The Different Types of Security Guards and How to Choose The Right One


In a world where danger lurks around the corner, more and more facilities, events, and organizations rely on the services of security guards to maintain safety. Mass shootings, terrorist attacks, and other acts of violence are often in the media, leading companies and organizations to choose different types of private security in far greater capacities. Because every situation is unique, the types of security guards needed for an assignment can vary greatly.
Security guards providing personal security for a VIP may need to be armed and trained in defensive tactics. However, in retail settings, unarmed guards will usually suffice to prevent shoplifting.
There are many questions that clients need to ask when deciding what types of personal security will give them the level of security they need for their property, employees, or others who will be on the premises. Therefore, it’s best to turn to a team of experienced and knowledgeable private security experts, such as those at Ranger Guard and Investigations.

Types of Security Officers

Whatever their role, Ranger Guard insists all officers meet strict performance criteria. Regardless of the type of assignment a private security officer will have, it’s crucial they approach it having the highest ethical and professional standards possible. Clients must know they have personnel on duty who can be trusted to protect property and lives in whatever ways are necessary, using sound judgment and clear thinking. 

To ensure high staff standards, before hiring Ranger Guard requires all officers, whatever their role, to pass:

  • Aptitude tests
  • Drug tests
  • Detailed pre-employment background checks

Once they have passed screening, Ranger Guard officers are given additional training in the following areas:

  • Anti-Terrorism Tactics 
  • First Aid/CPR 
  • Defensive Tactics 
  • Criminal Law 
  • K-9 Security 
  • Patrol Methods 
  • Surveillance Equipment and Techniques 
  • Crowd Control

Image projects professionalism. All officers employed by Ranger are required to wear professional uniforms and shoes, have neat haircuts, and display a minimum of jewelry. To gain and keep the respect of those they encounter daily, unarmed guards must present a very professional appearance and attitude. All of Ranger’s officers are expected to be on time at their job site, presenting a professional image including clean and pressed uniforms, polished shoes, neat haircuts, and appropriate personal hygiene.

More specific types of training are given to more specialized guards deployed on particular assignments, or those trusted with firearms.

The different types of security officers have very different skills.

Read on to find out what are the different types of guards:

Unarmed Officers

Depending on the facility, level of security needed, and threat assessment conducted by experienced private security experts, a determination will be made as to whether armed or unarmed guards will be best for the assignment. Unarmed officers possess the skills to maintain control in numerous situations such as retail businesses, special events security, such as concerts or festivals, and residential complexes security.
Without weapons available, they must rely on skills in verbal de-escalation, surveillance, patrolling, and customer service to provide high levels of security.
Retail security officer duties vary significantly. Officers are typically assigned to stores to work on loss prevention. Such officers may be uniformed or work undercover on the sales floor. They may also be assigned to work in a store’s control room to conduct video surveillance of the sales floor and other areas to ensure customers and employees are unable to commit theft or other crimes. Along with standard loss prevention duties, retail security officers also perform duties, such as patrolling parking lots, assisting customers with questions, and in medical emergencies performing basic first aid and CPR until paramedics arrive. 

Armed Officers

While unarmed officers are right for many situations, sometimes an armed officer will be necessary. These situations can include providing security to a VIP, guarding expensive items such as jewelry or artwork at a museum, or even providing security at a gated community or other affluent residential or office complex.
Armed officers possess many of the same skills as unarmed officers, as well as other customized skills pertaining to their assignment. 

To serve as a Ranger Guard armed officer, guards need to complete and satisfactorily pass:

  • Classroom firearms training
  • Practical shooting range training 

This training and tests are designed to ensure security officers are physically, mentally, and psychologically able to exercise appropriate judgment when armed with a weapon. No matter the assignment, Ranger Guard makes sure our security guards are always ready and able to complete their assignments.

