Posts Tagged ‘Blackwater’
The company formerly known as Blackwater has once again changed its name. Prior to selling the company to its current owners, Erik Prince changed the name to the innocuous “Xe.” The point was to adopt a low profile name that didn’t stand for anything in particular in order to help soften public opinion of the company. It didn’t work.
The history of names used by Blackwater is monumental – Blackwater aka Blackwater USA aka Blackwater Worldwide aka Xe (services) aka US Training Center. There are a couple of other entities that are affiliated with Blackwater as well, like Paravant and Greystone.
But, the new owners have been working hard behind the scenes to change the lineup in the firm and how it does business. Their bid at a name change comes only after a lot of internal hard work. This new name is intended to signal to the world that this isn’t the same old Blackwater.
In a statement to CNN, CEO Ted Wright said, “The message here is not that we’re changing the name. The message is that we’re changing the company, and the name just reflects those changes. We have new owners, a new board of directors, a new management team, new location, new attitude on governance, new openness, new strategy – it’s a whole new company.”
Their latest name? Academi.
This might not be news to everybody, but I don’t think that everyone knows about it. Impact Training Center used to be known as Formerly Blackwater North/US Training Center and is located in Illinois, right in America’s heartland. It is now owned and operated by former Blackwater/US Training Center instructors.
Impact Training Center offers courses for everyone involved in shooting and shooting related sports. From Beginner Pistol courses to Advanced Sniper Conditioning, Impact Training Center has a course to meet the needs of all at a cost well below the industry standard. In addition to resident training, Impact Training Center also offers courses via Mobile Training Team to any destination within the United States.
Additionally, they are involved in the Veteran’s community, hosting the upcoming midwest M1 for Vets event.
For full information visit www.impacttrainingcenter.co.
According to a Fox News report, the company formerly known as Blackwater (now Xe) is getting a new boss in the name of Rear Admiral (USN, Ret) Bobby Inman. Oddly, the Fox News article says that the selection of Inman is a part of an “Image Makeover”. Well, we see how well that worked last time don’t we? But let’s be honest, I’m not really sure how hiring a 79 year old former Vice Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Director of the National Security Agency, and Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency is going to improve their image. Oh, it might light a few fires under some asses to cut the grass down in Moyock when he makes the odd appearance, but all in all it is just another sign of the same kinds of decisions that got them where they are today; riding in the back of the train instead of driving it.
Jeremy Scahill, long obsessed with all things Blackwater, recently made a point about Mossberg selling shotguns emblazoned with the Blackwater logo. Sometimes, I forget that this stuff isn’t common knowledge and don’t realize I should write about it.
You see, there is more to this story that Jeremy apparently didn’t know. He just saw the Bear Paw and lost it. When Erik Prince recently sold Blackwater aka Blackwater USA aka Blackwater Worldwide aka Xe aka US Training Center to his friends (USTC), he kept all of the rights to the Blackwater logo and name. In addition to Mossberg’s guns, Sig also has produces Blackwater branded pistols and has for some time. These licensing agreements predate the sale of the company so are still in effect. No word on how long they are good for, or if Erik Prince is looking to expand his licensing options.
But alas, due to the trademark issue, the BW-15s previously assembled by the armorers at US Training Center may no longer be produced. At some point, they may go back into production building AR-style rifles but the market is already pretty well saturated and they were already over priced. The only reason anyone would have paid their prices was for the Bear Paw logo etched into the receiver. Now that it is no longer an option, USTC may go in another direction producing accurized precision rifles. Time will tell.
So, at this point, Blackwater only exists as a brand and Erik Prince, shrewd business man that he is, kept it for himself. This explains why the Pro shop near Fort Bragg closed so quickly. It was run by Xe and they were losing the right to the Blackwater branding. All of the operations and real estate associated with the former Blackwater now belong to a group of investors collectively referred to as USTC.
Of course, the real takeaway is that Mossberg has retained a license for the Blackwater logo despite the amount of negative press that organization has received over the years. It is a testament to the brand’s popularity, at least among the gun toting public.
Back in June we mentioned the imminent opening of the Blackwater Pro Shop in Fayetteville, NC. Finally, there was a place where we could replace those worn out Blackwater T-shirts, but alas, no more. Cut down in its infancy, the Fayetteville Blackwater Pro Shop is closed. This week, while we were in town for SOFEX, we decided to drive by the Pro Shop and follow up on a tip we had received that the shop had closed its doors. Sure enough; out of business. Well, it was a good run, that is if you consider three months good. We always thought we’d stop by on our next visit. Hopefully someone local will buy the place which features an indoor range.
In early October, employees cleaned the place out. They even took down the sign. It looks like the Grinch came through the place. Poor Cindy Lou Who.
Thanks to Grey Group for the photos.
In an effort to distance themselves from the name which many felt was tainted, Blackwater executives came up with the inert name “Xe” to help revamp their tarnished image. Here we are a little over a year later and although Xe didn’t seem to do much for anyone, it seems that the name Blackwater still has some life in it. Despite negative connotations almost everywhere else, the firm still enjoys a great deal of support from the gun owning public. So it only seems natural that the Blackwater name and iconic bear paw logo would begin to see a resurgence. Poised to open are combination pro shops and indoor ranges in Fayetteville, North Carolina and Salem, Connecticut. What is the significance of these two disparate locations you might ask? Fayetteville should come as no surprise as it is home to Fort Bragg. However, many would not know that Salem is right up the road from the Navy’s submarine force based in Groton, Connecticut.
The facade of the new store in Fayetteville is very reminiscent of the original Blackwater Lodge in Moyock. Not only is the name in huge letters across the front of the building, you will also be able to purchase clothing and equipment emblazoned with the logo. If that doesn’t get your blood pumping you can also try out your new firearms at their indoor range.
Will there be more pro shops? Well our guess is that it depends on how well these do. Most people don’t know this but the rise of Soldier Systems Daily is tied directly to the fall of the house of Xe so this move holds a special place in our hearts. We say good luck to Blackwater Pro Shops but isn’t it a little ironic?