Purchasing Bullet Resistant Glass: Frequently Asked Questions

15 September 2020
15 September 2020, Comments Comments Off on Purchasing Bullet Resistant Glass: Frequently Asked Questions

Thanks to television shows and James Bond movies, there are a lot of misconceptions about what most people generally call bulletproof glass. When you have a building you want to protect from the threat of gun attacks, it’s important to understand some basic information about bulletproofing for increased safety and security. 

Got Questions About Buying Bulletproof Glass? We Have Answers!

For nearly 40 years, Indianapolis-based Creative Industries has been helping businesses and organizations across all industries protect their employees and the public with the right protective product for a range of threats and needs. Brothers Mark and Mike Clark got involved in the family business back in the 1980s and have helped hundreds of clients achieve a higher level of safety and security with all kinds of custom-made protective barriers. Call Creative Industries directly at 800-776-2068 to find out how we can do the same for you!

What’s the Difference Between Bullet Proof and Bullet Resistant Glass?

The correct term to use when talking about the kinds of protective products made by Creative Industries is “bullet resistant.” Everyone (including us) tends to use the phrase “bulletproof glass,” but the transparent barriers we’re talking about might not even be “glass” in the traditional sense. The products may be made of acrylic or polycarbonate/glass combinations. And they can’t technically be called “bullet proof” because bullets don’t just bounce harmlessly off the barrier as seen in movies and TV shows. A thick, solid concrete wall or six-inch-thick lead sheathing can be considered bullet proof. The kinds of transparent barriers we’re talking about here are bullet resistant and meet specific ballistic protective standards.

What Does “Spall” Mean and Does it Matter?

The problem with regular glass in a blast or gun attack is that flying glass shards can be just as damaging and lethal as bullets or an explosion. “Spall” is a word that refers to those flying glass shards. You’ll see “low-spall” or “no-spall” used in reference to some bullet resistant glass products, meaning they are designed to minimize spall. Using this language is tricky, however. A bullet resistant window effective in protecting against a 9mm handgun bullet might be considered no-spall in an attack with that specific kind of gun, but a much larger weapon and projectile could result in significant spall for that product. One of the most important things to keep in mind with bullet resistant glass is typically made to protect against the most common gun threat, which is a range of handgun weapons, and won’t be effective against much larger, more lethal weapons. 

What are the Ballistic Standards for Bullet Resistant Glass?

In the USA and Canada, the most commonly used standards are the levels described by UL (Underwriters Laboratories) in UL 752. There are many other ballistic ratings for bullet resistant products, including ASTM International, NIJ (National Institute of Justice), the State Department, and others, but UL 752 is the most widely used in the industry. UL 752 describes eight different levels of no-spall protection tested for specific types of firearm attacks. The vast majority of our clients need products in the Level 1-3 range. A rating of Level 1 protects against three shots of a 124-grain 9mm full metal copper jacket bullet with lead core. Level 2 protects against 3 shots of a 158-grain .357 magnum jacketed bullet with a lead soft point. And Level 3 protects against three shots of a 240-grain 44 magnum lead semi-wadcutter gas checked bullet. 

What are the Most Common Types of Bullet Resistant Material?

There all are kinds of bullet resistant glass out there, but most of it falls into three main categories, including acrylic, laminated polycarbonate, and glass-clad polycarbonate. Acrylic is a common choice for projects inside a building, such as our Bullet Resistant Teller Counter Model BRTC-SWTH. Laminated polycarbonate can be good for both interior and exterior applications, such as our Bullet Resistant Exterior Service Window, available in both a Level 1 acrylic or a Level 3 laminated polycarbonate using LEXGARD Laminates (interlaced layers of polycarbonate and polyurethane) made by GE’s plastics division. Glass-clad polycarbonate products (interlaced layers of glass and polycarbonate) are best used for higher-level UL rating applications (4 and above) in exterior installations. At Creative Industries we refer to the level of protection as different “bullet resistant glazing” options available with our products. Keep in mind that the higher the level of protection, the more weight the products have, which can be an important installation consideration.

What Cleaning Products Can I Use on Bullet Resistant Glass?

Acrylic and polycarbonate bullet resistant glass must not be cleaned with standard commercial glass cleaners such as Windex as those products can cause superficial cracks and require product replacement. Use a soft cotton cloth or microfiber towel and a diluted solution of mild detergent (such as Dawn dish soap) and water. 

Creative Industries: Your Partner for Effective Safety and Security

No one wants to spend all day wearing body armor, which is why it’s more practical to protect people from gun violence with bullet resistant transparent barriers, which you can think of as a kind of building armor. Our exterior products come with insulated options to minimize building energy loss and maintain the indoor climate. 

When considering bullet resistant glass barriers, we can customize any product that fits your unique needs in any industry or type of business. We are experts in bulletproofing and know the right product for each specific application. We keep our pricing reasonable and can work with your budget, although it’s difficult to put a price tag on the peace of mind you get from knowing your people are protected from the threat of gun violence while working in a building on your property. 

Protecting against every type of weapon is neither feasible nor affordable. We will help you determine the most likely types of gun attacks for your context and location and then design solutions to defeat those types of attacks. We are an agile company capable of changing our manufacturing process to meet a wide range of specifications and installation needs. Every job we do is far more than a mere business transaction, it is our way of helping make society safer from gun violence. If it’s time for your company to achieve greater security, call Creative Industries at 800-776-2068 to get the conversation started!