Essential Facts About Bulletproof Glass

Bulletproof Glass

The first thing you need to know is that foolproof bulletproof glass doesn’t exist. It is a movie thing that we’ve convinced ourselves is real.

With that pesky fact out of the way, you can get a glass that can withstand quite a beating, including small-caliber weapons. But, if you’re planning to OK Corral a situation, don’t rely on the glass to protect you. It will buy you some time, though.

We will deep dive into bullet proof glass and why it is worth it in some cases.

Bulletproof Glass Is Not Always Glass 

Another myth-busting statement. But, it is the truth. Most commonly, bulletproof glass is not glass at all but other durable materials.


Clear Acrylic Sheet with Saw Cut Edges on Gray.

Monolithic acrylic, also known as plexiglass, is a single piece of solid plastic of a specific size. It is a popular option because you can drill, route, cut, curve, and slot acrylic windows for customization. 

Acrylic bullet-resistant windows are fabricated using a UL-rating system. The average human has no need for anything above level 3, and you’re throwing money at a problem that doesn’t exist.

Acrylic Bullet Resistant System UL-Ratings

  • Level 1 – It can likely withstand a few jacketed 9mm bullets, giving you plenty of time to just run.
  • Level 2 – One step above, level 2-rated glass is meant to take up to three.357 Magnum bullets.
  • Level 3 – It can take at least three scary shots from a .44 Magnum.

If you’ve got incoming fire that is more powerful than that? Glass is your last problem.


Color polycarbonate sheets

Polycarbonate is around 30% more expensive than acrylic. However, they are two very different types of bullet-resistant components.

 Acrylic is a hard material. In contrast, polycarbonate is softer and is typically laminated in layers.

The major performance difference is that polycarbonate tends to have a tint. Some people like it, and some people just don’t.

Glass-Clad Polycarbonate

Glass-Glad Polycarbonate is a solid and durable glass-resistant glass. It is made by layering polycarbonate between the two sheets of traditional glass. 

The expensive ballistic glass can withstand AK-47 or M 16 ammunition, and government agencies and the military are the only people who could even afford that sort of protection.

Traditional Laminated Glass

The entire origin story of bulletproof glass begins with traditional laminated glass. It contains three layers – two sheets of conventional glass, one layer of plastic known as PVB. The PVB is sandwiched between the standard sheets of glass before they are laminated (bullet resistant drywall uses a similar layered approach).

Insulated Ballistic Glass

It is the newest generation of bullet-resistant glass. It is made to be cost-effective and of high quality.

Insulated ballistic glass has five layers.

  1. The PVB is sandwiched between two layers of standard glass.
  2. It is then laminated with polyurethane and ethylene-vinyl acetate.
  3. The last step is that they are then bonded together at a high temperature.

7 Reasons Why You Might Need Bullet-Resistant Glass That Doesn’t Involve Bullets

  1. You’re not looking for bullet-resistant glass to hide from a rain of high-caliber bullets with almost certainty. So, let’s look at why they are actually pretty useful for a family home.
  2. Bullet-resistant glass is an easy residential security solution. It adds another layer between you and any potential danger. By no means are we suggesting that you invest in UL-rated level 3 glass, but there are affordable and quality options without breaking the family budget.
  3. The weather is insane and unpredictable. Even the lost rated bullet-resistant glass can shrug off a 9mm bullet in a pinch. It will also stand up to destructive wind and even flying debris (to a point, most are tested with two 2x4s.)
  4. Criminals don’t always come with a gun. Windows are a popular portal for trespassers and burglars, and a bulletproof window is a way to at least delay them breaking and entering. The fact is, if someone is intent on getting in, they will. However, many home invaders move on at the first sign of trouble.
  5. Bullet-resistant glass does not shatter like the traditional sort. It breaks away and doesn’t form killer shards that only add to the problem. It means that UL-rated windows create a safer home environment. For example, a landscaper accidentally throws a rock while mowing the front lawn. Bullet-resistant not only will likely stop it, if it doesn’t, but you also won’t have to emergency evacuate the house until you’ve located every razored piece.
  6. Most bullet-resistant glass offers protection from UV rays. It means your toddlers and pets are taking in less of the sun’s dangers, and your furniture and hanging artwork won’t take on the heavy wear and tear.
  7. Ballistic windows remain clear about sun damage and do not yellow or grow hazy over time.

At a Glance

2 Main Types of Bullet-Resistant Glass Windows


It is the most common material used for bullet-resistant glass.


  • It is easy to work with.
  • Acrylics is super crystal clear.
  • It has excellent UV protection.


  • Acrylics have to be thick if you want window security with a high UL rating. (like ugly and cumbersome thick)


It is more lightweight than acrylics and a bit better at stopping or slowing impacts.


