View Full Version : Bulletproof windows

March 10, 2006, 11:02 PM
This is an addendum of a sort to my post on taking cover around a car. How much trouble is it to get bulletproof glass?
Are there different kinds?
Is there any that can stand up even to the highest powered rifle?

This isn't on the top of my "to do" list but it does make interesting discussion. Who knows, it might not be a bad idea on the next car if it doesn't cost too much.

Double Naught Spy
March 11, 2006, 03:42 AM
Not bulletproof, but bullet resistent

Different kinds? Yes. It all depends on the materials being used. Not all are glass. Most involve multiple layers of material, usually inclusive of an outer and inner side layer of clear polymer that helps hold the broken bits in place, helping preclude them from showering the inside of the vehicle.

Stand up to the highest power rifle? Possible, yes, but not really practical. I think the highest rated I have seen is supposed to hold up to multiple hits from .308, but I don't recall if that was just ball or was AP. I have seen .50 BMG AP shot at bank glass (Lexan, I think) of several inches thickness and the round getting through almost trouble free.

Getting glass to protect against ballistic insults for a car is stupid without also getting the rest of the car armored. The glass won't do you any good if you are shot through the sheet metal of the door.

I seem to recall a company in San Antonio that modifies vehicles for ballistic and explosive insults. Because of the tremendous weight of the materials added to make the vehicle safe, changes have to be made in the brakes, transmission, engine cooling, suspension, etc. I have seen costs up to $100K and that is with the customer providing the vehicle.

Note that ballistic "glass" is much thicker than regular automotive glass. Some is as much as 1" or more thick. So the car must be modified to accomodate the glass.

March 11, 2006, 03:49 AM
One potential problem with some of these materials is that they are UV sensetive. After X hours of exposure to sunlight they lose their effectiveness, and need to be replaced.

March 11, 2006, 04:08 AM
The boys over at the box o'truth got a hold of some ballistic resistant glass and did a really neat feature on it. Check it out. I bet they answer all your questions.



March 11, 2006, 04:47 AM
right about tht uv. we have glass in the units that inmates have beat with clubs and cant break . but that same glass has been broke with small rocks. age is the issue.

Odd Job
March 11, 2006, 06:27 AM
It also depends what the circumstances are likely to be. For instance there was a product being sold in SA a few years ago in response to the sky-rocketing car hijackings there. The basic scenario would be that a motorist would be caught off guard by the sudden appearance of a hijacker at the driver's side window. There would be a tap on the glass with the barrel of the gun or there would simply be a shot through the head or the neck (if the shooter wasn't savvy about the error of parallax and he fired discretely). So most of these shotings were taking place through the driver's side window and a company manufactured a clip-on slab of safety glass that attached to the inside of the driver's side window. If I remember correctly it could take quite a few handgun hits but only one or two AK47 hits. Just enough to let you floor it once the shots started, or to floor it if he tapped on the window.

Businessmen or high profile members of certain institutions who were looking for all-round protection would most likely buy a production car instead of modifying an existing vehicle. The three types that come to mind are (back then) the BMW 540i Protection, the Audi A6 Security and more recently the armoured Jaguar. There are quite a few companies that will armour an existing vehicle though. Here is one, and they have a gallery of damaged vehicles:


Then there is the interesting concept of 'One Way' glass. The intent is to make it more difficult for a projectile to traverse the glass from exterior to interior, but allow the occupant of the vehicle to fire from interior to exterior. A few years ago I had a video of an Israeli test on Labock glass that was quite impressive, but all I could find today was this link:


The concept is explained on their website.

But whether you buy a production car or have an existing one armoured, you should count on almost doubling the weight of the car. The Jaguar XJ Long Wheelbase for example is quite light when standard (1650kg) because of its aluminium body but when armoured it is around 3000kg.

March 11, 2006, 10:33 AM
For higher power rounds the 'glass' gets really thick. 4 to 6 inches thick.
It also requires a suitable frame to hold both the weight of the glass and the impact force when hit.
The ~1 inch stuff is about the lowest level.

