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BULLSEYES DON'T SHOOT BACK THE INSIDE STORY

My introduction to the work of the late Colonel Rex Applegate was when I read his book Kill or Get Killed when I was about 13 years old. With the information in that book and a Crosman air pistol, I learned the fundamental skills of point shooting.

About 20 years after that, I left my job with the Department of Defense to go to work for Paladin Press™ with the specific purpose of establishing their video production department to produce point shooting videos with Colonel Applegate. In fact, my acceptance for that position was actually contingent upon the Colonel’s approval; if he didn’t like me, I didn’t get the job.

Fortunately for me, the Colonel not only took a liking to me, he also appreciated my active interest in the history and tactics of close combat. To ensure that I could accurately express his methods in the videos we produced, he personally mentored me in point shooting and many other topics. During several planning visits to his home in Oregon, he took me out to his “Annex” where we drew a sampling of a few dozen handguns from his collection (not even making a dent) before heading to his family farm and shooting range in Yoncalla, Oregon. There I literally “learned from the master,” developing an in-depth understanding of point shooting, its many advantages, and it limitations.

Since the Colonel knew that I had written several books for Paladin™ and approved of my writing style, he tasked me with writing the script for the video project Shooting for Keeps. We spoke on the phone several times a week and worked through the details as the script progressed. When I finally presented the finished script to him, he was very pleased and made only a few stylistic changes before giving it his blessing.

After Shooting for Keeps was complete (which I shot, narrated, and edited as a one-man effort), the Colonel—once again very pleased with the way the information was presented—had the idea to use the video script as the basis for a book. When I told him that Paladin™ would be honored to have him adapt the script to book form, he made it very clear that he intended it to be a co-authored project carrying both our names. Needless to say, that was—and still remains—an incredible honor and one of the highlights of my career.

Colonel Applegate and I continued to collaborate through frequent phonecalls and she regularly sent me copies of his correspondence with various shooting instructors and law enforcement trainers. With the Colonel’s input, I expanded the original video script to include more descriptive detail and address some topics not covered in the video. With the photographic services of my friend Bob Newman (now a radio talk show host in Denver), I shot all the photos for the book and organized the information for Colonel Applegate’s review. Once again, he was very pleased and Bullseyes Don’t Shoot Back became a reality.

Bullseyes was published in late 1997. At the 1998 SHOT Show, I personally delivered the Colonel’s author’s copies of the book to him and took a photo with him to commemorate our achievement. I also asked him to autograph the author’s copies I received. Tragically, the Colonel passed away later that year. I miss him dearly and still regard the privilege of collaborating with him on this book as one of the greatest honors of my life.

Michael D. Janich