View Full Version : plywood, lexan, both?

April 26, 2009, 03:34 PM
I've picked out what I think is the best spot for me to "hole up" if I have a BG in the house. I've played the "where will a miss go?" game, and anything from my .357 or 9mm (or 12 gauge) that gets loose has a bit of sheet rock and a pair of brick exteriors to go thru before it gets to my next door neighbor's bedroom (that house is currently unoccupied). I have the place to myself so "who is on the other side of the wall?" isn't a major concern.

I don't have a fireplace or any other good stopper (my gun safe is in possibly the worst location it could be to be my backstop).

I've been thinking about what I can do to the back of the closet(s) that would be behind the hypothetical BG after he gets thru the bedroom door to catch my strays that wouldn't cost a bundle. I was looking at my plywood options at Home Depot the other day, and saw the clips used to keep plywood on windows during a hurricane (I live near the Gulf), and an idea hit me. Buy the plywood for the windows now, and use it in the closets until a storm is about to come in. If what I buy does double duty, it sounds like a good enough plan to get me to actually go thru with it instead of continuing to mull my options.

So to stop flying bullets and/or hurricane debris on something of a budget, what do you guys recommend, thick oak plywood, lexan (half inch or quarter inch), or lexan over plywood? I've searched the forum, and have found some passing references to this question, but didn't what I needed.


April 26, 2009, 04:15 PM
well i can tell you 0.375"-0.50" lexan will stop 38spl, 9mm and .45(both acp and colt), have not tryed .357 yet.
so for storm protection it would more than likely be a good choice, though spendy to buy.

however do not confuse lexan with plexiglass.

April 26, 2009, 04:26 PM
Isnt that a little hardcore? The chances of you having a home "Invasion" are rare. Its even MORE rare for them to occur while your home. There are numerous tings you can take into consideration that prioritize over putting lexan everywhere for an old-west style showdown in your living room. Do you...
*Lock your doors every night
*Have motion sensor lights
*Communicate with neighbors for a safety watch program
*Consider getting a dog
*Install an alarm ( Since everyone and there brother on this site will say "oh why would I do that so the cops can come in time to see my dead body bleh bleh bleh" ) The audible noise an alarm makes will help act as a deterrent for thieves.
*Have a camera security system so you can see who is at the front door before answering it
The list of things go on and on. My personal experience has led me to believe the vast majority of people who get a CCW and ask many many questions similar to yours are skipping preventative action steps that will help PREVENT the instance. They dont worry about the prevention, and focus mainly, if not only on the "Ye olde west" gun battle.

April 26, 2009, 04:31 PM
I have an alarm and door clubs and am getting motion lights. The unlikelyhood of an invasion is one of the reasons I'm dragging my feet on this and am looking for something to do double duty for me at a good price instead of covering my closets in steel plate. Trust me, I'd be perfectly happy to skip the gun battle.

April 26, 2009, 04:35 PM
The motion lights are a big one, they help you and hurt them big time. Whereas other things like cameras only help you, etc... Their cheap too

April 26, 2009, 04:38 PM
I'm also looking to upgrade my bedroom door and lock.

Note to self, don't watch DVR'ed episodes of Best Defense before going to bed if you don't want home invasion nightmares. :)

April 26, 2009, 04:38 PM
I think you have some great ideas trying to get 2 uses out of 1 product. I would say go for it, there IS going to be another hurricane someday. Might as well get the plywod or lexan now, before the storm gets on the way and everyone starts panic buying. I dont think that is "a little hardcore" Not very many people think of their neighbors saftey like that. At least the wood will be getting some use instead of being stored outside or under the bed.

April 26, 2009, 05:09 PM
Will the oak plywood be tough enough to do the job on its own? It looks like the cheapest option.

April 26, 2009, 05:27 PM
I dont know a good answer for that. Different types and different calibers will penetrate different depths. I know for a fact that 3/4 inch plywood wont stop a 9mm or 45acp FMJ or HP. But it will slow it down. There is a great website that deals with these issues. http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/theboxotruth.htm
Hope that helps. There is also the option of using "frangible" types of ammo.
I have some RCBD ammo, it wont go through that plywood, nor could I get it to penetrate a 1 gallon jug of water all the way through. Very expensive. $25 for 8rds. But then again it may not penetrate enough to hit vitals on the BG. Win lose situation. Just check out the link, maybe you can come up with an idea.

April 26, 2009, 05:30 PM
Thanks. I've seen Box-O-Truth. I thought they used pine for their test.

