As the design of a building project begins, designers envision the needs of the building’s future inhabitants. Apart from typical security measures such as double doors and locks, building projects that could be prone to aggressive situations such as robberies call for more advanced security protections, such as bulletproof barriers.
Bulletproof barriers are made from bulletproof glasses, which are officially called ‘bullet resistant’ glasses, as there is no practical way of creating a glass that is 100% resistant to gunfire. A bulletproof glass is made to resist bullet penetration and is built from a variety of materials depending upon the level of protection desired.
It is a little known fact that bulletproof glass is actually a type of thermoplastic, sometimes made of layers that may include a mix of other polycarbonates or traditional tempered glass. In many cases, a bulletproof glass does not even contain a shred of actual “glass” in it!
Ripe Demands from Numerous Industries Make for a Multi-million Dollar Industry
Bulletproof glass finds application in places where excellent protection from bullets needs to go hand in hand with the advantage of optical clarity. Bulletproof glasses have been used on a large scale for the past many decades in fields such as military, defense, security, automotives, and in transaction windows at places such as gas stations, banks, and other business places that hold high amounts of cash deposits and thus are likely targets for robberies.
It has been observed that nearly 42% of robberies in America involve the use of firearm. Cases of terrorist attacks while victims are travelling by an automobile are also hugely prevalent. In situations like this, the protection that a bulletproof glass imparts can easily help save life and loss of property.
The demand for highly advanced bulletproof glasses is ripe in a number of industries, which are mostly at risk of armed attacks. A recent research study published by the market research firm Persistence Market Research states that the global market for bulletproof glasses had a net valuation of US$2,397.5 million in 2015. Growing at 8.8% CAGR between the 2015 and 2021, the market is expected to rise to US$3,972.5 million by 2021.
Standard UL Ratings Levels of Resistance
Based on the end user’s demand for the level of protection, bulletproof glasses are made of varying thickness. Underwriters Laboratory (UL), the primary testing organization for analyzing the materials used in bulletproof glasses, has established 8 security levels depending on the thickness of the glasses in question. Each level is considered effective at resisting a bullet or projectile of a variety of kinds, including the ones that are most commonly used during armed robberies.
What follows is an overview of the various levels of protection provided by a variety of bulletproof glasses and the places where they can be commonly found:
Level 1: Glasses providing level 1 protection are 9mm pistol-proof up to 3 shots. These glasses are typically seen in retail applications, pharmacies, gas stations, banks, check cashiers, credit unions, pawn shops, and gold buyers.
Level 2: Resistant to up to 3 shots of bullets fired from a .357 Magnum gun. Such glasses are often found in large corporate banks and finance institutions.
Level 3: Resistant to up to 3 bullet shots fired from a .44 Magnum gun; commonly found in government facilities and police stations.
Level 4: Resistant to up to one bullet shot from a .30-06 Hunting Rifle
Level 5: Resistant to up to 1 bullet shot from an AK-47 Assault Rifle
Level 6: Resistant to up to 5 bullets shot from a Uzi Submachine Gun
Level 7: Resistant to up to 5 bullets shot from an M16 Assault Rifle
Bulletproof glasses providing protection of level 4 and above are mostly used in military and government uses.