Outlaws function nearly identically to soldiers, coming equipped with a broadsword and either an assault rifle or a shotgun. The main difference between outlaws and soldiers is their method of recruitment.
Outlaws can only be recruited through NPC quests in which you are assigned to kill an outlaw humanoid who is noticeably more powerful than the average enemy found on a planet. When brought down to less than one half health during combat, the outlaw may surrender and request that you put away your weapons. If the player puts away their weapons, the outlaw may transform into an outlaw recruit, distinguished by the black Protectorate uniform, and be recruited to the ship's crew. Alternatively, the outlaw may instead choose to betray your trust and force the fight to continue. If this happens, the outlaw is not recruitable and must be killed. However, if the outlaw kills the player, and the player returns to face them again, they may surrender a second time and this may be a legitimate surrender, allowing them to be recruited.
If an outlaw surrenders, but is not recruited into the ship's crew, they will remain on the planet near where they surrendered, and will act similarly to a friendly guard NPC, attacking hostile NPCs and monsters.