Don’t Overlook The Lever Action

The lever gun's recent surge in popularity is based on some very desirable features.

posted on March 9, 2024
Sheriff Jim Wilson

Alright, I’ll just admit it; I’ve absolutely lost count of the number of companies who are building lever-action rifles today, but you can bet that there’s a bunch of them. They’re building good copies of the old-time rifles, modern hunting rifles and even some lever guns tricked out in tactical attire. The main thing to keep in mind is that the lever-action rifle may be your best choice for a personal defense carbine.

Like the shotgun, the lever gun has a long, successful history of protecting home and family. They are relatively easy to learn to operate and shoot. This is especially true for the casual shooters who already have experience in plinking and hunting with them. Since the armed citizen is rarely ever engaged in lengthy shootouts, the lever action holds plenty of ammunition to take care of business when properly applied to the threat. However, should the need arise, it is one of the few firearms that can be reloaded while it is still instantly ready to fire.

Armed citizens who carry a revolver will also find it convenient to have a long gun that uses the same ammunition. And carbines in .357 Mag. or a lesser caliber generate little enough recoil that all of the trained family members will generally feel quite comfortable shooting it.

Hunters who have relied on their old .30-30 to bring home the venison over the years will find that the same rifle/cartridge combination makes an excellent defensive proposition. The .30-30 Win. (sometimes referred to as .30 WCF) may well have been the first cartridge ever designed around smokeless powder, but it is modern enough to compare very well with the more modern 7.62x39 mm cartridge used in the popular AK-47-pattern rifle.

Today’s defensive shooter can easily find the style of lever action that suits them, chambered for whatever caliber they may deem appropriate. And the guns have been around so long that serviceable used guns can be found at rather reasonable prices. A further benefit is that all manner of sights and optics can rather easily be installed. In addition, slings, cartridge boots, and other accessories are readily available.

You will notice that I haven’t tried to compare lever-action rifle with the popular AR rifle platform. It’s not a matter of comparison; it’s a matter of finding what works for you in your situation. If the lever action fits your defensive program and budget, don’t be ashamed to go with it. After all, lever-action rifles and carbines have protected American lives for over 150 years.


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