May 2007

Downrange: 05/07

Ted Szabo Dies

Ted Szabo, the president of Para-Ordnance Mfg. Inc., passed away on March 28, 2007, at the age of 60. Szabo founded the company

Todd Woodard

Todd Woodard

in 1985 with his friend, Thanos Polyzos.

Their first offering, introduced in 1987, was an all-plastic, selective-fire paint ball gun called the Model 85 "Dye Marking Tactical Machine Pistol." In full-auto mode, this pistol fired at a rate of 1,200 rounds per minute, and was designed as a close-quarters-combat training device for law enforcement and military personnel.

In 1988, Para-Ordnance introduced a high-capacity frame and magazine for Model 1911 pistols. This allowed the shooter to have the stopping power of the .45 ACP and the magazine capacity of the 9mm. Result: Model 1911 pistol owners enjoyed an 86% increase in magazine capacity from 7 rounds to 13.


Szabo called the 1911 pistol "the best platform for an auto-loading pistol." While he was intrigued with John Browning's original designs, Szabo had no interest in replicating them. He said, "I have always wanted to pick up where his design left off and carry the technology forward to the next level."

Para-Ordnance 14-45

Para-Ordnance 14-45

The 1990 introduction of the Para P14 .45 doubled the magazine capacity of a standard 1911. Szabo later developed a light double-action (LDA) trigger system. He also built Para's Power Extractor modification.

Szabo had another passion - championing gun rights. His family fled his native Hungary after the tanks rolled into Budapest in 1956. "I know what it means to have your dreams of freedom crushed by a totalitarian government," he said. GT