Often referred to as “bulletproof” glass, ballistic glass can refer to a range of glass products that are resistant to attacks by firearms. However, none of these products should really be marketed as “bulletproof” because this implies that bullets ricochet off the surface when in reality, most ballistic products are “bullet-resistant,” actually absorbing the impact of bullets.
The goal of ballistic glass products is to stop initial shots fired, slowing the attacker down and allowing those inside to escape to safety. Ballistic windows will often take numerous rounds of bullets before they become penetrable, but they do not stand up to a continual barrage of bullets.
There are plenty of products out there that claim to be bulletproof or bullet-resistant. Here, we’ll discuss which options are available and how to choose the ballistic product that’s right for you.
Ballistic Glass Options
It’s essential to understand the difference between the various products on the market that can sometimes be described as having ballistic glass qualities.
This type of glass is layered with a combination of PVB or resin interlayers to make it less susceptible to shattering. While it can enhance security and protect a building’s occupants from dangerous shards, it is generally not viewed as bullet-resistant. Like a car windshield, the lamination keeps the glass together after it has been penetrated, but it is unlikely to support a bullet from entering a building.
Ballistic Window Film
Some security window films may market themselves as “bulletproof” or as “ballistic film for windows.” These thin films made of polyurethane layers can be applied to existing glazing, so they might be appealing to those looking for a quick fix, rather than replacing the entire glazing system. However, these films are unlikely to stop a bullet in the same way that ballistic glass would.
Though it is called glass, this ballistic product is more commonly manufactured from a plastic-like polycarbonate, which has the appearance of glass with 250 times the strength. The polycarbonate, which has often been enhanced with layers of polyurethane, is what provides the highest level of bullet resistance, absorbing the impact of the bullet and keeping it from entering the building.
Ballistic Glass Ratings
When searching for a product to defend against ballistic attacks, you should search for something that has a ballistic rating. If a product does not list a ballistic rating, then it shouldn’t be considered bullet resistant. Ballistic glass products are rated based on how many and what kind of bullets it can resist from certain firearms. There are two industry standards commonly used to rate bullet resistance: Underwriters Laboratory (UL) Standard 752 or National Institute of Justice (NIJ) 018.01.
Within these two rating standards are eight levels of bullet resistance. Level 1 has an average glass thickness of 13/16” and can withstand three shots from a 9mm handgun. The thickness of the glass and power of the firearms it’s meant to withstand increase as the levels go up. Level 8 has an average thickness of 2 ⅜” and can withstand up to five shots from a 7.62mm rifle. As you can see, the effectiveness varies greatly, so make sure you understand which level you are getting when you purchase any ballistic glass product.
Best Ballistic Windows & Doors – BulletShield
Dubbed “Body Armor for Windows,” BulletShield, DefenseLite’s ballistic glass product, offers impressive ballistic resistance at a fraction of the cost of traditional solutions. Rated to UL 752 ballistic standards, these impressive polycarbonate shields mount onto existing window and door frames, creating a protective layer that mitigates ballistic attack to keep your building protected from active shooter threats.
These bullet-resistant shields are engineered to flex under attack, so they stand up to multiple shots, stalling the shooter and allowing time for those inside to seek safety. BulletShield’s ballistic glass can be installed on both doors and windows in schools and campuses, hospitals, government buildings, or any business that is susceptible to ballistic attack.
Each system is custom fabricated based on perceived threat levels, budgets, and existing glazing conditions. Installed by certified dealers, these ballistic systems may utilize exotic plastics, polycarbonates, or glass-clad shields, depending on performance requirements. All-weather adhesives, high-performance films, VHB tapes, and mechanical security anchors may be used to install the system.
With active shooter situations on the rise, there is no better time than now to enhance security with ballistic-resistant glass. Keep your students, employees, and building occupants safe with BulletShield.