What Type and Thickness of Bullet Resistant Glass do You Need?

28 September 2021
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28 September 2021, Comments Comments Off on What Type and Thickness of Bullet Resistant Glass do You Need?

Bulletproof Glass for Your Business: What Type? How Thick?

Businesses desiring to provide better security and protection to their operations and employees against the threat of gun violence can benefit from installing protective bulletproof barriers that make use of bullet resistant glass. But bulletproof glass doesn’t work the way it does in a James Bond movie or television show where bullets bounce harmlessly off what looks like regular glass. In this article, we explain the different types of bullet resistant glass and which varieties will meet the needs of most businesses.

Creative Industries: Bullet Resistant Glass Products

As a family-owned, family-operated business based in Indiana, Creative Industries has been helping companies across a wide range of industries meet their security needs with various types of bullet resistant barriers that provide the desired protection while also facilitating business transactions between employees and customers. Owners Mark and Mike Clark are always ready to discuss the security needs of any business, entertainment venue, sports stadium, government building, or any other facility in need of protection from gun violence. Call Creative Industries toll-free at 800-776-2068 to start the conversation.

How Thick Does Bulletproof Glass Need to Be?

Bullet resistant glass consists of layered materials (typically glass or acrylic along with a polycarbonate) to offer the visibility of glass with enough strength to stop a bullet. How thick does it need to be for a specific application? It depends on the type of gun and bullet being used. The higher the ballistic power of the weapon and projectile, the thicker the bullet resistant glass needs to be. It’s a matter of anticipating what type of gun is the most likely to be used and matching the right kind of bulletproof barrier to protect against it. In the bigger picture, the thickness of bullet resistant glass can range from 0.25 inches up to 3.5 inches and more. It’s worth noting that as thickness increases, so does the weight, which is something that must be considered in building design and renovation projects.

Bulletproof Glass 101: Types of Bullet Resistant Glass

While the range of protective materials used has increased over the years, there are still four basic types of bullet resistant glass as described below:

  • Acrylic: This plastic material is 50% lighter than glass and diffuses impact more effectively. Acrylic is tough but can be drilled, cut, and otherwise provide stability in bullet resistant systems. It’s typically used indoors.  
  • Polycarbonate: Layered with acrylic and other materials, it’s stronger than glass but is 80% lighter and offers even better visibility than acrylic. Polycarbonate intercepts bullets, performing like a catcher’s mitt to absorb impact. Like acrylic, it’s typically used inside facilities.
  • Glass-Clad Polycarbonate: A layer of polycarbonate is sandwiched between layers of glass, giving the product high visibility, greater strength, and overall durability. The power of glass-clad polycarbonate is in the layering effect. At 1-inch thick, this type of glass can stop a bullet fired from an M16 or AK-47. This is why glass-clad polycarbonate is used in dangerous outdoor scenarios, including areas prone to explosions, dangerous weather, or other high-impact intrusions.
  • One-Way Bullet Resistant Glass: This configuration contains an outside layer of glass and interior polycarbonate that works together to diffuse impact and continually absorb force. It is used most often in an armored car or military vehicle because, in a pinch, weapons inside the vehicle can be fired out through the glass without shattering the window or slowing the bullet down.

If you’ve ever wondered how bulletproof glass is manufactured, you can find out in our previous article, How is Bullet Resistant Glass Made?

Levels of Protection: What Does Your Business Need?

Protecting against hunting rifle ammunition requires a different approach than stopping the bullet fired from a 9mm Glock. That’s why glass thickness can range from 0.25 to 3.5 inches to protect against different categories of firepower. The level of protection offered by different types of bullet resistant glass is described by 8 different levels of protection:

  • 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 kinds of financial institution.
  • Superpowered 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 typically only used in military applications as well as embassies and high-level government buildings.

You can learn more about the ballistic power of different weapons in our previous article, Understanding Penetration Levels by Bullet Caliber. The art of creating bullet-resistant products for specific applications lies in how material and levels are combined through the layering process. For example, ¾-inch polycarbonate may provide level 1 protection, but another ¼-inch could elevate protection to level 2. Adding more layers and greater thickness can increase protection up to level 3. What’s critical is to understand your specific industry, patronage (who visits your location), and the most common potential threats. It’s this information that helps experts like Creative Industries construct the best solution for you. Our products typically come at Level 1 and Level 3 (since level 3 also protects against level 1 and level 2 weapons). 

Creative Industries: A Trusted Partner for Bullet Resistant Products

In an ideal world, Creative Industries wouldn’t need to exist. But the world is far from ideal and businesses of all types, schools, government buildings, and other facilities do need to protect employees from the ever-present threat of gun violence. The type of protection needed at your building depends on the type of operation and how you conduct transactions with customers or clients. Creative Solutions has built a rock-solid reputation for excellence in customer service over the decades because We are happy to speak with you about what kind of protective products are most suitable for providing the level of security desired. Call us at 800-776-2068 or fill out the contact us form to learn more about the options we provide, including custom products as needed.