Have you decided to hire security guards to protect your business? This can be a smart move, improving both morale and safety.

Security guards not only provide employees with a greater sense of protection and well-being, but they can also deter criminal activity and keep unwanted visitors away. The key to hiring the right team is to take your business needs into account, as well as the types of services that you need the guards to provide.

Not sure where to start? Today, we’re sharing how to decide between armed and unarmed security guards and the differences between each type of team. 

What Are Armed Security Guards?

Armed security guards are those who are authorized to carry a firearm at your business location. As firearms are considered to be lethal weapons, each guard is required to undergo intensive training and licensure certifications before they can assume the position. 

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of hiring one for your business. 

Advantages of Hiring an Armed Guard

Armed guards provide a higher level of security that certain businesses may require. If your company falls into any of the below categories, you may want to consider hiring these guards to protect your property:

  • Deals with high-priced assets (e.g. jewelry, electronics)
  • Hosts highly publicized events with large crowds
  • Operates in a high-crime area
  • Handles large amounts of cash
  • Transports valuable items
  • Handles very sensitive data
  • Located in a high-crime area
  • Accommodates a large number of people (e.g. hotels)

In the event of a high-level emergency or potentially violent situation, an armed guard would be well-equipped with the resources required to maintain order and security at your business. Companies that routinely hire armed guards include:

  • Large hospitals
  • Banks
  • Courthouses
  • Technical firms 

Disadvantages of Hiring an Armed Guard

While many businesses can benefit from the presence of an armed guard at their location, there are drawbacks to consider if you’re thinking about going this route. The chief aspect to think about is that the weapons could make your employees, partners, or customers apprehensive. 

In addition, it often costs more to hire an armed guard than an unarmed one. These are highly skilled experts who are trained to provide the maximum level of security possible. If you’re at the helm of a small-to-medium business, this expenditure could be outside of your budget. 

What Are Unarmed Security Guards?

Unarmed security guards do not carry firearms. However, they may carry a type of non-lethal weapon for protection, such as pepper spray, batons, or tasers. Here are the pros and cons of hiring one for your business.

Advantages of Hiring an Unarmed Guard

If your business does not need the high level of security that an armed guard provides, you can usually save money by hiring an unarmed guard instead. 

While these guards won’t use a firearm, they can use their other weapons to act with force as required. The simple presence of a guard at your facility is often enough to deter would-be criminals, as those bad actors can’t usually tell from afar whether they’re armed or not. 

if you face low-to-medium risks at your property, this service may meet your needs. It can also help you conserve costs and keep your employees and visitors at ease. Unarmed guards usually work in settings where actual threats are relatively low, including:

  • Schools and churches
  • Retail areas
  • Pools, parks, and other recreation areas 
  • Museums and galleries
  • Traffic control environments

If you’re concerned that your employees would be nervous with an armed guard around, an unarmed guard could eliminate that fear and allow everyone to feel safe.

Disadvantages of Hiring an Unarmed Guard

If your property is at a high risk of crime or you routinely handle high-value assets, then an unarmed guard will not be able to provide the same level of security that an armed guard can. Companies that need the maximum level of protection could feel less secure without the presence of a firearm for security. 

Assessing Your Security Needs

If you’re trying to decide whether to hire unarmed or armed security guards, there are certain factors you need to take into consideration. Let’s take a look at the most important ones. 

Your Level of Business Risk

Before hiring security guards, think about whether your business is a moderate-to-high-risk or a low-risk one. While high-risk businesses tend to handle more expensive assets, this isn’t always the case.

Your business could become a target regardless of where it’s located or the type of transactions it conducts. Assess your risks to determine the type of security that will be most appropriate to meet your needs. 

The Type of Crimes You Could Face

Next, think about the crimes that you’re worried about the most. If you’re primarily concerned with vandalism, soliciting, trespassing, or petty theft, then an unarmed guard may be all that you need. However, if your business faces the threat of more serious crimes or violent attacks, then you may need the additional security that an armed guard can provide. 

Your Budget

Finally, keep your security budget in mind. While you never want to sacrifice safety and quality to cut costs, it is important to make sure you’re not spending more than you can afford to. When assessing these expenses, make sure you’re taking everything into account.

In addition to the hourly rate you’ll pay each guard, you’ll also need to invest in liability insurance if you hire armed protection. In the event that a guard has to use lethal force to protect your business, there is the risk of injury or death can occur. Liability insurance can protect your business if those situations arise. 

Security Solutions You Can Trust

Now that you’ve gone through this guide, do you have a clearer understanding of your business security needs? If you’re ready to hire security guards to protect your property, start with us. 

At Security Now USA, we have more than 40 years of combined security experience. We can provide services for a wide variety of environments, from school campuses and stadiums to banks and malls. You can choose from armed and unarmed security guards depending on your needs.

Interested in learning more? Book a demo today to schedule a guard and get a free quote!