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Old December 3, 2017, 02:46 PM   #1
MikeGoob
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Advice on breaking glass and getting away from trouble

Say that I or someone I loved had to routinely visit or work in an area that had a lot of ground level windows (like pic below), yet few points of entry or escape (doors).

Say this place was an attractive target to shooters, I was thinking there should be an easy way to get out those big windows and not be cornered by shooters at the doors.

SO, is there a tool that can be carried in case of emergency that can be used to quickly break large windows like these to escape? Something easy to carry such as on a keychain? Would a small glass breaker work on such windows?



Thanks
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Old December 3, 2017, 02:56 PM   #2
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I'm not real up to speed on what's used in buildings like this, but I would make an assumption that it's very thick stuff that is not likely to break enough with your every day punch you'd find on the end of tactical knives or the separate tools you'd get for say, car windows. I could be wrong though.

Me? If it's available, I'm throwing whatever is heavy and in reach at the glass until I can get through. If nothing else and it's a safe shot, shoot through it. Survival is survival and if that's the only way you're getting out of the shooting gallery, get it done.
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Old December 3, 2017, 03:02 PM   #3
Glenn E. Meyer
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This is a pretty compact car window tool. How it would work on a large plate - no idea. If you google class breaking tools you can find all kinds of hammer like gadgets.

Several pocket knives have tools such as:

https://www.spyderco.com/catalog/details/C79YL/926

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Benchmade...eaker/43469200

Gerber makes a pen:

http://www.gerbergear.com/Equipment/...-Pen_31-001880

Again - will these work on a large window - no idea.

In 9/11, there was a police officer who took out a window with a J frame on the first floor of one of the buildings to help people escape according to a book I read. I would have to look up the reference as I haven't heard more about that.
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Old December 3, 2017, 03:13 PM   #4
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Next issue is, are you even going to have time to break them? Glass doesn't always just explode the moment something heavy smacks them. You may have to target weaker corners so that it doesn't just bow instead of smash, and you may have to strike several times. If you've got a shooter involved inside, the moment they hear something other than their own voice or the whimpers of the panicked, they are going to get an itchy trigger finger or, worse, their partner will start hunting for you.

The trouble with these scenarios is that trying to make an effective escape requires planning that is hard to do if you've never been in the building before. If you're on the 3rd floor and the shooter is one the first, and the only way out is through the glass, you're probably going to be in bad shape when you land anyway, if you survive. If you are near the one door the shooter chose to enter through, by the time you get to the window you're full of bullets.

In the building above, if the shooter is near the front, I'm going to head to the very back and weave in between the shelves, corners, and objects in the room. It's dangerous yes, but so is trying to go through that front glass. If you're weaving about and moving at a quick pace, the shooter is going to have a more difficult time getting a good hit.
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Old December 3, 2017, 07:37 PM   #5
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It wouldnt be exactly like the picture above, but imagine many modern schools/churches etc who have large atriums with windows but only a few doors.

Anyway I appreciate the responses. Maybe someone with experience will chime in.

I've always wanted an excuse to get a good tactical pen
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Old December 3, 2017, 11:45 PM   #6
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A big hammer and a pair of safety glasses.
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Old December 3, 2017, 11:55 PM   #7
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That's pretty tough glass. How much time do you thing the BGs will give you to break out? It won't be quick or quiet.
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Old December 4, 2017, 10:53 AM   #8
Glenn E. Meyer
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As far as timing, you may be in a place with a critical incident but if it is a large location, be fairly distant from the action and the exit.

So it's a fair question to see how to get out through the windows. I think some TV show tried to duplicate Bruce Willis' feat in Die Hard. Wasn't that easy but I couldn't find it with a simple search. Duh.
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Old December 4, 2017, 05:37 PM   #9
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Yeah I was about to say Bill’s suggestion of a big hammer, a heavy one that can be gripped with 2 hands.
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Old December 4, 2017, 05:56 PM   #10
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Years ago I was between jobs and ended up taking a temp job on a demo crew. We did a couple business park jobs while I was with them and had some first-hand experience with trying to break large panes of glass by hand.

