On more than one police call, I have been forced to break either car or building windows to save a life or capture a dangerous felon. In these incidents, I used either a Monadnock PR-24 or a Monadnock AutoLock expandable baton; the former was an issued impact weapon in years past while the latter is the current issue at my agency.
Neither was designed for this task.
I have a scar to prove it.
Bust a Cap, Inc. is a company that manufactures a glass breaking tool for police that serves as an end-cap to several standard-issue flashlights and batons. The Bust a Cap replaces the threaded end of your light or baton. Made of hardened steel and brought to a precisely angled tip, it is made specifically for breaking glass.
Bust a Caps, which are made in the USA, are available for ASP expandable batons plus Streamlight and Maglite flashlights.
Unfortunately, Monadnock designed the Autolock baton with a release button on the tail making it incompatible with the Bust a Cap. The same is true for flashlights with tail-mounted switches.
I was issued a Streamlight Stinger, which I upgraded with a Terralux LED. I decided to further upgrade the flashlight with a Bust a Cap since that light is with me every time I’m in uniform.
At the time I wrote this review, I purchased a Bust a Cap for my Stinger for under $10 on sale from an on-line retailer. Since then, the demand and prices have gone up on these. However, you can still get them for less than $25 apiece on Amazon.
With a flashlight, you must affix the “o-ring” from the original cap on to the Bust a Cap so the light stays waterproof. The Bust a Cap had room for the spare bulb if you are still running an incandescent flashlight.
In the product photographs provided by the manufacturer, the Bust a Cap’s tip looked awfully pointy. That makes sense as it is designed to focus energy to a discreet point on a window to break it. Nevertheless, I worried about it puncturing the leather of my flashlight holder.
My fears for my poor flashlight holder were unfounded. When I received the cap, it was less sharp at the point than in the pictures.
I am very happy to add some use to an already existing piece of kit that I carry daily. When I was on the SWAT team, we were given inexpensive spring-loaded keychain window breakers. Because it was just one more thing to carry, the keychain ended up riding in my seat bag and was never handy when I needed it.
To break a window, the Bust a Cap is tapped firmly into the glass to shatter it. Strenuous force is not needed for most glass types. Laminated glass – like car windshields – will need repeated striking to break through.
The most likely windows targeted by a Bust a Cap will be car side windows. For these the cap is ideal. It is recommended to wear gloves, long sleeves, and eye protection if available.
In the below video, you can see police officers pursue a subject. Eventually, the pursuit ends when officers are able to box the suspect in. Two different officers fruitlessly beat the car windows with batons. One officer walks up to the passenger side window with his Stinger-equipped Bust a Cap and shatters the window.
If you’ve ever tried to break a car window with a baton or flashlight, you know how frustrating that can be. This device can save you a lot of time and effort. Depending on the circumstances, it could be a true lifesaver.
I think the Bust a Cap adds a very useful function to my Stinger.
The Bust a Cap is inexpensive insurance should you need it. It’s always with you when you are in uniform unless you go on duty without a flashlight and baton. I recommend against that.
Use safety protective equipment when you can. A pair of gloves such as the Ares Cut Resistant gloves we reviewed would be ideal, but at least be aware of the dangers if you have to improvise and use such a tool in an emergency. Click here for my article about types of glass and window breaking.
Randall is a twenty-three year sworn police officer in a mid-sized Florida police department. He has been an FTO, K9 Handler, Detective and SWAT Team Leader. He is currently the Midnight Shift K9 Sergeant and department SWAT Coordinator.