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.