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He came at them right as they were frisking his teammate's pockets. There were three sitting at the victim’s backpack and sharing the loot, while another one was rummaging the pockets. Blood rushed to the stalker’s face making him blind with anger. He opened fire kill-thirsty. Bullets were a Zone currency, but he did not spare it this time, bestowing killers and marauders with his lavish gifts.

Local folklore

Bandits are a faction that appear in all three S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games.


Members of the criminal underworld who came to the Zone for different reasons: to make money by selling artifacts, hide from the law or trade in weapons. The Zone is full of bandits, ranging from common thugs to serious criminals, most of whom are members of one gang or another. Although the Zone gangs frequently fight among themselves, the criminal element still poses a serious problem for normal stalkers.

Shadow of Chernobyl PDA description

Bandits are a group of mostly ex-criminals who came in the Zone either to escape from the law, trade weapons or make money. Bandits are ruthless and generally hostile to anyone not in their gang. Though depicted in S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky as a united, highly territorial faction, the Bandit population in S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl and S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat consists mainly of roving groups. In Call of Pripyat, most of the bandits are under the leadership of Sultan, although in Yanov most are led by Jack and a small group is led by Shishak.

They are one of the most poorly-equipped factions of the Zone, usually relying on low-grade weaponry and light armors. However, in Clear Sky, in Limansk, one can encounter well-armed Bandits equipped with SA Avalanche assault rifles, led by an Exoskeleton-clad expert wielding an RP-74.


The history of the Bandits remains unclear for the most part. They are, quite simply, the poor, violent, no-good, lawless crime-followers of the Zone, although they have collectively had numerous leaders from time to time.

It is known they've existed in the Zone for quite a while prior to September 2011, and had a rough relation with the Loners, due to them having a history of preying on stalkers to extort them. The faction's war escalated by the events of Clear Sky as the military (under the orders of Major Khaletskiy) was providing the bandits with information on the Loners positions in the Cordon[1].

By 2011, the faction fell under the control of Yoga, who set up their camp in the old Train hangar in the Garbage. Yoga, however, was not trusted by all bandits. This included the faction's barman, Borov, who claimed that Yoga's actions against the stalkers would lead him or his faction to their downfall[2]. In reality, Borov believed that he would be a much better leader than Yoga[3].

By 2011, the Bandits have been involved in a war against the Loners, who had their base in the nearby Cordon. The Bandits would be able to slowly win the war as they were obtaining precious information from the military about the Loners' whereabouts. This stopped however when a Loners strike team managed to capture Khaletskiy alive. The Loners later expanded in the Cordon, leaving the Bandits only two outposts: a farm close to the Loners base, and the northern checkpoint to the Garbage. The outcome of the war is decided by the player's actions - either Scar helps the Loners leader Father Valerian to secure the Train hangar and wipe out the Bandits base, or he assists Yoga in taking down the Loners base, allowing the Bandits to extend their territory to the northern Cordon.

Aside from the war, the Bandits were also operating in various areas. A group of them was attempting to take down a Loners base in the Agroprom Research Institute, another group secured a mineshaft in the Red Forest (and stole Forester's compass), and another group secured the bridge to Limansk, although the two latter are wiped out during the storyline, and the first can be wiped out on orders of Orest. Their allied faction, the Renegades, were also involved in a war against the Clear Sky faction in the Great Swamp.

Between 2011 and 2012, Borov somehow managed to overthrow Yoga and became the leader of the faction. The faction relocated their main base to the old Freedom base in the Dark Valley, leaving their old base to Seriy's loners. Borov's bandits, much like Yoga's, were still trying to eliminate the Loners (and even Duty members). However, on orders of the Barkeep, Borov was later killed by the Marked One to recover the second key to Lab X-18, and most of his guards were also killed in the process.

