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When Should a Business Choose Armed Security Guards?

Jason Miller
When Should a Business Choose Armed Security Guards?

The choice to hire security guards for your business is easily one of the most important investment decisions you will ever make.  Having the right security team provides so many great advantages for your employees, patrons, and assets.  Just because you have come to realize the importance of employing a security company for your business, doesn't necessarily mean you know exactly what you need.  One of the most foundational decisions you will make when hiring a security company is whether your business needs armed or unarmed security guards.  It will be important to fully consider all risks and benefits so you can wisely choose the right security package for your company!  

Armed vs. Unarmed: What Are the Benefits and Risks of Each Option?

Unarmed security guard companies are often more affordable than their armed counterparts, although they lack some key features that could cause problems in certain situations. For example, an unarmed guard might not be armed with any defensive weapons, which means he would not be able to protect himself if attacked by someone who was intent on harming him. This could lead to the serious injury or even death of the guard, employees, and/or patrons.

On the other hand, armed guards provide more protection for themselves and others around them. They typically carry firearms, such as handguns or other firearms to ensure they can deal with high level criminal activities. These types of guards are usually better equipped to handle dangerous situations like robberies, assaults, kidnappings, hostage takings, and heists. However, it's important to note that there are risks associated with having armed guards working within your facility.

One risk of hiring armed guards for your business is that it may be readily apparent that your guards are carrying firearms.  While some patrons may feel an increased sense of comfort resulting from a strong security presence, others may feel threatened and uncomfortable, preventing them from visiting your business again in the future.

It is also important to note that carrying a firearm comes with great responsibility and subsequent liability.  Armed security guards must follow strict guidelines regarding how they use deadly force during an attack. If they accidentally shoot someone while trying to defend themselves from harm, this could result in criminal charges against them. Furthermore, if they injure anyone else unintentionally, they could face civil lawsuits filed by those injured parties.  Another risk when employing armed security guards is the possibility that they may kill someone without justification, leading to potential murder charges. All of these factors can add up to very real issues of liability for your business, expensive attorney fees, and potential jail time for the guards.  

Conversely, unarmed guards don’t have to worry about following rules governing when and where they can use lethal force.  They also require less training since they won’t be tasked with carrying a dangerous weapon every day and discerning how/when to appropriately use it. Instead, unarmed guards are only responsible for protecting themselves and others from physical attacks. Providing they implement proper procedures and safety protocols; they should avoid the sticky legal situations that armed guards frequently become in entangled with.

How To Choose Between Unarmed and Armed Guards for Your Business

It quickly becomes apparent that there are some very real pros and cons when considering whether to choose armed or unarmed guards for your business.  Regardless of the risks involved, if your business needs armed guards you don't want to make the mistake of merely employing unarmed guards.  While one the flip side, you don't want to spend extra money and risk issues of liability if there is really no need to do so.  This brings us to the million-dollar question: how do you choose between unarmed and armed guards for your business?

When you are looking for a security guard company, it is important to know that there are variations between companies regarding the services they offer. Some offer unarmed guard services, while others only provide armed guard options. The type of security guard company you choose, will depend on several factors including your business’s needs and budget. If you have an office or retail store in need of protection from theft, vandalism, and other crimes, then hiring armed guards may be more appropriate than using unarmed guards. However, if you do not require any form of physical intervention, during the course of normal operations, then hiring unarmed guards may be sufficient to meet the needs of your business.

Armed vs Unarmed: What Is Best for Your Company?

The first thing to consider when choosing between armed and unarmed security guards is whether you want them to intervene physically with criminals who attempt to break into your property.  When deciding which option would work best for your business, keep in mind that both options carry risks. With either choice, you must weigh the benefits and drawbacks before making a decision.

As was aforementioned, unarmed guards typically cost less than their armed counterparts because they do not require weapons. They also tend to be easier to hire since they do not require training or licensing. Additionally, unarmed guards typically come equipped with tasers and pepper spray. These tools allow them to protect themselves and others from violent situations without adding in the extra liability issues that firearms bring with them. 

Conversely, armed guards generally cost more than unarmed guards due to the additional costs associated with purchasing firearms and ammunition. Armed guards must undergo extensive background checks and training prior to being hired.  Not to mention, armed guards can potentially face legal ramifications should something go wrong.  However, as the old saying goes, don't bring a knife to a gunfight.  If your business is at high risk due to its location, merchandise, or clientele, it may be necessary and more than worth the legal risks to employ armed security guards. 

In short, armed guards are ideal for businesses where physical confrontation is necessary to properly protect assets and clientele. While unarmed guards are great for those businesses that prefer non-physical interventions, such as surveillance cameras and alarms. Ultimately, the right solution depends upon what kind of business you run, its level of risk, location, whether it caters to high profile individuals, as well as the level of threats you expect to encounter.  No two businesses are exactly alike; thus, the right decision can be made after considering all the risks and benefits of each in correlation with your unique company.

Jason Miller
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