25 Years Later: How Henry Brought New Life to an 1860s Brand
The number of true American-made firearms companies – not merely assembled in America with foreign parts – is dwindling. Yet, Henry is thriving. The year 2022 marks the 25th Anniversary of Henry Repeating Arms. Guns.com takes a quick look back at the company’s distant roots, its most popular offerings, and what’s in store for the next quarter of a century.
First, let’s be clear. The Henry Repeating Arms of today is not the same as the original. It is, however, true to the roots of uniquely American-made lever actions. The namesake brand dates back to 1860 and the innovation of Benjamin Tyler Henry. His design of the first successful production lever-action rifle remains a valued American treasure that went out of production for over 150 years.
The story resumes in 1996 when Anthony Imperato and his father Louis acquired the name and leveraged their decades of experience in the firearms industry to develop a rimfire lever-action repeating rifle. The first classic lever actions shipped from their now-defunct Brooklyn, New York, facility in March 1997.
Through the years, Henry has retained and built its “Made in America, Or Not Made at All” promise. Since that time, the company has expanded its reach, firearms offerings, and workforce, making this silver anniversary a reason to celebrate.
Henry Repeating Arms has made several moves through the decades, with its headquarters now in Rice Lake, Wisconsin. The company employs over 550 people and operates three manufacturing facilities, with two in Wisconsin and the other remaining in New Jersey.
In a quarter of a century, Henry has expanded from a single rimfire model to over 200 different rifles and shotguns.
All Henry firearms are supported by a lifetime warranty, a personal guarantee from Anthony Imperato – who has been known to answer the phones and correspond with customers by email – and one of the finest customer service systems in the business, should it ever be needed.
The company puts its focus on two major areas – loyal employees and Henry firearms owners. “Without a doubt, we would not be here celebrating 25 years of success without the hard work and dedication of every Henry Repeating Arms employee, several of whom have been with me since day one,” says Imperato. “They are the heart and soul of the company. And to all Henry owners around the world that chose to make us a part of their lives, thank you! We are eternally grateful.”
Guns for Great Causes
Not only does Henry crank out fine USA-made firearms and dozens of special editions, but they support numerous charitable endeavors through their Guns for Great Causes program. Previous financial contributions have supported children’s hospitals, the families of critically ill youth, law enforcement, first responders, veterans' organizations, shooting sports education, and wildlife habitat conservation.
For the 2022 celebrations, Henry will be building and donating 1,000 uniquely embellished Golden Boy Silver Anniversary limited-edition rifles that will be sold for $1,000 each. According to the company, beneficiaries of that $1,000,000 will include veterans and first responder organizations, children’s hospitals, Second Amendment organizations, and wildlife conservation agencies.
While lever actions are uniquely American and the basis of Henry Repeating Arms fame, the company’s repertoire is wider than most realize. In addition to the lever runners, the family includes single-shot rifles and shotguns, pump-driven rimfires, bolt-action youth rimfires, a semi-automatic floating survival gun, multiple variations of the 1860 Original, and a handheld Axe .410.
Across that line are a wide variety of calibers, designs, and finish options. Some are tailored for hunters, others home protection or survival, special gems for collectors, and plenty for plinking. Though it’s nearly impossible to choose a favorite, here are a few of our top choices across Henry’s many existing categories.
We’ve hunted across both America and Africa, trusting not only our hunts but more importantly our lives – in the face of dangerous game – on the quality of Henry rifles. While the fine folks at Henry continue innovating, we cannot wait to see what’s yet to come. Don’t see exactly what you need? Henry is listening. In fact, they welcome customer wishes via their suggestion box.
No matter the wish list, one thing is certain. Henry is poised for a bright future. The beloved Anthony Imperato keeps hold of the reigns with his new title of founder and CEO while passing the presidential torch to Andy Wickstrom. President Wickstrom, who has been involved with the company for 24 years, says, “This company was built on a solid foundation of talent and sheer determination, and while we have come a long way, it still feels like we are just getting started. Henry fans and customers have a lot to look forward to, this year and beyond.”