This series of articles is an introduction to the multi-level security film and/or system options available to you. In our previous articles, we broke down the four tiers: security film, TRI-SHIELD®, Riot Glass®, and Ballistic Glass. In this article we will focus on Ballistic Glass.
Ready to get Rambo’ed Up? Ballistic glass may have a place in your arsenal. It certainly has its benefits. But for starters, ballistic glass is not bullet-proof. It is bullet resistant. Now, let’s delve into the benefits and limits of ballistic glass.
The phrase “bullet proof glass” is commonly used to describe a material that offers a certain level of resistance against ballistic threats. However, this is a misnomer as no material can completely protect against all types of bullets. No matter how high its protection level, the glass will eventually give way to a persistent ballistic attack.
Most bullet-resistant glass products are actually made of polycarbonate, acrylic, or glass-clad polycarbonate. The level of protection offered will depend on the material used, how it is manufactured, as well as its thickness. While no material can truly be “bulletproof” glass, various manufacturers offer quality bullet resistant glass, as well as glazing technologies to offer protection against gun violence.
What is Ballistic Glass?
Ballistic glass is a strong and optically transparent material that is particularly resistant to penetration by projectiles. However, it is not completely impenetrable.
It has been trusted as a barrier for many different uses, from protecting the storefront of a jewelry store from improvised projectiles, to protecting military and private vehicles from bullets. Bullet resistant glass does this by dispersing the projectile’s kinetic energy upon impact. It’s important to understand that bullets will almost always pierce at least the first layer of material.
Bullet resistant glass can be composed of several different materials, all offering a different level of protection. These levels of protection range from Level 1, which can sustain three 9mm bullets, to Level 10 which can protect against a 50 BMG bullet.
The more commonly used levels for storefronts are as follows:
- Level 2 Polycarbonate with this protection level is just over an inch thick. This bullet resistant glass is able to protect against three .357 Magnum rifle bullets, providing significant protection for its thickness and weight.
- Level 3 This is often the strongest variety of bullet resistant polycarbonate offered. It is about 1.25 inches thick and can protect against three shots from a .44 magnum.
- Level 4 This top-rated bullet resistant glass product offers added security for retail, banking, and government customers. Level 4 bullet resistant glass is a 4-ply compilation of glass and polycarbonate that can be manufactured up to 1-1/2” thick. This option can stop a shot from a .30-06 hunting rifle.
There are several different types of resins used for bullet resistant glass. Acrylic and polycarbonate plastic are extremely popular choices. Both of these resins are extremely structurally sound and provide a high level of optical clarity.
Another commonly used form of bullet resistant glass is bullet resistant polycarbonate. This option is manufactured by layering polycarbonate with polyurethane layers in between. A sheet of polycarbonate-based bullet resistant glass can provide three levels of protection from several 9mm bullets.
How does Ballistic Glass work?
As previously mentioned, bullet resistant glass absorbs the force of an impact, particularly resulting from gun shots. Initially, the bullet will pierce the first layer of material. However, the next layer of polycarbonate plastic will provide even more resistance, and typically the bullet’s force will dissipate upon impact.
If there is still enough velocity being applied by the bullet, then that bullet may pierce the next layer of material. This process continues until either a layer of plastic stops the bullet, or until the bullet emerges through the barrier—with far less vigor propelling it forward. At this point, even if the bullet pierces the bullet resistant glass its power will be decreased significantly, protecting both individuals and product on the other side.
Thus, bullet resistant glass or resin, is engineered to minimize the kinetic energy of bullets. It’s important to note that bullet resistant glass is only effective against a few bullets at a time. Eventually, the protective qualities will lessen with the impact of more and more bullets fired into the glass.
Is Ballistic Glass right for your store?
We’ve shared numerous options to protect your storefront in this article series; from TRI-SHIELD™ to Riot Glass® Gen II, as well as Ballistic Glass. The choice for the right storefront protection lies within the circumstances surrounding your location and the cannabis business in general.
In educating you on what’s available, we’ve laid the groundwork for the future of your store’s safety and security. If you would like to take the next step, reach out to us to schedule a complimentary storefront security survey.