Antagonistic interactions are abundant in microbial communities and contribute not only to the composition and relative proportions of their members but also to the longer-term stability of a community. This Review will largely focus on bacterial antagonism mediated by ribosomally synthesized peptides and proteins produced by members of host-associated microbial communities. We discuss recent findings on their diversity, functions, and ecological impacts. These systems play key roles in ecosystem defense, pathogen invasion, spatial segregation, and diversity but also confer indirect gains to the aggressor from products released by killed cells. Investigations into antagonistic bacterial interactions are important for our understanding of how the microbiota establish within hosts, influence health and disease, and offer insights into potential translational applications.