Property crime is a major problem in the United States, with over 6 million reported cases in 2021 alone. To keep their homes & businesses safe, property-owners need to install durable glass security resistance. Yet with so many options available for window security, how can a property-owner tell if a solution is durable enough for their windows & doors?
Glass ballistic standards exist to give property-owners a specific, regulated look at a security solution’s durability to ballistic impact. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dig into glass ballistic tests, different types of ballistic standards, and some key frequently asked questions.
- What are Glass Ballistic Tests?
- Different Types of Ballistic Testing Standards for Glass
- Frequently Asked Questions About Ballistic Impact Testing
What are Glass Ballistic Tests?
Glass ballistic tests are tests specifically designed to test the durability of bullet resistant glass solutions. Through these tests, regulatory agencies can determine just how resistant glass is, and apply a specific rating to tell consumers how one type of resistant glass compares to another.
Glass ballistic tests determine rating levels by firing a number of rounds into glass, while additionally noting the size of the weapon used to shoot the glass. To reach the best rating, the entirety of a bullet resistant glass system must absorb the force from the highest force of projectile — including glazing material, frame, and anchors.
Ultimately, glass ballistic tests sort bullet resistant glass into ratings within accepted standards created by different regulatory agencies. Each of these standards have different methodologies, offering a variety of methods to determine what impact-resistance a solution provides.
Different Types of Ballistic Testing Standards for Glass
While there are a variety of ballistic testing standards for glass, three of the most commonly used are UL752, NIJ 0101.06, and EN 1063. Here are brief summaries of each, alongside the standards themselves.
UL752 Ballistic Standards
The Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL), now known as UL Solutions, is a non-profit, global safety science company — the largest and oldest independent testing laboratory in the United States. Rating products in over 100 countries, UL Solutions tests a diverse suite of technology for safety standards, including bullet resistant glass. To be rated for a protection level, glazing must both not be penetrated by shots and resist all spalling at various temperatures.
The UL Ballistic Standard has 8 levels, tested as follows:
|Protection Level||Ammunition||No. of Shots|
|Level 1||9mm Full Metal Copper Jacket with 3. Lead Core||3|
|Level 2||357 Magnum Jacketed Lead Soft Point 3.||3|
|Level 3||44 Magnum Lead Semi-Wadcutter 3. Gas Checked||3|
|Level 4||30 Caliber Rifle Lead Core Soft Point (.30-06 caliber)||1|
|Level 5||7.62mm Rifle Lead Core Full Metal Copper 1 Jacket, Military Ball (.308 caliber)||1|
|Level 6||9mm Full Metal Copper Jacket with 5 Lead Core||5|
|Level 7||5.56mm Rifle Full Metal Copper Jacket with 5 Lead Core (223 caliber)||5|
|Level 8||7.62mm Rifle Lead Core Full Metal Copper||5|
NIJ Ballistic Standards
The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is the research, development, and evaluation agency of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). Although mostly known for its body armor standard (NIJ Standard 0101.06), the NIJ also has a standard for ballistic materials (NIJ Standard 0108.01). NIJ standards exclusively test whether or not a bullet penetrates a glazing.
The NIJ has four main levels and two sub-levels for a total of six rankings. They are as follows:
|Armor Type||Test Ammunition||RQD. Hits Per Specimen|
|I||LRHW Lead 38
Special RN Lead
JSP 9mm FMJ
|II||357 Magnum JSP (higher velocity round)
9mm FMJ (higher velocity round)
|III-A||44 Magnum, Lead SWC Gas Checked
|III||7.62mm, 308Winchester FMJ||5|
EN 1063 Ballistic Standards
EN 1063, also known as CEN 1063, is a security glazing standard to measure the protective strength of bullet-resistant glass created by the European Committee for Standardization (also known abbreviated as CEN). The committee brings together the standardization bodies of 34 European countries.
The standard incorporates seven standard threat levels for fire from small arms, alongside two classes dedicated exclusively to shotgun blast. Similar to UL752 standards, EN 1063 are rated for both penetration and spalling.
Here are the full qualifications for each level of the EN 1063 standard.
|Class Type||Test Ammunition||No. of Shots|
|BR1||.22 LR (L/RN)||3|
|BR2||.9mm Luger (FJ1/RN/SC)||3|
|BR3||.357 Magnum (FJ1/CB/SC)||3|
|BR4||.44 Rem Magnum (FJ2/FN/SC)||3|
|SG1||12/70 (Solid Slug 3)||1|
|SG2||12/70 (Solid Slug 3)||3|
NGA ASTM F3561 Standard
Known for developing new testing standards in response to expanding parts of the glass industry, the National Glass Association (NGA) is the largest trade association within the field, comprising 1,700 member companies. As school shootings have risen across the United States, protection from active shooters has become a major area of importance for the association.
Following an eight-month, multi-step review process, the NGA developed the “Standard Test Method for Forced-Entry-Resistance of Fenestration Systems After Simulated Active Shooter Attack.” According to its website, this standard will “promote the use of glazing for visual awareness and entry deterrent in a meaningful way to address the risk, threats and vulnerabilities of educational facilities.”
Unlike previous standards mentioned above, the ASTM F3561 standard does not test for complete ballistic resistance; instead, it evaluates the ability to create an opening sufficient size to permit passage of a test shape through it. The procedures are as follows:
- 10 ballistic rounds from a single weapon and ammunition type are fired into the glazing products in a tight burst
- The weapon that must be used in the testing is the AR-15 with 5.56x45mm ammunition, as it is the most commonly used weapon in school shooting attacks
- Following the initial weakening from the ballistic assault, the glazing is then struck with a center-mass, 100-pound mechanical impactor at eight different drop heights
Frequently Asked Questions About Ballistic Impact Testing
How are Ballistics Tests Performed?
Glass ballistic tests consist of firing a number of rounds into glass to test if a glazing can withstand that specific level and volume of impact. Ratings are achieved based on which level of impact resistance the glazing sustains — changing based on number of rounds fired, types of rounds, distance between firing, and velocity of a shot. Between firing every round, the tester will check if a glazing has been penetrated.
How Does Ballistic Testing Work?
Ballistic testing is usually conducted by a dedicated materials lab trained in testing for a specific ballistic standard. Once rounds are fired during testing, scientists will check to see how the rounds affected the glazing. Depending on the standards, glazing will be judged based on whether or not the bullets fully penetrate glass, or if they spalled (spread dangerous flying debris due to impact). This process is then repeated varying amounts of time depending on the testing standard.
How Long Does a Ballistic Test Take?
Generally, as a test only consists of a few rounds being fired, an actual ballistic test won’t take more than a day. However, due to multiple rounds of testing, set-up for testing, processing, product delivery, and back-log within laboratories, the length of time to hear back about a ballistic test will vary. If waiting for the results of ballistic testing, contact appropriate laboratories for accurates finish times.
How do EN1063 Standards Compare to UL752 Standards for Glazings?
EN 1063 standards and UL753 standards are similar in that both require glazing to both withstand penetration and prevent spalling. Generally, however, UL752 testing is more thorough, requiring multiple samples tested at diverse temperatures (while EN 1063 is only tested at ambient temperature). Additionally, the two standards test different types of ammunition for different levels. For specific differences in standards for each, see the charts listed anova.
How do NIJ Ballistic Standards Compare to UL752 Standards for Glazings?
While the NIJ standard can be useful, the UL752 standard is generally considered superior to NIJ 0108.01. UL standards look for both penetration of glazing and spalling, whereas the NIJ standard only considers complete perforation of a panel within rankings. In turn, UL752 offers a more nuanced, specific look at the strength of a glazing.
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