It’s almost become run-of-the-mill for a large-scale ballistic system to incorporate huge six-foot by ten-foot pieces of ballistic glass. Such “supersize” bullet proof windows are, in essence, no different from their little brothers: A bullet resistant transparency (made from monolithic acrylic, polycarbonate, glass-clad polycarbonate, or laminated glass) is held in place by a bullet resistant frame(either a hardened-aluminum True Level 3 frame, an all-steel frame, or a Level 4+ fiberglass-lined aluminum channel frame). According to Total Security Solutions vice president Jim Richards, “it’s not uncommon to install a 30- or 40-foot bank of large windows like that.”
BULLET PROOF WINDOWS AND INTERIOR DESIGN
Jim doesn’t tend to install bullet proof windows larger than six-foot by ten-foot, but that’s only because it’s unusual for customers to want anything larger. Jim is quick to point out that this isn’t a limitation, so much as a popular fashion. For aesthetic reasons–and to prevent inattentive guests and customers from walking into nearly invisible glass walls–designers usually want to break up a large wall of ballistic glass with mullions or other supports (even if they aren’t structurally essential).
“Especially once you start getting into laminates like glass-clad polycarbonate,” Jim notes, ”you can go bigger, you just need to find a laminator with a big enough autoclave”–such as US Armor, a laminator Total Security Solutions has worked with extensively.
WHO NEEDS HUGE BULLET PROOF WINDOWS?
The most obvious application for such large windows are in the exteriors of banks and office buildings. Glass-clad polycarbonate bullet proof windows offer both bullet and blast resistance, as well as a forced-entry rating, and even a modicum of protection from severe weather, tornadoes, and tropical storms.
But the most innovative use of these largest bullet proof windows is in dividing up interior spaces. By using large bullet proof windows in place of stud walls or other solid dividers, banks can offer privacy to customers meeting with their financial advisors without limiting the visibility of security personnel.
Large bulletproof windows have also become the standard way to cordon off and manage the security checkpoints and screening stations in airports. Large police stations likewise benefit from this solution, which allows them to manage visitors, maintain security, and literally keep their operations absolutely transparent to the public.