The President and Founder of Para-Ordnance, my good friend Ted Szabo passed away suddenly Wednesday afternoon, March 28th 2007.
Ted was a great mind, a brilliant engineer, an excellent firearms designer, a top-level businessman. He has given the M1911 world such niceties as the wide-body M1911, the LDA mechanism and the Power Extractor. The company he created together with his partner Thanos Polyzos is among the largest M1911 pistol manufacturers and their products are respected worldwide.
But above all, Ted was a great friend. We have shared several bottles of wine together, and I considered it a privilege whenever he visited my house. The talks we had on our veranda will always stay in my memory, I learned a lot from this man and I'll be for ever grateful for the hours he spent with me and Lena. A very friendly person, but also a great teacher and a brilliant mind.
When I received the bad news, I just couldn't believe that I would never see my friend again. If it was so hard for me to accept his death, I can imagine the pain of his beloved wife Froso, his son Nicholas, his mother Helen and his father Bill. To all of them and to each and every Para-Ordnance employee, my most sincere condolences for the loss of a great man.
The M1911 world just got poorer last Wednesday.
Ted, my dear friend, you will never be forgotten and you will be sorely missed.
You may use this thread for your condolences.
Below you can read the official Para-Ordnance Press Release for Ted's death.
Para USA, Inc.
1919 N.E. 45TH Street
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308
North American Call Center: 416-297-7855
Press Contact: Kerby Smith, Director of Communications
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ted Szabo, 60, Leaves Behind a Legacy of Innovation at Para-Ordnance
Ted Szabo, the innovative president of Para-Ordnance Mfg. Inc., passed away on Wednesday March 28, 2007 at the age of 60. Szabo, a gifted engineer and designer, founded the company in the 1985 with his friend, Thanos Polyzos.
From its inception, the company displayed an innovative capacity that has characterized its products ever since. 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 unique 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 an innovation which Szabo had dreamt about since his college days: a high-capacity frame and magazine for Model 1911 pistols. This solved the classic handgunners’ dilemma—choosing between the superior stopping power of the .45 ACP cartridge and the impressive magazine capacity and firepower of the 9mm Parabellum.
For the first time in history, Model 1911 pistol owners no longer had to compromise, and could enjoy an 86% increase in magazine capacity—from 7 rounds to 13. The high-capacity frame assembly became Para’s first step in a long series of needed improvements upon the original John M. Browning design.
Szabo’s passion was the 1911 pistol, or what he called, “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. “I have always wanted to pick up where his design left off and carry the technology forward to the next level,” said Szabo.
And that is what he did in 1990 with the introduction of the Para P14·45 pistol with double the magazine capacity of a standard 1911. Szabo’s creative genius drove him to continuously seek ways of improving handgun design. Szabo pondered why there could not be an easier, smoother double-action trigger system. His development of a true light double-action (LDA) trigger system won his company an unprecedented four “Gunny” awards from Guns & Ammo magazine.
Never content to rest on his laurels, Szabo was constantly looking for ways to improve the 1911 pistol. The design of the extractor, he felt, was a weak link that needed to be improved. The result was Para’s patented Power Extractor™ with its 50% larger claw that produces controlled feeding and positive extraction of the empty case.
While Szabo’s desire was always to “significantly improve a product” he had another passion, and that was 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,” said Szabo.
Para’s new Gun Rights models, the PXT 1911 SSP and the PXT P14·45, were designed to give consumers significant value and make a contribution to NRA-ILA. “We all need to support the NRA and the work they are doing for all of us. We are facing a lot of challenges as we go into 2008,” said Szabo.
In the spirit that Para-Ordnance was created, the company will continue to champion value for gun owners and their continued rights. Co-founder, Thanos Polyzos, and his strong management team will continue to produce the innovative pistols that Ted Szabo created, as well as his new designs that are in development.