In many respects, the bulletproof doors a business chooses are as much a status symbol as a security measure. In most applications, the utilitarian all-steel door from a detention facility would serve just as well as the oak-veneered, brass fitted door on a congressman’s office. But sometimes, aesthetics serve an important function.
UNCLE SAM LIKES EXPENSIVE BULLET PROOF DOORS
Standard bullet proof doors range from around $1500 to upwards of $5000. At either end of the spectrum the weight of the door, forced-entry security, and bullet stopping power are similar. But high-end ballistic doors are much more
aesthetically pleasing: Wood panels, brass hardware, attractive counters on the transactional doors, etc. Most businesses–from pawn shops to retail banks–are perfectly happy with a utilitarian all-steel or acrylic door. The expensive veneered doors, on the other hand, are pretty consistently favored by government facilities.
As Total Security Solutions vice president Jim Richards explains, there are several reasons for this. “First off, I don’t have to tell you that if I’m spending someone else’s money instead of my own, it’s a bit easier to do.” Corporate entities are often held to regular audits as a part of doing business, especially if they are publicly traded or have many investors. “They usually have a fiduciary responsibility. They won’t go cheapest of the cheap, but they won’t buy four bullet resistant doors that are $5,000 each, either.” State and federal government agencies, on the other hand, are rarely questioned about spending–apart from during an election cycle or congressional showdown.
GOOD-LOOKING BULLET PROOF DOORS
But that’s only part of the equation. The ballistic door is the first thing constituents see, and looks matter. A high-end wood-veneered bullet proof door wears very well, unlike some of the more cost-effective doors. The face of a steel or acrylic door is a single solid piece; unless the entire face of the door is replaced or refinished, every scratch, scuff, and dent is going to be there forever. All-acrylic doors are especially susceptible to poor cleaning decisions. Meanwhile, the wood-veneer surface of a high-end bullet proof door can be readily refinished, patched, or partially replaced. While we often pay lip-service to the idea of a frugal government, citizens generally want to see their government as a crisp, efficient operation, represented by attractive facilities. Scuffed, rough-hewn ballistic polycarbonate and windowless grey steel bullet proof doors are far from inviting.