The panes I needed to break were not as big as the ones in the photo provided (I think); the ones I had to break were about 7 ft. high interior glass office panes. My tool was a 24 oz. claw hammer. I'm 5' 8", about 175 lbs. and was in better than average physical shape.

I used the head of the hammer and a one-handed medium-hard swing for my first couple attempts. I didn't even chip the stuff. Then I tried a nearly full-strength two-handed swing, which chipped the glass but still didn't break it. Finally I reversed the hammer to use the claw and used a two-handed full-power swing which finally went through the glass, but still didn't completely smash it out. It took about four minutes to finish the job on that one piece of glass. The next windows went faster, but it still took several hard swings with the claw part of the hammer to smash through the panes.

Another note: when I finally did break the glass, several large pieces (more than a foot across) fell to the ground immediately, with one piece actually hitting the back of my hand. Fortunately I was wearing heavy leather work gloves which were sliced all the way through the leather but didn't go through the lining.

When I took a minute to examine the glass I immediately saw that it was about 3/4 inch thick, much thicker than I originally assumed.
If I were thinking about how to break those windows in the picture above, I'd develop a better plan than just trying to throw a chair through one. It probably won't work. And I'm almost 100% certain a tac pen won't do anything at all.

If it were possible, I'd probably opt for something like a 3 lb. sledge hammer. And I'd probably try throwing it as hard as I could from a few feet away.

Last edited by Rangerrich99; December 4, 2017 at 06:01 PM.
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Old December 4, 2017, 07:21 PM   #11
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Considering the fracture characteristics a sharply pointed instrument would help. But glass comes in various types standard, tempered and others . Automobile windshields are special laminated type .They are structural glass !! Don't waste your energy on that. Side windows ,on lower corners . I use a large automatic center punch. If it's YOU inside the car anything that you have to swing is a poor choice if you are under water as the water will absorb much of the energy !
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Old December 4, 2017, 08:03 PM   #12
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visions of the apple 1984 commercial

Something between an 8 lb sledgehammer and a forklift seems appropriate.
I am not an expert but I think a plan to hide or run makes a lot more sense as a sledge hammer is difficult to hide in an office.

I think Die Hard is a poor example to draw from. Jason Bourne makes more sense (if you are at a disadvantage, run)
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Old December 4, 2017, 08:59 PM   #13
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The other thing to think about is it may be impact windows if you live in hurricane prone area. Don't waste your time trying to break that stuff. There is a strong film that keeps the window intact even if it shatters. I saw a video where fire fighters were taught to handle impact windows. The fastest was with a chainsaw, then a large circular saw, and then an ax.

If the shooter is outside shooting in, move inside, instead of out. If they shoot the windows, it will crack and make it much harder for him to see clearly. If the shooter is inside, try and find cover or engage where you are.
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Old December 5, 2017, 06:54 AM   #14
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Your best bet is a setter punch. They are used to make a pock mark in metal for drilling. They rarely cost more than $5. It looks like a pointed screw driver. It is a spring loaded punch that is also used by rescue personnel. It works well for automotive glass on the rear, and side windows. Windshield it will spider web the glass, but then the plastic film inside of it has to be cut. Large plate glass windows are similar to windshields on steroids.
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Old December 5, 2017, 10:30 AM   #15
Glenn E. Meyer
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Interesting nuance on a car's side windows. They are supposed to be easily breakable. However, in a car tactics class, we found that if they had sunscreen film on them they would hold together in place.
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Old December 5, 2017, 10:56 AM   #16
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"Another note: when I finally did break the glass, several large pieces (more than a foot across) fell to the ground immediately, with one piece actually hitting the back of my hand. Fortunately I was wearing heavy leather work gloves which were sliced all the way through the leather but didn't go through the lining. "

This is a point I was going to bring up. I am a retired firefighter and I have been at more than a couple incidents where a large window was broken: usually because a car drove through it. If a piece of that window falls (even after the inital break) and hits you, you are going to be in serious trouble. Any time we broke windows, it was SOP that you use a tool (like a pick head axe or a pike pole) to remove all the glass in the frame before anyone attempts to go through the window. Hanging glass is literally a guillotine.

