Armed or Unarmed: What Kind of Security Is Best for Your Business?

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Deciding on whether to hire armed or unarmed security for your business is a big decision.

As a business owner, the safety and security of your employees, customers, and assets should be one of your top priorities. A good security service can act as a deterrent for would-be thieves and burglars and help to keep your business safe from theft and fraud.

The type of service you choose will depend on your needs, budget, and the level of protection desired for your premises.

Armed or unarmed security guards: which is best for your business?

Both armed and unarmed security guards have their advantages, but depending on the type of business you run and the level of crime in your area, one may be a better fit for your needs. Let’s take a look at the benefits of each to help you decide which one makes sense for your organization.

Unarmed security guards

Let’s start by looking at the benefits of hiring unarmed security. Unarmed guards are typically less expensive to hire than their armed counterparts. The average starting salary for an unarmed guard is about $11 per hour, but it ranges from $9 to about $15 per hour, according to Pay depends on the employer, location and experience required. In addition to being cheaper, having an unarmed guard provides some other benefits that can make them a good choice for certain types of businesses and organizations.

Unarmed guards are often more approachable than armed guards because they don’t have weapons. This can be particularly useful if you need someone to be available as a greeter or host at events or parties, as they’ll feel less threatening to guests who may not expect hired security — especially armed security.

Armed security guards

Armed guards are more intimidating than their unarmed counterparts, which means they’re more effective at preventing crimes from happening in the first place. In many states, they can also arrest suspects. If you have a large amount of valuable merchandise or cash on hand at your business, an armed guard may be the right choice for you. Hiring an armed guard is riskier than hiring an unarmed guard because it increases the possibility that someone will get hurt. If your property gets robbed or vandalized by an armed criminal despite your efforts, you could end up getting sued for not doing enough to protect your customers and employees.

Things to consider when choosing

Here are some things to consider while choosing between both:

  • Armed guards often have additional training and are perceived as more intimidating, serving as a deterrent for criminals.
  • Also, consider the type of business you have and what types of threats you face. For example, if you operate a retail store in a high-crime area, you may want to consider armed guards as an additional deterrent for criminals. On the other hand, unarmed guards may be more appropriate if you operate a small office or store where theft is not typically an issue. Next, consider your budget. Generally speaking, it costs more to hire armed security guards than it does unarmed ones. If cost is an issue for you, hiring unarmed guards may be the better choice for your business.
  • On the other hand, armed security may not be necessary for certain environments. For example, if you operate a high-end retail store filled with expensive merchandise, investing in armed security officers may make sense. However, if your business is located in a relatively safe area and you don’t have any particularly valuable items on-site, an unarmed security guard may be all you need.
  • Some businesses also choose to use unarmed security officers when they’re looking for someone to act as a greeter or customer service representative. This approach could be worthwhile if you run a retail store or another enterprise that relies heavily on customer interactions.
  • Consider your legal obligations as well. If you’re thinking about hiring an armed guard, you need to know what it entails. You’ll have to visit the local police station and apply for a firearms license on behalf of the security officer. The license will be in their name, but it’s your company that is ultimately responsible for their actions. If you hire an unarmed guard, there’s no need to worry about this step.
  • Check insurance policies. Insurance premiums are based on the level of risk involved, so if your business hires an armed security officer, then you can expect your liability insurance premiums to increase. Make sure that the Direct Guard Services benefits justify the cost. Also, keep in mind that many companies won’t offer liability coverage for armed guards because it’s too risky for them (and because there’s not much demand).
  • Ensure that any gun-carrying officers receive training from a certified instructor and maintain their licenses with regular qualification sessions at a firing range.
  • However, while they won’t be packing heat, unarmed security guards can still effectively deter crime and keep your business safe. They’ll likely have some form of self-defense training to protect themselves and others in case of emergency. They may also wear uniforms or badges so customers know who they are and can easily identify them should something go wrong.

Bottom Line

If you decide to hire a security guard for your business, you have the option of hiring either armed or unarmed guards. But which is better? Which should you choose? The answer isn’t always clear-cut. Depending on the specific needs of your business and the type of security it requires, you could benefit from choosing one or both.