Because of the unfortunate prevalence of active threats scenarios on school grounds in the US — there has been a school shooting almost every week so far in 2023 — more schools than ever are looking for ways to protect students and faculty from physical harm.
One potential solution that many educational facilities are looking at more closely is bulletproof windows for schools.
But are bulletproof windows for schools cost-effective? And just how “bulletproof” are they? We’ll answer these questions and more below.
What Options Are There When It Comes To Bulletproof Windows for Schools?
Before we go any further, it’s important to clarify that the term “bulletproof” can be a bit misleading, as there is no such thing as any type of material that is 100% bulletproof.
In the security industry, when we talk about bulletproof windows or bulletproof anything else, what we really mean is bullet-resistant.
What bullet-resistant products and technologies that are often referred to as bulletproof are capable of is stopping one or more rounds from certain types of firearms, but it’s always possible to penetrate them with a higher caliber of bullets or higher shot volumes.
That being said, with modern security glazing materials and technologies, like those available from our partners at Riot Glass, LLC, it’s possible to achieve very high levels of bullet resistance to provide strong ballistic security for schools and classrooms.
Bulletproof windows for schools: cost, types, and effectiveness
Traditionally, bulletproof glass has been made of multiple layers of thick, strengthened glass that are laminated together into very thick sheets that are used to make bulletproof windows.
However, this traditional bulletproof glass is so thick and heavy that it’s not usually possible to use for regular architectural applications, at least not without significantly changing the surrounding framing and support structure.
Not only that, but this type of bulletproof glass can be prohibitively expensive, which is why it’s mainly used for government and military applications.
But with the advent of new security glazing technologies and materials, including polycarbonate and glass-clad polycarbonate security glazing, it’s now possible to create bullet-resistant windows that are much thinner and lighter than traditional ballistic glass.
These types of ballistic-grade security glazing can be used for most commercial applications, from government buildings to schools.
The exact cost of bulletproof windows for schools depends on a variety of factors, including the specific composition of the bullet-resistant glazing, what ballistic rating it has, and how much of it is to be installed/the complexity of installation.
What we can say for certain is that using polycarbonate or glass-clad polycarbonate is far more cost-effective than using traditional ballistic glass, and it’s a very attainable solution for many schools looking for ways to harden their classroom security against active threats.
How Are Bullet-Resistant Windows for Schools Rated?
The industry standard ballistic resistance rating for bullet-resistant windows and other ballistic-grade security products is the Underwriters Laboratories’ UL 752 rating system.
The UL 752 rating system classifies bullet-resistant products with a rating from 1 to 10. Each of these UL 752 levels specifies how many shots the material can resist from certain types of firearms using a specific caliber and weight of rounds.
For example, a school window with a UL 752 ballistic resistance rating of level 1 can stop 3 or more 124-grain rounds fired from a 9mm handgun.
At the end of the scale, a ballistic-grade security glazing product with a UL 752 level 6 rating can stop at least 1 round from a .50-caliber rifle.
If they can only stop a few bullets, how are bullet-resistant windows worth it for schools?
Since there’s no such thing as 100% bulletproof windows, you may be wondering why schools should still consider them, if they can’t stop all bullets.
Well, the key here is something called access denial — bullet-resistant windows are one of the most effective ways schools can create access denial barriers to prevent forced entry and keep active shooters out of classrooms and buildings.
In many active threat scenarios, the attackers gain access to a facility by shooting out or otherwise breaking a vulnerable window or door.
Even when riddled with bullets, Riot Glass® ballistic-grade windows for schools won’t significantly diminish in strength or allow attackers to pass any part of their bodies through.
These bullet-resistant windows remain a barrier to forced entry, keeping the bad guys out and allowing those inside to react by running, hiding, barricading themselves inside somewhere safe, and waiting for the authorities to arrive and neutralize the threat.
Also, during the first few moments of an attack, the glazing can stop the first few shots fired in the direction of students and staff, potentially saving lives and providing time to get to safety.
Riot Glass® Is the Most Cost-Effective Bullet-Resistant Glazing for Schools
When it comes to choosing the right bulletproof windows for schools, cost is a big factor, and Riot Glass® ballistic-grade security glazing is the most cost-effective option for schools.
Riot Glass® uses specific blends of polycarbonates, acrylics, other plastics, and security laminates to achieve high levels of ballistic resistance (up to a UL 752 level 8 rating), while still being very affordable.
Part of the reason why Riot Glass® is so affordable is that it’s a fully retrofittable solution. Using retrofittable framing adapters, Riot Glass® ballistic-grade glazing panels can be fitted on top of, behind, or in place of most existing glass surfaces.
This cuts down on installation time and costs, allowing schools to get bullet-resistant school window protection in place at much lower rates than other types of security glass out there.
Not only that, but the unique compositions of Riot Glass® products mean they outlast and outperform all other similar security glazing on the market, making it a long-lasting solution that won’t have to be replaced or repaired any time soon.
Benefits of using Riot Glass® bullet-resistant windows for schools:
- Virtually unbreakable and invisible (fortifies schools without making them look fortified)
- 100% unique composition outperforms and outlasts other ballistic-grade glazing
- Can be retrofitted into most existing framing systems using proprietary framing adapters
- Available with UL 752 ratings from 1 to 8
- Protects against a full range of security threats:
- Active threats
- Forced entry
- Rioting and looting
- Storm damage
- Accidental impacts
At Campbell, we are authorized dealers and installers of Riot Glass® bullet-resistant glazing for schools. Contact us today for a consultation or quote.