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Old 04-15-2009, 06:35 PM   #1
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Lever Guns for Law Enforcement. Pro or Con.

So that is clear, I am not LE, but have friends who are.
What I would like to understand is why the classic lever-action firearm is not taken seriously as a superior tactical weapon in a given caliber?
As officers, do you find the lever rifle deficient in any way? Other than the capability to fire a lot of ammunition, what advantage would you say an AR-15 has?
If the proper training were available would you feel comfortable using them as duty rifles? Is there a "sexy" factor, or lack of tactical intimidation?
Brent.
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Old 04-15-2009, 07:16 PM   #2
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Re: Lever Guns for Law Enforcement. Pro or Con.

I think there's a widespread perception, right or wrong, that lever-actions are "cowboy guns."
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Old 04-15-2009, 09:36 PM   #3
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Re: Lever Guns for Law Enforcement. Pro or Con.

I have a neighbor whom isour towns youngest LEO. He was hired in with six years of MP experience and I am constantly walking over to his house and reminding him that community police work is nothing like being an MP.
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Old 04-16-2009, 05:38 AM   #4
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Re: Lever Guns for Law Enforcement. Pro or Con.

It takes quite a quite a bit of practice to maintain sight picture while cranking a lever-gun, especially at distance. The AR15 carries a rifle round. A LITTLE rifle round, but much more powerful than any pistol carbines. Using a rifle round in the lever-action moves you into more recoil, and limits your ammunition reserve. What caliber are you suggesting?

Depending on which gun you're looking at, optical sights may be a mounting problem, as well as illumination, or night sights. Then, there's the simple fact that the AR will be more accurate in the hands of many. Ammunition types are also limited in lever guns, as pointed bullets, with the exception of the Hornady Leverevolution can cause BIG problems.

Yes, the Browning BLR is available, and uses a magazine, in multiple calibers. However, they cost over a grand, each, plus spare parts. Such a weapons system would also require an armorer or two trained in maintenance.

Lastly, unless it was going to be the issue weapon for all of the Department, with no interoperability with surrounding Departments, it would result in a logistics problem, especially in larger Departments.

Cooper suggested the Lever-rifle as an alternative weapon only in areas where the semi-auto was banned. There, it's a much better alternative to the bolt-action.

One last thing, the government won't give you surplus Lever-actions, for free.
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Old 04-16-2009, 05:54 AM   #5
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Re: Lever Guns for Law Enforcement. Pro or Con.

While I like lever guns a lot, I have had several difficult-to-clear misfeeds using them. If the action isn't worked smartly every time, you're going to get a jam that takes tools and time to clear. An AR can be cleared much quicker.
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Old 04-16-2009, 01:41 PM   #6
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Re: Lever Guns for Law Enforcement. Pro or Con.

To this day there are many levers in patrol cars in the Southwest US.
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Old 04-16-2009, 06:47 PM   #7
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Re: Lever Guns for Law Enforcement. Pro or Con.

I go back to asking just how many times in an officers career a AR is the proper solution? For most LEOs. I would say nearly never.
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Old 04-17-2009, 09:01 AM   #8
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Re: Lever Guns for Law Enforcement. Pro or Con.

I would have to ask how many times in an LEO's career is any firearm an appropriate solution? Many, if not most, never fire a shot in anger during a 20+ year career. Yet, they still carry guns. The AR is easily maintained, light-weight, firing a minimally-effective round. It's easy to shoot accurately, has little felt recoil, accepts optics readily, and many people already own one, making them confident in the weapon. That cannot be said of a lever gun.

The North Hollywood Bank Robbery hasn't occurred but once, yet it begged for more, and better firepower than was available in pistols and shotguns. How many of us would be willing to engage men armed with automatic weapons with lever-action guns, if the AR was available?

For myself, I'd rather have an M1A or M14 rifle as a back-up, over both the AR and shotgun.

It's funny, as most other countries routinely arm their police with SMGs rather than shotguns. They display these little wonders routinely. Yet, here we are, talking about how "little" the average LEO needs a SEMI-auto weapon.
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Old 04-17-2009, 04:27 PM   #9
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Re: Lever Guns for Law Enforcement. Pro or Con.

re North Hollywood. A 30-30 to the head would have stopped it immediately. A forty yard head shot is nothing with a 94 or 336.

Every street cop I know and talk to seem to (a) know better and choose a shotgun or (b) bestow mythic power on a .223.

I see a far better chance of a LEO spraying and praying with a Mforgey than with a lever gun
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Old 04-18-2009, 07:40 AM   #10
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Re: Lever Guns for Law Enforcement. Pro or Con.

Having been in combat against automatic weaponry, I can tell you that it takes a concentrated effort to just return fire, much less effectively. The fact that semi-auto weapons can fire multiple rounds from odd positions, under cover, without having to move the weapon to cycle the action, will go a long ways towards a successful encounter.

