Michael Desmond has always had an interest in guns.
He has been a gun enthusiast since childhood, so after his 16-year Army career as a Blackhawk pilot ended in 2013, he took his passion and started PARS Guns in November 2014.
But barely 18 months later, business was so good the shop relocated from the original 1,200-square-foot spot to a 6,000-square-foot store, holding a grand reopening Saturday on 2705 E. Business U.S. Highway 190.
“This gives us not just more retail space, but also separate shipping and receiving areas, two classrooms and onsite gunsmith and a holster maker. We’ve brought together four firearm businesses under one roof,” Desmond said.
It took about two months and $20,000 to renovate the former Coldwell Banker’s Realty building into the store with new floor tile, removing walls and refitting the space into offices and work shops.
Unlike larger gun stores that carry hundreds of firearms, about 70 percent of PAR Guns’ business is custom orders.
“Usually we have clients that say they’re looking for a specific model and then order it,” he said.
Desmond stressed that he doesn’t sell cheaply made guns, and his staff takes the time to teach each customer how to use the firearm, take it apart and about its safety features.
PAR Guns also stocks survival gear and offers a free survival clinic the second Saturday of every month and a free youth handgun class, plus a license-to-carry class.
Killeen resident Jeremy Oliver has been a customer since the store first opened and had his Ruger .44 Magnum Carbine, a gift from his grandmother when he was 16, completely redone at PAR Guns, including fitted with a new stock and added a special laser engraving.
“I’m very, very happy with the work they did. It’s beautiful,” Oliver said.
Outside in the parking lot, a bouncehouse kept kids happy and a barbecue kept everyone full, but inside it was a normal busy day. The phone rang almost nonstop as customers came in looking for firearms, ammunition and related products as they leisurely chatted with Mike and his staff.
“There are a lot of people that would rather buy from us because we really take care of them than go to a bigger chain store that’s all about the sale. Here, we’re all about our customers,” Desmond said.
- 2705 E. Business U.S. Highway 190
- Hours: Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.