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Fairly new Keeper here.

During the last session, almost all of the players used their readied small firearms (pistols) during close quarters combat. Together with firing multiple shots when it was their turn, they seemed to have a giant advantage over small weapons, like a knife or club.

So, is there a rule for using a readied firearm during a brawl? I can't imagine that one would be able to easily gun the opponent down (as long as there are still bullets loaded), rather than being hindered to shoot (e.g., both characters struggle for weapon control).

Can players be forced to use their hand combat skill?

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No

If the player wants to use their firearm, then let them (and don't forget to give him a penalty die for each shot if they want fire multiple shots).

Yes

Feel free to take the fight to them: let the bad guys tackle the good guys to the ground, strike his weapon hand, grapple the weapon hand, ... All of these are Fighting Maneuvers which are done with the Fighting (Brawl) skill.

Other options are: dive for cover, perhaps the bad guys set up an ambush upon noticing that the PCs have firearms (or they get firearms themselves), ...

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