Challenging the Security Film School of Thought

By Paul Mouton | Midwest Glass Fabricators Highland, Mich.

Dear USG,

I read the article, “The Classroom Dilemma” (See page 46 of the April 2019 issue of USGlass magazine) and found most of it very accurate. I want to, however, voice a couple of issues that I have in general—please don’t take these as criticisms of the article, they are meant as viewpoints that we find challenging.

In the sidebar “The Film View,” you use the term bullet-resistant film (which it is likely marketed as), but the fact is film is not bullet-resistant; bullets will penetrate it. Film is impact-resistant and will hold someone out but won’t stop penetration. That said, there are ways for film companies to skirt around compliance as bullet resistant, mainly by using a makeup of glass that will stop a bullet or by using the outdated NIJ standards.

According to Close Focus Research, some film companies try and pass by using multiple layers of film which is not always discussed with architects or owners (in terms of what actually has to be done to meet any of the standards).

Also, certain companies muddy the water between bullet-resistant and impact-resistant. In your own article they mention a door that you can fi re an AK 47 at and the bullets will go through, but the door will remain intact. That is not bullet-resistant and I believe a questionable standard for safety… as another example there is a glass company whose own site says that bullets will penetrate their product, every spec published by the company says bullets will penetrate, but … they offer their solution as if it will protect against an active shooter. How is that possible if the bullet penetrates the glass?

Then the article mentions protected areas using impact-resistant glass—bullets will penetrate but the glass won’t collapse—that would allow a number of students to gather in safety. However, if the glass is not bullet-resistant then you have just put a lot of students in harm’s way because a shooter now has students isolated in an area they can see into that bullets will pass through.

I think the conversation is important because architects are influencers. You are seen as experts, but the lay person is uneducated on this matter and potentially could make a decision that is life changing over dollars. My ardent wish is that we can change the conversation to help educate schools and governmental bodies to where this is not a discussion of “value and budgets” but of how we can work to lower the overall cost of the “right” materials and how the governing bodies can allocate the appropriate amounts for creating true safety.

Cheers and hope to read many more of your articles!

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.