How Much Do Bulletproof Windows Cost? Are They Worth It? - AlwaysReadyHQ (2023)

The bulletproof glassyou see in the movies and television is not reality.

In reality, bullet-resistant glass will protect you from all sorts of projectiles, but genuinelybulletproof glass is a myth. It might catch a bullet or two, and certainly, it slows them down, but if you’re planning on a shootout, don’t let bullet proof windows (or drywall) give you a false sense of security.

The costof bulletproof window glass has a range of$150 to $800+ per square foot.

And, now you’re likely telling yourself, that seems like a big spread in price. You’re right, and we will tell you why and explain the reasonsit may just be worth it for you.

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Bullet Resistant Windows(Reality) vs. Bullet Proof Windows(Fantasy)

Professionals and window glass industry experts will never, ever use the words bulletproof glass. When glass shopping, a huge red flag is if a contractor or salesperson promises bulletproof. And, that’s the last time we are going to use that word at all.

Bullet Resistant Windows

Window glass specialistscreate bullet-resistant glass by layering polycarbonate material (which basically areplastic polymers) between sheets of regular glass or acrylic. Now, the boring part is out of the way.

Most American homes aren’t sporting bullet-resistant windows. You find them mainly in various businesses, governmental agencies, and pharmacies. However, if you have the means to invest, it never hurts to have a few windows that can take a good beating.

Because bullet-resistant windows are not just for staving off robbers and protecting against old-fashioned shootouts. They hold up to so much more that is far more likely to happen.

  • Tornadoes
  • Hurricanes
  • Wind storms with flying debris
  • Burglars
  • Landscaping accidents
  • Bad Children
  • Zombies, probably
  • Pistol caliber handguns
  • Sometimes small-caliberother firearms, but don’t rely on it.
  • Angry mobs

In the case of hurricanes, they can complement roll down shutters.

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The Levels of Provided Protection

Bullet-resistant glass has different levels of protection. In this case, the lower the number, the more expensive it becomes.

But, I can sum it up while not missing any of the highlights.

Level 1

You commonly find level 1 bullet-resistant glass in the following places:

  • Gas stations
  • Pharmacies
  • Credit Unions
  • Some Retail Stores
  • Pawn Shops
  • Gold and Fine Metal Buyers
  • Check Cashing Services

Level 2

The larger financial institutions and banks tend to have better window glass than your corner bank.

Level 3

You are starting to look at the industrial level glass at level 3.

  • Utility Offices
  • Police Stations
  • Courthouses
  • Federal Governmental Buildings
  • Law Enforcement Dispatch Centers

Level 4-8

You likely can’t afford it, and it is overkill unless you’re afraid of being killed, and well, strong glass is one layer of protection for sure.

Governmental agencies like the NSA, Homeland Security, courts, and the military most commonly use this level of bullet resistance.

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Pros and Cons of Bullet-Resistant Glass

You can’t make a sound decision about an investment unless you know if it’s worth it. Weighing the pros and cons of bullet-resistant glass gets you one step closer to knowing if they’re for you.


  • Protects your family from extreme weather.
  • Provides a barrier between your family and an industrial disaster.
  • It makes it harder for a bad actor to gain access to your property.
  • The material used to make bullet-resistant glass (polycarbonate) is more robust than all other materials used for glazing.
  • It breaks into chunks rather than shatter.
  • It is just way better than regular window glass.
  • In some cases, it can reduce your home insurance costs.


  • The higher the quality, the more expensive it is.
  • Bullet-resistantglass is heavy.
  • Bullet-resistant glass is more complicated to install than regular windows.
  • Bulletproof windows aren’t what most people expect, which crushes expectations.
  • Does not protect from a bomb blast.
  • If a criminal wants inside, they will still find a way to get through the bullet-resistant glass. It’s not the glass’ fault, though. Better to increase overall window security and interior security.
  • It probably will require a professional contractor.

Another Cool Benefitof Bullet Proof Windows

Bullet-resistant glass does more than just protect you from flying objects and civil unrest. They secure your home and family in other neat ways, too.

The cool benefit is it helps you control the temperature of your home. It helps block the sunand adds a bit of insulation. And, your little one can enjoy looking outside without the sun trying to kill their cornea.

Because ballistic glass does reduce UV rays, it saves decor from taking on sun damage. Your family pictures and wood furniture won’t take on the wear and tear damage that the sun tends to provide.

How Much Do Bulletproof Windows Cost?

