The Medina, North Dakota Shootout

Yesterday was the anniversary of the Medina Shootout. One of the main lessons is how devastating long guns are when used at pistol distances.


Thirty-five years ago today, on February 13, 1983, a violent gunbattle took place in Medina, North Dakota. Although less well known than the Miami Massacre in 1986, it was every bit as bloody and violent. Something it had in common with the Miami Massacre was preparation for conflict and the decisiveness of long guns at pistol ranges.

On one side was a task force of US Marshals and local law enforcement officers. On the other side were members of a local Posse Comitatus group. Casualties were high on both sides. Four months later, a second related encounter, hundreds of miles away, brought more loss of life.

The Prelude

Gordon Kahl was a Midwestern farmer and Federal tax resister. He was a member of a loosely knit organization called the Posse Comitatus. The Posse recognizes no authority above the county level and held many hateful beliefs. He had been imprisoned for…

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One response

  1. Great post. To what degree would pistol caliber carbines be helpful in such situations? I am especially thinking of those chambered for .40 S&W, and .44 Magnum, both of which gain significant velocity and kinetic energy from 16″-barrels. These would have a greater chance of penetrating auto doors or other barriers, as well as having greater wounding potential.

    Even though my particular Beretta Storm carbine is chambered 9mm Parabellum, and does not gain as much from the added barrel length, I think it still find the carbine package handles quickly and accurately. Both my wife and I are competent with our handguns, but this carbine gets us on each target quickly and moving to other targets. Just a thought, given the increasing popularity of these platforms.

    Reviewing this incident several times -and it is a truly heartbreaking loss of life- wouldn’t it have been better if the LEOs had backed off and sought additional backup and an assembly of an overwhelming amount of firepower against these sociopaths? I am not questioning or demeaning the actions of these obviously brave lawmen, which is beyond reproach. I am just wondering how they could have ensured a very different outcome. May they RIP and in perpetual honor.

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