Creating a bullet resistant barrier isn’t just a matter of slapping together some acrylic and fiberglass, then screwing it all into place. High-quality construction is just as important as high-quality materials.
While some jobs call for custom designed systems of bullet proof glass and fiberglass, most applications are in established fields (banks, gas stations, offices), that are perfectly suited to prefabricated systems. While Total Security Solutions is eager to step to the challenge of an interesting custom job, they are more than happy to crank out bread-and-butter drop-in bullet resistant barriers for day-to-day applications.
By far the most popular pre-fabricated units are transaction windows. Constructing these is a five step process, each handled by a dedicated shop within the Total Security Solutions facility in Fowlerville, MI.
1) THE GLASS SHOP
The ballistic glass used in Total Security Solutions’s bullet resistant barriers arrives in large sheets, not unlike plywood or drywall. These sheets of ballistic glass come in several thicknesses, corresponding to their relative bullet-stopping power–for example, a one-and-a-quarter inch sheet will stop three 9mm bullets, while a slightly thicker piece is needed to stop a .357 Magnum. Workers use a large circular saw (the type often used to cut granite slabs) to divide the large sheets into individual blanks, each roughly the size of the completed window. These are then machined by hand using routers and drills, in order to add the appropriate notches, mounting holes, louvers, and voice portals. Finally, each piece is finished by sanding down or flame polishing all the rough edges.
2) THE WOOD SHOP
The bullet resistant barrier will ultimately be anchored to a counter top, which will also house the stainless steel deal tray. These counters are cut, drilled, and finished in the wood shop, and may be made from laminated wood, plastic, or even marble.
3) THE METAL SHOP
In addition to the stainless steel cash tray, transaction windows and other bullet resistant barriers need a steel or ballistic aluminum frame to hold the pieces together. In the metal shop, these pieces of channel are cut to size, drilled with mounting holes, and then smoothed and deburred for both aesthetic appeal and ease of installation.
In a separate shop the pieces are brought together: Workers secure deal trays to the counters, then build and anchor the frames. Once they’ve slid the ballistic glass into place, they install stops to ensure a snug fit, then finish the frame. Once the bullet resistant barrier is fully constructed, it is thoroughly cleaned, wrapped, and prepared for shipping.
Shipping a pre-fabricated bullet resistant barrier doesn’t mean tossing it into any old crate and slapping some stamps on it. These transaction windows can thwart 9mm bullets, but that doesn’t mean the won’t get dinged up or scuffed by a clumsy UPS man. Total Security Solutions relies on custom crates and shipping protocols to guarantee that their products arrive in pristine condition.
Although a single transaction window of any size can easily be finished in under a day, the genius of these drop-in units is that they can be integrated into the existing workflow of custom orders. In practice, Total Security Solutions builds 8 to 10 of these one-piece bullet resistant barriers per week. Maximizing the use of their equipment and workers’ time in this way keeps these units affordable without sacrificing any quality.