What is Ballistic Glass – The Ultimate Guide

Ballistic glass is essentially a multidimensional glass material specially treated to stomach the impact of distinct projectiles including bullets.

Although it is alternatively known as bullet-proof glass, the truth is that it is not entirely impenetrable.It can, however, handle significant projectile impact.

Types of Ballistic Glass

Ballistic Glass
Ballistic Glass

With heightened security concerns, ballistic glass plays a crucial role in calming these concerns. You can opt for varying types of bulletproof glass depending on the level of security threat you are facing. These ballistic glass options include:

Monolithic Acrylic Ballistic Glass

Ballistic glass made from acrylic is primarily designed for applications that are not subjected to wild explosions or heavy-duty projectiles. This glass is comparatively lighter in weight meaning that it is likely to shutter under heavy impact. However, it is relatively affordable and this explains its broad usage in riot shields, gas stations, and protective barriers.

Monolithic Acrylic Ballistic Glass
Monolithic Acrylic Ballistic Glass

Laminated Ballistic Glass

Laminated ballistic glass is characterized by multiple layers glued together by polymer interlayers. This gives laminated bullet-proof glass structural integrity, which can withstand considerably huge impacts.

This ability to tolerate impactful hits has seen laminated glass deployed in armored vehicles and other high-profile military facilities.

Laminated Ballistic Glass
Laminated Ballistic Glass

Ceramic-Based Bulletproof Glass

Ceramic ballistic glass comes with the impressive transparency features of regular glass as well as the strength of natural ceramic. This piece of armor is typically manufactured from silicone carbide and alumina. It is a common armor piece in aircraft and military vehicles

Ceramic Based Bullet Proof Glass
Ceramic Based Bullet Proof Glass

Insulated Bulletproof Glass

This type of ballistic glass is quite similar to laminated ballistic glass. However, its layers are not bonded together.

Instead, they are alienated by air gaps, which absorb a significant volume of impact. These air gaps also act as thermal insulation features, qualifying the use of insulated ballistic glass in military vehicles and government facilities.

Insulated Bulletproof Glass
Insulated Bulletproof Glass

Polycarbonate Ballistic Glass

Polycarbonate glass offers a significant amount of tolerance to impact despite being relatively lighter in weight.

However, when compared to heavier ballistic glass its resistance to high-caliber rounds is lower. It is primarily employed in applications that are prone to small or moderate impacts e.g. military goggles and riot shields.

Polycarbonate Ballistic Glass
Polycarbonate Ballistic Glass

Glass-clad polycarbonateBallistic Glass

This ballistic glass type is ideally an upgraded version of polycarbonate glass. It consists of multiple polycarbonate sheets stuffed in between sheets of glass. This combination results in a highly effective ballistic glass that is transparent and scratch-resistant.In addition to stomaching huge bullet impacts, this glass can also stomach considerable blunt force.

Glass Clad Polycarbonate Ballistic Glass
Glass Clad Polycarbonate Ballistic Glass

Ballistic Glass Standards

Ballistic glass standards categorize bulletproof glass sheets based on the projectile impact they can stand firm against. The more highly rated your ballistic glass is, the more reliable it is in case of a projectile strike.

Different regions may adhere to different standards but the standards outlined underneath apply to most regions. Take, for example, ballistics helmets must conform to certain safety features and standards.

UL 752

This standard is widely referenced in America and it generally categorizes bulletproof glass whose protection level falls between levels 1 and 8. This means that your UL 752 ballistic glass can safely handle a bullet from a .38 special handgun as well as one from a .50 caliber rifle. These ballistic glasses also have their transparency and spall resistance rated.

NIJ 0108.01

This standard looks at bulletproof glass sheets designed to serve law enforcement officers and applications. it takes into consideration the type of armor used and the number of bullets fired. This standard was put in place by the United State’s National Institution of Justice (NIJ).

EN 1063

This standard is primarily designed to regulate bulletproof glasses in European countries. Its rating strategy takes into consideration numerous parameters including impact tolerance and eruption tolerance.

