Unraveling the Myth: 3M “Bulletproof” Window Film and the Reality of Safety and Security

By December 19, 2023 January 9th, 2024 Uncategorized

In the security glazing industry, the term “bulletproof window film” often finds itself thrown around casually, conjuring images of impenetrable barriers straight out of a Hollywood blockbuster.

However, it’s crucial to dispel the myth that a magical 3M bulletproof window film exists.

The truth is that, when you see this term online, what many are referring to is really just safety and security window film, whether from 3M or another manufacturer.

While this type of window film is certainly not going to stop any bullets, it plays an important role in enhancing the safety and security of windows in various commercial settings.

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The Misnomer: 3M “Bulletproof” Window Film

Let’s set the record straight from the outset — there is no such thing as 3M bulletproof window film. The term has gained traction in colloquial usage, but its widespread misapplication has led to misconceptions about the capabilities of window films in the realm of ballistic protection.

3M, a reputable company known for its diverse range of products, indeed offers safety and security window films, but these are not designed to stop bullets.

Understanding 3M Safety and Security Window Film

The product in question, 3M Safety and Security Window Film, is engineered to enhance the safety of glass windows and doors in the face of various threats by holding broken shards of glass in place.

Contrary to the popular belief that it can withstand bullets, this film is not bulletproof. Instead, its primary function is to mitigate the hazards associated with shattered glass.

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When a window with 3M Safety and Security Window Film is subjected to impact and breaks, the film remains adhered to the glass, forming a robust bond and preventing the broken glass from shattering inwards.

While it doesn’t prevent the glass from breaking, security window film does significantly reduce the risk of injuries caused by flying shards of glass in the event of an accident, natural disaster, or even an attempted break-in.

Moreover, the film can act as a deterrent against forced entry. Though it doesn’t make the glass impenetrable, it can delay and impede the progress of would-be intruders, providing additional precious moments for security measures to be activated or authorities to respond.

Dispelling the Bulletproof Window Film Myth

To reiterate, 3M Safety and Security Window Film is not a bulletproof solution. Its effectiveness lies in minimizing the aftermath of glass breakage, rather than stopping ballistic threats.

The common misconceptions surrounding security window film’s bulletproof capabilities underscores the importance of providing accurate information in the realm of safety and security. Here are some key takeaways to remember:

  • Safety and Security Window Film is designed to hold broken shards of glass in place
  • No 3M window film is bulletproof — its purpose is to mitigate shattered glass hazards
  • The film sticks to the glass upon impact, preventing shattered glass from flying inwards
  • The film significantly reduces the risk of injuries from flying glass shards
  • Security window film can act as a deterrent against forced entry

Exploring Alternatives for Ballistic Glass Protection

For those seeking true ballistic protection for windows, alternatives exist that are specifically designed to withstand gunfire. Riot Glass®, a type of bullet-resistant security glazing, is a prime example.

Unlike safety and security window film, Riot Glass is engineered to resist penetration from bullets and forced entry attempts, providing a much higher level of protection against serious threats.

Riot Glass typically consists of multiple layers of security glass, glass-like security glazing, and specialized interlayers that, when combined, are capable of stopping bullets from various specific types of firearms.

This advanced technology ensures that the glass remains intact even when subjected to multiple rounds, offering a level of security that goes far beyond what traditional safety and security window films can provide.

How Bulletproof Is Riot Glass?

Just as the term “bulletproof window film,” gets thrown around a lot, so does the term “bulletproof glass” — the reality is that no material can be 100% bulletproof.

The thicker it is and the more layers it has, the more bullets a piece of security glazing (or any other material) can stop, but it’s always going to be possible for it to get penetrated by bullets eventually.

This is why we always stress that Riot Glass is bullet resistant, or ballistic grade, meaning it can withstand ballistic attacks, but not forever.

In prolonged, multi-shot ballistic attacks, or in attacks employing extremely high-powered firearms, the glazing can be shot through.

All bullet-resistant Riot Glass glazing products have an attached UL 752 ballistic resistance rating, which specifies how many rounds of what caliber and from what type of firearm the glazing can stop before it’s likely to be compromised.

Benefits of Ballistic-Grade Riot Glass

The true strength of Riot Glass lies in its ability to provide almost unbreakable access denial barriers, keeping intruders from gaining unauthorized access to a facility during an active threat scenario or another forced entry attempt.

Even when riddled with bullets or subjected to repeated bluntforce blows, the glazing doesn’t significantly diminish in strength or allow a would-be intruder to pass any part of their body through, thereby preventing attackers from reaching through and opening a door from the inside.

This access denial is invaluable in delaying and deterring forced entry, allowing building occupants to safely react to an attack and buying time for the authorities to arrive and neutralize the threat.


The quest for better safety and security in commercial buildings demands a clear understanding of the capabilities of various products and solutions, particularly when it comes to glass protection.

While 3M Safety and Security Window Film excels in mitigating the dangers of broken glass, it falls short of the bulletproof aspirations often associated with it. To achieve true ballistic protection, exploring alternatives like Riot Glass is essential.

By dispelling myths and informing about the right solutions, we’re committed to helping building owners, businesses, and organizations navigate the security landscape with confidence, ensuring that their safety and security measures align with the specific threats they may face.

Contact us today for a free consultation!