From schools to office buildings, more and more facilities are making the switch to using bullet “proof” door glazing to prevent forced entry and save lives in the event of an active threat scenario.
Before we continue, you’ll notice we put “proof” in quotation marks — that’s because there is no such thing as 100% bulletproof door or window glazing.
The correct terminology for products that are often described as bulletproof is bullet resistant or ballistic grade.
This means that they can stop bullets, but only up to a certain point. But we’ll go into more detail on that further down in the article.
What Is Bullet-Resistant Door Glazing?
Glazing is the term for the part of a surface, in this case, a door, that’s made from glass or glass-like material. For example, polycarbonate is a type of robust plastic that can be used instead of glass to glaze doors.
Bullet-resistant door glazing can be made from a variety of different types of security glass and glass-like materials and is designed to provide some level of protection during a ballistic attack.
The exact level of protection depends on a range of factors, including the exact composition of the glazing material and its thickness.
How strong is ballistic door glazing?
All types of ballistic-grade security products must be tested and given a UL 752 ballistic resistance rating by the Underwriters Laboratories. This rating is the most widely accepted certification for safety and security products in the world.
On the chart above, you can see the different UL 752 ratings and what they mean.
For example, a piece of glazing with a UL 752 level 8 rating can withstand 5 shots from an AK-47 assault rifle firing 150-grain military rounds.
After being impacted 5 times by such firepower, the bullets can start to penetrate the glass or other material.
Or, if an attacker were to use a more powerful firearm, such as a .50 caliber rifle, the glazing could be penetrated right away.
It’s important to note that different parts of a door can receive different UL 752 ratings (or none at all). So, you could have a wooden or metal door that has a bullet-resistant window in it, but the surrounding material may not stop bullets at all.
What’s the point of ballistic door glazing if it doesn’t make a door bulletproof?
When an active threat targets a building to harm those insides, they often gain entry to certain areas by shooting out a window in a door to reach in and open it from the other side.
So, the primary purpose of ballistic-grade door glazing is to delay and deny access. The valuable window of time created by security glass or other bullet-resistant glazing gives people on the inside time to react by doing the following:
Even though no type of security glazing can make a door bullet PROOF, it performs a vital role in saving lives in the unfortunate event property is targeted by an active threat.
Some types of glazing, such as ballistic-grade polycarbonate, are so resilient that they cannot be dislodged even after being riddled with bullets, so they continue to remain a barrier to forced entry indefinitely.
Is bullet “proof” door glazing expensive?
The exact cost of bullet-resistant door glass depends on the type of material you select, how thick it is, what the UL 752 rating is, how complex the installation is, and other influential aspects.
However, there is one way to ensure a cost-effective solution: choosing a ballistic-grade retrofit solution. This means that the glazing is installed on top of the existing glass, with no need for removal or replacement.
A security glass retrofit solution utilizes the existing framing to secure new security framing in place, which holds the security glazing securely on top of the existing window glass and protects it from bullets and other impacts.
Retrofit solutions are ideal for most properties because installation is quicker and they are cheaper than replacing all the existing glass with bullet-resistant door and window glazing.
Who Should Consider Making Doors Bullet Resistant?
Because of the number of active shooting incidents in schools in the US, we always recommend bullet-resistant glazing for all types of educational facilities, including K-12 schools, colleges, and universities.
Reinforcing classrooms and hallways with bullet-resistant doors can turn rooms and certain areas into safe areas, allowing students and staff to get to safety and greatly reducing the potential for loss of life during an attack.
Administrators can then train students and teachers on what to do during an active threat incident, including the safest places in the building to run to and hide in and how to barricade themselves inside classrooms and other areas.
For such a solution to be effective, it’s important to not ONLY reinforce door glazing but also all the surrounding glazing as well. Any accessible window or door is a potential entry point for an active threat, so all the vulnerable glass needs to be protected by ballistic-grade glazing.
Besides schools and other educational buildings, we recommend bullet-resistant doors for any other high-security facility or type of building more likely to be targeted by an attacker looking to do harm.
Facilities that can benefit from ballistic door glazing:
We hope that no one of you reading this ever has to experience an active threat attack, but we always prefer to help people be prepared for the worst. After all, they say the best protection is prevention.
With a ballistic-grade door retrofit from Riot Glass, Inc., you can make your building fortified against active threats, without it looking fortified. Contact us today for a free consultation.