Brass Knuckles are a form of simple weapon used in hand-to-hand combat. Developed in antiquity, this weapon is nevertheless quite prevalent in the post-Great War wastelands.
Despite the colorful name, "brass" knuckles are typically made from stainless steel, and take the form of four linked rings in a shallow convex formation with a bumper attached to the concave face. The rings are slipped over a combatant's fingers with the bumper pressed into the palm of the hand. When a punch is thrown, the brass knuckles take the majority of the impact impulse, transferring much of the punch's kinetic energy to the target by way of the harder, smaller impacting surface of the metal knuckles. This drastically increases the likelihood of serious tissue disruption and bone damage.
Realistically, while properly fitted brass knuckles can prove quite an asset in a brawl, improperly fitting brass knuckles can easily break the user's fingers or cause severe bruising and edema in the fingers and palm. In terms of a wasteland weapon, however, a set of brass knuckles, while little better than nothing, can nevertheless provide a combat edge.
A variant of this weapon, Spiked Knuckles, are essentially brass knuckles with spikes welded to the apex of each finger ring. Predictably, spiked knuckles are capable of causing more severe injuries.
Fallout and Fallout 2
In Fallout 2, peculiarly you can find Spiked Knuckles earlier than you can find this, making Brass Knuckles somewhat useless. However, light weight coupled with reasonable value means that players with adequate Barter skills can make a respectable profit looting these from fallen foes. As they are far more common than firearms in the lower levels, the collection and resale of brass knuckles can provide a much-needed early-game source of income.
Few battles in Fallout Tactics lend themselves to unarmed close combat, as most enemies are well-equipped with firepower that can shred melee attackers before range can be closed. Yet, raiders, rioters, and other relatively weak opponents still use brass knuckles from time to time. While equipping squad members with brass knuckles is generally foolhardly and wasteful of carry limit weight, a reasonable profit can be made by collecting brass knuckles from defeated enemies and reselling them at a nearby Brotherhood bunker.
In Fallout 3 the Brass Knuckles are an unarmed weapon and are affected by the Iron Fist Perk. The frequency of appearance in Fallout 3 is markedly lower than in Fallout, or especially Fallout 2, eliminating brass knuckles as a lucrative early-game source of income. Generally, only very low-level raiders will carry brass knuckles, while more formidable enemies will carry heavier weapons.
Brass Knuckles are randomly available on slain human enemies or from merchants.
Also, Brass Knuckles can be found in metal boxes and lockers from Springvale School just northeast of Vault 101.
Aside from other sets of Brass Knuckles, they can be repaired by Spiked Knuckles, Plunkett's Valid Points, and Steel Knuckles. This also works vice versa, with the exception of Plunkett's Valid Points, so it is suggested to use the Brass Knuckles to repair their more powerful cousins.
Because Spiked Knuckles are not much harder to find, Brass Knuckles can be rendered obsolete as a weapon rather quickly. However they are a great repair tool.