Written By: Brad Campbell | August 11, 2023
When you’re looking at reinforcing a commercial property’s windows using high-security window framing and security glazing, it’s important to ensure you choose the right type of glazing infills.
One such type of security glazing infill that is increasingly popular among business and commercial building owners is bullet-resistant security glazing, also known as ballistic-grade glazing.
Ballistic-grade security glazing is any type of high-security glass or non-glass glazing that is capable of stopping one or more rounds from specific types of firearms.
These types of security glazing are rated according to the underwriters laboratories (UL) UL 752 ballistic resistance scale, which awards a rating of 1 to 10 based on how bullet-resistant the glazing is.
For example, a sheet of glazing with a UL 752 level 1 rating is capable of stopping at least three rounds fired from a 9mm handgun.
Before we go any further and start looking at the benefits of ballistic-grade security windows, it’s important to note that there is no such thing as 100% bulletproof glass or non-glass glazing.
The reality is that any type of security glazing can be penetrated by bullets, either after being hit repeatedly during a prolonged attack or shot at with a strong enough combination of firearm/ammunition.
That’s why the correct way to talk about security glazing that can stop bullets is to call it bullet-resistant or ballistic-grade glazing.
Most bullet-resistant security glazing infills are also forced entry resistant, meaning they are tested and rated to resist forced entry attempts using sledgehammers, bats, and other heavy hand tools.
This also means that, even if a ballistic-grade security window gets penetrated by bullets, the glazing should not significantly diminish in strength or break apart — it remains a barrier to forced entry by preventing an attacker from passing any part of their body through.
Because of the highly durable nature and forced entry resistance of bullet-resistant glazing, it is an ideal solution for implementing high-security windows in high-risk businesses where forced entry, burglary, smash-and-grab theft, and armed robbery are big concerns.
Here are some examples of businesses that can benefit from using ballistic-grade security windows to prevent forced entry and theft:
Ballistic-grade security glazing is the number one solution for protecting commercial buildings and their occupants against active threats, or violent attacks using firearms.
Unfortunately, mass shootings are on the rise in this country, and the attackers in these active threat scenarios often gain access to a target facility through a vulnerable door or window.
Installing bullet-resistant security glazing transforms vulnerable glass surfaces into virtually unbreachable access denial barriers to keep bad actors out.
These barriers provide valuable time for those inside to react by running, hiding, and barricading themselves inside, while contacting the authorities and waiting for them to arrive and neutralize the threat.
Depending on the specific composition and thickness of the ballistic-grade glazing used in high-security windows, it can stop several rounds from different types of firearms commonly used in attacks.
This can potentially save lives during the initial moments of an active threat attack, when the attacker may try to shoot through windows and doors to harm those inside.
Here are some examples of where bullet-resistant window glazing can be implemented to protect against active threats:
One of the top reasons more and more businesses are implementing bullet-resistant security windows is that they don’t significantly alter the appearance or functionality of their windows. In other words, they still allow high transmission of natural light and high levels of visibility.
This is ideal for businesses and commercial facilities where projecting a certain image and maintaining a certain type of indoor environment are of high importance.
For instance, schools are full of windows because natural light and views of the outdoors provide lots of benefits when it comes to creating a positive teaching and learning environment, so fortifying them with things like bars, grates, and shutters is not usually an option.
Besides providing forced entry and active threat mitigation, ballistic-grade security glazing can also mitigate the effects of nearby blasts by preventing the window glass from shattering dangerously inwards due to the force from a blast wave.
This greatly reduces the risk of injury to people inside the building, as well as reduces the level of property damage sustained from a nearby explosion.
Retrofitting windows with security glazing to turn them into high-security windows also has the side effect of helping reduce noise transmission.
The extra layer of glazing can decrease the amount of noise pollution from traffic, airplanes, construction, and other sources of noise commonly found in urban areas.
Adding a pane of security glazing to windows essentially turns single-pane windows into double-pane windows, or double-pane windows into triple-pane windows. As such, it improves their energy efficiency by reducing solar heat gain and improving insulation.
This helps reduce a facility’s reliance on HVAC systems to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures, thereby leading to lower monthly utility bills and overall operating costs.
At Riot Glass, LLC, we offer a full range of forced entry- and bullet-resistant security glazing solutions that can be retrofitted into or onto most existing windows using our proprietary retrofittable framing adapters.
This makes installing ballistic-grade Riot Glass® far more cost-effective than other types of bullet-resistant window glazing out there, since there is usually no need for glass replacement and we use the existing framing systems.
Additionally, Riot Glass® uses unique formulations of polycarbonates, acrylics, and other plastics that make it outperform and outlast other similar products on the market.
Contact us today to discuss how we can turn your commercial property’s windows into high-security windows.