The default presumption of Stars Without Number is that while a skilled unarmed combatant can be a dangerous foe, there¡ s no substitute for a gun. Unarmed combatants never need to worry about being disarmed and are perilous enemies even when stripped of their equipment, but most PCs will sensibly prefer to pick up a combat shotgun or shear rifle when they have the opportunity. Such rules model most flavors of science fiction and correspond to most players¡ intuitive expectations about how combat ought to play out. Guns are the weapons of choice, with primitive weaponry as backup and unarmed combat as a choice of last resort
Not every group prefers to go with this hierarchy. Some GMs and players prefer game worlds in which choosing to fight unarmed is a mechanically viable choice, and the expert unarmed combatant is no worse off than the expert rifleman. The following optional rules give a boost to unarmed combat so that the level 6 warrior with Combat/Unarmed-3 is every bit as lethal as his comrade who has specialized in projectile weaponry.