March 11, 2006, 11:08 AM
Doug, why do you worry about such things???? Chances of you getting in a shootout are zilch. Your more likely to win the lotto!

If that 1/1000000000 person is you, then I don't really thing having bullet proof class is going to be the difference. Most civilian defense shootings happen with no cover, under 3 yards, under 3 shots, in under 3 seconds. You're not going to get in a Somalia 1993 type multi-day shoot out.

Chris Cullen
March 11, 2006, 11:45 AM
Being an armed guard that uses armoured vehicles, there is a lot you have to consider when developing an armoured vehicle. The previous posts detail some facts which should be taken into consideration. I'll look at the downside of armoured vehicles.

1. As posted previously, you will require modifications. Some vehicles cannot be modified without changing the common shape of the vehicle. A modified armoured vehicle draws attention to itself while its just sitting there.
2.The downside of armour plating is obviously weight. A common sight for us is the weight placed on the door hinges, which will need to be reinforced. Don't try and take the doors off by yourself. I have seen one fall on a mechanic who was working on it, and it required two guys to help lift the door off him.
3. Bullet resistant glass is heavy. Even "safety glass" designed to reduce the penetration of a .22 weighs a lot!
4. Vehicle handling: The 4X4's we use started off weighing one ton. Now... they are about 3 1/2 ton. Can get very top heavy. They will reach the speeds of your everyday 4X4 but are slow off the mark and handle like a broken shopping trolley at times.
5. Fuel economy: Heavy weighted vehicles obviously cause your engine to work harder to handle the workload. Be prepared for the fuel bills each week.

I've looked into designing an armoured vehicle of my own, and gave up after working out the expenses involved. If you're really desperate to get something, Range Rover make a fantastic armoured vehicle. Not cheap, but if you really think that you need it... whats money anyways??

Chris C

March 11, 2006, 12:01 PM
This reminds me of something I saw in a car magazine a little while back. Ford recently came out with a concept car called the Syn U.S. It was designed for inner city drivers wanting security from gangs, vandals, etc. It has some nifty features like a vault type door in rear and metal plates that cover the windshield and windows while parked. Though it's just a concept vehicle, I'd consider one as a this-place-has-gone-to-hell-let's-haul-ass-out-of-here car. I'd have to install a gun rack though. check it out (http://www.cars.com/go/features/autoshows/vehicle.jsp?autoshow=&vehicletype=concept&autoshowyear=2005&vehicle=concept_ford_syn)

March 11, 2006, 12:11 PM
To hell with spending a $100 grand or more, why not go the cheap method. Guatamalan death squad. Get an old beatup el camino with a couple of brazilian paramilitaries in the back with ak's and that'll beat the heck out of the most armored presidential limo (at least that's how I'm gonna roll when I'm elected!)

March 11, 2006, 04:31 PM
I'm a little embarrassed to say that i have thought of how to do it cheaply. Think "Hillbilly Armour". If you are willing to sacrafice some space you could use a large plate of iron or steel with a little slit for viewing. and maybe a small piece of bullet resistent glass attached. but you wont be able to get out that door. Sand bags in the trunk and another steel/iron plate in the back window with protect the rear of vehicle. A large sheet of bullet resistent glass is going to be need for the front window. This leaves the driver side of vehicle to protect. keep a bunch of sand bags in the back seat and when you get in you stack them up .
Now you could just use steel around all the window and drive using a monitor with cameras mounted on the vehicle, The sell a kit with 4 cameras and a tv at wal mart for about $200. I don't think you'll pass a safety inspection but you should be good from handgun calibers size rounds. Good luck and post pics when done. Now all this will be much easier with large van

Don P
March 11, 2006, 04:42 PM
:rolleyes: Just curious as to where you live or plan on going that you would consider bullet resistant glass. I thought I had read it all as far as what if's. Like one of the members stated you have a better chance of hitting the lotto than being in a gun battle.:(

March 11, 2006, 06:41 PM
You know, for when the zombies learn to pick up guns :D

March 12, 2006, 01:44 PM
How much trouble is it to get bulletproof glass?
1) Relax. The chances of you needing bullet resistant glass are between slim and none. And slim just left town.