By August 2012, the faction has collapsed into multiple subgroups. Sultan took control of most of the bandits in the center of the Zone (namely the ones in Zaton), while those in Yanov were split between Jack's group and Shishak's group. Sultan seems to lead most of the bandit seen in-game (and it can be assumed his control expands outside Yanov and Zaton). Under Sultan's leadership, the bandits act more secretively than before and in a very organized way. They are less chaotic and randomly violent, at least when compared to their predecessors. They were also securing deals with other factions (namely with Duty officer Morgan), but would still attack Loners out of stalkers camps. On the other hand, Shishak and Jack were both operating independently from each other - Jack was leading a loan shark business, and Shishak kidnapped Loners to use as a ransom for money/artifacts.

The Bandits' influence on the Zone is once more determined by the player's choices. Degtyarev can help Sultan into controlling Beard's business and the Skadovsk, or he can also help Beard significantly reduce Sultan's influence among his own men.


Shadow of Chernobyl[]

In Shadow of Chernobyl, Bandits appear as the prime antagonistic group in the early parts of the game. Bandits are first encountered guarding the northern military checkpoint in the Cordon. After the player rescues Nimble, they will regularly attempt to raid the car park. Another group led by Vasya Boar tries to raid the Vehicle graveyard, and Bes requests the player's help to defeat them. Another group is seen raiding the Train hangar, and Seriy provides a mission to defeat them. More are seen attacking the stalkers camp in the Agroprom Research Institute, and a pack of them appear in the Agroprom Underground on the first trip there. They regularly appear in the Wild Territory after the first trip there, along with mercenaries. They often try to seize the Train hangar in the Garbage and the Agroprom stalkers base from the Loners.

Their base is located in the old Freedom base in the Dark Valley. The player will have to raid the base in order to recover a key to Lab X-18 from their leader Borov. Afterward, they continue to spawn there, although they will be likely wiped out by the army when the player exits Lab X-18.


Tyro Bandit[]

Tyro Bandits are the Bandit equivalent of the Loner faction's normal Stalkers; inexperienced rookies who are the weakest Stalkers in the zone. These Bandits wear black anoraks and ski masks and are equipped with low-level weapons, namely the PMm pistol and sawed-off shotgun. They are quite weak and can be brought down with several torso shots from the pistol or submachine gun, or a single headshot.

Skilled Bandit[]

Skilled Bandits are similar to Tyro Bandits, but are equipped with better weaponry such as the Viper-5 submachine gun or the AKM-74U compact assault rifle. Although their weapons are on the low end of the assault rifle class, they pose a reasonable threat to players wearing low-level armor. Like Tyro Bandits, Skilled Bandits can be brought down with several bullets from low-level weapons. Most Bandit encounters consist of a mix of Tyro and Skilled Bandits.

Master Bandit[]

Veteran Master Bandits can be distinguished by their black or brown longcoats. They are typically armed with AKM-74U or AK-74/2 assault rifles, although they can also be found with IL 85 assault rifles as well. Master Bandits typically start appearing in the deeper areas of the Zone, such as the Wild Territory, with 1 to 3 of them leading a group of Tyro and Skilled Bandits. Although their combat skills and weaponry are better, they can't seem to survive more damage than regular Bandits.

Pro Bandit[]

The highest ranking Bandits, Pro Bandits are pretty much identical to Master Bandits. Like Master Bandits, they can be distinguished by their black or brown longcoats and AK-class assault rifles, and are usually found leading a group of lesser Tyro or Skilled Bandits.


Bandits are hostile to all other factions in Shadow of Chernobyl (except the Mercenaries), although they only pose a minor annoyance to Duty, Freedom, and Monolith.

Clear Sky[]

In Clear Sky, the Bandits are depicted as a unified faction based in the Garbage. They capture other Stalkers and force them to dig through the irradiated piles of trash, even going so far as to set up a concentration camp for labor force prisoners.

As part of the faction wars, the player can join the Bandits, and help them increase their influence, or team up with the united Loners in order to release prisoners and fight the Bandits. The player can also remain neutral towards the Bandits, doing side quests for them and helping them fight mutants to offset the reputation loss that occurs from having to occasionally kill them under various circumstances, such as having to fight the bandits guarding Sidorovich's briefcase in Cordon and the ones near Strelok's safe room in the Agroprom Underground.

