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Armed vs. Unarmed Security Guards: What’s The Difference?

difference between an armed guard and unarmed guard

In today’s world, where security concerns are more prominent than ever, the importance of security guards cannot be overstated. Security guards play an important role in protecting people, property, and peace of mind. However, not all security guards are created equal. Explore the distinct roles and importance of armed and unarmed security guards and how they fulfill their job.

  Key Takeaways
1. Differences in training and roles of armed vs. unarmed guards.
2. Suitability of each type for different environments.
3. Factors to consider when choosing security services.

What is an Armed Security Guard?

An armed security guard is a professional trained in security and defense, and licensed to carry firearms. Their role includes deterring crime, responding to threats, and protecting property and individuals, especially in high-risk environments. They undergo extensive training in firearm use, legal aspects of force, and emergency response.

security guard keep the asset safe for a client


Learn More: The critical role of security guards in retail safety

Requirements for Becoming an Armed Guard

There are several requirements that a new security professional will have to meet.

  • Minimum age of 18 or 21, depending on state regulations.
  • A high school diploma or equivalent.
  • A clean criminal record.
  • Successful completion of a thorough background check.
  • Passing a drug test (in most jurisdictions).
  • Extensive training in firearm safety, handling, and legal aspects.
  • Certification in emergency response and conflict de-escalation.
  • Ongoing training for licensure maintenance and firearm proficiency.

Training Involved for Armed Guards

Security professionals undergo a broad range of training to carry and maintain authorization to carry a firearm. The essential skills taught in armed security guard training programs include:

  • Comprehensive firearm safety and handling training.
  • Education on the legal aspects of using force.
  • Instructions in emergency response protocols.
  • Training in conflict resolution and de-escalation techniques.
  • Mandatory practice at a shooting range.
  • Required hours of classroom instruction, varying by state.
  • Continuing education for skill maintenance and license renewal.


Learn More: What is a Mobile Patrol Officer and their roles and duties 

Responsibilities of Armed Security Guards

The responsibilities of armed security guards go beyond those of their unarmed counterparts.

  • Providing a deterrent to criminal activity through armed presence.
  • Responding to high-risk situations and potential threats.
  • Patrolling assigned areas and monitoring for security breaches.
  • Collaborating with law enforcement during emergencies.
  • Employing conflict resolution and de-escalation tactics.
  • Using lethal force only as a last resort, under necessary circumstances.
  • Managing security systems and responding to alarms.

What is an Unarmed Security Guard?

An unarmed security guard is a security professional who does not carry weapons. Their primary duties involve surveillance, reporting suspicious activities, and providing a visible security presence. Unarmed guards are often employed in lower-risk settings like shopping centers and educational institutions, focusing on customer service and basic first aid alongside their security responsibilities.

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Learn More: How to secure your business

Requirements for Becoming an Unarmed Guard

An unarmed security professional must meet similar minimum requirements to an armed security professional. They:

  • Minimum age of 18.
  • A high school diploma or GED.
  • A clean criminal record, with a background check in some states.
  • Basic training in security protocols, surveillance, and reporting.
  • Skills in customer service and basic first aid.
  • Professional demeanor and good communication skills.
  • Some states may require specific training hours.

Training Involved for Unarmed Guards

Training for unarmed security guards focuses on non-confrontational skills. This includes:

  • Basic security training focusing on surveillance and reporting.
  • Customer service training for public interaction.
  • Instruction in basic first aid and emergency response.
  • Training in effective communication and observation skills.
  • Some states require a specific number of training hours.
  • On-the-job training tailored to specific environments like retail or corporate settings.


Learn More: The Difference between a static guard and a mobile patrol

Responsibilities of Unarmed Security Guards

The primary role of unarmed security guards is to observe and report. Their responsibilities include

  • Serving as a visible deterrent to crime through regular patrols.
  • Observing and reporting any suspicious activities or incidents.
  • Ensuring the safety and security of the premises and its occupants.
  • Assisting and directing visitors or employees within the facility.
  • Managing access control at entry points.
  • Providing customer service and information assistance.
  • Handling minor security incidents and escalating major issues to appropriate authorities.

Difference Between Armed and Unarmed Security Guards

When choosing between armed and unarmed security guards, it’s crucial to understand their differences clearly. This comparison aims to provide a comprehensive understanding to help you make an informed decision based on your specific security needs.


Armed Security Guards

Unarmed Security Guards

Training Extensive firearm training, legal use of force, emergency response, conflict resolution Basic security training, surveillance, customer service, first aid
Responsibilities Active deterrence, responding to high-risk threats, use of lethal force if necessary, collaboration with law enforcement Observing and reporting, general surveillance, customer service, minor incident management
Environment Suited High-risk areas (banks, government buildings, etc.), situations with a higher threat level Lower-risk environments (shopping malls, schools, residential areas)
Cost Generally higher due to training, insurance, and weapon maintenance Lower due to less extensive training and no firearms involved
Risk Management Effective in situations where a show of force is required Better suited for low-risk environments where the presence of a weapon might escalate tensions
Interaction with Public Typically less interaction-focused, more intimidating presence More interaction, often serving in a customer service capacity


Learn More: How much does a security company charge in Melbourne

Making the Right Choice for your Needs

When it comes to ensuring the safety and security of your premises in Melbourne, the choice between armed and unarmed security guards is pivotal. At Walton Security, we understand that each client has unique security requirements.

security company cost in melbourne


Here’s how we can guide you in making the best decision for your security needs, keeping in mind our comprehensive range of services.

  1. Evaluate Your Security Risks: Our team at Walton Security starts by assessing the level of risk associated with your environment. High-risk locations like financial institutions may benefit from the robust protection offered by our armed guards. For lower-risk sites, such as educational facilities or retail spaces, our unarmed guards provide effective security with a friendly approach.
  2. Public Interaction and Customer Service: We recognize the importance of public interaction in many settings. Our unarmed guards are not just trained in security but also in customer service, making them ideal for environments where they’ll interact regularly with your staff and visitors. They serve as the face of your security, combining professionalism with approachability.
  3. Budget Considerations: At Walton Security, we offer flexible solutions that align with your budget. While armed guards are an investment in high-level security, our unarmed guards provide a cost-effective alternative without compromising on safety and effectiveness.
  4. Understanding Legalities and Liabilities: As a reputable security service provider in Melbourne, we navigate the legal and liability aspects of security on your behalf. Whether you choose armed or unarmed guards, we ensure compliance with all legal requirements, providing peace of mind.
  5. Aligning with Your Long-Term Security Goals: Our consultations are designed to understand and align with your long-term security objectives. Whether you foresee a need to escalate security measures in the future or require a consistent level of security over time, we tailor our services to meet these evolving needs.

Closing Thoughts

At Walton Security, we’re not just a service provider; we’re your partner in ensuring safety and peace of mind. Our team is committed to understanding and addressing your unique security challenges. By choosing us, you’re opting for a security solution that’s customized, reliable, and backed by expertise in the field.

Let us help you make the right choice for your security needs in Melbourne. Contact Walton Security today to discuss how we can support you in creating a safer environment.

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