We started with the price range. Then the information was laid out. Now, we will dig into exactly how much a complete bullet-resistant window system costs.

Basic Bullet-Resistant WindowSystem

  • The basic system consists oflevel 1 graded bullet-resistant glass. It will cost you between$25 to $100 per square foot.
  • The range still isbroad because the cost rises depending on the size of the window. For example, a sliding glass door is going to be $100+.
  • You now have to calculate the installation cost. It varies even more than the glass cost.
  • Most contractors give free quotes, and you should take full advantage.
  • If a window professional does provide free quotes, don’t use them.

One Step Up From Basic Bullet-Resistant Window System

  • The category consists of level 2 and 3 graded glass. Gas stations and check cashing businesses most commonly utilize these security window systems.
  • Most homes in the US don’t have window systems that include this quality glass. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it if you can afford it.
  • You’re looking at a price range of $15,000 to $20,000.

Fortress Level Bullet-Resistant Window System

If you want CIA-level bullet-resistant window glass, get ready to take out a second and third mortgage.It’s beyond the scope of this article.

You probably have no reason to even research above level 3 glass.

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Bulletproof Window Glass for Cars

Of course, people get ballistic glass in their cars. Have you seen the rate of shootings in the US?

Sure, it doesn’t protect from every bullet or flying projectile, but it can try. Also, it can slow it down. Either way, you are more likely to survive if youhavebullet-resistant glass than regular car window glass.

The price for bulletproof window glass for cars ranges from $3,000 – $20,000.

Further Reading

I can’t afford bullet proof windows. How else can I protect my windows?

Ballistic glass certainly isn’t the only way to protect precious portals that lead into your home. You can find other ways to layer your security until you can afford your dream window system.

Type of SecurityAverage Cost
Upgrade window locks$7-$200
Window sensors$15 – $60
Security cameras$20-$400
Security film$6 – $8 per square foot
Window bars$550 – $1,400
Thorny bushes$.99 – 3 million

If you want to know what a 3 million dollar thorny bush looks like, take a look at the Juliet Rose.

I love DIY home improvement projects. Can I install bulletproof windows myself?

Sure, you can, but you can do more harm than good unless you know what you’re doing. You want your security measures to work and protect you as intended. When you hire a professional, you’re securing that your investment will perform.

The supplies to install your own ballistic window system is expensive. And, you take a chance buying quality glass from unreliable sources. Using a contractor in the industry ensures that the glass meets the proper standards and goes through a check and balance process.

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The actual installation is not easy, and you’re working with heavy, heavy glass. Take it all into consideration before you try going this alone.

Just do what you can, and always have a plan.



How much does a bullet proof glass window cost? ›

The cost of a bulletproof window ranges from $150 to $800 per square foot depending on what bullets are to be stopped, whether the window is opening, how intricate the design is, and the size of the window.

How long does bullet proof glass last? ›

Ballistic framing is as equally important as ballistic glass and should be considered during the design phase. With proper maintenance, bulletproof glass has a life span of up to twenty years.

Are bullet proof windows legal? ›

Yes, the installation of bulletproof glass in private cars is entirely legal, and anyone can install bulletproof glass for protection in their vehicle (we recommend professionals who can properly seal and install the Armormax® materials).

What can break a bullet proof window? ›

Break bulletproof glass with explosives like dynamite or C4.

Most varieties of detonating materials will almost certainly break through many layers of bulletproof glass.

Can a bullet break hurricane proof windows? ›

Hurricane windows are treated with a laminate that prevents the glass from breaking but does not stop a bullet from passing through them. These windows are designed to protect against flying debris caused by hurricane winds. So, to answer your question, no, hurricane or impact windows aren't bulletproof.

How many bullets can a bulletproof window take? ›

As identified by UL 752 standards, the highest level of bulletproof glass historically available has been Level 8, which is made to withstand five rounds from a 7.62mm rifle allowing for no penetration of the bullet and no glass spall.

Can a hammer break bullet proof glass? ›

Polycarbonate is stronger than acrylic so it resists firmly even against powerful rifles. So you can't break such glass with a sledgehammer or rock.

Can bullets bounce off bullet proof glass? ›

In fact, no bulletproof glass can truly protect against projectile missiles. They only reduce the momentum by absorbing some of the energy from bullets – unfortunately the bullets don't bounce off the cars like you see in the movies.

Can bullets bounce off glass? ›

Bullets that ricochet off of glass and other non-yielding, smooth surfaces at low angles will leave a tail indicating the direction of rotation. In cases where there were multiple guns fired, the direction of rotation could often give clue to which gun the ricochet was fired from.

