I don’t know what it is, but some questions have been coming in from multiple folks asking about the viability of a Lever Action Shotgun for Tactical use. This answer is a straight up no. Reason being, is that the Lever Action Shotgun loses the advantage of flexibility that the normal shotguns have, or the ability to top off on the go like a normal lever action rifle. So instead of being the best of both worlds, it’s the worst of both worlds.
Sure, Terminator 2 made it look cool with the firing from a motorcycle and spin cocking it… But that’s about where the cool factor comes to an abrupt end.
The reloading is second to none when it comes to being slow and awkward.
The reliability is questionable in every Winchester and Win-Clone I’ve seen. But even if you had one that ran as reliable as the Sun Rise – it’s still limited with a very short mag tube that you can’t extend, and reloading is about as clumsy as mechanically possible.
Even one as practiced as Master Quinn has a time of running these things.
A Shotgun has it’s advantage in being Situationally Flexible. You take that away from it – it’s handicapped drastically.
A Lever has it’s advantage in being light and easy to handle, narrow in profile, and easy to top off on the go. Take those things away from it, and it’s handicapped.
I see no point in these Lever Action Shotguns other than as a Novelty or a Historic Curio Reproduction.
The use of one in a Tactical Situation would be a mistake unless this was the only weapon you had or that it was a stop gap weapon until you could get to a better weapon.
Granted 12 gauge is devastating and 4 or 5 shots from it is formidable… but this is like planning on using a 2 shot Derringer as a defensive weapon. There are better options out there. In every metric there are better options.
That being said. They are still freaking cool and fun… so outside of the Tactical Use spectrum – they are just fine.
Quick Update – There is a Marlin Lever Action in .410… It was produced for a time, dropped, brought back briefly and dropped again. So examples are out there. They are rare and hard to find. I’ve only seen 2 in person. They are cool and could be viable as a Tactical Lever Action Shotgun. But they are only in .410 and that’s also a handicap. But it’s better than harsh language, so there’s that.