I'll take a lever gun. The Marlin in 44 is less likely to overpenetrate (if stoked with specials, which also increase mag capacity) slimmer, lighter, easier to hit with and all around handier. Colonel Coopers main point was that in our "guns are icky" society, a lever gun with classic lines and wood stock is less offensive to the illiterati than a black rifle or an AK, or even the trusty (and woefully unimpressive) M1 carbine. If you can hit with it, use it. As to the "no place to attach a bayonet/flashlight/grenade/plum pitter/ yogurt squirter/popcorn popper/ pocket diaper steamer"... ya got me. I guess now I have to surrender my ninja jammies (with the feet in 'em) and give up my "I wish I was an operator" decoder ring. Sheesh!
Yes, taking on hordes of rampaging looters or insane inner city residents fleeing the coming cataclysm or crazed zombies intent on eating human flesh or street gangs or drug lords might be easier to accomplish with a fully tricked out super cool $2400 bushmaster bada** AR replica, but to stop a rabid skunk or raccoon or to put the fear of the allmighty into a burglar at 3 a.m. I'll take the sweet mettalic "shcnick schnick" of my lever gun and feel well protected. True, if you drop a loaded levergun it may go bang; the solution is to not rack the lever til you see the elephant. Slower to operate? No. Slower to reload? Irrelevent. As a wise man once said "The fight will start and end with what you have in the gun; if you haven't solved the problem with the first 10, what makes you think the second 10 will do any better?"
Never seen or heard of a "cook off' in a lever gun... ever. Maybe I'm not getting out enough, but I kind of imagine if leverguns were "cooking off" we'd have pages and pages of history concerning it.
Prone? Rotate the rifle 45 degrees.
Sights hard to see and prone to breakage? There is little difference between the Marlin and an AK or SKS...
Low light situations? For home defense I've already rigged up these amazing tactical devices... they're called LIGHTS. I flip em on, and Voilla! Instant daytime!
Malfunctions? Well, whatever your weapon a close quarters jam means you have a stick. Bad guys seldom give time outs... but even if the wrist of the stock breaks when you use it to clobber the approaching goblin, so what? There's still a big hunk of metal to swing.
Use what you're comfortable with. Practice. Lots.