How thick does bulletproof glass need to be? ›

Bulletproof glass ranges from 0.25 inches to 3.5 inches and as the thickness increases, so does the weight. This is critically important to consider when designing and building structures. Bulletproof glass ranges in levels of protection from UL 1 to 10.

Do hospitals have bullet proof windows? ›

Since 2004, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has recommended that hospitals install shatter-proof and bullet resistant windows at nurses' stations, in reception, and in triage and admitting areas.

Why do police cars not have bullet proof glass? ›

It's expensive and most police departments have limited budgets. Uparmoring adds some weight to the vehicle. Bulletproof windows that still have power window functionality and go up and down are even more expensive and police need to be able to lower their windows.

Can spark plugs break bullet proof glass? ›

Throwing a spark plug shard might not immediately work on a windshield or bulletproof glass. Ordinary car glass is either annealed or tempered glass. Both materials easily give way to the ceramic of the spark plug insulator. In contrast, many windshields have a laminate layer that can withstand greater impact.

Can AK 47 break bulletproof glass? ›

A projectile fired from a rifle, such as the AK-47 or the Nato rifle G3, has a lower speed of up to thousand meters per second. This means: Glass breaks faster than the speed of the projectile. Therefore, the breaks in the glass are ahead of the projectile.

Are hurricane windows worth it? ›

Having hurricane rated impact windows installed can actually save you money over time, which can significantly defray the upfront costs. Because your home will be better protected against severe weather, you may enjoy significant discounts on your homeowners' insurance premiums.

Can bullet proof glass withstand a tornado? ›

Also included in the design are safe rooms constructed with Kevlar® panels and bullet proof glass that can withstand 261318 mph winds (equivalent to an F5 tornado).

Can bulletproof glass stop an AR 15? ›


Defeats threats of both rapid gunfire from both handguns and automatic weapons, including the AR-15 and AK-47 rifles.

How many shots does it take to break bullet proof glass? ›

A level 5 bulletproof glass is able to withstand at least 1 shot of a 7.62 rifle mm round. There was a time when this indicated a class of full-power military main battle rifle cartridge. Level 8 protection means that the glass can deflect at least 5 shots from a 7.62 mm rifle.

What is the strongest bullet proof glass? ›

To answer the original question that inspired this article, the strongest bulletproof glass available today is glass-clad polycarbonate, and the thicker the final product (meaning the number of layers in the sandwich), the greater the ballistic protection it offers!

What can stop a bullet? ›

Common bulletproof materials include:
  • Steel. Steel bulletproof materials are heavy duty, yet at just a few millimeters thick, extremely effective in stopping modern firearm rounds. ...
  • Ceramic. ...
  • Fiberglass. ...
  • Wood. ...
  • Kevlar. ...
  • Polyethylene. ...
  • Polycarbonate.

What is an alternative to bulletproof glass? ›

The most bullet-resistant glazing, or the closest thing to what you could call bulletproof glass, available on the market is glass-clad polycarbonate. This type of product consists of multiple layers of polycarbonate and security glass laminates sandwiched together.

How many levels of bullet proof glass are there? ›

Ballistic glass comes in a number of protective rating levels, from 1 to 8, which all provide different levels of safety in their various applications. Though the term is widely used, when it comes to building code and safety ratings within protective glass, the term “bulletproof glass” is a misnomer.

How thick is bulletproof glass for cars? ›

The index of refraction for all of the glasses used in the bulletproof layers must be almost the same to keep the glass transparent and allow a clear, undistorted view through the glass. Bulletproof glass varies in thickness from 3⁄4 to 31⁄2 inches (19 to 89 mm).

Can a bullet skip off of water? ›

A 22 long rifle bullet can ricochet off the surface of water at a low angle of aim. Severe injury may occur to a person or object in the line of fire on the opposite shore, several hundred yards away.

What is the difference between bulletproof and bullet-resistant? ›

Broadly speaking they are all describing the same thing, but technically speaking, bulletproof, armoured, ballistic are only correct as a collective term, whilst bullet resistant with a qualifying level of protection is the correct way to describe it.

What is the cheapest bullet proof material? ›

Ballistic Fiberglass

It is the most cost-effective and convenient option for bulletproofing walls.

Can a bullet penetrate a car window? ›

The heavier . 45 caliber handgun bullet has a much better chance of penetrating a windshield than a . 38. Also, once one bullet has hit a windshield, even if it ricochets, it may cause tiny fractures that weaken the glass so that subsequent shots will then shatter the windshield and penetrate much more easily.