ASTM F1233

The ASTM F1233 standard is commonly utilized to rate the protection level of non-governmental protection armor. It was instituted by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and it incorporates several diverse tests. These test methods also look at your ballistic glass resistance to sharp and blunt weapons.

Features of Ballistic Glass

Ballistic glass is often regarded as bullet-resistant glass due to its impressive ability to hold out against projectile impact. High-quality bulletproof glass designed to stomach high-caliber impacts comes with unique properties.

Transparency: Despite featuring multiple layers of glass, ballistic glass still exhibits an impressive level of transparency. However, if your ballistic glass has added layers, its clarity may depreciate slightly.

Multi-Layered Construction: To comfortably hold out against heavy-duty ammunition, ballistic glass is manufactured by bonding multiple layers of glass using strong adhesives. The composition of most bulletproof glass features:

  • A hard glass layer.
  • A soft polycarbonate layer.
  • Interlayers such as PVB.

Impact Tolerance: The multidimensional construction of ballistic glass means that it can soak up considerably high amounts of kinetic energy. This glass hardly shatters when exposed to significant blasts.

Spalling Resistance: Spalling causes the glass to shatter on the opposite side once the adjacent side is hit. This is quite dangerous but luckily ballistic glass is extremely impervious to spalling.

Soundproofing: The comparatively thick nature of bullet-resistant glass also comes with the benefit of reduced noise. This is well demonstrated by insulated ballistic glass, which features air spaces that act as a barrier to sound transmission.

Thermal Insulations: The sturdy nature of ballistic glass means they can impede heat transfer thereby serving you as insulators.

Blast Resistance: High-level ballistic glass such as ceramic-based ballistic glass has a robust structure, which allows its deployment in areas prone to blasts. This glass is specially built to downplay shockwaves, which are induced by impactful explosions.

How Do Ballistic Glass Stop Bullets

Ordinary vs Bullet Proof Glass
Ordinary vs Bullet Proof Glass

You might be wondering why typical glass shatters when put under pressure yet there is bullet-resistant glass. The secret lies in the distinction in composition and thickness of these two types of glass. Underneath, we break down the events that unfold once your ballistic glass is hit by a projectile.

  • Impact: Once a bullet or any other form of ammunition is fired towards a ballistic glass and the bullet hits it, there is a heavy impact.
  • Outer Layer Deformation: The point where the bullet strikes your ballistic glass suffers slight deformation due to the concentrated kinetic energy. However, only the outer layer suffers cracks. This is mainly due to the thick state of ballistic glass (7mm-75mm).
  • Energy Absorption: The heavy impact caused by the striking bullet gets to the second layer of the ballistic glass. However, this layer further slows the bullet since it bounces and bends while absorbing the bullet’s kinetic energy.
  • Projectile Slowdown: By the time the bullet hits the middle layers of the bullet-resistant glass, its speed has significantly reduced. Furthermore, it comes across more layers, which slows it even further.
  • Containment: As it moves down the layers, it comes across the innermost layer, which comprises of PVB. This layer halts the bullet while ensuring there is minimal or zero spalling.

Factors Impacting the Effectiveness of Bullet-proof Glass

Despite being intrinsically effective ballistic glass may malfunction or perform dismally when called upon due to numerous foreign factors. These factors include:

Glass Construction

What material is the glass made of and what is its structural orientation? Ballistic glass comprising robust materials like laminated glass is less likely to suffer an unprecedented malfunction. However, bullet-resistant glass made from relatively weaker materials like acrylic demonstrates relatively lower protection ratings.


Thickness is determined by the number of glass layers supported. If there are relatively more layers, this translates into a higher protection rating and better impact tolerance. However, this comes with the drawback of reduced clarity.


You may have the most robust and reliable ballistic glass but the moment you install it incorrectly, its effectiveness depreciates. This is because framing it inappropriately results in the formation of weak points, which can be costly in case of an attack.