April 26, 2009, 08:49 PM
If it doesn't have to be transparent, polycarbonate (aka Lexan) is probably not the best option. I would consider steel and ultra high molecular weight polyethylene. The latter is likely a lot cheaper than polycarbonate and even more impact resistant:


That link should open up a PDF file. On the 3rd page there's a chart comparing polycarbonate to UHMW PE.

April 26, 2009, 09:00 PM
Can you say "Panic Room" They are lots of them out there and have been set-up to take on everything up to the design spec. I have seen designs up to .50Cal on all sides. Outside vents and a second set of phone lines in concrete encased conduit out thru the backyard to the next street instead of the telco toombstone in your yard. Also making it your Gun Safe with everything needed with a double blind entrance. Too many ways to do this, just let your imiganition run wild. Best front line defense is re-enforced locks on the outside doors and alarms on the windows. You need the most time of notification in order to go to plan A, B, C, D.

April 26, 2009, 09:05 PM
That's a bit more hard core (and expensive) than I was looking for. I checked out the UHMW Polyethylene page, but couldn't find prices.

April 26, 2009, 09:58 PM
Just go to http://www.mcmaster.com/ and click on "Plastics" in the lower right corner and then "Sheets." They have quite a variety of plastics including polycarbonate and polyethylene so you can compare prices.

McMaster isn't the cheapest place but you can get an idea of the relative costs and material properties.

April 27, 2009, 06:32 AM
The Lexan looks cheaper:


April 27, 2009, 10:26 AM
I see McMaster selling 48x48x0.5" UHMW PE for $185. Part #8752K815 (http://www.mcmaster.com/#8752k815/=1mm8y3). You could probably find it for less elsewhere. Polyethylene may stop bullets better than polycarbonate so you might be able to use a thinner sheet of PE which further cuts costs.

April 27, 2009, 12:36 PM
I may well be wrong but I am betting the -oak ply wood only has oak as one decorative veneer on one side of the sheet. Any dense wood like ply wood is going to deform a pistol round well. Paraply in 3/4 is tuff stuff. It is basically 2 sheets of 3/4 run thru a steam heated press so the 2 are only 3/4 when finished. One heavy sheet of ply...

B. Lahey
April 27, 2009, 12:50 PM
You say your house is brick... why are you worried, again?

Brick stops darn near everything unless you are planning on using a .50bmg with AP rounds for home defense. Even then it may take more than one hit in the same place to make it through any amount of brick. It will stop 5.56, 7.62, and shotgun slugs with no problem at all.

Having some plywood around for future storms is a good idea, but compared to brick, plywood performs like a wet paper towel for stopping bullets.

April 27, 2009, 04:43 PM
Here's a different thought...

I couldn't help but get reminded of why they say don't use reloads in your PDW... the last thing you want is for some crazed district attorney to be telling the jury that you cooked up a special recipe for "death bullets" or something stupid like that.

But could that some logic apply to this? Could a district attorney accuse you of creating a "death zone" or "live human shooting range" in your home? I know it sounds stupid to us but it's all about perception with a jury.

Of course for real fun you could put a bunch of plastic down to protect the carpet so you won't have to call one of those crime scene clean up services :)

April 27, 2009, 05:43 PM
Brick stops darn near everything

I didn't think you could count on brick exteriors.

Of course for real fun you could put a bunch of plastic down to protect the carpet so you won't have to call one of those crime scene clean up services

I have tile floors. :)

Bob F.
April 27, 2009, 07:45 PM
How about #4 shot (maybe turkey load) in 12ga? Yeah, I know the bird shot argument. Go to #4buck if it makes you feel better. I don't even want to catch a load of #12 shot at 8-10 feet!!!!!!!!

Stay safe.

B. Lahey
April 28, 2009, 02:08 PM
I didn't think you could count on brick exteriors.

Even a single layer of brick will stop just about anything. You said you have two layers.

Bricks stop bullets. Period.

April 28, 2009, 02:10 PM
I have one layer and I was counting on the layer around my neighbor's house.

ETA: It sounds like I'm in a good enough position to just buy the plywood and double up inside the closets (since I have more window surface area than closet interior) w/o feeling like too much of a risk to the neighbors should I need to deal w/ an unwanted houseguest.

Al Thompson
April 29, 2009, 08:59 AM
Not sure if this would apply to you, but those of us who have a lot of books can use a full bookshelf as pretty darn good cover. I have one positioned at a 90 degree angle to my front door (hard to explain, easy to see) to use if needed.

Jim Watson
April 29, 2009, 09:34 AM
Double up the critical wall with bricks dry-stacked between the studs.