Fists are used for hand-to-hand combat. When fists are equipped, the player can also perform kicks and other melee moves.
Red Dead Revolver
Although the player can use fists earlier in the game, the brawling tutorial is presented during the mission "Saloon Fight". While fists are equipped, the player is able to punch, kick, or grab an enemy. After grabbing an enemy, the player automatically hits them, knocking them to the ground. When punching, the player is able to do a combo of two punches at a time.
Red Dead Redemption
Fists can only be selected via the weapon inventory wheel, not from the pause menu, and can only be 'equipped' when the player is on foot, not riding a horse or vehicle.
When fighting with fists, the player can punch, block, and perform ground tackles. Enemies can not be killed by being hit with fists, only knocked out. An enemy can coincidentally be killed by being knocked off a high place or into deep water, however, in which case the death does not count against the player's honor.
Each time someone is knocked down (and stays down for a few seconds) it counts as a knockout. Even if the enemy gets knocked down multiple times they can still get up and fight.
Punching ordinary citizens with fists will not result in any loss of honor. If a lawman is hit it will result in a bounty. The only required use of fists in the main game's storyline is in the mission "You Shall not Give False Testimony, Except for Profit" where Marston has to defeat an angered Aquila in a fistfight to convince the crowd of the elixir's "miraculous" powers.
- The Player must hold (XBOX)/ (PS) to aim in order to Punch/Block/etc.
- Punch: (XBOX)/ (PS)
- Block: (XBOX)/ (PS)
- Ground Tackle: (when prompted) (XBOX)/ (PS), then (XBOX)/ to punch.
- Dodge: While holding (XBOX)/ (PS), press (XBOX)/ (PS) with the joystick in the direction to dodge.
- Push: (XBOX)/ (PS) without aiming; / (PS) or / (XBOX)
Fists are generally a last resort weapon, outclassed by just about any firearm, with the Hunting Knife being even better at close range combat. However, if you feel like knocking someone out without a bounty or loss of honor, or are just feeling a bit rowdy, then the fists are the perfect choice.
If Marston knocks out an enemy with a gun they will be disarmed. If this is the only weapon in their possession and Marston aims his weapon at them they may stand up with their arms raised in surrender and will not move until Marston either stops aiming his weapon or fires.
Getting the jump on someone makes knocking them out much easier. You can start immediately punching them before they even have a chance to retaliate, or you can just push them over and kick them, which can be done indefinitely as kicking them makes it impossible for them to get up.
Proper punching requires timing. The player should punch immediately after Marston pulls back his arm after landing a hit. Doing this while the target is blocking is ineffective, so if they block the first punch, they will most likely block the subsequent punches. Wait a few seconds before attempting to punch again. You can also attempt to counter after your opponent punches, which usually leaves an opening to land a hit. If the player moves towards their opponent while striking in hand to hand combat, they will hook. If the player doesn't move while striking, they will jab, and if the player is moving away from their opponent, they will upper-cut. Also, make sure not to accidentally hit a bystander or lawman, as a stray punch could add another person into the fight, making it much more difficult on your end.
Getting the prompt for a Ground Tackle usually appears after a successful combo of punches, which serves as a way to pile up even more damage on them, perfect after a combo. Once activated and on the ground, Marston will hold them by their collar with one hand and punch them with the other, sometimes using a back fist instead of a regular punch, although there seems to be no difference in damage. Usually at most you can land one or two hits, three if you're lucky, before they kick you off. Proper punch timing is also necessary to land at least two hits. The animation for a knockout while on the ground is Marston grabbing their shirt with both hands and slamming their limp body into the ground. Ground tackles can be cancelled by pressing Y while on the ground.
Keep in mind that all knockouts are only temporary, so NPCs will always get up and come back for more. With two or more opponents this can prove difficult, as an opponent you've already knocked out may get up and strike you while you're not looking, usually when you're trying to take out other NPCs.
- In Multiplayer Competitive and Co-operative mode lobbies, just before the game, players can beat each other senseless with their fists before the match.
- There is no option to tackle someone in Multiplayer.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Fighting with your fists can be useful when ammo is sparse, or to avoid drawing unwanted attention. It also works well when non-lethal methods are required, such as robbery or intimidation. Get up close and beat your enemies into submission, or incorporate a bladed melee weapon if you're out for blood.
The player can also grab an enemy and beat them. While grabbed, not only can people be tipped unto the ground, but they can also be brought up into a vertical position using the same button (L3 on PS4).
If the player is standing close to a window or a table while grabbing an enemy, they may perform a melee finisher such as throwing them out of the window or smash their head into the table instead of just knocking them out.
- Sometimes, when prompted to "Ground Tackle" while in a crowd or near people, instead of ground tackling the intended target, the player will tackle a person nearby.
- Sometimes, when prompted to ground tackle, you can tackle them under a porch or stairs making them hard to hit unless they get up. Commonly noticed in Thieves' Landing.
- Sometimes, an NPC can hit you multiple times in one swing. This makes brawling more difficult because all those hits will count as a successful hit. While all NPCs can do this glitch, the player cannot.
- Often when a player knocks an NPC out many times, there can be something dark around their eyes. This is probably meant to be a black eye. This can't happen in multiplayer to other players.
- Animals, like dogs and chickens, can be kicked by pressing the attack button while having the fists equipped.
- If crouched while the player has their fists equipped and presses the trigger, Marston will do a visually stronger punch, while some characters will do a swinging right hook or an uppercut.
- In Blackwater, Marston can pick a fight with a police officer, not gain a wanted level or bounty, and have no loss in honor. But if another police officer sees the fight, the two officers will gang up on Marston, making the fight considerably harder and with more risk of being knocked out.
- If the player runs up and "pushes" someone riding a horse, they will be knocked off and the horse will run away.
- In most cases, punching a woman will result in them screaming and running away. Also, if you manage to knock out a woman, an eye witness will try to report you, resulting in getting you a bounty.
- It is possible to kill the undead in hand to hand combat in Undead Nightmare.
- If the player starts a fistfight before starting one of Bonnie's missons that shows her sitting outside her house, she will sometimes get up from her seat and fight along with the player and start to punch the other fighter. The same happens with Landon Ricketts.
- If the player finds the NPCs fist-fighting in the wild and doesn't break it up, one of the NPCs will die. This is the only time an NPC can be killed with fists.
Knock someone out in a melee in every saloon in the game in singleplayer.
- In-game description.