Tombstone 9mm: POF’s Classic Lever Action with AR Styling

in Authors, Gun Reviews, Lever-action, Levi Sim, Rifles
POF Tombstone 9mm shown closeup with the lever action open.

Estimated reading time: 16 minutes

Patriot Ordnance Factory’s Tombstone 9mm rifle was a bombshell dropped right at the end of 2022 and it was the talk of SHOT Show last January. It’s had a lot of discussion, and rightly so. Classic lever action with the styling and controls of a modern AR-style rifle. It’s cool and weird and do we really need this gun?

I’ve been using this gun for the last couple of months and sharing it with other shooters at the range. Let me show you what it is, how it shoots, and why this might just be a great gun despite some of it’s perceived shortcomings.

Spoiler: I liked the Tombstone so well that I shelled out my own money to buy it.

POF Tombstone 9mm shown in profile  with a Vortex LPVO and positioned between two fence posts with a grassy mountainside in the background.

The most striking fact is that this is the world’s first production 9mm carbine with a lever action. How is it that no one has built one of these before?

Tombstone 9mm Lever Action Carbine

Henry, Marlin, and Winchester have dominated the high-end lever gun market for many decades. Rossi also has a few good offerings. That’s why a quality AR-15 manufacturer is not who I expected to produce the first 9mm lever action carbine.

But this gun is more closely related to an AR-15 than it is to a Winchester 94. The action is smooth and it locks up tight. The bolt is light and surprisingly small. Its lever loop is comfortable and generous with a short 90-degree throw. It includes an ambidextrous hammer extension. All things you’d expect from a quality lever action.

But it also has a handy 16.5″ fluted barrel and an integrated Picatinny rail on the receiver. Plus rails on the M-Lok-riddled handguard and a 20-round stick magazine with intuitive AR-like controls. The Tombstone 9mm carbine is clearly aimed more at folks looking for an action rifle than at those looking for a deer rifle.

POF Tombstone 9mm closup view of the trigger with the lever action closed.
The lever loop is a modern shape with a comfortable chamfer all the way around and enough room for a gloved hand.

Barrel Of the Tombstone 9mm

The barrel is crafted from 4150 steel. Fluting on the barrel gives it more surface area to cool quickly, and it also makes it more rigid. It’s just 16.5″ long which makes the whole gun shorter and easy to manage safely. 1/2″-28 thread and an effective muzzle brake cap the barrel. It is suppressor-ready.

POF Tombstone 9mm showing the end of the fluted barrel and the muzzle brake with dual top ports.
The fluted barrel is threaded and capped with a muzzle brake with dual ports on top to control muzzle rise and breach profiled end.


The barrel is free-floated inside the “Modular Receiver Rail.” This rail is cut out over the barrel to reduce weight. Unlike AR handguards, it extends back over the receiver where it makes up the Picatinny optics rail. It is 10.5″-long and has M-Lok slots on the bottom and sides.

POF Tombstone 9mm Close up of the handgaurd where it extends back over the receiver as a Picatinny rail.

The rail also acts as the handguard and the front end has Picatinny rails on the top and bottom.

Even the latest “tactical” lever guns from other manufacturers are not as accessory-ready as the Tombstone. There’s plenty of room for lasers, optics, lights, grips, and bipods.

POF Tombstone 9mm close up of the front of the handguard with short Picatinny rails on bottom and top.
The end of the Modular Receiver Rail has pic rails on top and bottom and M-Lok at 3, 6, and 9 all the way down.

Tombstone 9mm Magazine

You should know that traditionally lever guns have a tube magazine under the barrel, which is part of their iconic look. Notably, the Henry Long Ranger and the Browning BLR have removable box magazines that sit under the action. But a tube magazine has been closely tied to the lever gun’s identity.

POF’s Tombstone veers widely from the norm with its 20-round stick magazine. I’ve heard two complaints about this magazine. First, folks wish it was a tube under the barrel. And I get that — it’s a low-profile method that handles smoothly. This magazine protrudes from the receiver and makes the Tombstone much taller. However, you can also have a second magazine handy for more fast shooting. There is really no fast way to reload a tube magazine — nothing that even comes close to dropping a mag and slamming a fresh one home. Also, tubular magazines run the risk of round nose or pointy bullets being fed into them and having a chain detonation during recoil. The box mag doesn’t have that problem.

POF Tombstone 9mm closeup of the 20-round magazine mounted in the receiver.

The second major complaint I’ve heard is that it should take Glock magazines. As it happens, it shares magazines with two other POF 9mm guns, so there’s little chance they’d switch to Glocks. Personally, I think those folks who complain are overestimating that usefulness.

Since olden times, the utility of a lever gun in the same caliber as your pistol is the real attraction. You’ve got one reloading setup and one box of ammo for a rifle and a pistol. That’s awesome. Worrying about them being the same magazine is not worthwhile.

The rifle is ambidextrous with mag release buttons on both sides of the receiver. They are AR-like and easy to find. 10- and 30-round mags are also available. The Tombstone includes a 20-round mag and an effective custom speedloader. The CA compliant model ships with a 10-round mag.


