Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers to your most pressing questions about ballistic barriers.

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Ballistic Materials

How does bulletproof glass work?

Bullet-resistant glass slows a bullet and absorbs its energy. Carefully-engineered layers (made of polycarbonate, acrylic, glass, and extremely sticky PVB adhesives, depending on the type of ballistic glass)  work in concert to prevent a bullet from getting through the barrier.

How does bulletproof fiberglass work?

Like bulletproof glass, ballistic fiberglass panels work by slowing a bullet and absorbing its force.

How strong is bulletproof glass?

Bulletproof glass is incredibly strong. The eight levels of protection that TSS manufactures can withstand three shots from a 9mm pistol (Level 1) up to five shots from an AR-10 (Level 8). This range includes velocities of 1175 to 3025 feet per second. 

Can plastic really stop a bullet?

Yes! However, the acrylic and polycarbonate materials used in bulletproof glass are engineered differently than the materials you can buy off-the-shelf at the hardware store, so not just any plastic can stop a bullet. 

Can bulletproof glass be broken?

Yes. Even the most durable ballistic products can be broken. It might take a long time, but it will be possible. Thankfully, a bulletproof barrier does not need to be totally impenetrable in order to be effective. 

When was bulletproof glass invented?

The earliest versions of ballistic glass were invented in WWI for use in bunkers and vehicles. This glass used lamination techniques developed in the early 1900s and tempered glass developed in the 1660s. The first patent exclusively for bulletproof glass was granted in 1982. To learn more, our blog explores the rich history and development of bulletproof glass. 

Ballistic Products/Solutions

Who uses bulletproof glass?

Many companies use bulletproof glass to protect their team and their property. However, it can be incredibly difficult to tell which barriers are bulletproof because they are so aesthetically pleasing and well-designed. TSS works with all types of companies and organizations across many industries to provide comprehensive ballistic protection. 

Do schools have bulletproof glass?

Yes and no. Bulletproof glass in schools is becoming more commonplace but overall relatively rare. Thankfully, new legislation and budget for school security is making bulletproof glass more accessible.

Are steel doors bulletproof?

Yes. Our steel doors are fabricated from 16-gauge, cold-rolled steel and offer maximum protection from ballistic threats.

How much is bulletproof glass?

That depends on the type of bulletproof glass. UL Levels 1 through 3 can range from $45 to $60 per square foot, not including the cost of design or installation. For an accurate idea of what your bulletproof glass project might cost, please request a quote.

How much is a bulletproof door?

A bulletproof door is $5,000 on average. Unique, custom, and oversized doors are typically priced differently based on the project. To get a good idea of what your ballistic door will cost, please request a quote.

How much does it cost to install bulletproof glass?

Installation costs depend on the size and scope of your project. Please contact us for more information on installation pricing.

Designing Your Bulletproof Barrier System

Where in my facility should I use bulletproof glass?

A good rule of thumb is to use bulletproof glass between the threat and people you want to protect. This can be as a line of transaction windows at a counter, reception windows, or front doors. For more personalized recommendations about where to install bulletproof glass, please contact us.

Where in my facility should I use security window film?

Security window film is most effective at slowing entry, not stopping bullets. Therefore, window film should only be used in locations where people are not at risk of being struck with a bullet that can easily penetrate the security window film. Common film applications include secondary curtain walls or exterior windows.

What level of protection do I need?
This depends on your situation! Common categories are: 
  • Level 1: Gas stations, banks, pharmacies, retail 
  • Level 2: Corporate banks, financial institutions
  • Level 3: Utilities, police stations, government facilities, education
  • Levels 4 - 8: Federal government and military
For expert insight into what level of protection is right for you based on your threat level, please contact us.
What is the UL 752 standard and why does it matter?
The UL 752 standard for bullet-resisting equipment is the ballistic industry’s gold standard. This standard sets guidelines for product performance so consumers can be informed about what level of protection they’re getting. Bulletproof equipment on the market today is typically tested to or rated to this standard (the NIJ and ASTM are two other bulletproofing standards). Without information about the UL level of protection, a product isn’t guaranteed to stop bullets.
What is a systems approach?
The systems approach is what TSS uses to ballistically protect facilities. Using this approach, we consider every aspect of your building, threats, and opportunities. We don’t expect one single product to provide adequate protection, so we design systems that work together to keep you safe. In other words, we use a systems approach to think holistically.
How do I design a bulletproof barrier?
Think about the end user and design a barrier with them in mind. Who will be interacting with the barrier every day? What jobs do they need to do? Then, consider the limitations that come with working with ballistic projects (such as increased glass thickness and weight) and make sure your designs accommodate those materials. TSS’s team of designers and engineers can help you create an aesthetically pleasing and highly functional ballistic barrier.
How do I assess my threat level?
You know your situation best! If you know what risks you’re worried about (such as mass shootings, petty theft, armed robbery, etc.) we can help you design a system to protect against those types of attacks. An additional security assessment can also help you understand your threat level, vulnerabilities, and what to do next.

Installing Your Bulletproof Barrier System

Does TSS provide installation instructions?

Yes. An envelope containing an installation packet is attached to the materials in the shipping container. These instructions are not project specific, since most orders are totally custom, and should only be used as presentational guidelines. Installation instructions for most applications are also available on our website. Simply click on the “W” in the 3-Part Spec column to download the resource for your project.

