I’ve never really been all that fond of Para Ordinance for various reasons. However Para Ordinance became PARA USA, moved from Canada to the US, and have been working hard to forge their spot in the American Gun Culture. Some years ago at a Media Range Day at SHOT Show, I browsed the offerings at PARA’s booth and was impressed with what I saw. The gun was a very basic 1911 for Wild Bunch competition. Nothing fancy, just very “GI” style. Simple. And good. It was very good. I shot several other 1911’s from other makers, but the one that stuck in my mind, even the one I liked the best, was the Para. During SHOT I went to the PARA booth and looked at the pistol again. It wasn’t a fluke… I really did like the gun. It was at that moment when I realized that PARA USA is a company to take seriously.
Now it’s about 4 years later and PARA USA has continued to improve their guns. They’ve made huge strides to the point that PARA USA is now one of my TOP 1911 Makers. They are making some 1911’s I want to buy. Not their whole product line… but close. They can do a few simple things to really hit it out of the Ballpark. Let’s take a look at PARA USA’s line up.
Let’s start at the top of their own roster and work down. The Executive Carry. The gun looks good, with a nice finish, nice grips, and that awesome bobtail. But it has a 3″ barrel. This is basically a full length grip, bobtailed, and an ultra compact barrel. If this was a revolver, this would be the equivalent of S&W Magnum Grips on a Snub-Nose. It makes no sense to me. The grip frame is the hard part to conceal, not the barrel. Bobtailing it is a nice touch, but if you are going to have an ultra compact barrel, give it an ultra compact grip frame as well. At least an Officer’s length grip frame. Bobtail that. This gun is just a bit off because of the short snout. Because of that, I wouldn’t buy this one. However, if it was sporting a Commander length slide and barrel – I would. A nice clean Lightweight Commander on a Bobtail frame is missing from PARA’s line up and it should fit right here in the EXECUTIVE category. That’s 1 missing gun.
The other missing gun from the EXECUTIVE Category is the CCO configuration. A Commander Length barrel and slide on an Officer’s frame. Basically just the opposite of the PARA Executive they have right now. Colt’s CCO was a breakthrough for concealed carry 1911’s. SIG followed that pattern and hit a home run with it in the C3 and RCS models. Smaller frame for easier concealment, and a nice length barrel that doesn’t give up much on ballistics and sight radius. It NAILS it. PARA doesn’t have a CCO type 1911, and they should.
Here’s one more gun to add to the Executive roster. The LDA Officer… But with a standard 1911 trigger mechanism. Not everyone likes an LDA Trigger in their 1911, but the Officer platform is a good one, and should be reflected in the Executive, Elite and Expert lines. One thing that the LDA has that I’d like in the Executive line is that front strap checkering. That Lightweight Commander Bobtail – I’d like some fine checkering on the front strap.
I’m not going to comment on the Competition guns, because I think PARA nailed those as offerings and every competitive shooter I know would change things anyway to their own liking and everyone has a difference of opinion so you’ll never make everyone happy there. But it’s a solid line as it is.
Now, for the Tactical side of things. The Black Ops line. Sharp. I could buy one of these. Wait a second here… How come the Black Ops 1911 Single Stack doesn’t have the Checkering like the Double Stack? If this is to be a full featured combat oriented line, let’s not skimp on it. Also, the Recon, your Commander length tactical gun. Where’s the Single Stack version of the Recon?
While we’re talking Tactical, not all Tactical ops are Black Ops. I’d like to see Tactical versions in OD Green and FDE (Flat Dark Earth). Same guns, just not blacked out. I know you’ve had them before, I sold them. FDE the slide and frame, and use the regular black parts and grips for a nice contrast. Would look very sharp.
Now on to the Elite Series. The PARA Elite is a wide range of 1911’s that we can probably say is PARA’s main line. Or at least it should be. My only hang up with the Elite Series is that they are using Fiber Optic Front Sight Posts on all but the Elite Pro. The Elite Pro is one of my very favorite guns from PARA’s line up. It hits all the right buttons. Now, where is the Elite Pro Commander? There’s another gun that’s missing from PARA’s line. Another one is an Elite Bobtail Commander. Again with Bobtail Commanders? I know. But still, my point is valid. Ask Dan Wesson.
