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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 Storefront Security Options Do You Really Have?

Written By: Brad CampbellMarch 22, 2021

From 24-hour convenience stores to luxury fashion retailers, all types of retail stores deal with similar storefront security issues. But, with so many different commercial security products on the market, it can be hard to know what the best solution for your business is.

Keep reading to find out what options you really have for securing a storefront against forced entry, smash-and-grab theft, storm damage, vandalism, rioting, looting, and more.

What’s the Best Storefront Security Upgrade for Your Business?

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Common Storefront Security Products

When we talk about securing storefronts, what we mean is creating some sort of physical barrier to strengthen and protect the glass. Whether your business has just a few windows or a huge glass storefront, these are always your property’s most vulnerable points.

glass storeronts along street at night

Of course, any comprehensive commercial security system should include things like alarms, monitored surveillance, and guard patrols, but these aren’t physical barriers that actually protect your glass.

Five common commercial glass security solutions:

  1. Bars and gates
  2. Roll-down shutters
  3. Security window film
  4. Laminated security glass
  5. Polycarbonate glazing shields

Bars and Gates

Installing permanently-mounted bars or roll-out gates is a traditional method of securing storefronts to prevent break-ins.

While they may work fine for things like liquor stores and convenience stores, they’re not a great option for luxury retailers because they detract from the curb appeal of storefronts and reduce the ability for window shopping.

metal fence

Bars and gates also have spaces where the glass is exposed, so even though they block entry, they don’t always prevent glass from getting broken due to vandalism or flying storm debris.


  • Create barrier to forced entry
  • Available in different styles
  • Can be permanently mounted or rolled out


  • Don’t completely protect glass
  • Unnattractive
  • Reduce visibility
  • Don’t protect against storm damage

Roll-Down Shutters

Roll-down shutters, such as hurricane shutters, are a great option for protecting storefront glass during a storm, as they do completely cover the glass.

metal gates on brick wall

Shutters also provide some level of protection against forced entry, but they can be tampered with and pried up or broken through by determined would-be intruders. They also only work when you roll them down and lock them into place, so there’s plenty of room for human error.


  • Fully cover glass
  • Protect glass during storms
  • Provide barrier against forced entry


  • Have to be put into place
  • Can be tampered with
  • Completely block visibility and light
  • Unnattractive

Security Window Film

Security window film is a great budget-friendly way to reinforce storefront glass without installing unsightly bars or shutters. However, it’s important to note that it does not prevent glass from being broken.

What this type of window film does do is hold broken shards of glass in place, rather than letting them immediately shatter inwards. This can delay forced entry enough to make a would-be intruder move on or give the authorities time to arrive and catch them in the act.


  • Easy to install
  • Doesn’t limit visibility or block light
  • Delays forced entry
  • Keeps broken shards of glass in place
  • Can provide many other benefits
  • Offers UV protection


  • Doesn’t prevent glass from breaking
  • Won’t stop determined intruders
  • Can be penetrated by storm debris

Laminated Security Glass

Laminated security glass, not to be confused with tempered safety glass, is a type of strengthened glass that can be built to resist everything from forced entry attempts to ballistic attacks.

In many cases security glass, such as Riot Glass®, can be retrofitted over a storefront’s existing glass to create a very formidable barrier.

stacked glass windows

However, sometimes the thickness and weight of security glass means that it won’t work in certain existing framing systems.


  • Available in many thicknesses and strengths
  • Can be retrofitted over existing glass
  • Protects against forced entry, storm damage, and more
  • Doesn’t change the appearance of glass
  • Maintains visibility


  • Sometimes too heavy for existing frames
  • Can be broken with enough force

Polycarbonate Glazing Shields

Polycarbonate sheets are another type of storefront security glass product that aren’t actually glass at all — and that’s what makes them so great. These panels look and feel very much like glass, but they have the highly impact-resistant strength of polycarbonate.

Since polycarbonate is so much lighter and stronger than glass, you may be able to retrofit these glazing shields onto storefronts where other types of security glass are not an option.

Polycarbonate sheets are also available in non-ballistic and ballistic-grade varieties. For most storefronts, a containment-grade (non-ballistic) glazing shield provides all the protection you need against forced entry, storm damage, rioting, and more.


  • Glass-like surface hardness and appearance
  • Can be retrofitted over existing glass
  • Impact resistance of polycarbonate
  • Doesn’t alter the appearance storefronts
  • Virtually unbreakable and impassable
  • Lighter and stronger than glass
  • UV resistant


  • Can be scratched if not coated with a scratch-resistant layer

What’s Our Top Overall Pick for Boosting Storefront Security?

Spoiler: It Looks Like Glass, But Offers Unbreakable Storefront Security!

Out of all the commercial glass security options we discussed in this article, there’s one that stands out as a clear winner above the rest: polycarbonate glazing shields.

For the best storefront glass protection on the market, we highly recommend choosing ArmorPlast® AP25.

These containment-grade polycarbonate glazing shields provide the highest level of non-ballistic protection available on the market.

The impact resistance of polycarbonate means that AP25 will be an impassable barrier protecting your business from flying storm debris, mobs of rioters, burglars, and more.

AP25 also comes with a UV- and abrasion-resistant coating for a longer service life in high-profile applications.

Our Final Words

Every retail store’s specific security needs and budget are different, but all face similar day-to-day threats. We hope this article has given you a better idea of what options are available to protect your storefront and helps you choose the right one.

Contact us today for more information about ArmorPlast® AP25 or the other security glass products we offer. Our team of professionals is always happy to discuss your needs and help you come up with the best solution.

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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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