The Big Myth About Bulletproof Glass

Published: May 22, 2024

3 minute read

Bulletproof Glass

When exploring ways to bolster security of a building, adding bulletproof glass may be a common consideration. However, there’s one major problem with bulletproof glass – it doesn’t exist.

 

That’s right. No glass is 100% bulletproof. All glass types are penetrable when repeatedly hit with enough force from powerful firearms or other forms of high-powered attacks. However, there are types of glass that offer high levels of protection against forced entry. Ballistic glass and attack-resistant glass are designed to absorb the energy of an attack without breaking and significantly prolong the time and effort required to force entry into an opening. In this article, you’ll learn about the advantages and disadvantages of ballistic and attack-resistant glass and why attack-resistant glass may be a better choice for some facilities.

Ballistic Glass

Ballistic glass, also known as bullet-resistant glass, typically offers the most resistance against bullets among all the different glass types. Commonly used on banks, government buildings and military facilities, ballistic glass is made up of multiple layers of plastic (polycarbonate or acrylic) and glass (tempered or laminate). The more layers of plastic and glass, the more security offered to the building occupants. In fact, this glass is available in a wide variety of sizes, reaching thicknesses as large as several inches. In its thickest forms, ballistic glass can be very dense and heavy, making it difficult to handle and install.

 

When shot, the multiple layers of the ballistic glass absorb the energy of the bullet, which manifests in the cracking of the glass. The overall unit stays intact, reducing the probability of penetration from additional bullets.

 

Ballistic glass is an excellent building security tool thanks to the following advantages.

  • Offers high levels of protection against attacks, including high-powered firearms.
  • Can be customized to accommodate the unique needs of medium to high security facilities.

However, there are some challenges with ballistic glass. The disadvantages include the following.

  • Can be cost prohibitive (the thicker the glass, the higher the price).
  • Can be difficult to install due to the glass being heavier and thicker than other glass types.
  • Coloring can become an issue over time.
  • May require special cleaning techniques to maintain the glass.

Attack-resistant glass

Attack-resistant glass is another form of security glass made of a layer of plastic sandwiched between two pieces of laminated glass. When struck by a bullet or weapon, the glass absorbs energy similar to ballistic glass, but it may let a bullet penetrate through it. However, the glass will fortify itself once hit or penetrated, making it extremely difficult to break.

While it may not withstand penetration from a bullet, this glass is designed to delay an intruder during an attack. This functionality allows for more time for occupants to follow lockdown procedures and emergency personnel to respond and arrive on scene.

 

Attack-resistant glass offers several benefits including the following features.

  • Can be manufactured to look just like tempered glass or customized to a facility’s needs.
  • Can be a more cost-effective solution to bolster security at an opening.
  • Typically, easier to handle and install and can be retrofitted into existing openings.
  • Can offer higher optical clarity than ballistic glass.

The comparative disadvantage of attack-resistant glass is it doesn’t offer the same level of protection as ballistic glass.

Why choose attack-resistant glass over ballistic glass?

While all facilities would benefit from the highest levels of protection offered by ballistic glass, attack-resistant glass is often a better fit for schools, churches and retail stores. In most cases, attack-resistant glass offers a more budget-friendly price tag. Plus, it typically retrofits into existing openings, reducing the need to replace the frame or any other components of the opening.

For attack-resistant glass, we recommend School Guard Glass.

School Guard Glass is an attack-resistant glass product designed, engineered and tested to withstand forced entry from an attacker while installed in standard commercial doors, frames and windows. In an intrusion event, this security glass provides adequate time for first responders to arrive on scene while lockdown procedures are implemented.