Building a Bandit Barrier: A System, Not Parts

Bullet Resistant Barriers

Ideally, when a business decides that their facility needs a bullet proof bandit barrier, the first thing they do is contact a firm specializing in designing such systems. Unfortunately, all too often bullet proof security isn’t even precisely designed. Instead, it emerges as a variety of different tradesmen work independently to complete their portion of a construction project. Just in case it doesn’t go without saying, that’s a far from ideal way to design your security system.


With decades of experience in bullet proof systems design, Total Security Solutions vice president Jim Richards is familiar with this slapdash approach to bandit barrier installation.
“Sometimes the general contractor will break everything out,” Jim explains, “The glazier handles the transaction window, the door guy’s got the door, the drywaller’s got the bullet resistant fiberglass. Doing it that way is not the best scenario. For example, the drywaller, he could care less about the door and the transaction window. All he’s been tasked with is making sure that, before hangs the drywall, those steel studs are lined with fiberglass.”
This can result in a perfectly suitable system–but if it does, it’s almost by chance. More likely that bandit barrier will have annoying ticks that regularly trip up workers trying to do their jobs (e.g., a package passer just out of reach from the transaction window, a wall with no outlet for the receptionist’s computer, bullet proof doors that swing the wrong way and perpetually slam into the counter). But it can also mean a system with a vital gap–perhaps no one tells the drywaller that the system has been bumped up to Level III, and so he only lays in Level I fiberglass.


Jim is quick to note, “It’s rare that you see anything that’s malicious, where people deliberately cut corners. But I’ve seen systems installed backwards, doors with no anti-jimmy plates–a lot of little things don’t get done, things that people don’t understand are requirements, but are vital to properly locking together every piece of that bandit barrier.”
The key to a solid bandit barrier is to see it not as individual items–a steel door, some thick acrylic windows, a stack of DuPont™ Kevlar® fiber–but as an integrated system. And designing that system shouldn’t be left up to four different guys who aren’t talking about and coordinating around your business and security needs.