Head shots at 40 yards are great, and easily done, under range conditions. Hitting a bobbing target at 120 feet, in the shifting manner of combat, who is returning fire, is another manner. It's going to be difficult, and really, you only have enough time for one shot with a lever-gun. With the semi-auto, you can fire at least two aimed shots in the same time. Not only that, but there were TWO opponents. Revealing yourself to either would be heroic, but deadly. The guys who put them down are the heroes. The guys who died trying to do that, are dead.

The .30-30 round will be stopped by their vests, while the .223 may well penetrate. There is no current FMJ .30-30 that I've seen. All is SP or minor JHP. Designed to start to expand upon impact. Not very good on an armored opponent. Face it, the ability to engage with COM shots is going to be a lot better than the obligatory head shot. Spray and pray with a lever-gun simply takes longer for a given volume of ammunition. A miss, delivered at 200 rpm, or 50 rpm, is still a miss. Then again, the lever action will be out of ammo, and slower to reload, than any magazine fed rifle. Most hold five or six rounds in their magazines. There are any number of hunters who have exhausted a magazine on a 336, and still haven't hit a 100 pound deer, from less than 40 yards. It's called Buck Fever. The deer isn't shooting back, but the hunter's adrenalin is flowing.

Will the lever-action serve to defend you? Of course, it has for upwards of 125 years. However, so can a black-powder rifle or shotgun. They, like the lever-gun, just aren't the best any more.
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Old 04-19-2009, 08:20 PM   #11
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Re: Lever Guns for Law Enforcement. Pro or Con.

I have an issue AR-15 in .223, an issue AR copy in 9mm, an issue 14" barreled shotgun in my patrol car. The only time they have been taken out of the rack/case is for range time or cleaning. The department went with the .223 AR-15s because of the many ex-military that already had experience with them. They went with the AR-15 9mm because we could get ALL of them for the cost of two MP5s. They went with the short barreled shotguns after losing several dome lights and having the in-car video systems damaged by officers getting the longer barreled ones out in a bit of a hurry (admittedly, the times I got one out, I was kinda moving fast also). I have tried and failed to get approval to carry an 1894 in .357mag and an M1 Carbine. But at least they let me carry a 1911!!!!
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Old 07-15-2009, 07:46 AM   #12
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Re: Lever Guns for Law Enforcement. Pro or Con.

to all,

fwiw, my home county in TX, like MANY of the counties in the SW, ISSUES a Model 94 Winchester in 30-30WCF & a Model 37 Ithaca 12-guage to each sworn officer.
(the county bought well over 100 each of saddle carbines & shotguns in the 1950s & have kept them all these years, only buying more when they were broken or worn out. = i can count on my two hands the number of times that ANYBODY in the department "fired a round in anger" from a rifle.)

i have no problem with the AR-15, except that it has the reputation of JAMMING (YES, the new ARs are BETTER, but NOT perfect!!!) & the AR is SEEN by the civilians as a MILITARY weapon.

free dixie,sw
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Old 07-17-2009, 10:55 PM   #13
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Re: Lever Guns for Law Enforcement. Pro or Con.

As has been pointed out, many people getting out of the Military, and into LEO work are already familiar with the AR platform.

It's also VERY easy to teach a new shooter how to run an AR, and shoot one accurately.

As far as jamming? I had a few over the course of 4 years, and never had a problem. However we practiced clearing jams a lot, and with little practice it's VERY fast to clear stoppages. Same with Mag changes.
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Old 07-18-2009, 06:09 AM   #14
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Re: Lever Guns for Law Enforcement. Pro or Con.

Up until about 10 years ago my Dept issued lever actions for outside work crews, then breifly Mini-14s, now Ar-15s for all rifle duties. I have yet to hear of one used, I think the last escape that had a rifle caliber used was the prison break at the Yuma Territorial prison where they unleashed the old Gatling Gun, and didn't hit a thing.
I wouldn't feel bad with a lever action rifle.
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Old 07-18-2009, 04:37 PM   #15
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Re: Lever Guns for Law Enforcement. Pro or Con.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JR
The guys who put them down are the heroes. The guys who died trying to do that, are dead.
Actually, if I remember correctly, there were no fatalities other than the two perpetrators.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JR
The .30-30 round will be stopped by their vests, while the .223 may well penetrate. There is no current FMJ .30-30 that I've seen. All is SP or minor JHP. Designed to start to expand upon impact. Not very good on an armored opponent.
Actually, JSP and JHP from centerfire rifle cartridges (even the .30 Carbine) can defeat soft body armor. The only way a vest will keep you safe from a rifle is if you have hard inserts.
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