If you’re any sort of firearms enthusiast, you’re probably aware by now that Henry Repeating Arms is celebrating their 25th anniversary this month. There should be countless magazine articles, website articles, and videos about this. With one click, or a turn of the page, you can learn about how the company was started by Louis Imperato and his son, Anthony, back in 1996. They had purchased the trademark to the Henry name that year. And in March of the following year, they shipped their first rifle. It was their Henry H001 Lever Action .22, which has since become an American classic. My wife got me one as a gift a few years ago, and the company behind it means as much to me as the rifle itself. So here’s my take on why I’m a proud Henry owner.
The history of Henry
Although Henry Repeating Arms is only 25 years old, their products are based on a firearm much older. Benjamin Tyler Henry patented the original Henry rifle back in 1860. This was the first repeating rifle, and it began a proud American tradition. It’s the heart of the lever action design that “Won the West”. Although there isn’t a true connection between the original company and Henry Repeating Arms, to own a Henry is to own a piece of American history. Whether for plinking fun, defending the homestead, or putting food on the table, there’s an undeniable link to our past with each pull of the trigger. I feel like I am holding a piece of history each and every time I shoot either of mine.
Made in America, or not made at all
“Made in America” is not just three words on a box or a sticker on a product. It’s about keeping Americans employed. Made in America is an investment in the community and the future. It’s about keeping jobs, revenue, and taxes local. It’s not just about Henry employees either. Made in America is about reducing our reliance on foreign suppliers and materials. Keeping production in the United States ensures that their vendor partners stay in business too. That means barrel steel from Ohio, American Walnut from Missouri, and extruded steel and brass from Pennsylvania. This also reduces their exposure to supply chain issues as well as foreign government intervention.
Henry Repeating Arms has over 550 employees between its Rice Lake, Wisconsin and Bayonne, New Jersey facilities. In 2006, Henry purchased some assets from a supplier, Wright Products, of Rice Lake. They kept their machinists, who were already skilled at making parts for Henry rifles. That location has since grown from the original 17 employees to over 350. Furthering that independence, Henry Repeating Arms is still privately held. They’re not beholden to investors, and unlike so many other “American” companies, are not part of any foreign bank’s or investor’s portfolio. So Made in America means they’re fully independent in more ways than one. I can definitely back that.
The best warranty in the industry. Period.
Anthony Imperato offers a simple guarantee: “Henry owners have my personal guarantee to make certain they are 100% satisfied with their purchase of our rifle and shotguns. If you spend your hard-earned money on a Henry, I assure you we will do whatever it takes to make sure you are happy with your Henry”. This applies to the original purchaser, and any subsequent owner thereafter.
I wish I could offer first-hand experience on how good their warranty is. But I’ve not had the slightest issue with either of my two Henry rifles. The best I can do is point to the fact that they’ve actually won an award for their customer service department. They got a Stevie® award, which is probably as prestigious as an Oscar, but maybe a little less pretentious. No one expects issues when they buy a firearm. If you do have any, Henry’s got you covered.
Consumers across many industries today prefer companies that are socially responsible. And that means giving back in one way or another. Which is something that Henry Repeating Arms has been doing for 25 years. Their Guns For Great Causes is one such example. In addition to making direct donations, custom rifles are also auctioned off to raise funds for a variety of charities as well as families with sick children.
I don’t have the space here to list out all the charities supported by Henry Repeating Arms, because there are a lot. This includes many different veteran and law enforcement organizations. Then there’s their contributions towards the very important 2nd Amendment, which is constantly under fire. They’ve donated to a variety of organizations, both large and small, protecting our rights. Wildlife conservation has not been overlooked either. Another key to our future is youth shooting sports and education, as well as hunter education programs. No other company that I am aware of goes to such lengths to support shooting as a sport or to putting food on the table. If a percentage of my purchase is being earmarked for programs like this, why wouldn’t I own a Henry?
Two and a half decades of innovation
While the H001 Lever Action .22 was the “gateway gun” for many Henry owners, their product portfolio now contains more than 200 different models. These include traditional calibers such as the .30-30, heavy hitters like the .45-70, and even long range models in calibers up to .308 or 6.5 Creedmoor. There are also lever action .410 shotguns, plus single shot versions in 12 gauge. In rimfire, they offer a pump action, several youth models, and their famous AR-7 survival rifle.
Within most categories, there are options for brass or stainless steel receivers and trim. And then there are some synthetic stocks in addition to walnut. They’re added a side loading gate to certain models, and there are suppressor-ready threaded barrels too. Listening to what their customers want and responding to meet their needs is just another Henry tradition.
Let’s put that 25 years into perspective
Compared to some other firearms companies, 25 years is not very long. But to look back at what Henry Repeating Arms has achieved in that (relatively) short time is impressive. There are over one million of their classic .22 lever actions in circulation. So many designs, awards, and donations. Being able to look back at not just sales, but how much they have given back. That is an accomplishment. And each individual sale has so much meaning. A kid’s first rimfire rifle for plinking, competition, or hunting. Or their centerfire rifles that are used for fun, putting food on the table, or even defense. I’m definitely looking forward to being around and celebrating another 25 years of this.
I’ll wrap this up now
I have a beautiful set of Henry lever action rifles. That’s my personal .22 WMR gracing the top of every page on this site. These rifles are definitely “heirloom” quality. I’m sure my kids will one day give them to their kids. And hopefully, they will pass along the significance of the rifles as well as the history of the company that made them. If you’re thinking along the same lines, you can get started by checking out the full breadth of their firearms catalog at HenryUSA.com.