Breaking consistently at 3.5 pounds, the single-stage trigger is not bad. Its J shape is quite comfortable and it’s easy to get a repeatable motion. There’s a tiny takeup and then it breaks crisply. Its reset is also minimal — as you’d expect from an AR-like weapon — though that is somewhat negated by the lever action. POF’s website notes that it’s a proprietary design and is not adjustable.

POF Tombstone 9mm closeup of the  receiver. The action is open, the hammer is back, and the safety button is set to fire.
The cross-bolt safety can be set on either side of the receiver, and the J-shaped trigger breaks crisply.

Ambidextrous Cross-bolt Safety

The Tombstone’s cross-bolt safety ships as push-to-fire from the right but can be repositioned on the left. Combined with the lever action and the dual magazine releases, this gun is nicely accessible to left-handed shooters. Even the hammer extension can be positioned on the left.

Spent rounds eject from the right, but I found that they always ejected at 90 degrees or even a little bit forward. I have no reservations about my left-eyed kids shooting this gun since no hot brass will be coming back at their faces.

In addition to the cross-bolt safety button, there’s also a half-cock hammer safety. That means that if you cock the hammer with your thumb and it slips, the hammer will stop at the half-cocked position and cannot inadvertently strike the firing pin. The cross-bolt safety cannot be engaged unless the weapon is cocked.

Sights For The Tombstone 9mm

Not only is the Tombsone optics ready with a pic rail over the receiver, but it also comes with removable sights, POF’s XS Ghost Ring sights. The rear is a ring adjustable for windage and elevation. The front sight is a blade painted white for high visibility and is mounted on the front Pic rail. The sights are low to the bore, which works well with the stock.

POF Tombstone 9mm closeup of the rear sight mounted in the top Picatinny rail over the receiver.
The rear sight is an adjustable ring.
Closeup of piccatinny rail in rifle
The front blade is mounted in the front Picatinny rail.

Magpul SGA Stock

For me, the problem with classic lever gun stock designs is how much the butt stock drops from the receiver. I don’t like the recoil impulse, and adding a scope to those is hard because your cheek weld is too low to see into the optic.

POF Tombstone 9mm closeup of the  SGA  buttstock from Magpul. Extension shims are installed.
Tombstone ships with Magpul’s SGA polymer stock.

The Tombstone has Magpul’s SGA stock. The SGA is a replacement for the original stock on Remington 870 shotguns. It’s a good fit for this gun because it doesn’t drop too far. It also has removable shims that give you two inches of adjustment on the length of pull with a textured grip. Plus, the stock includes sling attachment points on each side and a cushy recoil pad.

Changeable Comb

The best thing, though, is that the comb is replaceable with taller risers. I mounted a Vortex 1-8×24 Strike Eagle scope with a cantilevered mount, but my cheek weld turned into more of a chin weld. Now the scope was so high above the bore, I couldn’t use my cheek on the comb and see through the scope. I added the tallest riser to the SGA stock, however, and now I get a terrific cheek weld and I shoot the gun more accurately, too.

READ MORE: POF-USA Unveils Its First Lever-Action Rifle: The Tombstone (in 9mm!)

The SGA stock’s customizable nature, both in length of pull and in comb height, make it a good match for the Tombstone. I don’t know of any other lever guns that offer this level of customization out of the box (but I’m sure you’ll tell me about it in the comments if there is one 😀 ).

POF Tombstone 9mm closeup of the SGA stock on the left side.
The included shims offer two inches worth of adjustment — and a comfy recoil pad.

What’s more, since the SGA is made for the Remington 870 (likely the most prolific shotgun in the world), I suspect you could easily find a wood stock from an old 870 and fit it to this gun. I think that might be a very cool-looking gun.

POF Tombstone 9mm closeup of the interior of the action with the action open showing the empty chamber.
The bolt locks tightly into the chamber. The whole gun feels like a well-made machine.

Shootability of the Tombstone 9mm

I’ve shared this rifle with a bunch of people at the range. It’s always giggles from everyone. The recoil is light, it stays on target so you can see impacts through the scope, and it’s just plain fun to work a lever action gun. Unequivocally, kids and adults alike, everyone says, “Man, that’s fun!”

And for a gun that’s not a self-defense pistol or a hunting rifle, I think that’s enough. It’s enough that it’s fun to shoot every time you pick it up. It’s got way more oomph than a .22 and nothing like the noise and clatter of an AR-15. It is much more satisfying to hit plinking targets and steel with this gun than with a .22. It really is a fun gun to use, and it’s made more fun by the low price of ammo for it (more on that below).

POF Tombstone 9mm shot by a young girl on a bench rest.


At just 36″ long and 5.75 pounds, this gun handles extremely well. Due to its SGA shotgun stock, it swings up nicely and points well. The barrel is short at 16.5″ so it’s fast at acquiring targets and it’s not front-heavy. Remove the magazine and it’s slim and tucks next to the seat as a truck gun. I think it gets a good handy-ness rating.

POF Tombstone 9mm shot handheld by a pleased-looking man in a baseball hat.