Bandit raiders from the Garbage also regularly infiltrate the Agroprom area through the underground tunnels, attempting to take over the Agroprom Factory from the Stalkers occupying it. Several of these Bandits are also occupying the tunnels near Strelok's safe room. These Bandits are hostile towards the player regardless of their reputation level with the Bandits in the Garbage, and will constantly respawn and attack the Agroprom Factory until the optional missions to eliminate their camps is taken from Orest. Because they are already hostile, killing them will only slightly lower the player's reputation level with the Bandit faction.

Yoga's policy for the Bandits of Clear Sky is to form a centralized force and lock down the Garbage, controlling all access points to this key area. In this, he is largely unsuccessful because of his own complacency but also because of massive assaults by Valerian's united stalkers and Duty, as well as Freedom incursions. Crumbling under pressure from these factors, the Bandit faction collapses, suffers decentralization and a change of leadership, as well as becoming disorganized as it is in Shadow of Chernobyl.

It is also interesting to note that an elite detachment of Bandits exists as far into the Zone as Limansk. All are Experienced Bandits wearing Merc suits and are heavily equipped with SA Avalanche rifles and Black Kite pistols. Their leader wears an exoskeleton and wields a heavy duty RP-74, very rare among Bandits, who usually field more inferior equipment. After fending off a mercenary assault force and being besieged by the Monolith, they are eventually defeated either by Monolith experts or by Scar. Unlike the Agroprom Bandits, this detachment of Bandits can be neutral or friendly towards Scar based on his reputation with the Bandit faction, though they provide no assistance and cannot be interacted with.


Rookie Bandit[]

Rookie Bandits are fairly common amongst the bandit ranks at the beginning of the game but tend to disappear towards the end. These Bandits wear next to no armor and are equipped with weak weapons, the PMm pistol and sawed-off shotgun. They are quite weak and can be brought down with several torso shots from a pistol or submachine gun, or a single headshot.

Experienced Bandit[]

Experienced Bandits are similar to Rookie Bandits, but are equipped with better skills and weapons. They pose a reasonable threat to players and AI wearing low-level armor. Like Rookie Bandits, Skilled Bandits have awful armor and can be brought down quite fast. Most Bandit squads consist of a mix of Rookie and experienced Bandits.

Veteran Bandit[]

Veteran Bandits can be distinguished by their brown stalker suits. They are typically armed with Chaser 13 or AK-74/2. These bandits provide a huge threat to the player and AI in Clear Sky as they throw many F1 grenades which can instantly kill most stalkers. Veteran Bandits typically start appearing when the bandit resource meter reaches half. They may not be as skilled as their expert counterparts but they have the equipment to be much more dangerous. These bandits are a real asset for players who join the bandit faction as they can easily drop any exoskeletons that the opposing factions throws at them.

Expert Bandit[]


Bandits are hostile to all other factions in Clear Sky except Freedom, although they occasionally bug and shoot a Freedom member which leads them to be hostile to them as well. Their greatest threat is the never ending horde of squads that Duty sends towards them. The stalkers will never make a move to defeat the bandits if the player is not part of the stalker faction. A player who has joined the bandit faction needs to single handedly kill as many Duty faction members as possible and stay in Agroprom whilst the bandits move up. The bandits can easily beat the stalkers on their own and do not require the help of the player until towards the end. Basically all the player does once joining the bandits is kill Duty members to stop the never ending spam of heavily armored and equipped AI.


In Clear Sky, the Bandits are notorious for their extortion. Their checkpoints guarding the area exits will take all of the player's money any time the player attempts to pass through to another area, regardless of Scar's faction reputation with them.

Upon first entering the Garbage, the Bandits control every exit from the area, but other factions will start to fight over these checkpoints as the player progresses through the main quest. The Stalkers and Bandits will regularly take the Cordon exits from each other after Scar helps Father Valerian in his dispute with the military, while Freedom will take over the exits to the Dark Valley after Scar helps them with their mercenary problem, and Duty will take over the exits to Agroprom after Scar helps them flood the underground to deal with their mutant problem. Once another faction has taken over an exit point from the Garbage, the player no longer needs to worry about Bandit extortion from that checkpoint. Also, Bandits will not attack the Freedom checkpoints, while Duty is heavily equipped enough to defend from any Bandit attack.