Are bullet proof windows heavy? ›

Weight of Bulletproof Glass

Because the glass is so thick, the weight is increased dramatically. Regular windshield glass weighs around 25 pounds. A rank B4 windshield (generally around 20+mm thick) weighs between 150 – 250 pounds depending on the design, while a rank B7 windshield comes in at around 500 pounds.

What does 5.11 mean in police code? ›

New York Vehicle and Traffic Law 511: Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Vehicle.

Why do cops touch brake light? ›

“Leaving a thumbprint on the brake light is an old-school way to tag a car with a fingerprint, so it can be identified conclusively as the vehicle involved in a stop should the officer become incapacitated,” explains Hoelscher.

Is bullet proof glass better than ceramic? ›

The transparent ceramic armor provides superior ballistic protection at less than half the weight and thickness over traditional glass laminates. This provides the warfighter with superior protection for both air and ground vehicles. ALON is a transparent ceramic material composed of aluminum, oxygen and nitrogen.

What happens if you throw pieces of a spark plug at a window? ›

Spark plugs instantly break windows when thrown at the glass with sufficient force because they are generally made of aluminum oxide ceramic or porcelain, which concentrates a tremendous amount of energy at a single focal point on the glass.

Is there such a thing as bullet proof glass? ›

In reality, bulletproof glass does not exist, and it's not always made of glass. Most bullet-resistant glass products are actually made of polycarbonate, acrylic, or glass-clad polycarbonate. The level of protection offered will depend on the material used, how it is manufactured, as well as its thickness.

Can a sniper shoot through bulletproof glass? ›

Mostly used in the military as sniper rifles, no consumer-grade bullet-resistant system will stop a . 50-cal rifle bullet, which requires Level 10 bulletproof glass (usually three or more inches of polycarbonate plastic, which equates to almost half a foot of tempered glass).

Can a 50 cal pierce bulletproof glass? ›

The latest lightweight armoring and bulletproof glass can offer a level of protection that can make sure your vehicle remains unimpeded by bullets even from a 50 caliber round.

Do military vehicles have bullet proof glass? ›

Are armored cars bulletproof? You'll be pleased to know that TAG armored cars are bullet-resistant. The windows are made with ballistic no-spall glass.

Can I put bulletproof glass on my house? ›

Good to know modern ballistic glazing can effectively protect property and people, yet doesn't have to be thick or dark. SILATEC bullet resistant glass is exceptionally thin, lightweight and transparent, making it ideal for retrofitting into existing frames or integration into newly built homes.

Is bullet proof glass stronger than tempered glass? ›

Tempered glass is much stronger than normal glass, but not as strong ballistic glass that can stop a bullet.

Is bullet proof glass just thick glass? ›

Say goodbye to the assumption that bulletproof glass has to be thick and heavy, requiring special new frames. Thanks to superior technology, SILATEC bullet-resistant glass is exceptionally thin and lightweight.

Can any bullet break bullet proof glass? ›

Further, almost all glass is vulnerable to a high-powered rifle round. Acrylic-made glass can be broken by hitting them for 5 minutes with a sledgehammer. Plus, a single rifle bullet is enough to break this glass. Polycarbonate is stronger than acrylic so it resists firmly even against powerful rifles.

How much does bullet proof window film cost? ›

Bullet resistant: Bullet resistant film averages around $125/sq ft. Bullet resistant window systems offer buildings and occupants ballistic defense. Decorative & frosted: Decorative and frosted films range from $6-12/sq ft.

How many layers does bullet proof glass have? ›

One-way bulletproof glass has two layers. The outside layer—on the threat side—is made of brittle glass and the inside layer is a flexible polycarbonate. A bullet that strikes the brittle external layer first causes the glass to break inward toward the polycarbonate layer.

Can bulletproof glass stop AR 15? ›


Defeats threats of both rapid gunfire from both handguns and automatic weapons, including the AR-15 and AK-47 rifles.

What is the toughest bulletproof glass? ›

To answer the original question that inspired this article, the strongest bulletproof glass available today is glass-clad polycarbonate, and the thicker the final product (meaning the number of layers in the sandwich), the greater the ballistic protection it offers!

Can bulletproof glass be broken by stone? ›

Bulletproof glass can prevent stones from smashing through the glass, but the glass will still be damaged. The protection concept of bulletproof glass is to provide a certain response and self-rescue time.


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