply to move a little more during each waking hour. I think you will be doing 10 × 3 BOSU BALL BURPEES in no time at all.




    My very best wishes for your marvelous endeavour.

    I want to be you and your Readerships FITNESS Enabler.

    You have GOT THIS Tom!


      • Bob M,


        Today’s workout was 500 meter (10 setting) Ergometer warmup row. Twenty 25lb dumbbell snatches to overhead press. 12/ side one knee kneel 35lb kettlebell (No Rotation in hand hold) low to high cross body swing ups. 10 per side tripod plank with free hand 60lb cable machine full extension row. On three rounds in 40 minutes. 500 meter (3 setting) Ergometer warm down row got to clear that Lactic Acid!
        It is possible to stay in shape even IF health issues require accommodations. So far I have been lucky and they haven’t slowed me down all that much.

        I thank the Lord every night for another day and to keep my Hot Cars safe!


        • Shootski
          You realize your increasing your chances of getting killed by a car while crossing the street now. The grim reaper doesn’t like people fighting back for life. ;(
          More power to you.

  10. B.B.,

    Have you taken your own great advice and watched it recently?

    “Please watch The Karate Kid. When I say, “Wax on – wax off” from now on, I expect you to understand what I’m talking about.”


        • B.B.,

          Only want you shooting a pistol!
          No need to do the Crane…for now ;^)

          PS: my LEO daughter called today to let Mom and Dad know she shot 100 on both her pistol and shotgun requalification and her very first rifle qualification. Her Department didn’t have enough rifles to issue to new Officers so i bought her an S&W M&P AR-15 and a bunch of ammo right after she was sworn.

  11. B.B.

    I enjoyed today’s blog topic and was inspired to see how well I can shoot like you did in this report. Here’s my initial results.

    The one pistol I have that is closest to being a genuine 10 meter target pistol is the Sig Sauer ASP Super Target. The one wadcutter pellet that gave me the smallest 10 shot group when shooting from a bench rest was the 7.56 grain H&N Finale Match Pistol. Unfortunately I ran out of that pellet, so I substituted with it’s replacement, the 7.87 grain H&N Finale Match Light. I shot four NRA 10 Meter Air Pistol B-40 targets with 5 shots each while standing and shooting from 12 feet using a 1 handed grip. The group sizes are (1) 0.719 inch, (2) 1.094 inches, (3) 1.000 inch, and (4) 1.063 inches.

    I never did this style shooting before, so naturally my hands shook. I tried to shoot within 3 seconds of aligning my sights on the 6 o’clock position of the black ring.

  12. I started shooting 10M air pistol a little over a year ago. It’s a tough sport. I shoot a Walther LP500 which is a top tier pistol like your FWB. I think you had some good advice here I have not heard/read before but something I figured out based off shooting longbows. That is starting out at a shorter distance than 10M. You were starting out at 12’. This year, getting back into it for some upcoming winter on-line matches, I started out at around 26’ and over a few weeks worked my way back to 33’/10M. It worked well. It occurred to me it’s the same way I did it learning to shoot a longbow. I started close and when I mastered that distance I moved back 2-3 yards and stayed there until that distance was mastered. Over time I was able the shoot the longbow very well at 20-25 yards.

  13. BB,

    Your P44 is beautiful! I’ll be waiting impatiently for your progress, you’ll be back on track soon 🙂
    I had quite a long break from 10m training, recently tried some FWB300s and… it wasn’t too bad after a few months of not shooting.

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