I have also tried to break windows and had my tool bounce off: some windows are quite tough. At that point, you use an axe which is dangerous; the axe goes through it along with your hands a lot of the time. Then you have the falling glass and again, in a window like you picture, the glass is in large chunks that are sharp and it is heavy. You would typically hit the lower corner of the window with the pick end of the axe while you stand to the side of the window as far as you can.

A spring loaded center punch works on tempered glass. Again, you are going to have falling glass to contend with. I really don't know how well that would work on a large window in a commercial building: I have never done it.

As mentioned: if a car window has tint film on it, the glass breaks but it all stays together, which is a good thing. You can then just remove it as one piece. You can cut around the edge with a knife or just kick it out. We used to remove windshields using an axe. But today, we just cut around the edges with a saw and remove the whole thing intact. A Sawzall is the tool of choice although there are non-motorized devices to do this. In fact, I have broken dozens if not hundreds of car windows and I typically taped them and left a loop in the center of the tape so I could break the glass and then using the loop I had a handle to simply remove all the glass as one piece.

Off the subject, but since I mentioned a Sawzall, this has also become a good option for vehicle extrication: in a lot of cases, instead of using hydraulic rescue tools to bend and pull things, often we just cut the seat out of the floor and moved the whole seat rather than moving the dash or steering wheel.
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Old December 6, 2017, 10:22 AM   #17
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I'm not sure on this one, my first security gig was at an office building similar to this.

I wasn't on duty for it but late at night we had a kid with a 22lr pistol fire shots at some random buildings including ours.

The rounds didn't penetrate through the glass, and were stuck in the glass.

The window also didn't shatter, just cracked a bit around the entry point.

I know 22 isn't packing much power, but still.

I'm not sure I would want to rely on rapidly and safely getting through such a window as my safety plan...
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Old December 6, 2017, 10:29 AM   #18
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Those windows?
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Old December 6, 2017, 10:55 AM   #19
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I read something yesterday somewhere, maybe an e-mail, that glass like that is usually bullet proof. Probably hard to break.
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Old December 6, 2017, 11:25 AM   #20
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I think some of you are seriously underestimating the strength of the glass used in large buildings. This isn't some thin plate glass like your windows at home. Even with a sledge hammer, impact resistant windows (hurricane rated), would take a while to get through. Watch this.
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Old December 6, 2017, 11:39 AM   #21
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Quote:
Mike Goob wrote:
SO, is there a tool that can be carried in case of emergency that can be used to quickly break large windows like these to escape? Something easy to carry such as on a keychain? Would a small glass breaker work on such windows?
No to all three questions.

As already noted by several posters, such glass as is shown in the illustration has been formulated, treated and sized to resist impact. It remains glass and is subject to breakage from sudden impact, but the keychain type tools sold for use on automotive glass would not be a lot of help.
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Old December 6, 2017, 12:19 PM   #22
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spark plug and slingshot works on yoo toob.
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Old December 6, 2017, 12:44 PM   #23
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briandg,

A spark plug might crack the window, but it sure won't bring down an impact window. Some of these windows are incredibly thick and a spark plug might just chip the window. Don't count on a spark plug getting you through windows found on exteriors of big buildings, especially if it is hurricane windows.
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Old December 6, 2017, 01:25 PM   #24
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That 3/4 inch thick is unusual. Big sheets are usually tempered but not that thick. 1/4" as I recall. Breaks with a tire iron and doesn't drop like a guillotine. Lotta speculation about it in the shop I worked in, long ago. Until some punk whacked a hole in the middle of one pane and took the replica MP-40.
In any case, I wouldn't rely on breaking that kind of glass as part of an escape plan. Unless you're driving.
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Old December 6, 2017, 02:04 PM   #25
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stephen426, that was cool. Thank you.

I just built a house in FL, and the windows are rated for a 110mph impact. They were insanely expensive (there are a lot of them too). I had no idea they were that tough.
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