Practical Applications for Bullet-Proof Glass

Practical Applications for Bulletproof Glass

We all know bulletproof glass is used for security purposes, such as the Popemobile, jewelry store windows, and public buildings for which security is paramount. But what are other practical applications for bulletproof glass?

Bulletproof vs Bullet Resistant

Did you know there is a difference between bulletproof glass and bullet resistant glass? Different strengths are needed to withstand the force of a bullet. As shared by 45 Blast, a bullet’s energy is measured as such:

  • One-half of a bullet’s mass times the square of its velocity

When we know the potential force of a bullet, we know which type of glass we need: bulletproof or bullet-resistant.

Some glass can withstand the impact of a round or two of a small-caliber gun, but that doesn't mean it’s bulletproof. To be classified as bulletproof, the glass needs to be able to stay intact under greater stress. This may mean manufacturing the glass with more layers, or stronger materials.

What Bullet Resistant Glass is Good For

Truly bulletproof glass can be very expensive. As a result, most businesses, public buildings, and private residences opt for bullet resistant glass instead. Bullet resistant glass can protect against the following:

  • Level 1 - 9mm handguns

  • Level 2 - .357 magnum handguns

  • Level 3 - .44 magnum handguns

  • Level 4 through 8 - high-powered ammo 

  • Level 10 - .50 Browning machine gun (BMG) bullets

But besides windows, what else can bullet resistant glass be used for in daily applications? Businesses can make bullet-resistant drawers or containers that can be passed between employees and patrons, such as those at drive-thru bank windows.

Regardless of thickness or composition, no glass can be 100% bulletproof. There will always be a vulnerability, especially when facing high-velocity ammunition.

What Bullet Resistant Glass is Made of

Security glass is typically made from acrylic and polycarbonate plastic. It can be designed as solid acrylic panes, laminated polycarbonate, or glass-clad polycarbonate.

Solid Acrylic 

Bullet resistant glass made from acrylic starts at 1.25 inches of thickness. This offers Level 1 protection. For more resistance, the thickness is increased.

Laminated Polycarbonate

Layering polycarbonate between two panes of glass provides more security than just solid acrylic panels. All the layers need to be laminated, and thickness can be adjusted to offering varying levels of protection.

Glass-Clad Polycarbonate

For glass that provides the most ballistic protection, opt for glass-clad polycarbonate. It’s a layer of polycarbonate between two sheets of glass, which provides a secure, unobscured view from either side. This should offer resistance to AK-47 or M 16 ammo, so you probably won’t see practical uses around you unless you work in the military.

Types of polycarbonate in bullet resistant glass

  • Makroclear

  • Cryolon

Practical Uses for Bullet Resistant Glass

Normal and tempered glass used in residential or commercial settings is typically 3mm thick. Our homes, offices, and civilian vehicles usually have inexpensive glass that breaks easily, either in shards or pellets.

Bullet resistant glass, on the other hand, is going to be at least 1.25 inches thick. The layers of plastic and glass will not only reduce the force of a projectile, but will keep shards of glass from becoming an additional hazard. So, besides the military, who’s using bullet resistant or bulletproof glass?

Convenience Stores

According to the FBI, 2.5% of robberies in 2019 occured at gas stations, and 6% took place in convenience stores. Often open 24 hours and manned by a single employee, they can both seem like easy targets for a quick payout. Convenience stores can benefit from putting employees behind bullet resistant glass so that in the event of a robbery, they have another level of protection against an armed assailant.

Banks and Credit Unions

For obvious reasons, financial institutions regularly include security glass both inside and out. Only 2% of robberies reported in 2019 were at banks, and that’s largely thanks to all the sophisticated technology in place. Still, bullet-resistant glass can make a difference for employees on the other side of the counter.

Government Buildings

It’s rare, but government buildings are sometimes the setting for an attack. Whether it’s a current/former employee or a citizen retaliating against opposing politics, bullet-resistant glass partitions and windows can be crucial for safety.


Any facility that houses medication is vulnerable to the occasional theft. Not all hospitals, clinics, or pharmacies store supplies behind security glass, but it’s not unheard of. Bullet-resistant glass may also be between the staff and the patients, depending on the crime rates in the area.

Police Stations

You’d think bullet-resistant windows and doors would be standard procedure in a police station, but it’s not. Only recently have some buildings been outfitted with security glass in common areas of police stations– where the public interacts with officers or staff.

Public Venues

Concert venues and arenas often have bullet-resistant glass between ticket takers and patrons. Weapons aren’t usually allowed in these places but, as a precaution, the glass serves as a barrier of protection for staff manning the venue.


Unfortunately, we’ve seen a greater need lately for security glass in schools. In addition to metal detectors and locked exterior doors, bullet-resistant glass is a practical addition to any school. Ballistics-proof doors and even furniture are also another way to offer more protection to students and educators as well.


Besides the Popemobile and military vehicles, regular ol’ cars and trucks on the road can have bullet resistant glass as well. It’s not very common, thanks in part to the cost of parts and installation. Bullet resistant glass is heavier than regular car window glass, so you may be faced with windows that do’nt roll down unless the car is customized specifically for this upgrade. Most professionals who install bullet-resistant car windows will suggest some form of armor for the rest of the vehicle, making the body as secure as the glass.

If splurging for heavy-duty security glass isn’t in the budget, you can opt for a less expensive alternative, such as a security film. Applied to the outside or inside of a window, security film can protect against damage from blunt force or small handguns, and can usually do so without obscuring the view.

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