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I've read that people are using Gauntlets for use with Ranged weapons for attacks of opportunity and also with other two handed weapons such as Polearms.

What I'm wondering is, if I'm using a heavy crossbow is there a penalty to wear a gauntlet? If not is there a difference which hand the gauntlet is in?

Rules state that it takes 2 hands to reload a heavy crossbow. Does the gauntlet use up a hand as a equipped weapon? Or is it just like a piece of equipment and I'm able to still reload or hold the main weapon in the gauntlet hand?

Also, I am wondering if wearing a buckler which works with a heavy crossbow would work as well? A Gauntlet holding the majority of the gun while the empty off hand which has a buckler on it is holding the bottom of the crossbow for support and for reloading it.

This is assuming I have rapid reload and crossbow mastery which reduces all reloads to free actions. Any penalties to shoot for wearing the gauntlet?

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By default, any heavy armor is assumed to have a gauntlet attached, and nowhere is any penalty mentioned for using them with any weapon, including bows and crossbows. What people are referring to is the ability to let go of a two-handed weapon with one hand as a Free Action, so that hand can be used to make melee attacks or cast spells with somatic components. This is explicitly allowed under the rules.

Note that there is a separate item, Locked Gauntlet, that definitely does interfere with manipulating a crossbow since you cannot (easily) let go or grab an item while using it.

Bucklers, on the other hand, usuaully give a −1 penalty to attack rolls if you wear one on a hand that is being used to wield a weapon. However, bows and crossbows are exempt from this penalty. Either way, though, you also lose the AC bonus whenever you attack with that hand.

Neither of these affect reloading, however.

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So am I wearing the gauntlet the whole time(but not as a weapon), it just takes a free action to let go of the crossbow, start using the gauntlet as a weapon then after I'm done, grab my crossbow with the gauntlet arm as another free action? Can this be done if an enemy is vulnurable to Attack of opportunity, and I still have 2 hands on my crossbow at the time. Then use those free actions, attack of opportunity with the gauntlet and then immediately grab my crossbow again? –  Jeff Jun 25 '13 at 22:33
    
@Jeff 'Using a gauntlet as a weapon' just means punching while wearing it, really, so the switch to using it as a weapon isn't very involved. And no, you can't do it in response to an opponent provoking an attack of opportunity, because free actions are not immediate actions and thus cannot be done out-of-turn by the RAW. I could easily see a GM houseruling it was possible, though. –  GMJoe Jun 27 '13 at 3:59
    
So in probably switch to using it as a weapon at the end of my shooting round each turn as a habit? Just in case? –  Jeff Jun 27 '13 at 8:42
    
@Philip Gauntlets have a range equal to your natural reach, i.e. 5 ft. on a normal Medium creature. –  KRyan Jun 27 '13 at 14:38
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