The ELITE LS HUNTER. This gun is one that I’ve been waiting for… a 10mm Long Slide – I must have this. Thank you for making this one! Now, if you could just add 10mm options to a couple other Elite or Tactical guns, thank you. And to keep up with STI – mayhaps a double stack version as well?
Reverse Two Tone. I want to see more Two Toned guns, specifically in the “Reverse” scheme. Light on bottom, dark on top. Make a lightweight bobtail commander in 10mm, in reverse two tone – and you’ll have my order by the end of Oct. Seriously. I’ll order it through Blackstone Shooting Sports in Charlotte. I’m not kidding. I will.
The Expert line. I’m giving you some Golf Claps over here. Bravo… You have it nailed here. Simple lines, no frills, and “No Gills”. None of those forward slide serrations that ruin the lines of a handsome Government model. THIS is the 1911 that I want the OTHER companies to make! And PARA USA made it. This makes me quite happy that I am moving to the town that makes it! Can I get a black slide on that Stainless frame? In a Commander?
The Warthog is listed under the Expert category… and that’s fine. But remember what I said about the CCO? A CCO Warthog…. Call it the “A-10” model, as in “A-10 Warthog“, the Infantryman’s favorite jet plane. It would be the Goldilocks for concealed carry double stacked 1911’s. The regular Warthog is just a bit too short in the snout for me. I know it’s been popular, but trust me… a 4″ version would be even more so. I could have sold twice as many, because that is what the most common remark about it was. Springfield found this out when they made 4” versions of the XDS, as did SIG with the C3 and RCS. That’s the configuration that is IDEAL for concealed carry.
That’s about it for PARA USA. They are doing a really great job and I’m happy to see it. They’ve come a long way and are now a great 1911 company! Well done, PARA USA!!! *Standing Ovation Here*
9 thoughts on “Armchair Quarterbacking: PARA USA”
I think Para USA is a Remington subsidiary now, isn’t it?
Freedom Group snapped them up, which is now Remington Outdoor Oversized Conglomerate or Something Or Other. Basically yes. But Para seems to be remaining rather independent of Remington’s problems.
Don’t know how the Para LDA is now but the one I had was a nightmare, after a small number of rounds the springs broke, the main return spring kinked in two and the main recoil spring failed and trying to find replacements or even contact Para was not possible, they didn’t bother to respond. I had a friend that had the same experience with his commander LDA (for get the exact model it was) and could not get Para to honor the warranty… Hope they have improved.
I hope so too. I think so.
Para is using EGW springs and extractors now. I just bought some for a Tac-4 I got this spring. I have two LDA’s both older ones made in Canada, my P-14 has only had magazine problems from cheap after market mags I bought. The tac-4 has had some hick-ups due to a bad dura-coat job.
Ya both of the bad ones I had contact with were made north of the border…had a P14 that seemed to shoot OK, but I didn’t keep it long…Have a couple of other incidents with Canada Para where friends carrying off duty were dismayed to find them not working after a very short time…again border north makes.
The Executive Carry looks like a garden-hose sprayer, the proportions are just all wrong. The bobtail (which I love) just makes it look like a long-legged woman with…I dunno, a big nose. Just keeps making me think I have to go water the lawn or do some yardwork.
Just purchased a PARA GI EXPERT ESP. No complaints. Runs excellent through both ball and hollow point . The grips are shoddy and cheap but I put a pair of VZ Tactical grips on it and the feel and look of the pistol is great. I think PARA USA is going places. And for the price, you can’t beat it. I’m unsure of the fiber optic front site though… This may take some getting used to. If I could upload a pic, I would. All in all, great and reliable gun for the price.
If the grips are the only complaint… that says something.
Personally I just hate Fiber Optic sights.