Bullet proof installations are increasingly dominated by solid steel doors. While this may be acceptable in some locations–an exterior door in the rear of a building, for example–it’s still a foreboding sight for the customer to glimpse behind the counter, and a downright threatening front door.
Total Security Solutions vice president Jim Richards–despite being ahead of the pack when it comes to fabricating stainless steel–isn’t enthusiastic about these doors. “There’s nothing aesthetic about them,” he points out, “In certain settings, certain applications, it’s a fine door, but it’s more of an industrial look. I’m not a huge fan of them.” Having installed many bullet proof systems in retail banking locations, Jim favors a more welcoming bullet resistant door, both at the entrance, and for any staff-only doors customers might see. “I like the look of a good wood door, or an aluminum and acrylic door, with all that glass.” Such acrylic doors offer the customer a clear view, and the sense that the business is welcoming her in, not worrying about locking attackers out.
THE ATTRACTION OF THE STEEL BULLET RESISTANT DOOR
It’s not superior performance that has brought the steel door to prominence, it’s cost. Most customers are looking for Level 1 through 3 security, which can be provided by a wide range of materials. Any quality bullet resistant door–regardless of material or appearance–will include the same heavy-duty continuous hinge, Schlage lock sets (or better), anti-jimmy plates, electric strike-plate (the “buzz thru” mechanism), and ballistically rated jambs, lintel, and sill.
The metal sheets on the face of a steel bullet resistant door provide its bullet-stopping power. This steel is somewhat cheaper than bullet resistant fiberglass panels (used to make wooden doors bullet resistant), and is also a more forgiving material to work with, demanding less expertise than, say, building a pretty birch security door. When it comes right down to it, the steel bullet resistant door is a higher-margin item for bullet proof suppliers, and so many might be tempted to sing its praises a bit more loudly.
MORE ATTRACTIVE OPTIONS
There is absolutely no reason that a Level 3 bullet resistant door needs to look any different from any door in your home. Large windows, raised cherry panels, birch veneer; all can be made to stop a bullet without making a business look like a maximum security prison. These bullet resistant doors derive their stopping power not from the surface wood, but from layers of bullet resistant fiberglass panels sandwiched between the wood veneers. Such doors can even include integrated transaction windows with built-in steel, wood, or quartz countertops. The expertise and craftsmanship that goes into these attractive doors epitomizes the Total Security Solutions approach to bullet proof security: balancing function, aesthetics, and value.