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How do you use a glass breaker?

Many pocket knives, multi-tools, tactical pens and pocket tools are enhanced with them: glass breakers. But how do you use a glass breaker? What do you pay attention to in case of an emergency? Knivesandtools has tested it and will explain!

First of all it is important to know how a glass breaker works. Basically you are dealing with brute force from a striking movement that breaks the glass. Sounds simple: as long as you hit hard enough the glass will break on its own. In reality, however, it is not as simple as that.

Tungsten Carbide glass breaker works best

When we tested glass breakers ourselves we noticed that the difference between each of them can be found in the material used for the breaker. Most glass breakers are enhanced with a carbide or tungsten carbide tip. These type of glass breakers will always do what they are supposed to. We also tested how a steel bevel on the head of a flashlight works. We were a bit disappointed: we had to hit relatively hard before we were successful. If you have nothing else to help you it would work, but tungsten carbide works much better because of the hardness of this material which can be found somewhere in between 68-71HRC. Much harder than a pocket knife, almost as hard as diamond. As a result it is much easier to break through the tension of a glass window.

We also asked some experts. The employees at the car dismantling service where we were allowed to damage some windows have a lot of experience when it comes to glass breakers. They told us that the cheap LifeHammers are not ideal. You probably heard of them before: the red-coloured hammers with a seatbelt cutter you can purchase at a hardware store. They tested these tools and often found themselves holding only the handle after one blow. Not really a product you can trust with your life..

How to hit?

It sounds simple: take your tungsten carbide glass breaker and break the window. However, where you hit and which window you choose can make a difference.

Always choose a side window

The windshield of your car is enhanced with a special layer that prevents the window from shattering. It will break, but the layer makes sure you won’t be able to climb out. Side windows are not enhanced with this coating and will therefore be easy to remove.

Choose a corner

Make sure you smash the corner of the window. Whether you hit from the inside to save yourself, or from the outside to save another: by hitting the corner of the window it will break fastest. Preferably protect your hand a little: safety glass is still pretty sharp.

Let’s hope you will never need the abovementioned tips. However, if you do find yourself in such a situation we hope that you will be able to benefit from them!