Environmental Conditions

Harsh environmental conditions tend to disrupt the structural integrity of ballistic glass and this ultimately shrinks its effectiveness. For instance, extended exposure to extreme UV radiation can degrade its structural components such as the polycarbonate polymer. This may jeopardize the ballistic tolerance of your bullet-resistant glass.

Angle of Impact

If a bullet hits your ballistic glass at an angle considered to be a weak point, it may pass through or cause spalling. Typically, bullets striking your bulletproof glass at a perpendicular angle are quite easily contained. However, bullets hitting your ballistic glass at a non-perpendicular angle may pierce through due to the reduced resistance.

Projectile Type

The ballistic glass standards discussed earlier stipulate how effective your ballistic glass will be when faced with a specific projectile type. For example, if you have a level II ballistic glass and it gets hit by a .30 caliber rifle bullet, its resistance is likely to be lower.

Pros of Using Ballistic Glass

The invention of ballistic glass as well as the recent upgrades made to this invention continues to prove its worth with each passing day. The rewards of this invention transcend beyond impact protection.

  • Security against Projectiles: The primary reward of utilizing ballistic glass is the reliable protection you gain against bullets and other ammunition. This glass can deter considerably lethal projectiles.
  • Deters Crime: Ballistic glasses also help in the fight against crime by discouraging and providing you with shields that can hold off lethal weapons.
  • Resistant to Blunt Force: In addition to blocking the impact of sharp projectiles like bullets, ballistic glass also protects you from blunt objects like stones.
  • Blast Mitigation: High-level bullet-resistant glasses are capable of stomaching the shockwaves produced during a blast. This guarantees your safety in the event of an explosion.
  • Soundproofing Benefits: Their construction leaves them with a thickness of up to 75mm, meaning that they can also block noise transmission.
  • Durable: A ballistic glass can serve and protect you from ballistic weapons for years without losing its effectiveness. This is enabled by its multi-layered configuration.
  • Peace of Mind: Knowing you have a near-impenetrable glass shielding you from all manner of projectiles can be a source of tranquility.

Legal Requirements for Ballistic Glass

Ballistic glass is a highly rewarding piece of armor. However, its use and installation in certain regions is regulated by the respective local authorities. To utilize this bullet-resistant glass, you may be required to take a few legal steps.

  • Local Regulations: First, you should consult your local authorities to get an understanding of the applicable regulations governing the use of ballistic glass.
  • Certifications: In certain areas, you may be required to acquire a permit before installing ballistic glass in your car, home, or business.
  • Building Codes: If you are installing ballistic glass in a residential or commercial area, you must check the applicable building codes. This will keep you safe from fines and other forms of punishment.

Choosing the Ideal Bullet-Proof Glass

In your quest to exploit the protective features of ballistic glass, you need to have a certain level of understanding about these apparatuses. Here are some handy tips to aid you solve your selection dilemma.

  • Assess Your Security Threat: Determine the kind of security threat you are likely to suffer. This will help you decide on the appropriate ballistic glass and the ideal protection level.
  • Check Ballistic Standard: Scrutinize the ballistic standard and protective rating of each distinct ballistic glass. This will help you settle on a glass that can offer you the right level of protection.
  • Consider the Construction Material: Pay close attention to the type of material used to construct the ballistic glass and the number of layers.
  • Understand the Legal Landscape: Do some digging into the existing local laws dictating the use and installation of bullet-resistant glass.

Common Uses of Ballistic Glass

Heightened criminal activities continue to drive up the demand for ballistic glass. This unique glass type is currently benefiting government facilities, private entities, and even the general public. Its use transcends the following applications;

  • Military Vehicles
  • Military Aircraft
  • Police Stations
  • Detention Centers
  • Armored Vehicles
  • Banks
  • Government Buildings
  • High-profile Personnel Homes
  • Armored Vehicles
  • Airport Security
  • VIP Vehicles
  • Jewelry Stores
  • Embassies
  • Safes
  • Display Cases

At Weprofab, we will help you get high-quality and reliable ballistic glass that meets your unique application requirements. Contact us now for all your ballistic glass needs.

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