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Sledge, a bandit leader

Bandits are hostile humans that inhabit Pandora. Most often encountered in large groups which are commonly referred to as tribes, clans, or gangs. They will kill anyone and anything in order to obtain equipment, guns, ammo, food, and fuel.




“Bandits” is the general term used to refer to the vicious tribes inhabiting Pandora. These criminals from the galaxy’s overcrowded penal systems were sent here as mine workers. After numerous years of hard labor, they could earn their freedom and a ticket back to a more civilized planet. The criminals tended to fall into two varieties: Those with useful skills (trustees), who were working off their sentences and trusted to keep the machinery and equipment operating; and those with psychotic tendencies (psychos), who had committed violent crimes and came to Pandora for good as an alternative to execution or life in solitary confinement.

One of the prisoners, a brutally violent man named Sledge, ran the largest of the prison gangs. He instigated a mass prison riot and overran the prison, killing most of the remaining guards and escaping from confinement. The surviving settlers, along with some of the less violent trustees, holed up in their settlements as best they could and staunchly defended their territory from the hostile indigenous life, as well as the escaped bands of prisoners. New Haven and Sanctuary are hanging on, but others have gone under. A few other settlers struck out on their own, preferring to take their chances alone rather than joining a larger settlement. The majority of the escaped prisoners grouped living off the land and raiding the remaining settlements or other gangs. They took what they needed to survive and reduce their competition. Many stole the armed runner vehicles used to get around by the guards, and formed roaming packs of bandits.

There is widespread debate as to how large the bandit population on Pandora is. Many attempts have been made by settlers and mercenaries alike to thin their numbers, but the bandits always seem to come back in full force a short while later. Camps that appeared entirely wiped out only hours before seem to almost magically replenish their numbers. One theory is that the bandits have mastered cloning technology and that as soon as a bandit is killed a signal is sent back to secret cloning labs to build a replacement. While this would explain both their numbers and why so many of them look and sound alike, it is unlikely that a group this uneducated has the mastery of genetics and medical science required for such a feat. Another theory is that the bandits have secret breeding facilities where hundreds of thousands of women are in a constant state of accelerated pregnancy. This theory would explain the absence of females amongst the bandits and has been popular enough to motivate several treasure hunters to search for the so called “Bandit Breeding Grounds”, but no one to date has reported any successful findings.

The majority of the bandits encountered on Pandora were once convicts, used as cheap labor to mine lucrative veins of Eridium by the Dahl corporation. During these operations, a group of convicts had uncovered something. Reports of the discovery were hushed up, but soon after a number of the convicts began to exhibit radical physical and mental changes. When Dahl began to withdraw from the planet it left behind a veritable army of angry, desperate, long disenfranchised men still finding themselves at the mercy of a hostile world but without the immediate threat of authority.

Eventually, the convicts overthrew or made deals with their captors and made new bases for themselves using scavenged equipment and weapons. Many organized themselves into a feudal society of bandit lords, with strongholds of various sizes providing bases of operation throughout Pandora's human-occupied lands. From these they stage attacks on more civilized settlements in a desperate bid to survive the harsh conditions of Pandora, such as shown by the quote above: raiding to capture women to breed with and support their numbers.

Bandits are found almost throughout the entirety of Pandora's Borderlands and are most common in the Arid Badlands, the Dahl Headlands, Rust Commons West, Rust Commons East, and the Salt Flats. Locations such as Sledge's Safehouse, Headstone Mine, Treacher's Landing and Krom's Canyon serve as bandit strongholds.

General Strategies

Although usually not very powerful on their own, bandits are most often encountered in groups. With a random mix of small arms, long range rockets, and even melee and suicide attacks, they can prove to be formidable opponents for the unwary. Bandits sometimes wield powerful weaponry and shields, making even small groups of them potentially very dangerous. Bandits are not armored enemies, so center-mass shots are viable, but head shots offer more highly concentrated damage and help end fights more quickly.

When fighting groups of bandits with Thugs, Killers, and Raiders in the mix, it is advisable that players keep their distance and stick to adequate cover. If two bandits are able to open fire, then inch back farther behind a rock or pile of stacked crates, until only one is visible. Then pick off the group one by one. Be aware that Killers and Raiders are often armed with rapid-fire weapons such as combat rifles and SMGs that quickly strip down shields and health, so darting forward out of cover with the intent of storming an enemy position with a shotgun is not recommended. This same strategy can also be applied to Midget Shotgunners, and the caveat against using shotguns against this diminutive foe also applies.

When fighting groups containing non-badass psychos of any type, players would do well to stand their ground and gun one psycho down after the other with short-ranged critical hits with a shotgun, or a rapid burst of fire. Simply spraying a group or individual with fire is not as effective as waiting until the aiming reticle is full and then pulling the trigger for a quick kill. Timing it just right might be a problem, but psychos have to stop to swing their buzz-axes, which allows a backpedaling character to be kept out of melee range. A benefit of this strategy, other than ammo conservation, is that a character doesn't have to break cover when under fire by other bandits to dispatch the oncoming psycho.

