The POF-USA Tombstone is what you get when you ask the prop designers from Aliens and Starship Troopers to design a lever-action rifle from the future. It’s covered in aluminum, polymer, and rails – and feeds from an SMG-style magazine. All it needs is a coat of weather-worn olive drab green paint, and it would look like the ultimate xeno-slaying carbine.
If your first thought on seeing the 9mm Tombstone wasn’t either, “What the f—?” or “Why did they make this gun?” then you’re definitely in the minority.
It’s weird. But not in a bad way. It’s weird, like the spaghetti in Cincinnati chili, not blasphemous like pineapple on pizza. That’s why everyone I showed the gun to either loved or hated it.
But is it all style and no substance, or can this new pricy space-age lever gun hold its own against more classic designs?
POF Tombstone 9mm Lever-Action Carbine Features
The POF Tombstone 9mm Lever-Action Carbine is a lever-action, magazine-fed carbine chambered in 9mm parabellum. The design is clearly influenced by the multitude of ARs that POF currently makes. Just one look at the gun’s ambidextrous magazine release will tell you that. But there’s definitely more to the design than it simply being AR-inspired. Let’s look at some of the features.
Starting at the muzzle, the Tombstone ships with an aggressive two-port comp atop its 1/2×38 threaded, 16-inch fluted barrel. This is an odd-looking but great combination as it both reduces felt recoil and overall weight while simultaneously shifting the center of balance back towards the shooter where it’s most comfortable.
Just behind this, the Tombstone includes a full-length, monolithic aluminum handguard that has bot Picatinny segments and M-Lok slots to reduce weight further. Built into this rail is an adjustable aperture rear sight and front sight post by XS Sights. The rear of which can be removed, allowing shooters to mount an optic closer to their face.
Just below this is the Tombstone’s ejection port and the previously mentioned ambidextrous magazine release. Speaking of which, the Tombstone feeds from POF-pattern proprietary polymer magazines. It ships with a 20-round example in the box, and POF sells ten and 35-round examples online. These seem fairly robust, but I would have preferred they feature steel reinforcements. But given how small the mags are and how light the gun is, it likely doesn’t really matter.
Further back, the receiver features a pair of removable plates that allow the shooter to clean and maintain the lever links inside.
Just behind this, the gun features a reversible cross-bolt safety, and an exposed hammer with some interesting features. For starters, it has a reversible extension allowing shooters to easily cock or lower the hammer with their shooting hand regardless if they’re left or right-handed.
Finally, the stock is a polymer Remington 870 type made by Magpul, but I’m not certain that it can be replaced with a wooden or standard pattern 870 stock due to the shape and size of the very angular lever.
Philosophy of Use
Here’s one area of the Tombstone I can’t really wrap my mind around. As far as I can reason, there are basically three roles this gun could fill: Home defense gun, youth carbine, and suppressor-host/range toy.
The latter two are fine, but I wouldn’t recommend the gun as a home defense tool for a few important reasons. First off, the round is somewhat lackluster in terms of fight-stopping capabilities – as far as long guns go. Yes, 9mm parabellum will put people in the dirt. But if you’re going to use a full-length gun, why wouldn’t you use an auto-loader?
Secondly, in my experience, the gun isn’t very reliable. I had initially chalked it up to a bad magazine, but when I did some digging and called a few friends of mine who’ve shot this gun before, we all came to the same conclusion: the ejector is too weak.
This is because the Tombstone uses a fixed ejector instead of a spring-loaded one. In all fairness, fixed ejectors can and do work great on semi, and fully-automatic weapons. The mechanical extraction of most guns (especially 9mm ones) is so violent and consistent that it can make a mechanical ejector superfluous. But when the action is human-powered, there are way too many variables.
For instance, if a shooter doesn’t wrack the lever on the Tombstone very hard, the spent casing will stay inside the receiver and prevent a shooter from chambering another round. Even worse, if the gun is tilted too far to the left or even too vertically, the same malfunction will occur. Now if you’re teaching a new shooter on this gun or even just plinking soda cans or steel plates, this isn’t a big deal. But if you’re in a life-or-death scenario, this is a huge problem. One that only gets compacted by the fact that most people panic and hopefully shoot from cover and/or at odd angles at an attacker.
POF Tombstone Performance
Speaking of which, let’s get to how the gun ran during the tests. I fired 400 rounds of 9mm through the Tombstone during the evaluation. I used ammo from Hornady, Winchester, Federal, Wolf, and Sterling. The two steel-cased brands – Wolf and Sterling – would consistently fail to eject regardless of how hard I worked the lever. While the three brass-cased brands only encountered this issue when the gun wasn’t charged aggressively enough. That said, every brand tested had about a 90% chance of failing to eject the last round in a magazine every single time.
This isn’t a huge deal since the gun is magazine-fed. Because when the now empty magazine is removed, the casing will fall out the magazine well – but it’s still obnoxious.
In terms of accuracy, the Tombstone was a tac driver. Regularly putting ragged holes in paper at 50 yards with a simple four-power scope. It also made a great suppressor host when paired with 147gr or higher rounds.
Conceptually, I really love the POF Tombstone. It’s odd but endearing. It’s fun and inexpensive to shoot. But it’s also unreliable, can pinch the hell out of your hand if you close the lever while holding the grip (ask me about my blood blister), and $2,000. That’s a very tough sell to someone who either wants a new range toy or simply loves lever guns.
Ultimately, the POF Tombstone feels like a solution in search of a problem – and that stinks. It stinks because I really want to love this gun.
POF Tombstone 9MM Lever-Action Rifle Specifications:
- Product Model: POF Tombstone 9MM Lever-Action Rifle
- Brand: Patriot Ordnance Factory
- MFFG Part # Item : POF01891
- MSRP: $1962.00 (Check Current Prices)
- UPC : 847313018915
- Free Float Fluted Barrel
- XS Ghost Ring Sights
- (1) 20rd Magazine
- Two-Port Muzzle Break
- Half-Cocked Hammer PositionLOA 36 in
- Weight 5.75 lbs
- Receiver Material Aluminum
- Barrel 16.5 in
- Trigger 3.5 lb Single Stage
- Furniture Magpul SGA Stock
- Sights XS Ghost Ring
- Handguard 10.5 M.R.R. (MLOK)
- Muzzle 2 Port / Threaded 1/2×28
About Jim Grant
Jim is one of the elite editors for AmmoLand.com, who in addition to his mastery of prose, can wield a camera with expert finesse. He loves anything and everything guns but holds firearms from the Cold War in a special place in his heart.
When he’s not reviewing guns or shooting for fun and competition, Jim can be found hiking and hunting with his wife Kimberly, and their dog Peanut in the South Carolina low country.