AUSTIN, Texas - When a bullet hits a typical window it shatters.
That was the first shot of a demonstration that took place Tuesday at a gun range in southeast Austin. Representative with CBond Systems, a Houston based company, showcased their bullet resistant product for glass.
"The first time I ever saw it I was amazed and I said to my predecessors at the company this is an amazing demonstration,” said CBond CEO Scott Silverman.
Attending the demonstration were representatives from several local school districts. Glass panes were shot several times with a handgun. A rifle was also used. Among those at the demonstration was Zack Pearce; AISD’s director of project management who offered this assessment of what he saw.
"Surprised, when I hear about these kind of things from contractors through the industry you are skeptical of what the outcome will be when you actually see a bullet go through,” said Pearce.
The system uses a carbon coating which sticks to a protective film. The nanotechnology is Texas made; developed at Rice University.
"Really what happens here is that the film and CBond product act as a catcher's mitt, if you will, for the bullet,” said Silverman.
Three layers can stop a bullet from a handgun. Eight are needed for a rifle. The 3-layer system allows for return fire from inside by an armed security guard
"The CBond Nano technology solution strengthens the glass itself and strengthens the adhesive nature of each layer of film to the glass and to the other pieces of film,” said Silverman.
The company has had this technology for about five years now but it was on a back shelf in order to focus more on car windows. With all the recent school shootings it was decided it was time to let people know they can do more than protect car windows from rocks.
The basic cost runs about $25 a square foot. The 8-layer product is more expensive at around $75 a square foot.
"Yeah we are in business, but I have kids too and I live in south Florida, 8 miles away from Parkland,” said Silverman.
Company officials say 70 school districts have purchased the product - mostly for entryways. But the cost of retrofitting existing schools is a concern for Pearce.
"I think it’s practical if you plan on it from the beginning, if you build it into your budget, you build it into your cost. It’s something you can look at in the early stages of your design to build it into your cost,” said Pearce.
No schools in the Austin area, according to the company, currently use the safety glass.