Politicians, musicians, actors, military officers, and businesspeople represent some of the usual buyers of bulletproof cars. The first idea to build an armored vehicle was conceived back in 1485 when Leonardo da Vinci sought to create one. The mechanism created by da Vinci didn’t work as well as he planned. Since his idea, it took more than four centuries before the next armored car was made.
Recent technological advancements have made bulletproof cars more widespread in recent years. Today, they represent a great investment for anyone who plans on transporting money and valuables from one location to another. They’re also a good solution if you plan on escorting high profile people in the near future.
Despite the amazing breakthrough in technology, there is still no such thing as a completely bulletproof car. Even though this term is frequently used, it’s worth mentioning that there is a limit to how much these vehicles can take. It’s hard to determine how much an armored car can take since it depends on how many layers of protection it has.
Bulletproof cars are basically civilian vehicles that are reinforced with layers of armor plating and bulletproof glass, as well as additional features and mechanisms that protect the people inside. They are manufactured in a way to be virtually indistinguishable from regular vehicles. People who are not in law enforcement or the military usually get aftermarket upgrades for standard car models, most of which are currently on an end-of-the-year sale, to reinforce their vehicles.
Before you find out how much bulletproof cars can withstand, you should first learn a bit about how they are made.
The Different Types of Bulletproof Glass
The most basic component of a civilian armored vehicle is bulletproof glass. Often referred to as bullet-resistant glass, it is made from a number of different materials that are able to withstand a lot of pressure. Some of the most common materials used to make bulletproof glass include polycarbonate, fiberglass, acrylic, and polyurethane. You will have to choose which type of glass you’ll get, depending on the protection you want.
Your first option is to get the laminated glass. Although this material, made out of resin and glass, was the first used in civilian armored vehicles, it isn’t considered that effective today. It is not able to withstand a lot of damage. In order to be an effective solution, laminated glass would have to be very thick.
Nevertheless, laminated glass served as the basis for the development of glass-clad polycarbonate. This material can be quite costly, but it still remains popular today. One of the biggest downsides to glass-clad polycarbonate is that it can be very difficult to integrate it into smooth bullet-resistant systems. In other words, the original manufacturer of your vehicle will have to be either hand-polished or water jet cut the material so that you can integrate it.
The upside to glass-clad polycarbonate is that it doesn’t have to be very thick to stop projectiles effectively. Despite this, it’s far from the most popular type of bullet-resistant glass. In case you want a material that can take a lot of damage without breaking your bank or being hard to integrate, you should choose monolithic acrylic. This material is an incredibly hard type of plastic that doesn’t weigh a lot, making it easy to install. Along with being the affordable option when it comes to bullet-resistant glass, acrylic is also great because it passes light nearly perfectly.
You can also get polycarbonate, which is essentially a more basic type of glass-clad polycarbonate. It can offer limited protection and costs a lot to install. Today, polycarbonate is rarely used, so it’s best to go with another option. Finally, you have insulated ballistic glass. This material is cost-effective and offers both bullet and forced entry resistance.
How Many Shots Can Bulletproof Glass Take?
Depending on how much damage they can withstand, bulletproof glass is categorized into ten different levels. Different materials require varying thickness and density to be rated at a certain level. When you decide on a protection level for your vehicle, the glass will protect you from certain threats.
For instance, if you were to get level 1 protection, it would be able to protect you from a minimum of 3 shots from a 9 mm handgun. That’s regardless of the material you choose. On the other hand, level 2 protection means that the glass is able to withstand at least three .357 Magnum shots.
If you were to choose level 5 protection, the glass would provide substantially more resistance. A level 5 bulletproof glass is able to withstand at least 1 shot of a 7.62 rifle mm round. There was a time when this indicated a class of full-power military main battle rifle cartridge.
Level 8 protection means that the glass can deflect at least 5 shots from a 7.62 mm rifle. This is something that you’d usually see in movies, but it can happen in real life as well. If there is someone who’d be willing to risk it all to get the person or valuables you’re transporting, they could try using a 7.62 mm rifle and unload several shots in theory.
The highest level of protection you can get is level 10, which means that the glass is able to withstand a .50 BMG shot from a long-range sniper rifle. It’s incredibly difficult to create glass that offers level 10 protection. That’s why the material known as aluminum oxynitride is used to achieve this level of protection.
The Resistance of Bulletproof Tires
Otherwise known as the run-flat tires, this product allows you to operate your vehicle and travel at a speed of 60 miles after your tire has been hit with a projectile and deflated. Bulletproof tires are designed to deflect or absorb shots and remain partially functional afterward.
In case you find yourself in a dangerous situation where someone opened fire on you while you’re in your vehicle, it’s imperative that you escape and find a safe zone. This is something you wouldn’t be able to do if you had regular tires and they got hit. There are currently several different types of run-flat tires available on the market today.
Different Levels of Car Armor
Similar to the different levels of protection in bulletproof glass, there are also several categories of car armor. Before you get an armored vehicle, you’ll have to determine what type of protection do you need. With that being said, the first two protection levels of car armor are rarely used. That’s because they aren’t able to withstand a lot of pressure. They can provide resistance only if someone is shooting at your vehicle with a 9 mm handgun.
The third and fourth protection level of car armor is able to withstand bullets from handguns and sporting rifles. Level 5 is a whole different story, as it can deflect bullets coming from assault rifles.
The most popular category of car armor today is level 6, which can stop armor-piercing rounds. Regardless of which type of car armor you choose to get the installation process will be the same. Since the installation doesn’t cost extra for higher protection levels, most decide to get level 6 car armor.
If you want additional security, you can get level 7 protection. This can protect your vehicle from various rounds, even if they’re fired from a sniper rifle.