In the early 1980s an American shooter, Don Nygord, found that for him shortening the barrel length of a standard FWB Model 65 greatly improved the balance and inertial envelope of the gun, and this reduction in length did not adversely effect velocity or accuracy. Mr. Nygord used his shortened version of the FWB 655 to win the World Championship at Santo Domingo in 1981. After his performance at this match, Feinewrkbau commenced a NASCAR-like effort (Win on Sunday .,.. Sell on Monday) for barrel cropping the FWB 65 and were quick to release their own version - the M 65 Mk II. In Germany this was merely called the FWB 65 Junior, but Dr. Beeman (the Feinwerkbau distributor and marketeer extraordinaire) promoted the shorted FWB 65 as the Mark II.
Don Nygord, passed way in December 2004.
So was barrel shortening the rage in match pistol shooting after Don Nygord success in 1981?
For openers the FWB Mk.II is very rare in Germany and generally limited being found on North american soil. The other manufactures continued to produce their match air pistols with the full length barrel because this created a more accurate sighting machine for shooters. Why? Simply, the greater the distance between the front and rear sight, the more precise the sight picture becomes. With great sight precision comes great match shooting results.
Today, some of the modern match air pistols come in shortened barrel versions (Junior or Mini models) but they generally attempt to maintain the "full size" space between the front and rear sights with clever manufacturing efforts. For more information go to www.pilkguns.com and look over their cornucopia of the worlds latest and greatest match air pistols.