So, I have this Armorer artificer Echo knight who is a ranged attacker. Opportunity Attacks only work with melee attacks. In case an opportunity attack is presented, can I just hold the rifle with one hand as a Free object interaction, and use the Thunder Gauntlet provided by the guardian armor to do a melee attack for the opportunity attack?
The gauntlet's rules say:
"Thunder Gauntlets. Each of the armor’s gauntlets counts as a simple melee weapon while you aren’t holding anything in it, and it deals 1d8 thunder damage on a hit. A creature hit by the gauntlet has disadvantage on attack rolls against targets other than you until the start of your next turn, as the armor magically emits a distracting pulse when the creature attacks someone else".
So, if I released one hand, would they immediately count as a melee weapon, allowing me to make the Opportunity Attack?