Physical bank barriers are one of the most effective methods for not only protecting bank staff, but preventing armed incidents. In fact, the presence of physical barriers is often enough to deter a would-be bank robber. Although we hope you never have to put your ballistic bank barrier to the test, having a comprehensive system that completely separates the public from bank staff is the most reliable way to ensure their protection.

Designing a ballistically-rated bank barrier is often a complex endeavor. In this blog, our team breaks down the essentials: the different levels of protection, common bullet resistant materials, and the components you’ll need for your project—along with recommendations for components suitable for financial institutions. Keep reading to learn more.

Understand UL Levels of Protection

Bulletproof materials are rated on a scale of one to eight, depending on how resistant they are to different types of ballistic attacks. These ratings are based on the UL 752 Standard for Safety Bullet-Resisting Equipment, published by Underwriters Laboratories (UL).

Broadly, the levels are broken out as follows:

  • Level 1: Able to withstand three shots from a 9mm pistol, suitable for banks, gas stations, pharmacies, and retail
  • Level 2: Able to withstand three shots from a .357 magnum pistol, suitable for corporate banks and financial institutions
  • Level 3: Able to withstand three shots from a .44 magnum pistol, suitable for utilities, law enforcement, and government facilities
  • Level 4: Able to withstand up to one shot from a .03-06 hunting rifle, suitable for federal government or military facilities
  • Levels 5-8: able to withstand multiple shots from different hunting rifles, assault rifles, and machine guns, suitable for federal government and military facilities

The levels in the UL guide are considered the gold standard in ballistic protection. All of our products are tested in a third-party laboratory to ensure we meet or exceed the UL rating recommendations.

The Four Common Types of Bullet-Resistant Glass

You have four different types of bulletproof glass to choose from when designing your physical bank barrier.

  • Acrylic glazing: For indoor applications, available in UL levels 1-2.
  • Polycarbonate and laminated polycarbonate glazing: For indoor applications, available in UL levels 1-3.
  • Glass-clad polycarbonate glazing: Indoor and outdoor applications, available in UL levels 1-8
  • Insulated glass: Exterior applications, available in UL levels 1-8.

Choosing the Right Level of Protection for Your Project

Most banks and financial institutions need UL levels 1 or 2 in their facilities. However, UL rating is only one factor of many that you’ll need to consider. For example, acrylic glazing and polycarbonate materials offer comparable protection levels using materials that are of comparable thickness. The difference between the two comes down to clarity, capabilities, and price. Acrylic is just about crystal clear and about $10 less per square foot. Laminated polycarbonate has a very subtle purple-gray tint to it while being slightly more expensive. Laminated polycarbonate is also resistant to forced entry and severe weather.

Another common factor is spalling. When a bullet or other projectile collides with ballistic glass, the impact breaks some of the glass into particles, or spall. Acrylic ballistic glass produces spall; laminated polycarbonate does not. On no-spall glass, these airborne fragments develop on the threat side as well as the safe side of the glass. So while they might not be hit with a bullet, staff behind the counter might be affected by spall particles. No-spall glass only produces spall on the threat side.

If you’d like to speak with our team about which type of ballistically rated glass and UL rating is right for your facility, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re happy to walk you through the different options.

Ballistically Rated Components for Your Physical Bank Barrier System

Components make your bank’s barrier system complete. Bullet Guard offers a comprehensive list of offerings so you can find the right item for your next project.

Transaction Windows

Your service is at the forefront, not distracting or muffled teller windows. Choose from a variety of crystal-clear windows with very little sound interference.

Deal Trays

Our deal trays make passing items between parties so easy, you’ll forget it’s ballistically-rated protection.

Package Passers

A standard 1” x 14” x 14” package passer makes transferring items simple and safe. We offer additional sizing based on your specific needs in UL levels 1-8.

Fiberglass and Countertops

Reinforce your service area with ballistically-rated countertops, fiberglass, and other components that make your system complete.

Bullet Guard Is Ready to Customize Your Security Solution

When your bank needs reliable, aesthetically pleasing ballistic protection, don’t want to contact Bullet Guard. We have over 40 years of experience and are proud to be the industry leader in bulletproof barrier systems. We have the know-how and skill to customize ballistic barriers for your historic buildings or add beautiful minimalist dividers to your new facility. 

Not sure exactly what you need? That’s what we’re here for. Our experienced team can help you choose the right item based on your unique needs. Send us a message to get started, or give us a call at 866.941.8695.

Quality Assurance

Licensed California Contractor # 712959

BBB Accredited Business UL