  • It is an easy material to work with.
  • Polycarbonate is more lightweight than a lot of materials.


  • The window frame has to allow for the expansion and contraction that happens with polycarbonate window glass.
  • Windows made of this material will marr and get hazy without regular maintenance.

The Disadvantages of Bullet Proof Glass

  1. UL-rate glass is expensive. You’ve got to have room in a family budget for a contractor or professional. It is not recommended you try to install them on your own.
  2. Bulletproof glass is incredibly weighty. It at least consists of three layers, and none of them are lightweight.
  3. The UV protection that ballistic windows offer is excellent and all. But, it also makes them hard to see through. It is still transparent but not as clear as traditional window glass.
  4. The bullet-resistant glass will break, it will crack, it will take on wear and tear. They require tons of maintenance and are costly to replace.

The Advantages of Bullet Proof Glass

  • The safety that bullet-resistant glass is worth it for many people. Weather and crime levels are the two primary reasons why people install them in the residences.
  • They don’t shatter into a zillion dangerous pieces. It means you won’t spend the next decade picking glass shards out of the carpet or finding one sticking out of the sole of your foot.
  • Bullet-resistant glass can withstand all sorts of unexpected and random dangers. Flying rocks or hit balls won’t ruin an otherwise beautiful day.
  • It is never a bad idea to add a layer of security to your home. Cameras, motion lights, and window sensors go a long way, but durable window glass will buy you valuable time and might make that burglar change their mind.

The Biggest Reason to Get Bullet Proof Glass

Your peace of mind is always the most important reason to add any security measure. Sure, the likelihood of something terrible happening is relatively low, but that slim chance is enough to keep us all up at night. 

If you can afford it, it is a good plan. But, it isn’t for everyone, either. 

For those of you who have decided to go for it, do your research. Get as many free quotes as you feel comfortable with, compare prices and reviews, and ask every question that comes to mind. It is your safety and your money. 

Weather events are far more likely to happen. Wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and so on can all happen in the blink of an eye. Ballistic windows could be that one thing that keeps debris from doing its own breaking and entering.

FAQs about Bulletproof Glass

What is the average cost of bulletproof glass?

The average cost of bulletproof glass varies depending on factors such as glass types, thickness, level of safety, and labor cost. Quality bulletproof glass can range from approximately $1200 to $20,000 in price.

How thick does bulletproof glass need to be?

The thickness of bulletproof glass varies from 0.25 inches to 3.5 inches, and as the thickness increases, the weight also increases. This aspect is crucial to take into account during the design and construction of structures. The levels of protection provided by bulletproof glass range from UL 1 to 10.

Can bulletproof windows roll down?

Bulletproof windows can roll down in certain armored cars. Civilians who purchase armored cars usually have the option of having at least one window that can be rolled down, typically the driver’s seat window. However, specialty vehicles may not have this feature.

How much does it cost to put bullet proof windows on?

The cost of installing bulletproof windows varies depending on factors such as the type of bullets they need to withstand, whether they are designed to open, the complexity of the design, and the window size. Generally, bulletproof windows can range from $350 to $800+ per square foot.

How often does bullet proof glass need replaced?

Bulletproof glass needs to be replaced every 10-20 years due to the yellowing caused by exposure to the sun’s UV rays. However, it is important to note that the yellowing does not impact the quality or safety of the glass. Therefore, the decision to replace the bulletproof glass ultimately depends on personal preference.

What is the toughest bulletproof glass?

The toughest bulletproof glass available today is glass-clad polycarbonate. The level of ballistic protection it provides increases with the thickness of the final product, which is determined by the number of layers in the glass sandwich.

What is bulletproof glass made of?

Bulletproof glass is made of transparent plastic materials, including polycarbonate and PMMA (acryl glass). These materials are used to create lightweight bulletproof panes, which are commonly installed in special vehicles or construction machines.

Is bulletproof glass expensive?

Bulletproof glass is indeed expensive, with prices ranging from $150 to $800+ per square foot.

Can you put bulletproof glass in your house?

Yes, it is possible to install bulletproof glass in your house. Acrylic, also known as plexiglass, is a popular material used for creating ballistic windows in residential properties. It is lighter than traditional glass and can achieve a UL 752 Level 2 rating with a thickness of approximately 1.25 inches.

How many bullets can a bulletproof glass take?

Bulletproof glass, according to UL 752 standards, has historically been manufactured up to Level 8, designed to endure five shots from a 7.62mm rifle without any bullet penetration or glass spall.

What’s stronger than bullet proof glass?

The strongest bulletproof glass available today is glass-clad polycarbonate, and the level of ballistic protection it offers increases with the thickness of the final product, determined by the number of layers in the sandwich.

