Most accounts of the O.K. Corral gunfight estimate that about 30 shots were fired over 25-30 seconds. Is that possible?

Dave Cuddeby

Phoenix, Arizona

Thirty shots fired in 30 seconds means that a round was fired about every second. And there were seven active participants (counting Tom McLaury, who probably didn’t get a shot off). So each of the six primary shooters averaged five shots. Billy Clanton emptied his pistol. Doc Holliday fired two shotgun blasts before shifting to a revolver. Each of the Earp brothers squeezed off several shots. And Frank McLaury was able to fire a few times before collapsing in the street. Like most shoot-outs, the action was fast and furious, and details are a bit sketchy, even today.

But more shots could have been fired—after those first rounds, fired almost simultaneously by Billy Clanton and Wyatt Earp, there was a brief pause before the fight resumed.

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