Patrol Officers

In many situations requiring a security guard, mobile patrol officers skilled in patrol techniques are the best fit to keep people and property safe. This is especially useful at residential complexes or office and industrial complexes, where a 24 hr security guard presence can guard against trespassing, vandalism, theft, or other crimes.
Officers visit sites either on foot or in a clearly marked Ranger Guard mobile patrol security vehicle. Unlike many private security companies that choose to use vehicle and foot patrols done at the same times day and night, Ranger private security officers use a patrol system of random patrols of different areas, and vary all foot and vehicle patrols routes each time. This makes it very difficult to commit crimes or other illegal activity as criminals cannot predict when an officer will emerge. By using these patrol techniques, clients usually report sharp decreases in illegal activity, often exceeding 30 percent after only several weeks of these unique and effective patrols.
Officers on these assignments are highly-skilled. Ranger Guard provides extensive training in mobile patrolling techniques, surveillance, and how to use high-tech equipment such as night vision goggles and other equipment needed to offer maximum security to clients.

Special Event Guards

At festivals, concerts, sporting events, and other gatherings, guards will be responsible for the security of hundreds or thousands of people. Such guards need to be trained in specific special events security procedures.
Because of this, Ranger Guard gives officers training in the most important aspects of special events security.
This includes:

  • Bag searches 
  • Crowd control 
  • Access and media control 
  • K-9 patrols and security 
  • First aid/CPR 

Officers and clients are confident that whatever situation arises, Ranger Guard officers equipped with these skills can make the decisions needed to keep everyone as safe as possible at all times.

Should an Officer be Armed or Unarmed?

When attempting to define security officer roles and responsibilities, one of the first questions clients ask their private security company is whether to hire armed or unarmed guards for their facility or event. The right answer depends on a number of factors, including:

  • the type of facility to be guarded
  • how many people the guards will be responsible for during their shift
  • the expected site threat level. 

Armed guards are used at office buildings, apartment complexes, and school campuses, since these areas are deemed to be “soft targets” by security professionals. Since each assignment is unique, it is best to speak with security experts such as Ranger Guard with years of knowledge and experience in these matters. 

Generally, armed guards are used at highly vulnerable sites as banks, museums, hospitals, and similar sites, while unarmed guards are most often used at office buildings, residential complexes, and other similar areas.

Are Officers Authorized To Use Force?

Use of force policies for security officers in a security guard company are very complex. While private security officers do not have arrest powers like police officers, they are fully authorized to detain individuals until police can arrive at the scene.
In doing so, security officers are expected to use a “reasonable” amount of force in these situations, meaning they should act as any reasonable person would under similar circumstances. All officers are authorized to use reasonable force. Armed Guards have to take extra precautions since situations involving firearms are more serious.
To ensure this occurs, and to make sure force is only used as a last resort, Ranger Guard trains all officers in:

  • Defensive tactics
  • Verbal de-escalation techniques
  • Criminal law 
  • Safety precautions and procedures

Ranger Guard use of force training is designed to keep all situations as safe as possible for everyone.

Are Officers Licensed and Certified?

If you are working with a reputable private security agency, all officers assigned to your facility or event will be licensed and certified. By hiring a licensed and certified professional security guard from a reputable agency, you not only guarantee the officer has received training in the latest security methods and procedures, but you also maintain a maximum of liability coverage for your business or property. This is important should an incident occur that requires the officer to take action to protect lives or property.Ranger Guard works closely with the Texas Department of Public Safety and relevant state and federal agencies to make sure all officers are properly licensed and certified to legally perform their duties.
In addition, we also perform in-depth criminal background checks on all officers, ensuring the officers assigned to clients are indeed the best professionals in the security industry.

Is Prior Experience Important?

As with any type of career, prior experience is an asset. At Ranger Guard, we make front line field experience a top priority when hiring new security officers. We actively seek out and preferentially recruit those with military and law enforcement backgrounds. 

Because of this, most of our officers come to us with many years of service as police officers or military veterans. Such guards not only have years of related experience handling high-stress situations, but also have demonstrated the ability to use sound judgment when faced with dangerous situations.

Schedule Your Free Security Consultation with Ranger Guard Today

Because there are so many different types of security guards and security guard services, it’s crucial to speak with experienced and knowledgeable experts who know the best types of guards for your assignment. If you need armed or unarmed officers, special events guards, patrol officers, or others, schedule a consultation as soon as possible with Ranger Guard.
Rather than simply guess at what types of private security you need and potentially put the safety of people and property at risk, let the experts at Ranger Guard provide the guidance you need. Contact us now to schedule a consultation.