Unarmed Security v. Armed Guards: When Do I Need Each?


As security has become a greater concern everywhere, many questions are now being asked. One of the most common is determining the need for unarmed security services or those of armed guards, and it is a question that is getting more difficult to answer. Since most people have little knowledge of private security services, it is best to rely on experts who possess decades of experience in the field. To learn more about what it takes to answer this question, here are some important factors to consider.

Type of Setting

When trying to decide between having an unarmed security guard or one who is armed, it is smart to consider the type of setting where they will be assigned. For example, if you need security for special events such as football games, concerts, or outdoor festivals, unarmed guards generally do very well in these situations. Since the primary goals of security in these settings involve crowd control, bag searches, and access control, unarmed security is often your best bet. However, if you need security services for manufacturing facilities, banks, museums, or other facilities where large amounts of money or other valuables are kept, it is often best to have the services of armed guards on the premises.

Threat Assessment

Before deciding if you are in need of an armed or unarmed security officer, it is best to have a threat assessment conducted by security experts, such as those at Ranger Guard and Investigations. As an example, if you manage a residential apartment complex that has had past problems with vandalism, break-ins, and assaults, it may be best to use armed guards on these assignments. By doing so, the guards can not only patrol the grounds on a regular basis, but also have the specialized training needed should a situation turn violent. At Ranger Guard and Investigations, we take threat assessments very seriously, and will work hard to ensure we recommend exactly what is needed for your particular situation.

Specific Duties

In making the determination between unarmed or armed security, taking into account the specific duties expected of the officer will ultimately determine what is needed. Since officers assigned to such places as schools, banks, museums, office buildings, and other facilities are in charge of providing protection for hundreds of people, it is often necessary to have them be armed while on duty. Due to these officers ultimately being the first line of defense should a disgruntled employee or other deranged individual try to enter a building and inflict harm, having armed guards can often mean the difference between lives being saved or lost while waiting for police to arrive on the scene.

VIP Protection

While unarmed security guard duties often focus on maintaining crowd control, conducting searches of bags, and patrols of a building and its grounds, armed guards are often looked upon to provide highly specialized services, such as VIP Protection. In these unique private security situations, armed guards will be directly responsible for the safety of such people as politicians, celebrities, pro athletes, dignitaries, and other prominent individuals who often have a very high profile in the world. Unfortunately, having such prominence also makes them targets of deranged fans and others who have a specific agenda against them. Because of this, armed guards given these assignments by Ranger Guard and Investigations not only have extensive training and experience in firearms, but also in such areas as defensive tactics, anti-terrorism training, first aid/CPR, surveillance, and emergency communications and procedures.

Patrol Services

Depending upon the area an officer will be patrolling, it will be necessary to determine if unarmed or armed guards will work best. If an officer will be patrolling high-risk areas that have histories of criminal activity, having them armed will almost be a necessity. Since many officers work alone on their shifts, especially overnight shifts, being armed will provide them not only with an additional way to protect themselves, but others as well.

Unfortunately, it has become more and more difficult to know when armed or unarmed security officers will be needed. With numerous acts of violence now taking place at stores, events, schools, and workplaces, many people would argue armed guards are needed virtually everywhere. However, it is always best to work with experts who can carefully and objectively assess your individual situation. To learn more about unarmed security companies such as Ranger Guard and Investigations, give us a call at 832-924-8311 or visit our website at to fill out a short contact form.