The window punch is a simple piece of gear you can throw in your Bug Out Bag or Get Home Bag, but a lot of people will question the need for a window punch when you could obviously just use anything heavy enough.
In this article, we will be covering a few different aspects of the car window breaker/punch/car escape tool. They are:
- What Is A Car Window Breaker?
- Where Should You Keep A Window Breaker?
- How to use a Window Breaker
- Why Should You Have A Car Window Breaker?
- Window Breaker Vs A Punch
What Is A Window Breaker/ Punch?
A window breaker is a small specialized tool for breaking glass. They are generally small enough to fit in one hand, and they have a reinforced metal tip. You may also hear them referred to as “safety hammers.”
The hard and sometimes sharp tip of the breaker does an excellent job of penetrating glass, especially a tempered glass window.
Some window breakers are manufactured as escape tools with a multifunctional design. They can include a window breaker tip, a seat belt cutter, and even an LED flashlight. These types of window breakers are usually kept in a vehicle, and first responders sometimes use them as well.
They can be used in or on vehicles or mounted anywhere you might need to break a window.
Where Should You Keep A Window Breaker?
On the Wall
A window breaker isn’t just for a vehicle, and if you keep your eyes open, you may see them hanging on walls in various types of buildings and businesses.
For the average person, there are a couple of different places you can keep one of these tools in case of an emergency.
On a Keychain
Keychain models allow you to easily carry a window breaker with you wherever you go. Having one on your keychain is convenient as not all emergencies happen when you are in a vehicle. Maybe you need to break into a vehicle or break the glass on some type of structure.
A keychain glass breaker is extremely lightweight and compact enough to have one on a keychain and one in your bug out bag.
Car Placement Options
When you are in your vehicle, there are a lot of places to store a window breaker but it’s best if the tool is kept within reaching distance for quick access. Such as in a glove compartment, on the back of a headrest, in a door pocket, hanging from the rearview mirror, or attached to the car’s sun visor.
While they aren’t great, other options would include under seats or even the trunk of a car. Having more than one window breaker will ensure you are properly prepared. You should have access to one in the car interior and the exterior.
Using Window Breakers
Unfortunately, movies and such have taught us that punching through a car window is a viable way of getting into or out of a car. Can it be done? Possibly. But for most people, the only things you are going to break are the bones in your hand.
A lot of glass windows manufactured now are safety glass or tempered glass. This not only makes windows much stronger, but when they do break, they don’t shatter like a drinking glass from your kitchen would. When the glass fractures, it spiderwebs out and holds together more so there aren’t typical shards of glass produced – but you can certainly still get cut on it.
Using a car window breaker is fairly straightforward. The first thing you want to do is grab the handle, much like you would a hammer, with the glass breaker tip pointing away from you.
Next, pick out the spot on the car window that you want to strike. This spot should be in the lower corner section of a car window. If you can’t reach this spot, then go ahead and hit a section of the window you can reach.
Now, quickly and firmly strike the car window with the metal tip of the glass breaker. If the window doesn’t break the first time, try it again with a harder strike.
Once the window has fractured enough, use either the glass breaker end or the seatbelt cutter end of the escape tool to scrape the glass away from the frame.
The other main function of an escape tool is a seatbelt cutter. Sometimes after a car accident, you may encounter a jammed seatbelt and this could prevent you or others in the vehicle from getting to safety.
The seatbelt cutter end of an escape tool is V-shaped, and inside is a razor-sharp blade. Simply slide the material into the seat belt cutter, and the sharp blade will cut right through it. This is much safer to use during an emergency than a pocketknife which could cause accidental injury.
Why Carry a Window Breaker?
The main reason for carrying a window breaker is for specific emergencies during normal times, like a car accident. The other reason may be for when “SHTF” and certain situations or other types of emergencies present themself.
Quieter Than A Rock
Using a glass breaker is quieter than using a rock. I can imagine many situations where it would pay off to be quiet and unnoticed in a survival scenario, especially in an urban environment.
Picking up a rock and chucking it at most windows will get the job done, but not always. Tempered glass, safety glass, and car windows are quite strong and don’t shatter right away when a rock or other impact tool like a hammer is used as a glass breaker.
So, if stealth is the objective, a window breaker is a much better tool than a rock.
A window breaker is not only quieter than smashing a rock through a window, but it could also be used for a job that requires a little bit more finesse. Maybe there is someone in a car you are trying to get out and tossing a chunk of concrete through the window just isn’t safe.
Not only is the object itself unsafe to throw through a window, but the resulting broken glass is going to fly everywhere and become a dangerous projectile. A car window breaker does not cause the glass to be projected outward and it tends to fall close by.
Or, if you are stuck inside a vehicle and do not have the space or tools available to break a window, you would have to opt for a window breaker. For example, a hammer or a rock is going to require more room for swinging to create the energy needed to break the window. A window punch is very small, requires less effort to use, and is a great escape tool to have inside a vehicle, as well as outside of one.
Pros And Cons Of Car Escape Tools
- Great glass breaker for a car window or tempered glass
- Comes with a seat belt cutter
- Lightweight and affordable
- Keychain models available
- Less effort required to break car windows
- Requires some space to use
Window Breaker Vs. A Punch
In this article, there were a few times that a window punch was mentioned in lieu of a car escape tool or a glass breaker. Since they are two different tools, a little explanation is necessary.
A punch is not like a hammer-style escape tool or window breaker, nor do they come with a seat belt cutter. A spring-loaded punch, like the one pictured above, has the appearance of a fat pen with a metal point sticking out of one end.
Inside of the punch, there is a strong spring. When the metal tip is pressed down onto a surface, the spring is compressed and forcefully pushes the metal tip forward. This type of tool is usually used to create small size indentations on a wood or metal surface, but it can also be used as an effective glass breaker.
Pros and Cons of a Window Punch
- Lightweight and compact
- Super affordable
- Available where most tools are sold
- A great tool to have inside a vehicle
- Requires minimal effort to use, which is great for people with physical limitations
- Extremely effective
- No seat belt cutter
How do window punches work?
A window punch usually has a sharp or semi-blunt metal tip. When a piece of glass is struck with this tool, a lot of energy is transferred and concentrated through that tip to a small spot on the glass. This in turn causes the glass to shatter.
Is a window punch illegal to carry?
Generally speaking, no. They are considered a tool and not a weapon. However, there are some areas or buildings that might not allow you to carry such an item. Always check your local laws to remain in compliance.
A window punch could be useful for any number of urban survival scenarios, and I would put it in the “Why Not” category. Do you absolutely have to have it? No. Could it possibly come in very handy? Absolutely.
It only weighs a few ounces, and costs less than ten bucks. Because of these reasons, there will be one in my bug out bag.
*Special Note: A window punch can be very dangerous, even when used correctly. Be extremely careful and try to wear gloves and long sleeves if you have to use one.