The Different Types of Bullet Resistant Glass Windows

Violent crimes and gun violence go through ups and downs, just like any other metric that tracks society statistics. However much the figures change from year to year, one thing remains constant: Businesses and organizations of all types have to take the threat of gun violence seriously in order to protect their employees and operations.

Bullet resistant windows are one way to increase the safety and security everyone craves. Creative Industries has been a trusted name in bulletproof transparent barriers for nearly four decades. Give us a call at 800-776-2068 to discuss your needs and how we can meet them.
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Bullet-Resistant Windows by Various Characteristics

Bulletproof windows come in all shapes and sizes, can perform different functions to protect a business, and provide different levels of protection depending on the materials and methods used to create them. Learn more about the different types of bullet resistant glass windows on this page, as well as the specific products we make at Creative Industries to meet the safety and security needs in a variety of settings across a wide range of industries and organizations.

Bullet Resistant Glass Windows by Level of Protection Offered

The most widely used set of specifications that define various levels of bullet-resistant protection is the one created by Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL). The standard we follow, and the rest of the industry as well, is UL 752. It describes eight different level of protection that can be assigned to bulletproof products as follows:

  • Level 1: Resists a minimum of three shots from a 9mm at a minimum velocity of 1,175 feet per second. Common choice for protection against small caliber handguns.
  • Level 2: Withstands at least three shots of .357 magnum soft points at a velocity of 1,250 feet per second. Provides protection against larger caliber handguns.
  • Level 3: Resists a minimum of three shots of .44 magnum rounds at a velocity of 1,350 feet per second.
  • Level 4: Withstands at least one shot from a .30 caliber rifle with a minimum velocity of 2,540 feet per second. While levels 1-3 are linear, levels 4 and above describe different types of protection, not necessarily whether one is better or worse than one another.
  • Level 5: Withstands at least one full metal jacket round from a 7.62mm rifle with a velocity of at least 2,750 feet per second. 
  • Level 6: Can withstand at least five 9mm rounds at an elevated minimum velocity of 1,400 feet per second. 
  • Level 7: Resists multiple full metal jacket rounds with 5.56 rifle at a minimum velocity of 3,080 feet per second.
  • Level 8: Withstands at least five shots from a 7.62mm rifle. 

At Creative Industries, the most common level of protection our products provide based on customer demand are either Level 1 or Level 3 protection.

Different Types of Bullet Resistant Windows by Materials

Another way to think about the different types of bullet-resistant glass windows is by the materials used to make them, including the following:

  • Solid Acrylic (plexiglass): Although it’s often referred to as glass, acrylic is actually a glass-like plastic known as Poly (methyl methacrylate) or PMMA and is derived from acrylic acid or a related compound. It is stiff, durable, and offers excellent optical clarity. In the right thickness, acrylic can provide protection UL levels 1–3. 
  • Polycarbonate: This is another type of plastic that offers better protection than acrylic, and it weighs much less than glass. It also costs a lot more than glass or acrylic, which is why it is often used in conjunction with both with a sandwich or layering approach where the polycarbonate is between layers of glass or acrylic.
  • Laminated Glass: In this type of bullet-resistant window, two panes of regular glass have a protective layer of glazing between them, such as polyvinyl butyral (PVB), ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), or thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). Laminated glass windows can be constructed to provide protection at UL levels 1–4, but they also tend to be very heavy and might require special structural reinforcement framing.
  • Glass-Clad Polycarbonate: A “sandwich” is created where polycarbonate is put between two panes of glass. Additional layers can be added to provide higher protection. Bullet-resistant glass windows made with these materials can be manufactured to meet any and all UL levels of protection from 1–8.

Types of Bullet Resistant Windows by Function

One final way to categorize the different types of bullet resistant glass windows is by the specific product function they are meant to facilitate in a variety of businesses or facilities, including the following:

  • Exterior Windows: These secure options are ideal for businesses that provide walk-up or drive-thru services to customers. When selected and installed properly, bullet resistant exterior windows are functional while providing protection against both the elements and potential security threats.
  • Night Windows: A perfect fit for banks and other businesses that allow night deposits, night windows provide protection against bullets to employees and easy functionality for customers. Talk-thrus and hinged deal tray options are available to improve ease of use in transactions.
  • Vision Windows: Vision windows provide security, visibility, and easy communication. Their lack of a deal tray or exchange area increases security and makes them perfect for businesses that do not need to exchange goods or payments with customers.
  • Exchange Windows: For some businesses, their goods are too large to fit through a deal tray or other channel. Exchange windows provide a larger window and transaction area to allow for needed business functions, including passing larger items back and forth.
  • Flip Windows: Flip windows provide a seal against the outside air when customers aren’t present. Typically seen in businesses with relatively large items, such as drive-thrus, flip windows can provide additional defenses against the elements while also providing greater safety and security.

Dispelling Myths About Bullet-Resistant Glass Windows

Although we use the terms “bulletproof” and “bullet-resistant” interchangeably in the United States, on a more technical level there is no such thing as a completely bulletproof glass window. There is always a weapon that can fire a big enough bullet at a high enough velocity to penetrate any window. This is important to understand because people see television shows and James Bond movies where high caliber rounds of ammo bounce harmlessly off what appears to otherwise be normal glass. 

Trust us when we say this is fantasy, not fact. 

The layering effect required to achieve bullet-resistant protection eventually results in glass that is too thick and too heavy to be of any practical value or won’t offer the level of optical clarity or transmit light at the desired level in the application setting. Review the UL 752 ballistic standards we presented above to determine what level of protection is suitable for your business or facility. 

Creative Industries: Your Partner for Bullet-Resistant Glass Windows

Every Creative Industries window is manufactured to meet our high standards of quality using stainless steel, bulletproof glass, and effective weather stripping to reduce energy costs. Our reliable manufacturing standards and sturdy construction mean every window unit provides years of safe use and a visually appealing profile for businesses and facilities of all types. 

If you’re ready to protect your business and your employees from the threat of gun violence, get in touch with us through the Contact Us page of our website or give us a call directly at 800-776-2068 to discuss your needs.