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The application of ballistic ratings in designing physical security systems

Posted: September 29th, 2017

In today’s extremely challenging security environment, buildings and facilities need protection from a range of ballistic attacks. Mike McColl, Managing Director at Securiclad, explains the importance of ballistic ratings and their applications to ensure the right safety measures are in place to guard against potential threats to physical security.

Heightened risk of ballistic attacks

As technology advances, so does the complexity of the weapons available to those who are planning to carry out attacks on high security areas such as gatehouses, perimeter buildings, guard huts, control rooms and national infrastructure.

Powerful firearms such as AK47s and other assault rifles are regularly obtained by terrorists and criminals with relative ease, meaning that building owners, facilities managers and security managers need to consider the risks of firearms incidents or acts of terrorism occurring and put measures in place to protect people and assets.

As an indication of the scale of the threat, earlier this year, it was an announced that an initiative led by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and National Counter Terrorism Policing (NCTP), officers across the UK had seized 833 firearms. These included handguns, shotguns, an AK47 and a Skorpion submachine gun.

Choosing the right physical security system

Key to selecting the right type of protection for buildings is understanding the types of firearms and the associated ballistic ratings. The types of guns likely to be used by criminals and terrorists include handguns (revolvers and automatic pistols), military assault rifles and shotguns.

Ammunition is also a crucial factor and when specifying a weapon of concern; it is important to correctly specify the type of ammunition to be protected against. Typically, this will involve:

  • The calibre (the nominal internal diameter of the weapon’s barrel)
  • Properties of the bullet (mass, core material, shape, jacket etc.)
  • Length of cartridge case (e.g. 9 x 19mm; 7.62 x 51mm, 7.62 x 39mm)

Ballistic ratings explained

To ensure complete protection, ballistic modular building solutions, such as Ballisticlad, are tested and approved to specific criteria as set out in European Ballistics Standards

Here’s a quick guide to the European Standards BS EN1522/1523:

  • EN1522/23 (1999) FB2 – Tested against hand guns with bullet calibre 9mm Luger
  • EN1522/23 (1999) FB3 – Tested against hand guns with bullet calibre 0.357 Magnum
  • EN1522/23 (1999) FB4 – Tested against hand guns with bullet calibre 0.357 Magnum and 0.44 Magnum
  • EN1522/23 (1999) FB5 – Tested against rifles with bullet calibre 5.56 X 45
  • EN1522/23 (1999) FB6 – Tested against rifles with bullet calibre 5.56 X 45 and 7.62 x 51
  • EN1522/23 (1999) FB7 – Tested against rifles with bullet calibre 7.62 x 51
  • EN1522/23 (1999) FSG – Tested against shot guns with bullet calibre 12 bore x 70

Our Ballisticlad system has achieved certification up to EN1522/23 (1999) FB6 for both walling and enclosures, enabling it to offer a ballistic enclosure in which joints, ancillaries and interfaces are certified.

Ballisticlad is available as a multi-certified Ballistic/Security/Fire panelling system it or can be retro-fitted into existing buildings as narrow ballistic liner panel when maximisation of floor space is critical.

The Ballisticlad system can be used to bolster the protection of areas such as gatehouses, panic rooms, perimeter buildings, guard huts and control rooms, and has been designed to safeguard assets at critical national infrastructure sites, nuclear facilities, utilities sites, military installations, government buildings and more.

The right support to identify the system you need

While the above information will provide a guide when selecting the right physical security system, technical advice should be sought from a specialist with experience and training in designing and implementing bullet resistant measures.

We provide comprehensive pre-sales and post-sales technical support and advice to specifiers, project managers, installers and end users, ensuring that they receive the security solution that is right for them.

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