Recently Internet Checker Taxicab Archive member Chris Monier of France posted on the club Facebook page “A few years ago , while restoring my partition on a 1981 Checker Cab , I took the partition out of the cab for painting and thought about trying to shoot at it with my 30 X 30 Winchester…and sadly to report …the bullet went through like butter!! Ok for avoiding a knife threatening attack but not bullet proof!  Chris added that he “left the hole in the partition for its NYC ambiance”.


The Life-guard partition failed with a 30-30 Winchester

In a 1972 Checker advertisement, Checker dealt with this very issue.  The introduction paints a very dire picture on the Taxi industry.  The ad presents “Things are tough all over. Remember when all you had to worry about was impossible traffic, unbelievable hours and unsympathetic lawmen? Now it’s a matter of survival!”



The copy then introduces Checker’s survival plan: The lifeguard partition.  The advertisement claims that “Checker has designed and engineered the Life-Guard partition. Floor to ceiling. Side to side, Bullet-resistant.  Made of ‘space-age’ Lexan and aluminum armor, it’s the first truly fail-safe partition ever made”.

According to John Logan former Checker plant General Manager and Checker Cab Club Facebook member  “I worked in the trim shop at Checker when the first bullet proof partition was built.  We were ready to install it when Morris Markin asked, if we had shot it?  We sent it to a local sports shop to be tested & it failed. Back to the drawing board. A week later we had one that passed the bullet test. The rest is history.”

So is the partition really bullet proof?  We have two perspectives, the word of the CMC engineer John Logan and Checker owner Chris Monier.


The Life-guard partition replaced this Safe-guard partition, the new partition featured top to bottom armored aluminum and Lexan

Well the answer is probably: yes and no.  Note in the advertisement, the actual words used are “Bullet-resistent”, not Bullet-proof”.

The .30-30 is considered to be the “entry-class” for modern big-game hunting cartridges. While it is very effective on deer-sized and black bear-sized game, we would venture a guess that most taxi robberies in NYC back in the 70’s were not executed using a Winchester 30-30.

It’s probably more likely that the partition was designed to guard against robbers with handguns.  Most handgun projectiles have significantly lower energy than centerfire rifles. What they lack in power, they make up for it in light weight, small size, concealability and practicality. The lack of power they possess, and caliber/bullet effectiveness, are widely debated topics with, law enforcement, ammunition companies and the military. Factors that can influence handgun effectiveness include handgun design, bullet types and bullet capabilities (e.g. wound mechanisms, penetration, velocity).

That said, based on known criminal behavior and handgun effectiveness the use of Lexan and armored aluminum would be enough protection to survive a shots, but a 30-30 Winchester, probably not.

So, is the partition bullet proof?  You decide.