Below is a list of events where Bandits have an opportunity of robbing you early on, and some potential countermeasures.

  • Cordon to the Garbage - Your first encounter will be with Bandits guarding the receiving outpost from the Cordon to the Garbage. You can choose to sprint past them and risk several hits from them, or you could take a detour by going to the Dark Valley and taking the upper path to the Garbage instead (though Bandits will sometimes occupy this checkpoint as well). If you're lucky, Stalkers will manage to take over one of the Garbage-to-Cordon checkpoints before you need to travel to the Garbage, allowing you to pass through unmolested.
  • Basement tripmine - This is the part of the main questline where the Bandits will rig the basement where Fang's PDA is located, causing the player to be knocked out cold. During the player's incapacitation, they will take whatever cash and items he has on him. While the cash is permanently lost, the player can still take revenge and get your items back from the Bandits nearby, as there is a PMm and some ammo near his PDA. If you want to save yourself some trouble, dump all of your items in a stash or near the rubble at the entrance of the basement and simply get them back when you get Fang's PDA. As for your cash, this is not avoidable but there is a way for you to cut your losses. You could spend your money on food items and sell them back afterward, because food items don't depreciate in value. You can also simply splurge all of your cash on upgrades, repairs, and supplies so it won't be a total loss.
  • Garbage to the Agroprom research institute - This is immediately after the tripmine incident. You have 0 RU but the flash drive near Fang's PDA can be traded to Limpid for 12 500 RU. In order not to lose any money, it is simpler to delay in trading in the flash disk and wait until you complete the job for General Krylov; since by that time Duty will have already secured all their entry checkpoints in the Garbage and you can get it again for free. Once the Bandits stop you, they'll get nothing out of you (since you have no money) and you can make your way to Agroprom without too many problems. Alternatively, you can go around the Bandit checkpoints by going back to Cordon and detouring through the Great Swamps, as the northern exit from the Swamps leads to the southern area of the Agroprom.

Call of Pripyat[]

In Call of Pripyat, the Bandits change into a slightly secretive faction, and they begin to act in a united and organized manner. The main leader, Sultan, has set up deals with several of the factions, including Freedom and some members of Duty. These deals are usually artifact exchanges and weapon purchases.

It seems Sultan kept to the shadows and observed the failings of the Bandits under Yoga's and Borov's leaderships, and comes to realize that open warfare with multiple other factions could only work against the Bandits in the long term. Along their new way of work, Bandits occasionally do raids on Stalkers and attempt to claim superiority.

There also appears to be two, if not three, distinct factions, operating independently of another. The Bandits of Yanov do not always listen to Sultan, and usually work in the more traditional sense, holding up Loners, even kidnapping and extorting others for financial gain - some of them go as far as to immediately open fire on Loners and unaffiliated Stalkers, such as the player, without warning. These 'classic' Bandits are led by Jack, who runs a loan-shark business that has taken some Loners as victims. He was also loan-sharking Vano. Another group is led Shishak who holds Mitay for ransom in the container warehouse.

Notably, even if the player has good terms with the Bandits, Jack and Shishak do not recognize this. Moreover, there is always a hostile group of Bandits near the Jupiter plant.



Comparatively common, Rookie Bandits wear the trademark black anorak and blue track pants that they wore in the first two games. Their armory is somewhat upgraded, as all of them will carry at least a Sawed-off shotgun, with some carrying AKM-74/2U. Their jackets are in fact the worst armor in the game, with no protection whatsoever. They can be dropped with ease with nearly any weapon.


Usually working in tandem with a Rookie or another Experienced, these fellows wear the brown trenchcoats that Veterans wore in Shadow of Chernobyl. They wield the same weaponry as Rookies, but occasionally equip AKM-74/2 and Chaser 13 instead. They also carry grenades and can be just a bit more of a fight than their less experienced comrades.


Wearing the Bandit variant of the Merc Suit, the Veterans are the toughest of the Bandits regularly seen in the game. They tend to wield AKM-74s and occasionally Chaser 13 shotguns, as well as an ample supply of grenades. Otherwise they're fairly unremarkable foes.


