Ballistic glass is heavy. Conventional sheets of ballistic glass weigh around eight pounds per square foot, with high-caliber installations approaching twenty pounds per square foot. Even a relatively simple installation–like a three-by-four showroom or waiting area window–needs a robust framing system to hold it in place. It’s a little silly to go to the trouble of installing bullet resistant panels and ballistic glass using a frame that couldn’t stop a .22.
Steel Frames for Ballistic Glass
If the ballistic glass is destined to be mounted in an existing drywall or masonry wall, then a frame fabricated from off-the-shelf 14-gauge milled steel can work well. These aren’t aesthetically impressive frames, but they get the job done, and will naturally offer Level 3 security, stopping multiple shots from 9mm, .44 Magnum, and .357 Magnum weapons. But if you want a sharper look, or need better security, you’ll need to move up to aluminum.
A True Level 3 Frame for Ballistic Glass
As we’ve discussed in earlier posts, Total Security Solutions brought the true Level 3 ballistic framing system to the industry. Most ballistic glass installers are content to take an off-the-shelf aluminum window frame from Home Depot and “pack” it by gluing narrow strips of bullet resistant fiberglass inside the frame. Such jerry-rigged arrangements can pass Level 3 certification tests, but their long-term durability–especially as that glue ages–isn’t established. Many experts in the field, including Total Security Solutions vice president Jim Richards, don’t trust it. “It might stop the first bullet,” Jim offers, “but it’s going to blow off after that.”
For this reason, Total Security Solutions has designed and manufactured their own framing system from the ground up, purpose-built to be inherently bullet proof. The Total Security Solutions TSS-BL 1.75 framing system is made from aluminum extruded through Total Security Solutions’s own custom-designed dies. The resulting framing member, when viewed in cross section (as you can see at the center of this image) has a hollow rectangular interior.
The front and rear face of these framing pieces are abnormally thick–3/8 of an inch of high-quality, specially tempered aluminum–and have been independently confirmed to stop at least three 9mm, .44 Magnum, or .357 Magnum bullets. In the worst case scenario–that a bullet somehow penetrates the front 3/8 of solid metal–it will be caught within the hollow interior, maintaining the structural integrity of the installation and stopping the bullet.
Level 8 Framing for Ballistic Glass
In the last year Total Security Solutions went back to the drawing board and, building off what they learned designing their popular True Level 3 TSS-BL 1.75 system, came up with an all new ballistic framing system capable of offering Level 4 through 8 security–the highest level of ballistic security on the commercial market. This TSS-BL 5.5 framing system won’t just stop many rounds from common street pistols, but will also weather bursts from Uzi sub machine guns, M16s, AK-47 assault rifles, high-powered hunting rifles, and even 12-gauge shotguns.
As you can see in the picture below, the cross section of this frame is slightly different from the True Level 3 system.
Total Security Solutions has evolved their reliable extruded aluminum frame. They kept the 3/8 tempered aluminum faces used in the True Level 3 system, but the interior cross section of the Level 4 through 8 system is no longer rectangular. Instead, it’s shaped like an upper-case “I” lying on its side. Half-inch strips of bullet resistant fiberglass are snugly fitted into the perpendicular jots behind each face, and locked into place by the shape of the the frame. Subsequently, either face alone could stop a high-powered bullet, and the fiberglass can’t peel away from the face.
When paired with an appropriate ballistic glass, these advanced true-rated ballistic framing systems offer a level of security second to none.