2) Bullet resistant glass by itself is pointless. Your car doors won't stop a bullet either. Either completely armor the car or don't bother.

3) If you have to ask, you can't afford it. Expect to pay $100,000 for an armored car.

4) Bullet resistant glass and armor are HEAVY. Even with upgraded brakes, suspension, and engine, you're giving up a lot of handling as a result. And guess what an extra couple thousand pounds will do to your fuel mileage.

If you really think you need an armored car, then speak to your head of security. If you don't have a head of security, then you probably don't need an armored car.

Para Bellum
March 12, 2006, 04:18 PM
Remember: You can't escape through bullet resistant glass. Imagine a crash and the doors jammed. I have a security issue and prefer to have my windows sight-proof (shaded etc) rather than bullet resistant.

Odd Job
March 12, 2006, 05:09 PM
@ Para Bellum

In some countries tinted windows or one-way film are illegal. The last time I checked, this was still the case in SA for example. It has to do with LEOs not being able to enumerate/identify possible threats in the vehicle.

March 12, 2006, 08:04 PM
Doug, Doug, Doug....it will a lot cost more than your car is worth (neighborhood of $100,000). You don't need it. Ohhh and tinting would help very, very, very minimally (about as much as a tin foil helmet). Bullets that go thru regular windshield will go thru tinted windows. Bullets that "might" fail in a windshield might fail more with tinting. Depending upon the state you live, tinting may be illegal, or at least restricted to rear windows.

Double Naught Spy
March 12, 2006, 08:41 PM
No, I am fairly confident that Doug is more likely to be in a gunfight, or attempted murder of his person than winning the lottery. Strangely, I probably know of a dozen folks who have been shot/shot at as a result of hostile civilian action (robbery) or in gun fights (only 2 of which are cops) and have yet to meet anyone who has won the lottery. Simply put, violent acts such as armed robbery do occur at a much higher rate than winning lotteries.

Of course, "the bulletproof" vehicle aspect lowers the odds a good deal. While Doug might be in a gun fight, chances are that he will be in his "bulletproof" vehicle at the time isn't likely unless he is something like a courier or spends long hours each day in his car.

Mikey Boy is right that tinted windows can be stronger than regular windows because some types of tinting actually include thicker plastic shooting. Such sheeting has helped make safety windows safer. However, you would need to request the thicker sheeting that is common for tinting since the technology has improved quite a bit and they can not get the same tinting on thinner sheeting than they could say 10 years ago.

A company in San Antonio does vehicle conversions and vehicles that are already large in size such as Suburbans are good candidates. The SA company works specifically to not change the appearance of the vehicles such that folks will not realize that the vehicle is armored as seen from the exterior. A lot of the work ends up encroaching on the passenger compartment. Some of the roominess is lost.

I supposed you could have a driver only system where the driver is largely encased in a 'bathtub' of protection, like AT10 Warthog pilots, but it probably would not be an invisible change at all.

March 12, 2006, 10:59 PM
Lets get you some "low cost protection". For your head you can aquire a FCA level IIIA Ballistic Helmet for $360.00. You can also purchase a ballistic face shield for that helmet for $350 (it is only bullet resitant). For $1200 you can get a RHINO™ Spec Ops Ballistic Vest- Gold Level IIIA.If you gat an armour plate( 10 x 12 Level III/IV Plate
The 1012-FC-1 plate defeats attack from AK-47 (7.62 x 39 mild steel core) and Draganov (7.62 x 54mm) rifles using armor piercing ammunition audience on the product. ) It will only cost another $300. So far only $2210
You could also get a couple (Breaching Blanket IIIA) and configure them in you vehicle for additional protection at only $2400 a piece. (2 should do if yu develop a good vehicle mounting system. You could also modify a ballistic entry shield so that it could protect the front driver area of windshield ($1300). So for about $9000 you could get good ballistic protection for yourself.