Bruisers are often few and far between. Complete with either a powerful machinegun or a rocket launcher, and a robust amount of health, these brawlers can withstand substantial punishment under fire while responding in kind. Fortunately their large heads present easy critical targets and they do not seek cover. What is more, when under fire from powerful rapid-fire weapons they flinch, which can foul their aim if not stop them from firing all together. Like with smaller ranged bandits, simply sticking to cover and then concentrating fire on a bruiser will take one down quickly.

Bandits in the Dahl Headlands and the Salt Flats are known to be fond of patrolling in vehicles. Out Riders present fast moving targets that can easily catch unwary Vault hunters by surprise when encountered on foot, and can pose a great threat to pedestrians players. In the Sunken Sea and Deep Fathoms, bandits comb the dust in larger, tougher Cheta Paws.

Bandit Types

Bandit Vehicles

Bandit Leaders

Most regions on Pandora are dominated by different bandit groups. Each group is headed by a bandit lord. Bandit lords, act as leaders, but more or less dictators, of their outfit considering anything they say goes. Bandit lords usually control only one region and usually have lieutenants to control certain areas. For example, Sledge was the leader of the Arid Badlands bandits but had Bone Head and Nine-Toes as lieutenants. Bandit lieutenants are usually found in small camps, controlling a smaller area. However, bandit lords are found in great camps or strongholds. These strongholds are the largest of bandit camps in a certain region, sometimes encompassing an entire area.

Secret Armory of General Knoxx
Claptrap's New Robot Revolution
  • D-Fault - D-Fault is a bandit who manages to survive the continuous attacks of Claptraps by barricading his bandits in a fortified encampment in Dividing Faults.

Bandit Camps

Bandits have many bases of operation on Pandora. In most cases they act as small outposts, usually having tents or small buildings that the enemies will come out of. Some camps will be very small with only a few structures and enemies, while others will be relativity large and have many enemies. Oftentimes, the camps will have safes, lockers, ammo boxes, and even Chests. Bandits of all castes are commonly found at these camps, and depending on the levels and numbers of the player characters badass versions of bandits will appear in camps as well. These encampments are scattered throughout many of the areas in the story, from the beginning through to the Salt Flats.

While most camps that are found are small and numerous, there are also a fewer number of bandit strongholds controlled by regional bandit lords that serves as hives of bandit activity and are reputed to govern many of the lesser groups:

Borderlands 2


Bandits have changed little in the five years since the first vault opened. They have learned to make their own guns however. They are seen for the most part in all areas that are not directly dominated by Hyperion, and each kind of bandit fights in a different manner. As with all of the other enemy types, some enemies only appear during True Vault Hunter Mode.

Bandit Gangs

There are several prominent gangs of bandits in Borderlands 2.

The first gang/clan/tribe seen are the Fleshrippers, or Rippers for short. Boom and Bewm are members according to Claptrap. During Interview with a Vault Hunter, Moxxi confirms that Captain Flynt was their king. Their flag is a cross between a dragon and an anchor. They are seen in Southern Shelf (The bandits chasing Cpl. Reiss are marked on the ECHO as Ripper Bandits, despite being referred to as Bloodshots by Reiss. However, Rippers do not maintain a presence there, as it's a 15-hour boat ride from Southern Shelf to Three Horns).

The most prominent bandit clan is the Bloodshots. Flanksteak leads the Bloodshot gang, though he was never seen in person. Bloodshots dominate much of the frozen wastes and operates out of the Dahl 3rd Brigade Memorial Dam, known as Bloodshot Stronghold. Their symbol is a giant red eye.

The Bloodshots' bitter rivals are the Crimson Raiders, which took Sanctuary from them. Their other rivals, which split off of the main clan for religious reasons, are Incinerator Clayton's Children of the Firehawk, a cult formed around deifying Lilith. This group appears exclusively in Frostburn Canyon and has a high proportion of nomad pyros and other fire-based bandits among its members.

The Slab gang have an extraordinary presence in Thousand Cuts, not only being in constant war with Hyperion, but also effectively hold them in place at the Hyperion bunker there. Additionally, the Slabs also manage to fight a two front war against the Sawtooth. Their successes can be attributed to the presence of their brutish leader, the Slab King. Their flag is their king's fist.

The Sawtooth gang has a notable presence in Sawtooth Cauldron, making its base in the Buzzard Nest, a towering structure in the middle of the canyon. The Sawteeth maintain an air force of buzzards to ensure their dominance over their patch. They are led by the unimpressive Mortar. Their flag is a grenade smoking a cigar.

Bandit Types

Bandit Vehicles

Bandit Bosses

Bandit NPCs

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel



Bandit units are absent from the main Pre-Sequel game, since the faction has been replaced with scavs. The Claptastic Voyage DLC, however, features various digital versions of Bandit enemies, mostly as re-skins of Bandit units from Borderlands 2.


Bandit Types

Borderlands 3


Bandit units are absent from the main game as they are replaced by the Children of the Vault and only appear in the Psycho Krieg and the Fantastic Fustercluck DLC. They reuse COV lines and are first encountered in Sapphire's Run.

Bandit Locations

Bandit Units

Bandit Leaders


  • According to Patricia Tannis (during Minecart Mischief), when Dahl withdrew from Pandora, they did not evacuate all of their personnel; some bandits were scientists and engineers for the corporation before it abandoned them. This helps explain how they manage to build what they do despite being insane.
  • Sometimes, the Scavs in Pre-Sequel are still referred to as Bandits.

See Also