Tuesday, February 10, 2015

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".

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