A top priority for anyone running a business is the security of both the building and its employees. It’s one of the most important decisions you’ll make, and it can vary depending on what kind of needs or challenges your company is facing.

You may need to decide between unarmed guards who are trained in mediation tactics versus armed guards with more advanced skills that could help prevent an escalation situation from occurring.

By having security guards or security officers at your place of business, statistics show you’re not only deterring crime from happening, but you’ll have your own sense of security knowing you have more eyes on your assets.

If you’re between unarmed vs armed security guards and what type of security is right for you, read on as we shed some light on what to think about when determining your needs.

Unarmed Security Vs Armed Security

The biggest, and maybe most obvious between an unarmed and armed security guard is that unarmed security guards do not carry firearms.

Other common weapons can be found such as batons or pepper sprays which are non-lethal. In rare situations, you may see unarmed security with a taser.

Usually where threat activity is not as high is where you’ll find contract security.

Some of the most common are:

Armed guards will have a firearm on them and go through rigorous training to prepare for the demands of the job. You’ll find armed security at locations where the risk for crime is much greater.

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Some places include:

What Is Unarmed Security?

Without the ability to carry a firearm, an unarmed security professional is responsible for keeping your building, employees and assets safe with a watchful eye.

High-impact weapons are not used by unarmed security, but you may see some carry a baton or pepper spray in the case it’s needed to be used in certain unavoidable situations.

The use of an unarmed security guard service is needed in situations where crime rates are lower or less severe. They’re a good choice for a lot of business owners.

With a professional look, they can have the presence of higher authority which is enough to keep certain situations from happening like theft or vandalism.

They are usually there to make employees feel at ease while also letting them know that they are also being watched.

The presence of firearms are not always better as it can escalate situations far more than they would have needed to be.

Unarmed security can keep calm under pressure while keeping everything under control and the most common businesses will have these kinds of guards in their buildings.

What Is Armed Security?

Armed security guards are specialized guards that have undergone training to safely handle a firearm.

The protection they provide is a little more hands-on in the sense that you see these guards in more higher-risk situations. If the situation were to arise where force is involved, these guards are trained to handle it.

Businesses that have assets with high dollar values, or are handling money like banks, watches or jewelry stores need higher protection than other businesses.

Due to the risks associated with assets mentioned above, criminal activity tends to be drawn there if there’s a sense of vulnerability.

If you’re not sure whether you can hire armed security or not, the answer is an emphatic yes.

Security in and of itself is a deterrent against criminals and threats, but probably the biggest of them all is someone with an armed weapon. Usually, criminals would think twice before putting their lives in harm’s way where the outcome potentially can cost them their life.

What Kinds Of Threats Does Your Business Face?

If your business is in the higher-risk categories mentioned above, or if you’re at a higher risk than most of being targeted by criminals, then you should strongly consider armed security guards.

Armed Guards

You should consider an armed guard if your business:

  • Has assets that are expensive like jewelry or artwork
  • Handles a large amount of money in cash
  • Hosts large events where crowds have been known to get out of hand like fights or other sporting events
  • Is in an area with elevated crime rates
  • Your business accommodates large volumes of people such as hotels, apartment complexes, or assisted living homes.

Employees from businesses that work in buildings or facilities with security tend to operate at a higher level knowing that their life isn’t at constant risk and that they’re under the protection of a professional if a problem were to escalate.

Unarmed Guards

If you feel that your business’s risk is fairly low, but would still like the presence of security, then you should go with an unarmed guard.

Some businesses have concerns about vandalism or threats at their facility and they’re unsure of which option to choose. In these situations, our security consultants would highly advise an unarmed guard to combat those issues.

In combination with CCTV surveillance and a proper access control system, these 3 working together can be highly effective in keeping a high-security presence and crime almost non-existent.

Costs Associated With Armed Vs Unarmed Security

Since both kinds of security guards will have different functions, this will affect the price you pay for each of them.

Due to the training involved and job functions that are required, an armed guard will be more expensive to hire.

Usually, there are life risks taken on by the security guard with their job role and they are being paid extra for the protection they’re providing. Liability insurance is also another big factor in the difference in costs as well.

Since unarmed guards will not have to put their lives at risk on a day to day basis, the job functions that are most often used are surveillance monitoring, patrolling the building and outside areas, assisting tenants or customers behind a concierge desk, controlling door access to restricted areas of the building and other similar job roles.

This will be the more cost-effective approach if your business requires a guard to do these kinds of functions at your building.

Which Will You Choose?

Once you take the above pieces of advice into consideration, you’ll know exactly which kind of guard you’ll need for your business. If you’re still unsure, we’d be happy to help. Just contact us here and we’ll gladly lend a hand.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do armed guards deter crime?

Armed guards can prevent many crimes from happening and this ultimately creates a safer environment for all. The main benefits of having armed security is the prevention of crime and observation/reporting if anything were to occur.

Are security guards armed?

Depending on the kind of business that’s using security guards as a means of protection, the security can be armed or unarmed. Some states will allow a guard to carry a firearm if it’s a requirement of their job. If they are not performing a job function, then they are not legally allowed to carry or use a firearm.

What do armed security guards carry?

It will depend on the job the security guard is being employed for and the industry they work in, but armed security guards can carry batons, pepper spray, tear gas, and even firearms. Other items an armed guard may carry are two-way radios for communication, handcuffs for detainment, flashlights, and a smartphone.

Joseph Ferdinando is the visionary founder of Building Security Services, a leading security company renowned for its comprehensive security services. With an illustrious career spanning over 40 years in the security industry, Joseph has been instrumental in elevating the standards of security guard services for a broad spectrum of businesses and organizations. As an influential member of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) in both New York and New Jersey chapters, Joseph has played a pivotal role in shaping industry standards and practices.