Armed vs. Unarmed Security: How to Choose the Best Option for Your Business

Armed vs. Unarmed Security

No matter what type of business you own, you should be thinking about the security environment you’re providing for your employees, customers, guests, etc. It’s up to you to make security decisions that are ultimately going to keep people safe. Plus, it helps deter potentially costly incidents such as theft, vandalism, or arson from occurring.


Armed vs. Unarmed Security

One of the most effective ways to protect your business against unnecessary losses is to hire private security officers. Unlike other types of security, such as surveillance cameras or access control devices, in-person security officers provide both a powerful deterrent and give you the ability to immediately and effectively respond to a security incident.


Once you’ve made the decision to hire private security officers, however, you’ll need to determine if you want to have armed or unarmed officers on-site. You’ll want to evaluate your company’s specific risks, budget, and individual needs and goals to determine what the best option is for you.


What Is the Difference Between Armed and Unarmed Security Guards?


Unarmed security guards do not carry firearms and are not equipped to use lethal force. They may carry less-lethal tools, such as a taser, but their primary purpose is to monitor and report potential security risks or provide other services like access control, traffic management, or general surveillance. 


On the other hand, an armed security guard’s primary purpose is to respond quickly to a life-threatening security incident, using lethal force if necessary. They are licensed to carry firearms and may all have less-lethal tools, depending on their skill sets and training. While an armed security guard can handle the same duties of an unarmed security guard, their main focus will always be on physical security.


Assessing Your Business’s Security Risk


The first step to choosing to hire armed or unarmed security guards is assessing your organization’s individual needs. You can do this by performing a risk analysis. While potential criminals can target any business, some are at an increased risk due to the nature of their operations. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when thinking about your business’s risk:


  • Does your business handle large amounts of cash or other expensive assets?
  • Does your company often interact with high-profile figures?
  • Does your place of business contain sensitive information?
  • Is your business in a high-crime area?
  • Does the general public have easy access to your facilities?
  • Does your business operate at odd hours?


Businesses with an increased risk of attracting armed attackers will want to have armed responders. Those that carry a low risk of inviting armed attackers are more likely to have sufficient coverage with an unarmed guard to keep an eye on the property and deter potential criminals.


Consider the Costs and Benefits


As a business owner, you’re probably familiar with a cost-benefit analysis. This applies to security just as it does to other expenditures and projects you’ve undertaken. While the costs involved with hiring private security varies between providers and types of coverage, one thing remains true: armed security guards cost more than unarmed ones. This is because:


  • Armed guards require frequent training to ensure their skills stay up-to-date.
  • Carrying a firearm is a huge responsibility, and you want these people to be highly-trained professionals.
  • Armed security guards incur greater insurance expenses due to the potential liability resulting from a lethal force incident.


On the other hand, unarmed security guards require less training, less experience, and carry minimal liability risk. These factors make them a much more affordable option.


Think About Your Image


Security is a big part of any company’s reputation and affects the way your customers, employees, and guests feel when working with you. Armed security might make people feel safer, but there is also the possibility some will feel intimidated or uncomfortable when firearms are present.


You’ll want to consider not only the security risks and costs, but also the customers, employees, and guests that will be around the security personnel every day when making the decision between armed and unarmed security. Although it might seem difficult, there is a way to find a balance of all three!


Not sure whether armed vs. unarmed security is right for you? Call Assured Protection for a consultation!


Start your security solutions plan today with Assured Protection. Founded in 2005, we have provided clients in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Pennsylvania with professional security services that range from site security for office buildings and complexes to personal protection. We believe in a personal touch that national security companies can’t match, so give us a call today at (443) 281-8391 to learn more today!