By Matthew Schafer
Copyright 2016, All Rights Reserved
The other day a friend of mine and I were watching the movie “Sicario” and he asked a really good question. In the movie there is a scene where the “good guys” in the movie are escorting a captured drug lord from Mexico to the US via convoy of black SUVs. Due to a broken down car they have to stop just on the US side of the boarder on a four lane road where they encounter two cars filled with Mexican Cartel members trying to get the drug lord back and a gun fight erupts.
Here is a link to the clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TU9L_MAfp3c
He made a good observation that when the “good guys” noticed the cartel members the first thing they did, other than call it out, is to put down the windows in their vehicles. He commented that he didn’t understand that, after all one would think you want to leave your windows up for protection. After thinking about it for a moment he concluded that you would probably want to put them down so you could shoot through the windows but he still questioned why the windows were put down on the opposite side of the car. In fact, as soon as the “bad guy’s” location was called out the very first thing that happened was the guy in front passenger seat put his window down.
This is a pretty good question and one there is a good answer for. Basically, you’re either driving in an armored car or you’re not. If you’re in a car with bullet proof (resistant) windows then the windows should stop most rounds (decent bullet resistant glass will stop a round from an AK-47 or a M14 but probably won’t stop a .50 caliber round). If you’re in an armored car you want to stay put with the windows all the way up and focus on driving away instead of fighting. No product is completely bullet proof so with enough hits any armor will eventually give; therefore the armor in a vehicle isn’t meant to protect you all day from arms fire, but rather protect you for that moment so that you can get away and get someplace safer.
If you’re not in an armored vehicle then the glass in the windows will simply not stop a bullet. If you’re in a vehicle and you know gunplay is about to start, or even if your evacuating an area and you know gunplay might happen, putting your windows down is one of the first things you want to do after the vehicle gets mobile.
If your windows are up and you have to fire from inside a vehicle the windows will trap some of the sound of that gunshot damaging your hearing far more than if they were down. In a violent encounter you want to be able to see and hear so you don’t want to risk making yourself temporarily deaf.
Next, if you have shoot through glass then the glass can alter the trajectory of your bullet. Your carefully lined up shot now could hit higher, lower, left, or right or completely miss simply because it had to pass through the glass first.
On the other side, if your window isn’t going to stop the bullet then it is going to shatter instead. Instead of just a bullet entering your car now you have a loud shattering noise which will distract people and flying glass which could injure people. After the shattering sound and flying glass you’ll have pieces of broken glass laying around which can injure you while you are trying to move around either for cover or to return fire.
If you know gunplay is a possibility and your window won’t stop a bullet then get it out of the way, otherwise instead of returning fire, getting behind cover, or focusing on your driving (all things that can save your life) you may instead be distracted, cut by glass, and temporarily deaf (all things that can cost you your life).