Ballistic-grade armor used to be specified based primarily on material hardness, hence the pervasive use of steel plates in body armor and vehicular plating. When a projectile strikes a hard surface it can either ricochet, shatter, or penetrate the material. The ideal situation is that a bullet will impact the hard surface of the plate and fracture. The impacting force will disperse as the shrapnel from the shattered bullet spreads out, protecting the safe side of the plate. Yet there is no guarantee that bullets will strike armor panels with the ideal trajectory.
School security today is practically unrecognizable from that of little over a decade ago. Installing metal detectors and bulletproof glass in our schools would have seemed unnecessary in the early- to mid-90s. However, that preconception was challenged on April 20th, 1990: the day of the Columbine High School Shooting.
Protecting your business from theft and armed robbery is a matter of ethical and commercial necessity. There were almost 300,000 robberies carried out across the US in 2017 alone; 118,745 of which involved firearms. This represents an enormous concern for store clerks who routinely operate in positions of vulnerability. The priority in commercial security should always be ensuring the safety of your most valuable asset; your employees.
Innovation in the field of ballistic resistance has historically followed breakthroughs in the field of firearms. Italian engineers first experimented with the idea of the bulletproof vest in the 1500s, following the invention of the wheel lock rifle. The design was a composite of layered metal plates designed to absorb impacts and shatter incoming projectiles, but the results were largely ineffective. Ballistic fiberglass panels have arisen as a direct result of centuries of research into protective apparel and architectural solutions.
Fiberglass was first engineered as a lightweight alternative to structural materials for various modes of transit, typically boats and small aircraft. Yet novel design techniques and new methods of developing polymer composites reinforced with glass fibers unlocked a raft of novel qualities, including excellent impact resistance characteristics. The material subsequently emerged as an unlikely contender for ballistic protection applications. This potential was rapidly expanded and explored to the point at which fiberglass panels are now among the leading components for structural bullet proofing applications.
Security doors are designed to shore up your defenses against forced entry and ballistic impacts. When a security threat becomes apparent, your personnel require a last line of defense to guarantee their safety. Standard fiberglass and wooden doors provide very little protection against determined assailants. Even the lowest caliber firearms can penetrate standard materials, representing a significant risk of harm if armed individuals attempt to force entry.
Bullet-resistant security windows are comprised of a composite system of alternating glass and polymeric layers – typically polyvinyl butyral (PVB) or ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA). These dissipate the force of an impacting projectile before it penetrates through the other side of the window. Bullets are captured within the composite, providing effective protection for personnel from a variety of small arms fire.
Cashiers, law enforcement personnel, financial workers, and even schoolchildren must be aware of the severity of domestic security threats and how best to resist and react to scenarios involving armed thieves or active shooters. Scenarios involving active shooters are typically over within 10 – 15 minutes, which means that individuals must be made aware of how to respond before law enforcement arrives at the scene. The most efficient way to protect vulnerable individuals is to provide a level of passive ballistic security such as bullet-resistant glass.
A big question that we often get from customers is what industries should utilize bullet-resistant glass? VP and GM, Rick Snelling, often asks his customers these questions to see if they fall into the category of needed bullet-resistant glass.