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Riot Glass® retrofit systems consist of custom-made security glass and framing designs that provide maximum protection against forced entry and ballistic threats.

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Riot Glass® can be used to secure any building. Virtually invisible yet nearly indestructible, it blends seamlessly in almost any existing window, door, or

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What’s the Best Alternative To Window Bars and Security Gates for Storefront Security?

Written By: Brad CampbellMarch 23, 2023

When it comes to storefront security, window bars and security gates, along with various types of grates and grilles, are some of the most commonly used solutions.

However, although these traditional solutions can be effective at preventing forced entry, burglary, smash-and-grab theft, and more, they are less than ideal for a number of reasons, especially for high-end and specialty retailers.

The Problems with Using Window Bars and Security Gates for Storefront Security

There are many different styles of security gates, window bars, grates, and grilles out there. For example, there are fixed window bars and grates, accordion-style security gates, and folding security grilles, to name a few options.

But, while the appearance and names of these various storefront security solutions can be very different, their end function is always essentially the same: they cover storefront doors and display windows to protect them from security threats.

Examples of security threats that storefront security solutions protect against:

  • Forced entry
  • Burglary
  • Smash-and-grab theft
  • Vandalism
  • Rioting and looting
  • Storm damage
  • Accidents

The first problem with window bars, security gates, and other traditional storefront window and door protection solutions is that there’s a lot of variation in terms of how effective they actually are at mitigating the aforementioned security risks.

bars and grates

For example, folding grates can keep would-be intruders out of your business, but there’s often a lot of space between the metal bars, meaning that it’s still possible for vandals or a piece of flying storm debris to break your storefront windows.

Plus, gates, grates, and grilles are often easy to damage themselves, so you could still end up with significant storefront damage after a storm or a flareup of civil unrest.

Additionally, roll-down, accordion-style, and folding bars and gates have to be locked into place, and there’s always the possibility that a burglar could compromise the locks and gain access to your business despite all the security measures.

The other major problem with using window bars and security gates for storefront security is that they’re just plain ugly, not to mention they detract from the benefits of your business’s windows.

Think about why your store has windows in the first place — they let natural light in, provide visibility, and allow you to display things, so potential customers can window shop.

Well, storefront window bars and other traditional security solutions block out natural light and significantly reduce visibility, as well as hurt the curb appeal of your business and inhibit window shopping.

This may not be an issue for certain essential businesses, like 24-hour minimarkets and convenience stores, but it simply isn’t an option for other types of retail stores, such as jewelry stores, luxury clothing retailers, and other high-end and specialty shops.

glass storefront

These types of businesses need to provide a luxury shopping experience, and often rely on shoppers coming in spontaneously while passing by and noticing something interesting in the windows.

If it’s hard to see inside and your store looks like it’s closed, these types of shoppers are much less likely to come in and make purchases.

So, what you need is something that provides the physical security benefits of window bars and gates, but with none of the drawbacks…

What to use for storefront security instead: Riot Glass®

The absolute best solution for making your storefront windows and doors forced entry resistant and more is Riot Glass® security glazing.

Riot Glass® offers a full line of containment-grade polycarbonate and ballistic-grade glass-clad polycarbonate (GCP) security glazing that uses 100% unique blends of polycarbonates, acrylics, other plastics, and laminated security glass.

These specific formulations of different composite materials result in glazing that’s similar to other types of security glazing out there, but that is far stronger and more durable — it’s in a category all its own in fenestration security.

Riot Glass® security glazing infills (panels) use retrofittable framing adapters that allow it to be over-glazed (placed outside the existing glass), back-glazed (placed inside the existing glass), or to replace the existing glass using special conversion framing.

Since you don’t have to replace the existing glass or framing to install Riot Glass®, it’s one of the most cost-effective storefront security upgrades you can make.

Why Riot Glass® is superior to window bars and security gates for storefront security

When you retrofit your storefront windows and doors with Riot Glass®, it doesn’t significantly alter the appearance of your business.

The security glazing looks and feels very much like standard commercial window glass, so you continue to receive natural light and enjoy full visibility through your windows, and customers can clearly see that your business is open and continue to window shop.


Not only that, but Riot Glass® creates a full barrier to completely cover and protect your shop’s windows and merchandise, kind of like an invisible board up.

In fact, Riot Glass® is an ideal alternative to traditional plywood board ups when it comes to protecting your storefront against vandalism, rioting and looting, storm damage, and more.

Once installed, these virtually invisible and incredibly impact-resistant access denial barriers are there around the clock, preventing bad guys and mother nature from doing harm to your business.

Benefits of using Riot Glass® for storefront security:

  • Virtually invisible
  • Cost-effective
  • Retrofittable
  • Available in containment-grade and ballistic-grade varieties
  • Forced entry resistant
  • Impact-tested to hurricane missile testing standards
  • Designed to withstand prolonged attacks using common burglary tools
  • Allows natural light in
  • Provides full visibility
  • Doesn’t hurt curb appeal or inhibit window shopping
  • Acts as an alternative to boarding up windows
  • Provides 24/7 protection against a full range of security threats

The Bottom Line

Traditional storefront security methods that involve unsightly bars and gates are outdated and inefficient, especially if you own a high-end retail store.

If you sell luxury items, you can’t afford to make your store look like a jail cell — you need something that fortifies your business, without making it look fortified, and that’s where Riot Glass® comes in.

Contact us today for a free consultation!

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Looking for residential protection? At Riot Glass, we specialize in protecting your property with our patented bullet-resistant system, designed specifically for aluminium framed windows. Not sure if Riot Glass is right for your home? Explore our FAQs.
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