The gun shop I work at is now stocking (Well, we got in a few of them) the Henry US Survival AR-7.
Normally, I’d avoid anything having to do with Henry rifles… Not that there is anything wrong with them, I just don’t favor them. I don’t like Ranch Dressing either. Nothing wrong with it, I just think it tastes like rotten mayo made for the devil’s own excrement… So it’s just a matter of taste. Everyone likes different things, and this is why the Gun Industry has such a wide varieties of ways to kill things.
The AR-7 was originally made by Armalite for the US Air Force. The idea was that this was a part of a Pilot’s survival kit should they be downed in a nice woodland area filled with tasty furry critters so the pilot could have a couple days of hunting before they get picked back up. (Yes, that was intentionally tongue in cheek) I don’t know how many the Air Force picked up, but they did buy a few. But not enough for Armalite to hold on to the gun… They sold it to Charter Arms for couple hundred bucks and a bag of roasted walnuts. Charter made them for a few years and then just stopped. Henry picked up the old design and is now making a slightly improved version.
Armalite, Charter, and Henry… this is a trifecta of Uncomfortable Dislike for me… As I am not fond of anyone having anything to do with this rifle. Yet there is something about the little AR-7 that I like. It’s very light, simple, and it does what its designed to do perfectly. The gun its self though, is far from perfect… its sights are poor, its action is overly heavy and gritty, and its trigger… well, I have a house full of wall switches that have a better pull… Yet there is something about the collective whole of the little rifle that is most appealing. It’s not that it is light, because it balances very awkwardly with it’s fat hollow asymmetrical stock. It’s not that it’s cheap… you could buy a number of other .22 rifles that are more accurate and better built… just better rifles… for the same price as an AR-7. And it’s not that I am planning on flying over Russian Wilderness on some mission that might get me shot down. And it’s not that “It Floats”… because I was diving once in a lake and found one of these on the bottom. (Okay, I had found an older Charter and it was filled with water… Evidently Henry has improved the Floating qualities) I’m not planning on going Kayaking with a rifle. The AR-7 has an intangible quality to it… something I can’t quantify… but it’s there. It’s Cool. The AR-7 rifle is a Cool little rifle. It’s stripped down and simple, like a rifle version of a Cafe Racer type Motorcycle. Being Cool, the AR-7 makes no apologies for not having a forearm, good trigger, or decent sights… it doesn’t have to… because it’s Cool.
I’d love one if it had a folding stock instead of the bloated hollow stock. And I’d love it even more if someone made a version in .22 Magnum.