For most of our lives we’ve seen them used in action movies, and in some cases we hear about them in the news being used by world leaders. Cars with bulletproof protection seem like the coolest thing in the world for some of us, but what does it mean to have a bulletproof vehicle? What parts of a car need to be upgraded in order for it to be considered ‘bulletproof’? Let’s take a basic look at these questions.
What makes something bulletproof?
First of all, what does it mean to be bulletproof? The meaning of the word is simple: to ensure that bullets cannot penetrate through something. Most commonly, bulletproofing exists not only for military, government, and even personal vehicles, bulletproofing can also apply to clothing worn by people who seek protection against security threats against them. Aside from people working in dangerous situations for the government, civilians such as businessmen sometimes feel the need to protect themselves in this way as well.
In the context of a car, bulletproofing means to ensure that bullets cannot penetrate the vehicle and hurt whoever is sitting inside of it, but there is another element to it as well. Ideally, this should also mean that the vehicle is capable of operating despite being shot, so that the driver can use it to escape the area of danger.
To put it simply, bulletproofing a car should cover two things: firstly, to protect the people inside the car, and second, to ensure that the vehicle can continue operating despite being shot.
Which parts of the car is this applied to?
To fulfil that definition of bulletproofing, certain parts of a car must have bulletproofing materials like steel or ballistic fabrics applied to them.
To protect occupants of the car the doors, windows, firewall and other panels like the floor and ceiling need to be modified to include bulletproof materials. These materials are typically a combination of steel plating and ballistic fabrics such as kevlar, most commonly known for making bulletproof vests.
Car windows on the other hand need to be replaced with what’s sometimes referred to as ‘transparent armour’. Different from the regular automotive glass used in most cars, this material consists of layers of special types of plastic and leaded glass, ensuring that it’ll be able to stop a bullet from penetrating into the car’s cabin.
These elements combined protect the occupants of the vehicle, but as mentioned earlier, the vehicle must also be able to continue operating even if it has been shot. For that, its tires, suspension, and engine must also be modified to cope with the other bulletproofing modifications. But why?
Part of the reason behind those costs are the additional modifications mentioned earlier, like the tires, suspension and the engine.
Why? Because bulletproofing a car also means adding a lot of weight to it, more than stock suspensions and an engine can sustain. With more force needed to move the car, expenses such as petrol will also increase by quite a high amount.
With all of these factors in mind, it’s no surprise that bulletproofed cars are owned by only a small group of people in society, namely the wealthy and the powerful. Unfortunately, bulletproofing a personal vehicle like a car comes with a heavy pricetag. Google some articles about bulletproofing and you’ll see that it could come to around RM 100,000 minimum just for a basic level of protection; a price that is out of reach for most normal people.
Perhaps for the rest of us, a bulletproof car would stay as merely a really cool fantasy to have.