January 31st, 2012

The Freedom Group Acquires Pistol-Maker Para-USA

Freedom Group acquires Para USAFreedom Group Inc., owned by private holding company Cerberus Capital Management, has swallowed up another medium-sized gun manufacturer. This time the target (or victim, depending on your perspective), was Para USA, Inc., (Para). This is Freedom Group’s first acquisition of a pistol-only manufacturer.

Para is best known for a high-capacity pistol based generally on the 1911 design but with options such as a Light Double Action (LDA) Trigger and double-stack mags (though it makes traditional single action, single-stack 1911s also). Freedom Group acquired control of Para through an asset purchase agreement. For the time being, Para will continue day-to-day operations at its Pineville, NC-based factory, but we would not be surprised if the Para plant is eventually shuttered and Para production is moved to other Freedom Group facilities.

Freedom Group acquires Para USA

Founded in 1985, Para has a solid but not stellar reputation for handgun performance and design innovation. There are numerous fans of Para pistols, with many shooters attracted to a 1911-style design with a higher capacity (up to 14+1 in .45 ACP and 18+1 in 9mm). In recent years, Para’s designs have moved out of the the spotlight, as other manufacturers have produced 1911-style pistols in large numbers. Major 1911 builders now include: Kimber, Springfield Armory, Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson. Remington Arms, another Freedom Arms company, successful launched its own 1911 last year.

What Are Freedom Group’s Real Intentions?
“We welcome Para into the Freedom Group Family of Companies,” stated E. Scott Blackwell, Freedom Group’s Chief Sales and Marketing Officer. “Para USA… is a perfect complement to our industry-leading family of brands[.] 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.”

Freedom Group acquires Para USA

Will Para-USA Production Be Moved?
“Deploying both human and financial resources” — well, that phrase could be read two ways. It may mean that the Freedom Group will pump resources into Para-USA. On the other hand, the Freedom Group may be contemplating moving jobs, machinery, and production assets. Mr. Blackwell concluded by saying: “We also wish to thank all [Para’s] employees for their continued dedication….” Notably, he did not say those employees will retain their jobs. Time will tell. It will be interesting to see if Para USA remains a viable brand in five years time, or whether it simply becomes the Remington pistol division. Think of the evolution of Bushmaster. After being acquired by the Freedom Group, all Bushmaster’s production was moved to Remington’s Ilion, NY factory.

Download 2012 Para-USA Catalog.

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