Can BB or Pellet Guns Break Windows?

So you’ve been careful to not shoot your eye out… but what about your window? If you’re using you backyard as an airgun shooting range, you may be asking, could you really break a window with a BB or pellet gun?

Many BB and pellet guns are able to break windows. Lower powered airguns have difficulty breaking tempered glass, but higher powered ones are able to do so.

If you were to search on the internet, “BB versus window,” you’ll get a bunch of images and news reports of windows being shot and destroyed by BB guns. Higher powered BB guns have no problem with taking on windows, and sometimes a lucky shot with a BB gun can break a window.

Why are BB and Pellet Guns able to Break Windows?

The way that all projectiles like bullets, pellets, and BB’s work is by concentrating a lot of force behind a small area. If they didn’t do that, then they would be ineffective at cutting into things.

In fact, the way that Kevlar, the material used in bullet proof vests, works is by having softer layers of a durable fabric that catch a bullet and kind of wrap around it, spreading the the force that the bullet hits with over a larger area and over a longer period of time. This will leave a bruise, but not a hole.

Windows are terrible at doing this. They are not flexible, they are brittle, and while they are built to handle punishment, they simply cannot do what Kevlar does. Instead, when a BB or pellet flies at the window, a small area on the BB or pellet makes contact with a small area on the window, and while a window can give a little bit, it simply won’t be enough.

And the window breaks.

Even though tempered glass is great for cars, houses, and so on, they don’t do a good job of standing against an object literally designed to break things.

This is how window hammers and even knives work. Concentrate a moderate amount of force on a really thin edge, and you get a lot of pressure that you can use to break things or slice your steak.

If you make your surface area smaller, then you are able to concentrate the force you are using into a smaller area, making it easier to cut or break.

So imagine the point on a BB, flying at several hundred feet per second, striking an object not intended to bend or give. Yeah.

You are not likely to break a tempered glass window with a lower powered BB gun, but certainly your higher powered ones have the potential to break it, and any one of us who have shot a glass bottle with a BB gun know that that bottle will not stand up against the BB gun at all.

Tanner Rydalch

Hey there, I'm Tanner. I grew up in Idaho, where there is plenty of space for shooting. I think Airguns can be a lot of fun and are a great introduction to firearms.

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