Remington Makes It Official

Rumors started on Saturday that Remington Outdoor Company was going to fold the Para-USA label into the Remington label.

From the blog of a Raleigh, NC gun store called Carolina Gunrunners which broke the news early:

We have just gotten news that Para will no longer make pistols after the first quarter of 2015. If you currently own a Para 1911 they will continue to honor the warranty. The plan is to focus on one 1911 brand, and that will be the Remington 1911. We will start seeing new Remington 1911’s but they will look more like a Para. The new Remington 1911’s will be available in various sizes from 3 and ½” barreled compacts to full size double stacked frames. The new Remington 1911’s will be announced as they begin to approach manufacturing readiness. Until then, they will not be making any announcements about the change.

Remington had already announced that they were closing the suburban Charlotte facility that housed Para and moving it to their new facility in Huntsville, Alabama.

I think Remington has been telegraphing the end of Para-USA over the last year. You saw a lot of $100 rebates plus amazingly low prices on the Para-USA 1911s. I think this was an effort to clear out inventory before the rebranding. Then at the SHOT Show, I saw Para’s pro-shooter Travis Tomasie wearing Remington colors along with Gabby Franco.

Yesterday, Remington Outdoor Company made it official in an amazingly frank press release. They admitted that they botched the Marlin relocation and the introduction of the Remington R51 pistol. I doubt there is anyone out there that would disagree with them on this. That is why my one and only Marlin lever action was built in 1962 and not 2014.

The press release continued:

In 2012, with a goal of expanding its handgun line, ROC acquired Para USA (“Para”), a company that specialized in the production of competition, high capacity, and double action 1911-style pistols. Following Remington’s acquisition, Para, which had been experiencing quality control issues, saw a steep decline in warranty claims.

In 2014, ROC announced its new, world-class firearms center of excellence in Huntsville, Alabama. Here, Remington is integrating product development, engineering, production, and quality control – a first in Remington’s 200-year history. The integration of modern sporting rifles, suppressors, and Remington pistols commenced immediately, and Para is scheduled to move to Huntsville next month.

I remember speaking with a Para USA engineer at the NRA Annual Meeting in St. Louis in 2012. This was soon after the Freedom Group acquired Para. He made the point that Remington engineers had started working with Para to tighten up quality and tolerances in their products. He told me that before then they just didn’t have access to this level of expertise.

Remington says that they will be keeping their own R1 line of 1911s along with “popular Para products, characteristics, and names such as the ‘Warthog'”. I take this to mean that you will see a rationalization of the two lines with duplicate products dropped and the best selling of the Para products retained. I do wonder if they will continue with the LDA or light double action line of pistols.That is one of the things that made Para-Ordnance and Para USA distinctive.

I do have one Para 1911 in my collection. It is a Officer-sized model called the CCO with a the LDA trigger. It is from the Para-Ordnance days and is roll-marked “Ft. Lauderdale, FL”. It is a fairly accurate pistol but it does have its ammo preferences. I have had no problem feeding it .45 ball but give it any hollow-point ammo and it just stops. I haven’t tried it with stuff like CorBon PowRBall but I really don’t consider it my carry gun so why bother.

Remington says that they will continue to honor Para’s lifetime warranty and continue providing warranty service.

I hope this goes well for both Remington and Para. Remington has a sullied reputation for handguns given the R51 while Para had a reputation for innovation but was plagued by quality issues. Given that the R51 was in actuality made by Para, I guess their quality issues carried forward on that as well. Still, a new plant with new machinery and improved engineering (and proper testing) should put both of these brands back on the road to success. Here’s hoping that “should” becomes “will”.

Para-USA Attracts Some Unwanted Attention

Para-USA is getting some unwanted attention thanks to a recent inventory. According to a report on NewsChannel 36 out of Charlotte, Para reported that they could not account for 189 firearms. They made this report to the ATF and to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police.

“It’s not usual for a manufacturer of firearms to have a significant number of their product not being accounted for,” said Woodham Wednesday.

The losses are of particular interest to ATF because North Carolina is one of the leading source states for gun smuggling.

PARA released a statement and claimed that no guns were lost and that the situation is due to paperwork errors.

“For example, misnumbered invoices or misplaced documentation of destroyed frames,” the statement read. The company further stated, “We have taken the proper steps in this matter by notifying the authorities of this discrepancy.”

As to the claim that North Carolina is one of the leading source states for gun smuggling, with all due respect to whomever made that claim, it’s bullshit. The only states in which North Carolina is the number one source (other than that state itself) for guns recovered in crimes are South Carolina and Virgina. Both of these states have long contiguous borders with North Carolina. Moreover, despite what Mayor Bloomberg would have you believe, North Carolina is NOT the number one source for guns for New York. The 2011 state-by-state analysis of guns used in crimes and traced from their source can be found here.

Rumor Confirmed – Freedom Group Buys Para-USA

One of the rumors coming out of the SHOT Show was that Para-USA was in negotiations with Cerberus’s Freedom Group to be bought out. The release sent out today by the Freedom Group confirms that they are indeed buying Para-USA.

Madison, NC — Freedom Group, Inc., (FGI) through a wholly owned subsidiary has announced today that it has finalized an asset purchase agreement to acquire certain assets of Para USA, INC., (Para).

Founded in 1985, Para has built a solid and enviable reputation for innovation, performance and reliability. Firearms enthusiasts, serious shooting competitors and law enforcement agencies choose with confidence from a wide and growing variety of Para pistols. Para’s revolutionary high capacity frame and light double action (LDATM) trigger systems, are part of the innovation that Para has brought to the world famous 1911 design.

“We welcome Para into the Freedom Group Family of Companies,” stated. E. Scott Blackwell, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer of Freedom Group Inc. “Para USA is a leader in handgun technology and their fine products exemplify quality, innovation and performance. Para is a perfect complement to our industry-leading family of brands, and our success in 2011 with the Remington R1 – 1911. We look forward to deploying both human and financial resources to continue to develop and supply current and future handguns for consumers and our channel partners. We also wish to thank all its employees for their continued dedication that has made Para a success.”

Para will continue day-to-day operations at their Pineville, NC based facility.

Steve at The Firearms Blog speculates that it won’t be too long before operations are moved from Pineville to either Ilion, NY or Mayfield, KY where Remington has their main plants. I think it might depend on whether the Para-USA facilities will allow greater production of 1911’s than the Ilion plant and at a lower cost per unit.

UPDATE: Jim Shepherd passed on this little tidbit in The Outdoor Wire about the acquisition.

Can’t say a lot beyond the releases about FGI’s intentions, but a note arrived late last night Para’s longtime PR/Media contact Kerby Smith. In it, Smith offered a little insight into how things are shaping up -at least from his perspective.

“The company that I worked for is no longer active,” Smith wrote, “and I am no longer employed…I assume that this e-mail will be shut down soon…It has been a great pleasure working with you for PARA USA, Inc.”

The Para acquisition means Freedom Group has acquired a running pistol company with proven products to plug into as many of the FGI company lines as it pleases.

Para, if allowed to continue, will have access to FGI’s extensive sales, marketing, dealer, and materials supply chain. About all that remains to be seen is how FGI will bring Para into the fold-and how they’ll position Para products. For now, the official line is that Para USA will continue its day-to-day operations from its relatively new headquarters in Pineville, North Carolina.

Steve at The Firearm Blog has more on this acquisition today as well. He mentions that two Para-USA employees were formerly senior level managers with Freedom Group.