I've got to say, I really do appreciate the design here. Even if the +10 damage is less important, it's still a way to make a "prerequisite feat" feel less like a tax and more like an exciting option.
I share that dislike of CBE. Unloading a point blank is OK for an occasional KO maneuver, but it feels like a flavor-fail to me if that's always my best option. For that reason, I quite like your short sword solution. Throwing the off-hand feels like a fun workaround. Cheers!