Most Famous Gunfights in American History

Man With Gun

You’ve likely heard countless tales of good guys and bad guys battling it out with guns, of cops in pursuit of robbers, and of soldiers fighting for their countries.

Some of these tales have become legends, yet some of them did happen in real life.

Mankind’s history is rife with conflict, and America the brave isn’t spared from such violence.

Guns of the Patriots

Before the rise of modern weapons and the abundance of the popular 9mm ammo, Americans gunslingers didn’t have that much firepower in terms of automatics and semi-automatics.

They were limited to single-action revolvers and lever-action rifles, to name a few of their guns. As such, most of the gunfights that America is so enthralled with are usually based on the skill and agility of the gunmen.

From showdowns of the old West to crime spree run-ins with law enforcement, here are five of the most famous (or infamous) gunfights in American history that you probably haven’t heard of:

1. Gunfight at the OK Corral

Okay, you may have heard of this one, probably because it takes place at the infamous OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona (a darkly fitting name for the location) and involves none other than legendary gunslinger Doc Holliday himself.

The law in Tombstone was crooked, to say the least, and the line between cowboy-gone-rogue and heroic public defender was often a thin one.

The standoff, which lasted a maximum of 30 seconds and began as a “shooting exercise,” included the town marshal Virgil Earp, his brothers Morgan and Wyatt Earp, and John Henry “Doc” Holliday against Western ruffians and siblings Clanton and McLaury.

2. The FBI Miami Shootout

The only one in this list that’s set in modern times.

On April 11th, 1986, FBI officers cornered two serial robbers, leading to one of the most endurance-requiring standoffs of modern times.

Armed with 9mm ammo and a whole lot of fearlessness, the FBI team successfully triumphed against the two criminals.

Times like these can make it seem like guns are mediums for only evil. It is, therefore, all the more important to recall the times in which they have served as a means of defending the property and livelihood of others.

There are good guys with guns.

3. El Paso Gunfight

Nicknamed the “Four Dead in Five Seconds Gunfight,” this standoff resulted in the death of two farmhands, who had been tracking a posse of cattle bandits.

The fight broke out in a saloon when the ranchers confronted the friends of known cattle thief, Johnny Hale, about about the string of cattle thievery.

Hale drunkenly intervened, snatched one of his friends’ pistols, and fired the first fatal shot.

4. The Battle of Barrington

The tale of the Battle of Barrington weaves a story of a reckless crime spree that climaxed to a fateful ending.

The year was 1934, and George “Babyface” Nelson was a well-known criminal who had garnered a reputation for possessing no fear of death.

One day, while driving with his wife and accomplice, John Chase, and transporting several weapons, he passed a car of FBI agents headed in the opposite direction. Upon recognition, the two cars swiftly reversed course and both parties began firing at one another.

Nelson died from fatal wounds suffered during the duel, while Chase was sent to Alcatraz for his wrongdoings.

What Did You Learn from History?

If anything, these four true stories tell us that American history is filled with gun-related violence.

However, it’s also good, law-abiding people with guns that bring an end to these conflicts.

Do you agree with that? What are your own thoughts on the matter?