I shot 15 different ammo types in the Tombstone. Eight makes of 115gr, four different 124 gr jacketed hollow-points, and three different 147gr, and one 80gr. I had consistent results within each make, and everything shot tightly at 25 yards. At 50 yards, the results varied much more.

I’ve done plenty of internet reading about this gun. From what I can tell, you can expect about a 13% speed increase with the 16.5″ barrel over what’s listed on your box of ammo. I did use it with a friend’s Doppler radar, but something was wrong because it kept saying 2780 fps at the barrel, and that’s just not possible :D.

POF Tombstone 9mm shot by a young man with an elbow resting on a bench.
As long as it’s safe and you’re having fun, is there a wrong way to shoot?

At 50 yards, I got groups ranging from one ragged hole to four inches, to 8 inches. It may be that some of the ammo was transonic at that distance. The 147gr definitely performed the best at ranges past 50 yards, but I got sub-two-inch groups with 115’s and 124s, too. Among the 115gr ammo (Winchester, Federal, Herter’s, Fiocchi, Sellier & Bellot, Ammo Incorporated, and Browning) the brass bullets from Fiocchi and Sellier & Bellot performed markedly better than anything else. 124s from Winchester, Sig, Hornady, and Ammo Incorporated were similar, as were the 147s from Federal, Winchester, and Hornady. The 80gr external hollow points from G9 shot like the 124s.

POF Tombstone 9mm with the action being worked by a young man shooting off hand. He is looking through the scope while working the action.
With practice, the smooth lever action works rather quickly and you could easily shoot speed drills — with either hand.

Shooting one MOA to 16 MOA is an incredible range, but again, they were all sub-two MOA at 25 yards where plinking and plating are really fun. And it’s not dissimilar from other PCCs. I think it’d be a fun gun for running drills, too. At longer distances, find the ammo that works best for you.

POF Tombstone 9mm with a young boy working the action on a bench rest

What Could Be Better?

At first, I thought that SGA stock was a mistake because I couldn’t get in the scope and a solid cheek weld. But after I added the riser it made me much more comfortable, so keep that in mind when you mount an optic.

Annoyingly, if you leave the action open and load the magazine, then close the action, it won’t chamber a round. You have to close the action, then load the magazine. And this is really only annoying on the bench where I tend to leave the action open while loading another mag with ammo so it can cool. If I were standing, I would naturally close the action before dropping the mag, anyway.

A bigger annoyance is that Picatinny rail at 6:00 at the end of the handguard. That is exactly where I want to put my hand when shooting off-hand. But those rails are not comfortable. Adding a vertical grip may be a fun solution, but I’d rather have M-Lok there instead of a rail.

Who Is This For?

First of all, this gun is compliant with restrictive rules. It’s not semi-auto, it doesn’t have a pistol or thumbhole grip, etc. So, for folks who want an AR-style weapon, but can’t have one because of regulations in their state, this is a fun answer. And with practice, you could become very proficient at putting rounds on target quickly. I’d love to see someone shoot a three gun tournament with it.

The tombstone is also a viable option for home defense. It’s not semi-automatic, but it does cycle quickly and easily. It’s short and goes around corners well and it points intuitively so it’s also easy to maintain muzzle control.

I don’t see why you can’t hunt with this gun. There are plenty of loadings in 9mm used for short-range deer and hogs. I’d love to use it in the pistol caliber-only season on mule deer in Idaho. I’m going to match it to my thermal optic and use it for raccoon management this Fall. For short-range work, It’s excellent for varmints of all kinds. And the ammo is less costly than .223.

Cost Analysis

Regarding the cost, the MSRP for this Tombstone 9mm lever action rifle is $1962 for black and $2097 for FDE. That’s higher than a decent AR-15, but certainly not the most expensive gun around. But I got to thinking, “When would the lower cost of 9mm ammo outweigh the higher cost of this rifle?”

So I chose some reasonable numbers and rounded them off. Let’s say you bought an AR-15 for $1000 (a low price for a decent gun) and this Tombstone for $1900. Let’s also say you can get 20 rounds of .223 for $10, and you can get 50 rounds of 9mm for $15. Turns out, if you shoot any more than 4500 rounds, it becomes less costly to shoot the Tombstone.

Line graph showing ammo costs
If you shoot a lot, the lower cost of 9mm adds up quickly.

But there’s also something to be said for getting more ammo for less money every time you shoot. 4500 rounds would be $2250-worth of .223 and just $1350-worth for the Tombstone in 9mm. That’s a big difference every time you go to the register. And this is a finer firearm than a cheap AR.

Fun To Shoot, Fun To Own

The Tombstone 9mm is a reasonable choice for home defense, it’s a fun choice for short-range hunting, and it’s a blast for plinking. The Tombstone is compliant in all states (choose the 10-round magazine option). If you’re looking for a gun in these categories, I suggest that the lever-action Tombstone is a good option.

You get the romance of a lever gun with the utility of an AR-style weapon. Check out Patriot Ordnance Factory’s Tombstone 9mm rifle at a dealer near you.

POF Tombstone 9mm shown in profile  with a Vortex LPVO and  positioned between two fence posts with a grassy mountainside in the background.

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