architecture - engineering - construction

Bullet Resistant vs. Blast Resistant Products – What’s the difference?


One would think that a “bullet resistant” window or door would be strong enough to withstand a bomb blast or vice versa. However, there are many differences between the two types of products.

Windows and doors that are bullet resistant are rigid in design with thick, heavy bullet resistant or “bullet proof” glass. These products are manufactured with the intent to defeat a ballistic threat, either a single bullet or multiple rounds. The impact of a bullet places a tremendous amount of force and pressure in a single area which means the surface of the door or glass in a window has to be dense (thick) and hard enough to effectively stop the bullet.

Conversely, windows and doors that are blast resistant are often designed to flex or “give” when subjected to a bomb blast. However, unlike bullet resistant windows and doors the performance of a blast resistant window and door can be affected by the building structure and how they are installed. Obviously if the window or door detaches from the wall during a blast you have the added risk of the window and/or door injuring someone as it flies through the air.

The majority of the time a project that requires physical security products (e.g. windows or doors) has identified the threat as either an attack from gunfire or a bomb blast. Delineating between these two threats simplifies the design of the window or door and provides more choices for the design professional. On the other hand, some projects do require a combination of products that can protect against both types of threats and that is where the challenge lies.

Ultimately the end user or building owner must determine the threat and provide the proper window or door to protect the occupants from a ballistic attack and/or explosion.

For other relevant searches, you might want to try:

(08 11 69.13) Steel Storm Doors and Frames
(08 16 00) Composite Doors
(08 30 00) Specialty Doors and Frames
(08 56 00) Special Function Windows
  (08 56 53) Security Windows
(08 88 53) Security Glazing
(08 88 56) Ballistics-Resistant Glazing