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Preparing Your Home

How Much Do Bulletproof Windows Cost? Are They Worth It?

The bulletproof glass you see in the movies and television is not reality. 

In reality, bullet-resistant glass will protect you from all sorts of projectiles, but genuinely¬†bulletproof glass is a myth. It might catch a bullet or two, and certainly, it slows them down, but if you’re planning on a shootout, don’t let bullet proof windows (or drywall) give you a false sense of security.

The cost of bulletproof window glass has a range of $150 to $800+ per square foot. 

And, now you’re likely telling yourself, that seems like a big spread in price. You’re right, and we will tell you why and explain the reasons it may just be worth it for you.

Bullet Resistant Windows (Reality) vs. Bullet Proof Windows (Fantasy)

Professionals and window glass industry experts will never, ever use the words bulletproof glass. When glass shopping, a huge red flag is if a contractor or salesperson promises bulletproof. And, that’s the last time we are going to use that word at all.

Bullet Resistant Windows

Window glass specialists create bullet-resistant glass by layering polycarbonate material (which basically are plastic polymers) between sheets of regular glass or acrylic. Now, the boring part is out of the way.

Most American homes aren’t sporting bullet-resistant windows. You find them mainly in various businesses, governmental agencies, and pharmacies. However, if you have the means to invest, it never hurts to have a few windows that can take a good beating.

Because bullet-resistant windows are not just for staving off robbers and protecting against old-fashioned shootouts. They hold up to so much more that is far more likely to happen.

  • Tornadoes
  • Hurricanes
  • Wind storms with flying debris
  • Burglars
  • Landscaping accidents
  • Bad Children
  • Zombies, probably
  • Pistol caliber handguns
  • Sometimes small-caliber other firearms, but don’t rely on it.
  • Angry mobs

In the case of hurricanes, they can complement roll down shutters.

The Levels of Provided Protection

Bullet-resistant glass has different levels of protection. In this case, the lower the number, the more expensive it becomes.

But, I can sum it up while not missing any of the highlights.

Level 1

You commonly find level 1 bullet-resistant glass in the following places:

  • Gas stations 
  • Pharmacies
  • Credit Unions
  • Some Retail Stores
  • Pawn Shops
  • Gold and Fine Metal Buyers
  • Check Cashing Services

Level 2 

The larger financial institutions and banks tend to have better window glass than your corner bank.

Level 3

You are starting to look at the industrial level glass at level 3. 

  • Utility Offices
  • Police Stations
  • Courthouses
  • Federal Governmental Buildings
  • Law Enforcement Dispatch Centers

Level 4-8

You likely can’t afford it, and it is overkill unless you’re afraid of being killed, and well, strong glass is one layer of protection for sure. 

Governmental agencies like the NSA, Homeland Security, courts, and the military most commonly use this level of bullet resistance.

Pros and Cons of Bullet-Resistant Glass

You can’t make a sound decision about an investment unless you know if it’s worth it. Weighing the pros and cons of bullet-resistant glass gets you one step closer to knowing if they’re for you.

Pros

  • Protects your family from extreme weather.
  • Provides a barrier between your family and an industrial disaster. 
  • It makes it harder for a bad actor to gain access to your property.
  • The material used to make bullet-resistant glass (polycarbonate) is more robust than all other materials used for glazing. 
  • It breaks into chunks rather than shatter.
  • It is just way better than regular window glass.
  • In some cases, it can reduce your home insurance costs.

Cons

  • The higher the quality, the more expensive it is.
  • Bullet-resistant glass is heavy.
  • Bullet-resistant glass is more complicated to install than regular windows.
  • Bulletproof windows aren’t what most people expect, which crushes expectations.
  • Does not protect from a bomb blast.
  • If a criminal wants inside, they will still find a way to get through the bullet-resistant glass. It’s not the glass’ fault, though. Better to increase overall window security and interior security.
  • It probably will require a professional contractor.

Another Cool Benefit of Bullet Proof Windows

Bullet-resistant glass does more than just protect you from flying objects and civil unrest. They secure your home and family in other neat ways, too.

The cool benefit is it helps you control the temperature of your home. It helps block the sun and adds a bit of insulation. And, your little one can enjoy looking outside without the sun trying to kill their cornea.

Because ballistic glass does reduce UV rays, it saves decor from taking on sun damage. Your family pictures and wood furniture won’t take on the wear and tear damage that the sun tends to provide.

How Much Do Bulletproof Windows Cost?

We started with the price range. Then the information was laid out. Now, we will dig into exactly how much a complete bullet-resistant window system costs.

Basic Bullet-Resistant Window System

  • The basic system consists of level 1 graded bullet-resistant glass. It will cost you between $25 to $100 per square foot. 
  • The range still is broad because the cost rises depending on the size of the window. For example, a sliding glass door is going to be $100+.
  • You now have to calculate the installation cost. It varies even more than the glass cost.
  • Most contractors give free quotes, and you should take full advantage.
  • If a window professional does provide free quotes, don’t use them.

One Step Up From Basic Bullet-Resistant Window System

  • The category consists of level 2 and 3 graded glass. Gas stations and check cashing businesses most commonly utilize these security window systems. 
  • Most homes in the US don’t have window systems that include this quality glass. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it if you can afford it.
  • You’re looking at a price range of $15,000 to $20,000.

Fortress Level Bullet-Resistant Window System

If you want CIA-level bullet-resistant window glass, get ready to take out a second and third mortgage. It’s beyond the scope of this article.

You probably have no reason to even research above level 3 glass.

Bulletproof Window Glass for Cars

Of course, people get ballistic glass in their cars. Have you seen the rate of shootings in the US?

Sure, it doesn’t protect from every bullet or flying projectile, but it can try. Also, it can slow it down. Either way, you are more likely to survive if you have bullet-resistant glass than regular car window glass.

The price for bulletproof window glass for cars ranges from $3,000 – $20,000.

Further Reading

I can’t afford bullet proof windows. How else can I protect my windows?

Ballistic glass certainly isn’t the only way to protect precious portals that lead into your home. You can find other ways to layer your security until you can afford your dream window system.

Type of SecurityAverage Cost
Upgrade window locks$7-$200
Window sensors$15 – $60
Security cameras$20-$400
Security film$6 – $8 per square foot
Window bars$550 – $1,400
Thorny bushes$.99 – 3 million

If you want to know what a 3 million dollar thorny bush looks like, take a look at the Juliet Rose.

I love DIY home improvement projects. Can I install bulletproof windows myself?

Sure, you can, but you can do more harm than good unless you know what you’re doing. You want your security measures to work and protect you as intended. When you hire a professional, you’re securing that your investment will perform.

The supplies to install your own ballistic window system is expensive. And, you take a chance buying quality glass from unreliable sources. Using a contractor in the industry ensures that the glass meets the proper standards and goes through a check and balance process.

The actual installation is not easy, and you’re working with heavy, heavy glass. Take it all into consideration before you try going this alone.

Just do what you can, and always have a plan.