How do I give stuff to NPCs for free?

I want her to be of use in combat.

Unless it’s been changed, you can just give items to NPCs you’ve recruited at a loss, hit enter and they’ll take them regardless of how much they owe you, no? This doesn’t guarantee they’ll equip whatever you give them, of course.

NPCs are disabled for good reasons. They’re more of a liability than anything else.
Sounds like the devs are planning some big overhauls so you’ll just have to wait.

I’ve heard they are better in the latest build. At least they can get in cars now.

I have not gotten a crash in 10 hours of playing the latest nightly build.

i guess you can just drop a weapon and if the NPC wants to pick it up and has nothing better , he will pick it up.

one of those damn NPC tried to pick up my sledge hammer , and got it in his skull.