Labock Technologies, a company founded by a former Israeli commando, has developed one-way bulletproof glass: Officers can shoot out through it, but shots cannot come in. The material is a sandwich of polycarbonate, acrylic, and glass held together by a resin. Incoming bullets first hit a strong, brittle acrylic layer that compresses into the softer, flexible polycarbonate, dissipating shock. Outgoing bullets zip through the polycarbonate and shatter an opening in the acrylic. “You get less than 10 percent loss of velocity, and friction from the bullet passing out creates enough heat to reseal the window,” says Fred Williams, Labock’s vice president.
After losing an officer to AK-47 gunfire through a windshield last year, the New Orleans police department has reportedly ordered Labock’s superglass for 125 cruisers at $13,000 a pop. The technology is no cure-all, however. “The stuff can withstand AK-47 and M-16 fire, but you need the same level of weaponry that you protect against,” says Williams. Not that New Orleans cops are about to start carrying AK-47s. “The idea is that if somebody starts shooting at you, you’re protected long enough to get out and call for backup.”