Colonel Rex Applegate, was a member of the storied O.S.S., Office of Strategic Services, the predecessor to the CIA and taught fellow intelligence officers how to kill an enemy quickly, and preferably silently, in face-to-face combat during World War II.
I had the pleasure of being trained by Col. Applegate and the joy of touring his Oregon weapons collection. Applegate was considered the quintessential expert on riot control, having penned numerous articles on the subject as well as his book which took law enforcement personnel step by step through a comprehensive operation of Crowd and Riot Control.
His guide to combat training and execution was set forth in his “Kill or be Killed”, the techniques of which were taught to me. One particular lesson he shared was when he was deployed by the CIA to Mexico. During one assignment he drew his revolver from his jacket pocket to defend himself and the hammer got caught on the pocket’s lining. He used empty hand techniques to overcome his attacker and when he returned to the U.S. he contacted Smith and Wesson and shared his concern for the snagging element of their revolver. The S&W Centennial was the result, the model in a .38 caliber with a three-inch barrel I carried myself for years while training law enforcement personnel in defensive tactics.