Wearing the black trenchcoats, Expert Bandits are a rare sight, and have a fairly short lifespan compared to other Experts. Despite being fairly intelligent and tactically sound in combat, they simply don't have the equipment to match their opponents and thus often die in droves against them. They tend to use AK-74s exclusively, but some may make use of Eliminator shotguns and AC-96/2s, or SGI-5ks.

Some Merc Suit Bandits such as Knuckles are also considered Experts, but use weak weaponry such as Viper 5s and Chaser 13s.


The common Bandit is usually seen wearing a black anorak and track suit pants, as well as a hooded shirt. Some higher rank Bandits are seen wearing long hooded trenchcoats. Bandits tend to be armed with light, worn weapons such as sawn-off shotguns and Viper 5 sub-machine guns. Bandits found in the series have the image of Marijuana emblem on their backpacks and track suit pants, slightly resembling Adidas real-life entry-level track pants.


The bandits are using mostly low-end Eastern Bloc weaponry.




Sub-machine guns[]

Assault rifles[]



Clear Sky Bandit bugs[]

In Clear Sky, the Bandits had a severe bug that would discourage and even prevent some from joining their faction. Before patch 1.5.05, Borov, Yoga and Senka would go out of the base and attack whenever the Bandit base was attacked. Although the death of Senka isn't significant and more of beneficial as one can search his corpse for a Black Kite, the death of Borov removes the faction's barman and the death of Yoga will permanently end any chances of joining the bandits. After patch 1.5.05, this bug was fixed, but not completely removed, as Yoga might still wander off and attack hostilities outside the base and become stuck in a location and prevents the player from talking to him. Reloading one's quick save will reset Yoga from this bug.

Also, Bandits and Freedom are antagonistic to each other, but if player joins one of these factions, second of them will not be an enemy to player (however, joining Bandits will reset Freedom's respect to neutral).


  • The Bandit faction is known for their repetitive, humorous lines and terminology. One infamous example is: "А ну, чики-брики и в дамки! " ("A nu, cheeki breeki i v damke!"), which is well known even outside the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. community, often used to stereotypically represent the Gopnik culture.
  • Some Bandits can be heard humming the song "Gop Stop" by Aleksander Rosenbaum.
  • Despite being loved for their humourous lines in the outsides of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. community, most people kill the bandits and assist the loners - since they are bandits.
  • The Bandits faction were originally going to be allied with the Monolith faction, although the reasoning for this is unknown. [source/verification needed]
  • Bandit can be seen donning striped tracksuits, especially those of the Adidas manner, referencing to the stereotypical no-good gopnik and thug culture.
  • In Shadow of Chernobyl, on extremely rare occasions, a randomly generated bandit may be wearing a Sunrise suit, making it easy to mistake them for a Loner. This is likely the Sunrise suit bandit being drawn into combat by the A-Life system without having a chance to go through their scripted sequence.


  1. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, Father Valerian: "From Sidorovich, you say… so, you know about the commander, too? Alright, I’ll be straight with you. We used to cooperate with the army. They’d allow us to transport goods safely through the outpost and let us in on some useful information. We paid well for their services. But then we found out that jerk of a commander worked for both sides - he supplied the bandits with our whereabouts! Then he went and sold two of our guys as slaves at the Garbage! That was the last straw."
  2. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, Borov: "Huh? What is he, crazy? It’s like, the best place to skim cash from diggers, ever! Well, this spells the end of our chief, believe you me. He’s done for. The smugglers are already hiding, and with the flea market out of action, the diggers are gonna dry up real quick. In a few months the boys won’t have anyone to fleece, and what is Yoga gonna tell them? Well, I’ll have a few words with the boys... Yoga is digging his own grave..."
  3. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, Borov: "Kicking my heels and pouring drinks, that’s what I’m doing. Wasting my friggin’ time, basically. I’ve wanted to be a leader since I was a kid and I ain’t never been a flunky. And look at me now, pouring vodka and watching Yoga do jack shit and get fat. The boys ain’t doing much either. Man, if I was the top dog around here I’d find them something to do! We’d stir up so much trouble the Zone would shake worse than it does after an emission."