How to Armor a Vehicle

The how to of armoring a vehicle depends on the type of armor being installed, and how much of the vehicle is going to be armored. Armored vehicles have become increasingly common.  Some manufacturers such as Ford, Land Rover, Mercedes, and BMW have started producing some bulletproof vehicles.  While they have started, it is only a very limited line of vehicles that come from the factories already armored.  Any vehicle can be armored to protect passengers and/or assets that need to be moved.  Whether you’re just wanting to protect your family, or you need to transport cash or other valuables, armoring the doors and windows protects your interests. One of the most common vehicles to armor are police vehicles.

5 Step Vehicle Armoring Process

To armor a vehicle there are 5 main steps.  First the vehicle must go through teardown, then the armor products can be installed.  The last steps include optional equipment such as custom electronic protection measures, run flat tires, or any other custom application for a specific need.

Step 1 – Vehicle Measuring

The first step is to measure all of the areas that need to be armored.  For standard armor packages this involves the windshield, front windows, and front doors.  Whole vehicle armoring involves measuring the rest of the vehicle including engine compartment, ceiling, vehicle walls, floor, gas tank, and more.  For common vehicles, measurements have already been taken and we can produce the armor without needing to see the vehicle. 

Step 2 – Fabrication

The second step is to fabricate the various armor products that will be installed on the vehicle.  This ranges from bulletproof glass and panels to custom electronics.  Highly trained experts carefully craft each vehicle panel insert and automotive glass product to fit perfectly.  

Step 3 – Vehicle Teardown

When a vehicle is being armored, it is necessary to remove the areas around where armoring is being installed.  Depending on the armor level, that could include removing the seats, carpet, interior trim, and wiring.  Depending on the level of armor desired, teardown may also involve cutting the door pillars open.  

Step 4 – Bulletproof Glass

The most common target on a vehicle is the windows.  Not only can attackers see passengers through them, but typically this is a common weak point.  Vehicle Armor Systems installs your choice of bulletproof glass product, starting at a NIJ level IIIA.  We offer special threat glass armor, so please contact us if you need higher ballistic performance.

Ballistic glass armor comes in both  film and replacement glass products.  Bullet resistant film goes onto the inside of your windows, and is a great option if you want the windows to continue to roll up and down.  Stationary bulletproof glass is a higher threat option.  We manufacture the lightest weight bullet resistant glass products in the industry.  

Step 5 – Bulletproof Panels

For doors and vehicle panel areas, voids inside doors and walls are prepped.  High strength adhesives are applied and bulletproof panels are inserted and secured in place.  The panels are installed in whichever areas you want to armor.  This can be as little as the front doors or on every panel area of the vehicle.  Full vehicle armor can include the engine compartment, gas tank, undercarriage, roof, and more.  This approach protects not just the occupants, but also the function of the vehicle.  During an attack, an objective may be to disable the vehicle by shooting the engine or limiting range by piercing the gas tank.  

Step 6 – Run Flat Tires

A good optional addition to vehicle armor is run flat tires.  If the tires are shot, it will limit your ability to escape.  Run flat tires will keep you moving whether they are hit by a bullet or if you drive over debris.  These tires do have air in them, but can run if they are pierced.  This is done by having a polymer ring inside the tire that supports the weight of the vehicle, should the tire lose pressure.  Most run flat tires allow vehicles to be driven up to 60 miles at 60 miles per hour. 

Step 7 – Reassembly

Once all of a client’s bulletproof options have been installed on the vehicle, it is reassembled.  Every effort is made to conceal the armor and set the vehicle back to appear the same as it was before being armored..  Having covert vehicle armor makes more sense as it doesn’t advertise that an attacker should prepare a more formidable attack.  

Vehicle Armor Areas 

There are a few primary areas of a vehicle that should be armored.  Clearly the windows and doors are the primary focuses of virtually all vehicle armor projects. However, there are more areas that can be armored to provide the best level of protection for occupants. 

  • Windows – Windows are one of the most common areas to armor.  They are the areas where occupants can be clearly seen, and aimed at.
  • Doors – Car doors provide virtually zero protection from gun fire, despite what movies lead people to believe. 
  • Walls – Walls of vehicles are common in SUVs and vans.  These areas can represent a large portion of the vehicle’s exterior, and a large target.
  • Ceiling – In some attacks shooters are firing from an elevated position or might climb directly on top of the vehicle. Providing armor in the ceiling prevents attacks from the roof.
  • Undercarriage – While the undercarriage isn’t as common an area to attack, adding armor to it removes a potential weak point in your armor solution.
  • Engine Compartment – The engine is a potential primary target if the attack is serious.  Disabling the vehicle prevents escape, and it gives attackers more time to find a way into the vehicle.
  • Gas Tank – The gas tank can be a target as it not only is combustible, but also can limit the range of the vehicle.  Armoring it will help protect your mobility and overall safety.
  • Tires – We’ve all seen a movie where tires are shot out to stop a vehicle.  Run flat tires may have been designed for nails and screws on the road, but they are great for vehicle armoring purposes.  

Weight & Vehicle Armor

Any time you are adding armor to a vehicle, person, or building, weight is a factor.  Most vehicle armor companies need to install extra hinges to support their bulky and enormously heavy armor.  Vehicle Armor Systems provides the same levels of protection at a fraction of the weight and cost!  We use the latest high ballistic performance material Protek™.  Protek™ benefits from the revolutionary material graphene microfiber.  This graphene armor product protects better with less weight.

That means your vehicle doesn’t need extensive modifications to the suspension, engine, and brakes to handle additional weight.  It costs less and preserves as much of your vehicle’s performance and fuel efficiency as possible.

Get A Vehicle Armor Quote

Get in touch with our team to discuss your vehicle armoring project.  We customize quotes to armor vehicles based on your specifications and individual needs.  Click here to read more about our vehicle armor kits.