How thick does glass have to be to be bulletproof?

The thickness of glass required for bulletproof protection varies from 0.25 inches to 3.5 inches, and as the thickness increases, so does the corresponding weight. This aspect holds significant importance in the design and construction of structures. Additionally, bulletproof glass is available in different levels of protection, ranging from UL 1 to 10.

Can any bullet go through bulletproof glass?

Bulletproof glass is designed to withstand one or many rounds of bullets, depending on the firing weapon and the thickness of the glass. By absorbing the energy from the bullets, it reduces their velocity. However, it is important to note that bulletproof glass is not completely impenetrable.

How much does it cost to bulletproof windows?

The cost of bulletproof windows varies, typically ranging from $350 to $800+ per square foot. This price is influenced by factors such as the type of bullets the window needs to withstand, whether it is an opening window, the complexity of the design, and the window’s size.

Does bulletproof glass eventually break?

Bulletproof glass does not necessarily break over time; however, it is important to consider the thickness and quality of the glass as some types may shatter with continuous impact. Understanding these key myths and misconceptions about bulletproof glass is crucial.

What material can stop a bullet?

A variety of materials can stop a bullet, ranging from complex options like Kevlar, UHMWPE, Lexan, or carbon fiber composites, to more basic choices like steel or titanium. These bullet resistant materials are commonly employed in law enforcement and military settings to safeguard individuals against fatal or severe harm.

How many times can you shoot bullet proof glass before it breaks?

The bulletproof glass can withstand at least one shot from a 7.62 mm rifle, indicating a level 5 protection. In the past, this level of protection was associated with a full-power military main battle rifle cartridge. If the glass has level 8 protection, it can deflect at least five shots from a 7.62 mm rifle.

How much does bulletproof glass cost for a car?

The cost of bulletproof glass for a car can range from $3,000 to $20,000, depending on the desired level of protection. The price is directly influenced by the thickness of the glass, with thicker glass being more expensive. Additionally, the cost may vary depending on the age of the car, with newer cars potentially having lower expenses compared to older ones.

What is the lifespan of bulletproof glass?

The lifespan of bulletproof glass can reach up to twenty years with proper maintenance, and it is equally crucial to consider ballistic framing during the design phase.

How thick is bulletproof glass for cars?

The thickness of bulletproof glass for cars varies depending on the level of protection required. For example, armored glass that measures 21mm in thickness is classified as B4 and can effectively stop a handgun. On the other hand, glass that is 70mm thick, classified as B7, is capable of stopping high-powered rifles. The ranking system takes into account the thickness, number of layers, and certified testing to determine the level of protection provided by the bulletproof glass.

Can bulletproof glass be cracked?

Bulletproof glass can be cracked if it is not properly maintained, despite being designed to resist bullets from penetrating.

How much damage can bulletproof glass take?

Bulletproof glass can withstand a significant amount of damage, as determined by UL 752 standards. In the past, the most advanced level of bulletproof glass, known as Level 8, has been designed to endure five shots from a 7.62mm rifle without any bullet penetration or glass spall.

Is it expensive to bulletproof a car?

The cost of bulletproofing a car can vary significantly, ranging from $16,000 to $50,000 or even more. Factors such as the size and type of the vehicle, as well as the specific parts to be bulletproofed, contribute to the overall pricing of this extensive vehicle modification.

Is bulletproof glass just thick glass?

Bulletproof glass is not just thick glass. The plastic layers inside bulletproof glass are arranged in a laminate layout, which can be up to ten times thicker than standard glass and significantly heavier. When bullets strike bulletproof glass, the energy is rapidly absorbed as it travels sideways through the layers.

Why don’t cars use bulletproof glass?

Cars do not use bulletproof glass because bullet resistant glass is thicker than regular glass, which necessitates modifications to the frame for proper installation. Additionally, bullet resistant glass is considerably heavier than standard auto glass, requiring stronger hardware and mechanisms for operable windows.

Are bulletproof windows unbreakable?

Bulletproof windows are not unbreakable; their ability to resist bullets depends on their thickness. After being shot at, bullet-resistant windows typically remain intact. However, to stop more bullets or powerful firearms, a thicker window may be necessary. It’s important to note that the glass may eventually break after repeatedly stopping several bullets due to wear and tear.

Does bulletproof glass scratch?

Bulletproof glass does scratch easily, despite having an abrasive resistant coating on the inside surface. It serves the purpose of preventing slivers of glass from dispersing inside the vehicle in the event of an impact from bullets or other objects.

By Anita Brown

Anita Brown is our go-to contributor to our emergency preparedness website. Anita brings a wealth of personal experience and professional expertise to the table, having weathered several awful natural disasters. Anita is currently working towards obtaining her Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) certification.