I get it, most guys come from a tradition where lever guns are supposed to look like what John Wayne carried in True Grit. I also like the beauty of a historic lever action. However, I am also one member of the growing crowd that has embraced the lever action rifle for its continuing utility. The mechanism, despite being one of the oldest repeating firearm designs, proves incredibly versatile, capable, and useful, for a variety of tasks. Lever guns still serve as excellent hunting rifles within certain environments, they are great fun to simply shoot and use, and, importantly, they are still capable self-defense tools. As with the pump action shotgun, the lever gun is very capable, the fact that it is manually operated simply demands a dedicated and well-trained user.
With all of that said, I find the lever action rifle, particularly those chambered in the magnum handgun cartridges, to be exceedingly useful and, quite frankly, they are my go-to carbines of choice for anything short of fighting the golden hoards. Therefore, for myself, the gun serves for utility rather than aesthetics and collector’s value. This being what it is, I have embraced some of the new technology and accessories available to bring the lever action into the 21st Century. My Marlin 1894c, pictured here, is wearing a Ranger Point Precision M-Lok forend and also dons an Olight weapon light.
For those that think such accoutrement on a lever gun is sacrilege, bear in mind that the AR15 is, essentially, the same mechanism as the original rifle design from the 1950s. How many serious AR guys are still using the A1 triangle forends?
Now, if you are a collector of historical guns, by all means, keep your Winchester lever guns and your A1 generation AR15s in their historical hardware, I have no issue with that. However, if you actually use your lever rifle for utility, be it hunting or personal protection, then why not enhance it as you do your AR15 that is used for hunting or personal protection?
It’s the 21st Century, and any long gun that is utilized as a defensive tool should wear a light. Other accessories may be optional, but a light is a must. If you like the lever action for any sort of protective use, feel free to embrace the modern world of firearms accessories that have enhanced the AR15 and pretty much every other platform to some extent. Why should the lever action rifle get left out when it proves as useful as it ever was?
Some modern lever action designs, such as the Henry X models, come from the factory with forends that can accommodate rail attachments and accessories. For guns like this Marlin 1894, a modern aftermarket forend such as the Ranger Point Precision model provides this enhancement. Some may never warm up to the look, but for function, such a solution is great.