Security window film is often proposed as a less expensive, quick bulletproof solution for businesses interested in upgrading their security on a smaller budget. Instead of replacing traditional window glass with a ballistic material, the film can be easily applied to an existing window in your building. At TSS, we’re always committed to helping you find solutions that work with your spending abilities, so we’ve put this solution to the test to see if it really stands up as an alternative to bulletproof glass.
Is Security Window Film Bulletproof?
Unfortunately, no. Reliable protection against ballistic attacks can only be provided with bulletproof materials (such as glass, metal, and fiberglass) that have been tested to UL standards. Despite sometimes being referred to as “window armor,” its purpose in a security system is not to stop bullets and save lives. That being said, window film can be a cost-effective way to address other security threats facing your business or facility.
Anti-Shatter Window Film Uses
Security window films are designed to prevent the glass from shattering upon impact (similar to unbreakable glass). When the film is properly applied, the window will act more like a “net” when faced with a projectile or attempted forced entry, stretching and pulling against the frame until it collapses into harmless pebbles. This is in contrast to a traditional glass window that would break into dangerous shards after being struck by a powerful force.
With this in mind, window film could absolutely play an important role in your safety plan. It can be a deterrent or protective measure against:
- Burglaries of the smash & grab variety. Security film will make it more difficult for a criminal to break through a glass door or window, giving you time to alert authorities.
- Explosive blasts and forced entry. Window film, when properly applied, can minimize the impact of explosive blasts.
- Weather events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, or earthquakes. Applying security film will increase your windows’ resistance to shattering, and minimize damage or injury from broken glass.
- UV rays that can easily pass through traditional glass. Some security window films will help filter out UV rays, both protecting employees and helping regulate the temperature inside your building.
3M Window Film Installation Cost
In general, security film will cost anywhere from $8-$18 per square foot. This price includes materials, labor, shipping, and travel for the professionals completing your installation. When considering where and how you’ll spend your security budget, you should also weigh the value you’ll receive from every investment. Security film will address the threats listed above, but it can’t be relied upon to save the lives of people inside your facility facing an active shooter.
Deciding Between Security Film and Ballistic Barriers
Your threat level and unique security concerns should always determine what security solutions are right for your business, office, or facility. If a ballistic attack is a risk factor for your building, then bulletproof glass is the only way to provide meaningful protection from such an event.
We often say that this decision comes down to the question: Is my security system meant to protect people or property? If the answer is property, then window film may be a fine option for your safety plan. If the answer is people, you should be ready to explore incorporating true ballistic barriers into your security system.
Download the Window Security Film and Bulletproof Glass infographic to learn more about the differences between these two security solutions, and get in touch with a TSS bulletproof expert to start planning your project.