Several of our previous posts have referenced “ballistic resistace” (or bullet resistance) as a key feature of high security doors. Without seeing it in action, it might be hard to picture how this works.
We’ve all seen ballistic resistant glass in movies or on tv. The bad guys open fire and their shots are stopped by a pane of glass, now covered in spider web cracks. We use a much less dramatic, but equally impressive technology behind our doors.
On our UL level 8 (rifle) rated door, we sometimes utilize a “self-healing” system. The door is filled with ceramic pellets designed to absorb the impact of a round. As the round pierces the paneling or skin of the door, they crush the pellets behind it. Their energy is totally absorbed and the round won’t go any further.
The aspect that is “self-healing” is that once those pellets get crushed, the pellets above begin to trickle down and fill in any gaps. The door acts almost like the hopper on a pitching machine, with pellets falling from top to bottom to replace those destroyed by bullet rounds. This is how the doors can withstand so many rounds in the same location without penetration.
This is a major advantage compared to ballistic glass or steel, which lack the self-healing properties of ceramics and therefore have a much lower failure threshold than ceramics.
Perhaps the approach most commonly used by security professionals with home security is the onion concept. This basic premise is that your home security should consist of multiple overlapping layers in order to deter and stop a potential intruder. These layers should exist:
The outside layers are things that you may already have such as gate or fence. Strategic landscaping such as trees or a tall hedge can also contribute to your security by obstructing the view and ensuring a would-be intruder doesn’t know what awaits them on the other side.
While these might not seem very important, they contribute to what distinguishes between a soft target and a hard target for burglars. Burglars are looking for a big fight. They want to identify the easiest targets where they’re not likely to get caught. If they cannot easily “case” your home, they’re more likely to move on elsewhere.
The second layer, the perimeter, offers many different possibilities. This includes things like:
Most of the first two layers of security are deterrents, meaning they aren’t going to prevent a determined intruder from breaking in but rather they make it more likely that the intruder won’t try breaking in at all, instead moving on to another house that looks like an easier target. The third layer of security, inside the home is your last line of defense and should be the most robust.
Once inside the home, forced entry resistant and bullet resistant doors are the most formidable barrier you can get to keep you, your family, and your possessions safe. Security doors such as ours shouldn’t be considered deterrents because they’re designed to blend in with the home and not stand out in any away.
Security doors inside the home or on the perimeter are what stops a determined intruder, who is undeterred by fences, alarms, lighting, and cameras, from getting in. Security doors are what keep you and your family safe from someone who really wants to get in, and gives you the time you need to assess the situation, call the police, or retrieve a weapon.
When designing your home security, be sure to use the onion concept and have multiple, overlapping layers of security. Deterrents are an important component in a comprehensive security system, but they aren’t going to keep a determined intruder out. A high security door will.