All special agents, uniformed officers, and special officers periodically had to qualify with their sidearms. That meant reporting to the pistol range and taking aim at a silhouette target. The targets originally used by the Secret service were a variety of silhouettes used by many law enforcement groups in the U. S. One day, a graphics request was made for the design of a new silhouette that was more representative of a target our agents would likely encounter. Rather than a gruff looking, hardened criminal with a mean stare, or a black silhouette, management wanted a clean-cut, coat and tie, assailant. Next door to our office was the Counterfeit Division with a dozen special agents, each equally qualified to be the next “poster boy” for the pistol range. I asked the division chief, Jack H., if I might borrow one of his agents for a short photo session. An agent showed up in our studio at the appointed time and our photographer grabbed a few shots. The middle photo (far left) is of the actual special agent who posed in our studio as the model for the pistol target. I don not remember his name. I did not try to draw a portrait of the actual agent, but only wanted to render a clean-cut assailant in a coat and tie (below). That target would be used on the Secret Service firing range for 20 years.  In 1992, President  George H. W. Bush, appointed John W. Magaw as new director of the Secret Service. After Mr. Magaw became director, agents began seeing a resemblance of their new director to the “person” they were shooting at on the pistol range. It was said that some agents were enjoying their target practice a little too much. Whatever the reason, A new work order was received in the graphics shop. The target was to be revised. Years later, I happened to get in touch with Robert B., the artist who took my place as art director after I left the Service. As we talked, Bob casually said, “I had to change heads.” I asked him what he was talking about, and he told me the graphics request was for changing the face on the pistol target. Too many people thought it resembled Director Magaw. Bob sent me one of the “revised” targets (left) as a souvenir. Though I could not find a photograph of John Magaw as he looked in 1972, I think the connection between he and the original target was made because I originally had chosen him as the target model. I took some preliminary Polaroid photos of him in a hallway, but the candid snapshots lacked the lighting and detail I needed for the drawing. Later, that we took the studio photos of the second agent. Maybe, at the time, some agents remembered me taking the Polaroids of John Magaw and thought he was the model for the target I eventually drew.
“Thug” target. One example of a typical target used on police pistol ranges.
John W. Magaw, Director, United States Secret Service, 1992 to 1993.
Numerals (5s and 10s) and the dotted lines on the target indicated “10” for critical and “5” for non- critical hit areas of the human torso. Agents were trained to aim for “center of mass,” which would have covered the critical areas from head to groin.
Special Agent posing for first drawing of new USSS pistol target.
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