What’s the Difference Between Bulletproof and Bullet-Resistant Glass?
The biggest difference between the bulletproof and bullet-resistant glass is that one is often misused while the other is the real deal. Do you know which is which? In this bulletproof vs bullet-resistant glass showdown, we’ll explain what the real differences are as well as the different types of protective glass available by the level of protection provided.
Bulletproof: A Commonly Used Word that is Technically Wrong
The word bulletproof is in wide use across society, and even those of use in the protective glass industry use it as well for that very reason. From a technical perspective, however, as soon as you start pairing the word bulletproof with glass, you’re venturing onto thin ice. Let’s take, for example, a piece of glass built to withstand several rounds of ammunition from a small handgun. Is it bulletproof? Technically, no. A single round from a much more powerful gun and a larger-caliber bullet will likely penetrate it. In fact, although it should protect against three rounds of bullets from the small handgun, if you kept firing more rounds at the glass, it would eventually give in.
The truth is, no matter how thick and strong you make a protective glass, there’s always going to be a bigger gun with a bigger bullet that can get through it. The more accurate term for what people mean when they say bulletproof glass is bullet-resistant glass. However, when you get up to the highest levels of protection the strongest protective glass provides, for all intents and purposes you can consider it bulletproof. But the highest levels of protective glass are both extremely heavy and quite expensive, putting fully bulletproof glass out of the reach of most businesses from both a practical and a budgetary perspective. In other words, most businesses are not using bulletproof glass, they’re using bullet-resistant glass and are getting as many benefits from it as they need.
What Bullet-Resistant Glass Can Do for Many Businesses
A business that wants to provide greater safety and security for its operations, as well as its employees, needs to think through the most likely type of gun violence that could occur at their location. This is how you match up your security needs to a budget that makes sense for the highest potential threat of gun violence.
Bullet-resistant glass is made by taking sheets of glass and putting transparent polycarbonate material between them, then high-pressure heating the sandwich up to seal everything together and harden it for greater strength. The more layers of these materials you add to the sandwich, the greater the level of protection provided (and the more it weighs and costs as well). Acrylic is another material often used for transparent bullet-resistant barriers. Learn more in How is Bullet Resistant Glass Made?
The vast majority of violent crimes that happen to various types of businesses are committed with handguns such as a 9mm, a .357, or a .44 (a 9mm is the most common gun). Protection against that type of firearm is what most businesses need. In the bulletproof vs bullet-resistant glass showdown, bullet-resistant is what your business wants.
Bullet-Resistant Glass 101: Levels of Protection
Because we often find ourselves explaining this information to people who are thinking of bulletproof glass like they’ve seen in the latest James Bond movie, here’s the simple breakdown of the various types of bullet-resistant glass according to the level of protection they provide against what kind of weapon, along with what kinds of businesses are the most likely to need each type:
- Small handguns: Level 1 protection against 9mm handguns is a good choice for gas stations, retail outlets, convenience stores, and pharmacies.
- Large caliber handguns: Level 2 protection against a .357 magnum handgun is a great choice for a bank or a variety of financial institutions, and high-end jewelry stores.
- Super powered handguns: Level 3 protection against .44 magnum handguns is best for high-risk and high-occupancy public buildings, including school and government facilities as well as police stations.
- Automatic weapons, assault rifles: Levels 4–8 offer protection against high-powered rifle ammunition and are most often used in military applications and vehicles as well as at embassies and high-level government buildings.
The different levels of protective glasses described briefly above were established and are tested by Underwriters Laboratory. If you’d like a more in-depth explanation about the penetration capabilities of different kinds of guns, check out Understanding Penetration Levels by Bullet Caliber. You can also learn more about The Different Types of Bullet Resistant Glass Windows.
Bullet-Resistant Products for Businesses
The first thing that comes to mind when people think of protective barriers for the safety of a business and its employees in the face of potential gun violence is glass and windows. While that’s understandable, it’s just the starting point. Here are the various product categories at Creative Industries your business can explore to meet its needs:
- Bulletproof Windows: A robust selection of bullet-resistant window products to provide increased security and protection for your business and your employees.
- Deal Trays: Deal tray products protect staff when customer interactions include passing items back and forth to complete transactions.
- Talk Thrus: Clear communication with customers is essential and talk thrus facilitate speaking with customers while offering protection at the same time.
- Drawers: These are the well-known extendable drawer used to conduct transactions at drive-up windows.
- Pass Thrus: Larger than most drawers, these products are made to handle passing larger items back and forth when needed.
Many of the products we make are manufactured to standard specifications, but we can also customize any of our products to fit the unique needs and requirements of your business.
Creative Industries: A Trusted Partner in Safety and Security
Family-owned and family-operated since the 1970s, Creative Industries has built its reputation on getting to know each customer’s business and its security needs, and then collaboratively determining the products best suited to meet those needs. Our customer service and attention to detail is second to none. When Creative Industries is on the job, you can rest assured your bullet-resistant products will be carefully crafted to the needed specifications and will function as intended if installed properly—and we’re happy to provide installation advice and guidelines to any contractor who will be handling your installation. If your head is spinning because of all the options available and levels of protection provided, take a breath, relax, and give us a call at 800-776-2068. We’ll be happy to start the conversation about your needs and how we can meet them.