While there is such a thing as bullet resistant window film, this term is often misused and exaggerated in the industry. There are many claims among manufacturers that their product can stop projectiles, even explosives. With special glass and heavy duty laminates, it is possible to protect the home from firearms, but these perfect conditions are usually impractical for most homeowners. There are, however, several options a homeowner has for defending against forced entry or inclement weather. These barriers, known as security products, are a low-profile, inexpensive method of protection that can also reduce solar radiation transmission.
Bullet resistant window film does exist, but it only provides limited protection against firearms. Homeowners should be aware that these products are only one layer of defense, and they must be backed up by other forms of protection, or they will fail. These specialty laminates are thick and built with strong polyethylene. Multiple layers of polyethylene are piled on top of each other and oriented in a way that is ideal for dispersing energy. This material is expensive and can improve survivability when attacked by small arms like a .38 caliber, 9 millimeter FMJ or a .357 magnum. More powerful weapons, like hunting or assault rifles, will have no trouble penetrating even the strongest bullet resistant window film.
There are many disingenuous claims about the strength of a particular brand of tint. These claims may be accompanied by live fire demonstrations that show projectiles being repelled with ease. For dramatic effect, high caliber assault rifles are typically used. The conditions set up for these demonstrations are almost always unrealistic. The barrier is usually mounted to a piece of glass that is glazed for strength and extremely thick, about 1/2 an inch or so. With glass that thick, it is much easier to defend against projectiles, but most homes don’t have these windows. Most families can’t easily afford them, either. Also, with glazed glass that thick, bullet resistant window film only adds moderate protection to the already strong glass.
The truth is, there is no affordable security barrier that can completely protect against firearms, explosives or break-ins. With a powerful enough weapon or persistent burglar, even the strongest material can eventually be compromised. That’s not to say that security products are not effective in home defense. For example, a security barrier made from durable polyester and high gauge plastic will help deter break-in attempts. These products are made to hold the glass together while being struck, and can handle a lot of trauma before failing. Most criminals will move on to a softer target before they are able to get through the barrier or they risk alerting everyone nearby.
Most bullet resistant window film and security tints also provide some protection against solar radiation. They block most UV radiation and can reduce infrared transmission, which reduces interior temperatures and energy costs. Homeowners should consider these products an investment in multiple areas of the home, from safety to efficiency. It may not be possible to get complete protection from a security barrier, but they can make a significant difference in comparison to homeowners that have nothing.