How do I lay out channel pieces?

All channel pieces have a handwritten number on the bottom. Horizontal pieces have a number, vertical channel pieces will have a number followed by the abbreviation “vert.” Starting from the far left (facing the customer side), place the channel piece labeled “1” on the counter, followed sequentially by additional channel pieces until the channel butts into the right-hand wall of the system.

How do I install a service counter?

First, verify the final opening size to the supplied counter. There should be between 1/8” to 1/4” tolerance between the final opening and the countertop. Place the counter in the opening and center within the space. Check for level, and shim if necessary.

You should have received aluminum angle stock for the front and rear of the counter. Place these on the bottom side of the counter up against the wall and secure fasteners to both the counter and the wall. Caulk in any gaps as necessary.

How do I install a lockset?

Refer to the installation instructions that were provided with the lockset.

How do I cut fiberglass, acrylic, or polycarbonate materials?

Fiberglass, acrylic, and polycarbonate can all be cut using a carbide-tipped blade. 
For acrylic and polycarbonate, a carbide circular saw and router will be sufficient to do most field fabrication. The raw edges can then be sanded and either buffed out to an opaque edge or flame-finished for a clearer edge.

Fiberglass can also be cut using a carbide tip blade either in a circular saw or a jigsaw. We recommend pre-drilling holes at desired locations for fastening materials to a substrate. When cutting fiberglass, we highly recommend using both eye and respiratory protection, since fiberglass produces a large amount of dust that can cause extreme discomfort.

Can you provide ballistic products to third-party companies for them to sell and install themselves?

Yes. We often provide glaziers with pre-manufactured bullet-resistant materials. We can provide spec sheets for you to complete and cut, route, and drill to your measurements, or we can provide products in bulk for you to work with.

Maintaining Your Ballistic System

How do I clean my bulletproof glass?

Clean your acrylic and polycarbonate barriers using the cleaner that was provided with your order. Soft cotton cloths or microfiber towels work best. Additional cleaner may be purchased through Total Security Solutions or you can also use a diluted solution of 5% Dawn dish soap to one gallon of water.

Glass-Clad Polycarbonates can be cleaned using standard glass cleaning products with a non-ammonia base.

Is Windex bad for bulletproof glass?

Yes, Windex (and other solutions containing hydroxides, dimethyl benzyl or ethyl ammonium chloride, ethylenediamines and hypochlorite) will damage acrylic and polycarbonate sheets. This chart provides a full list of compatible and incompatible cleaning options.

What causes fine cracks on the surface of my acrylic glass and how can I fix it?
The hairline cracks on the surface of acrylic products is called crazing. Crazing is caused by harsh cleaning chemicals, which release inherent stress in the material formed in the casting process. Crazing cracks cannot be repaired or reduced in appearance. This chart outlines which cleaning materials are safe and will not produce crazing.
Can I remove scratches on the surface of acrylic glass?
Surface scratches can be buffed out of uncoated acrylic only. If there is any white coloring in the middle of the scratch, it is not repairable. It is possible to get it back to a clear opacity, but the scratch itself will still be visible.

Unfortunately, surface scratches on acrylic products are inevitable. It is up to you as the end user, however, to determine if the repair on the acrylic will be of more harm than the scratch itself.
When should I replace my bulletproof glass barrier?
Your bulletproof glass should be replaced after it has been shot, because it no longer has structural integrity. You may also want to replace your barrier if your facility is being renovated, the glass has crazing and you want to improve its appearance, or your bulletproof glass has yellowed due to age. Unless it’s damaged, bulletproof glass should last for 20 years before yellowing.

Ordering and Defective Product Information

How do I identify where my order is in transit?

You can check your estimated delivery dates with the freight company. When materials ship from the fabricating facility, Total Security Solutions sends an email containing a tracking number and the freight company’s Bill of Lading number to the contact identified on the order. 

Tracking information will be available after 5:00pm EST. For additional information on the status of an order, please contact your salesperson or project manager. Hours of operation are Monday thru Friday 7:30am–4:30pm.

My product was the wrong size. Who should I contact to get the correct product?

Please contact your TSS project manager.

Who can I contact about material defects?

Please send your project manager photos of the area with the defect. When taking photos, please include a coin next to the defect for size reference. Once you send your project manager the images, they will provide information regarding next steps. 

Who can I contact about damage during shipping?

Please take photos of the damaged products and the delivery crate in the condition they were delivered to your facility. Email the photos to your TSS salesperson or project manager for information regarding next steps.

How do I file a claim for products damaged outside of shipping?

Please take a photo of the damaged area and email it to your TSS project manager for information regarding next steps.

Can you provide ballistic products to third-party companies for them to sell and install themselves?

Yes. We often provide glaziers with pre-manufactured bullet-resistant materials. We can provide spec sheets for you to complete and cut, route, and drill to your measurements, or we can provide products in bulk for you to work with.

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TSS Experts Are Here To Help

Ready to get started? Our team of experts is ready to help. You can contact our office at 800.513.1468, or fill out this simple form on our website. Or, if you’re still researching your project, our Ballistic Education Center has a library of resources to help you learn more about your options.