The Science Behind Bullet-Resistant Glass: How It Stops Bullets

An Introduction:

Bullet-resistant glass, also known as bulletproof glass, is a key part of security systems for buildings, vehicles, and other structures needing protection from firearms. Despite being see-through, bullet-resistant glass can effectively stop bullets, saving lives and property. This article looks at how bullet-resistant glass is made and how it stops bullets.

Materials Used:

Bullet-resistant glass is made of layers of glass and plastic. The most common materials used are annealed glass, polycarbonate, polyvinyl butyral (PVB), and polyurethane. These layers are arranged one after the other to form a strong structure, which helps absorb the energy of a bullet.

How It Works:

Bullet-resistant glass stops bullets by using physical principles like energy absorption, flexibility, and layering. The outer layers absorb the bullet’s energy and spread it across the different layers, reducing the force. The plastic layers, especially polycarbonate, provide flexibility, prevent shattering, and absorb and disperse the energy. The PVB layer prevents the glass from cracking and keeps it from breaking apart.

Testing and Standards:

Bullet-resistant glass is tested to meet specific standards set by organizations such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). The glass needs to withstand different types of ammunition being fired at it from various distances and angles to achieve certification.


Bullet-resistant glass is used in bank security, vehicle protection, building security, and in retail and convenience stores to provide a secure barrier between employees and potential threats.


Bullet-resistant glass is an advanced engineering achievement that uses physics and material science to create a see-through but strong barrier against bullets. Understanding its structure and how it works helps in appreciating the technology that enhances safety and security in various critical applications.


  1. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) – Bullet-Resistant Glass Standards: UL 752 Standard for Bullet-Resisting Equipment. Available at UL Standards.
  2. National Institute of Justice (NIJ) – Ballistic Resistance of Body Armor: NIJ Standard-0108.01. Available at NIJ Standards.
  3. Polycarbonate and PVB in Bulletproof Glass: Technical insights on the materials used. Available at Plastics Info.
  4. How Stuff Works – Bulletproof Glass: An overview of how bullet-resistant glass works. Available at How Stuff Works.