What is the Difference Between Armed and Unarmed Security Officers?

How can you choose the best type of security service for your setting? This guide to choosing between armed and unarmed security services for your setting can help your decision-making process.

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Upon first consideration, it may seem obvious that armed security guards would provide more security than unarmed ones. Dig a little deeper, however, and you will see that the decision between armed vs. unarmed security officers is not so clear-cut.

The Difference Between Armed and Unarmed Security Officers

You’ve decided to hire a security company to protect your business. One question that we get fairly often from our clients is whether they should hire armed or unarmed security officers.

This guide will give you a better understanding with which option you should go with. Keep reading, we’ll make your decision-making process become painless.

When Armed Security Officers Make More Sense:

In certain settings, armed security officers are the best fit for the security needs of a facility, event or when priceless valuables are involved. The decision to use armed personnel should be made with careful consideration and a high regard for safety and security.

#1. Probability of violence is too high.

If you’ve ever had to endure dealing with a disgruntled employee, or your business is located in a high crime area, you’d know that your business assets and your employees are on the line.

The presence of security officers who carry lethal weapons may discourage disgruntled individuals, thieves, and trespassers from attempting to commit a crime.

If someone were to pull something, an armed security officer can match the weapons of the criminals, who may well be armed themselves.

#2. Valuables are being safeguarded.

Always Lock Your Doors!

You would be surprised how many people leave their car doors unlocked with valuables inside. Lock them to stay protected.

Got expensive jewelry, rare collectible items, or confidential documents that you don’t want prying eyes to see? We all do! So do many businesses as well. This is where having an armed guard gives you the better investment for your money.

Thieves will think twice. Criminals are lazy and they will always look for the easiest score. They know that skilled armed security officers can derail their plans.

#3. Your access to law enforcement is slow.

Don’t take any chances. It can be a life or death situation.

If you don’t have a police station that is nearby you and you call in to report a crime, and law enforcement is too far out, what are you going to do?

Unless you yourself or your employees are all trained with weapons, then you will have a higher rate at not making it out alive, but let’s be real here, everyone has a job to do and not everyone is in tune to carry a firearm with them. Most people aren’t even certified to use one.

This is where a properly trained, armed security officer comes in real handy. Unfortunately, the world we live in is not pretty, it’s dangerous out there, and dangers don’t stop just out of the view of the protection of law enforcement officers.

Armed security officers offer protection from all kinds of threats, wherever you may be, whenever you may need it. Armed security officers can accompany you around the world if need be, giving you peace of mind and protection from any type of danger.

When Unarmed Security Officers Make More Sense

Some locations may not necessarily need armed security personnel, but it is just as important to simply monitor those entering your facility.

By having an authority figure on-site, it’s possible to deter illicit or unwanted activities without unnecessary risk, intimidation, or liability. In most cases, once a potential criminal sees a uniformed security guard on property, they will skip your business and try targeting one with less protection.

For example, unarmed security services are often used to deter activities like loitering, vandalism, shoplifting, and trespassing.

Settings that can often be handled by unarmed security officers include department stores, sports venues, and public plazas. In general, it is more common for businesses to have unarmed officers than armed officers.

Also, authorized people at your property are more likely to see an unarmed security officer as a friendlier and more approachable authority figure that can provide assistance and protection.

Unarmed security officers may be an advantageous solution in low-risk retail stores and residential buildings. Although these security officers do not carry firearms, they are in great physical shape and trained in a wide variety of defense techniques.

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#1. Limit Spending and Liability.

Thinking of having your own in-house security? We would not recommend it.

Two reasons why:

1. You have to provide the necessary training.

2. Your insurance costs will increase.

Doesn’t sound enticing, especially when it comes to saving money and growing a business.

Why go through all that when you can hire a professional security agency to handle all your security service needs.

When you have in-house security, you have more responsibility on your hands. The liability is on you and your company. Not a lot of people want that on their hands, especially if they’re a brand new business.

Contracting a security service provider, that has their own liability insurance, is the way to go because the liability and training rests on them.

#2. Unarmed security officers can quickly call the police.

The demand for private security is climbing and even surpassing that of law enforcement

We received a call one day from a new client. It was a local elementary school that wanted to utilize our services. The school was afraid of a possible school shooting and wanted to take extra precautions. We don’t blame them, in this day and age we would as well.

They wanted two unarmed security officers on-site when the kids were in school. We agreed and provided the school some of our most trained security officers. You know what was so convenient for the school and our unarmed security officers? The fact that a local police station was right across from the school.

In case something were to happen, our officers would respond quickly and call the police while evacuating everybody else in the building. By having unarmed security officers and a police station right across from the school, we were able to provide the school peace of mind. Not only did the school appreciate it, but so did many parents.

#3. Unarmed security officers can be less threatening to visitors and become more of an ambassador for your brand/company while still offering a proactive security solution.

When it comes to protecting your business, hiring a security company is the most effective way to ensure the safety of your property, employees, and clients.

One of our retail clients wanted to hire uniformed and armed security at the front entrance of their store. They were experiencing theft problems continuously.

We provided the retail giant one of our armed security officers and it seemed to solve the problem. Over the course of a month, there was minimal to no theft. It seemed we solved the issue.

But something else happened. The customer foot traffic decreased significantly. It was because we had an armed security officer at the front entrance. The client contacted us and wanted a less threatening method of deterring crime and theft.

We proposed our solution - provide the client an unarmed officer instead of having an armed officer. Over the course of a few weeks, their foot traffic increased, and their customers were more at ease. The unarmed officer, just as effectively, continued deterring theft in the store as well.

The reason this happened was because whenever someone sees a uniformed and armed individual, right away in their mind they might think something is potentially wrong and that prompts a red flag in the customers’ mind.

Security officers can play two roles. The imposed, authoritative armed security officer or the customer-service oriented, unarmed security officer that sort of becomes an ambassador for your company.

Both options are not necessarily right or wrong but armed security officers serve a different purpose to different problems. You don’t always have to go with an armed security officer because sometimes having an unarmed officer on site can just do the same amount of deterring that an armed security officer can do.

Quick Overview Summary

When Armed Security Services Make More Sense:

1. Probability of violence is high.

2. Valuables are being safeguarded.

3. Your access to law enforcement is slow (every second counts).

When Unarmed Security Services Make More Sense:

1. Limit spending and liability.

2. If local law enforcement is close, unarmed guards can quickly call the police.

3. Unarmed security officers can be less threatening to visitors and become more of an ambassador for your brand/company while still offering a proactive security solution.


Armed and unarmed security officers have tremendous responsibilities on their hands, from carrying firearms on them, to protecting the precious people and places in their lives, it is no wonder that they are very useful in this dangerous world of ours.

That is why American Alliance Security Agency spares no expense making certain that our security officers are some of the best in the business. We at American Alliance Security Agency ensure that our security officers are constantly trained on the effective and safe usage of weapons and equipment that they use to protect and serve.

In fact, we make sure all our guards continually train to further their skills so that they will be prepared for anything.

If you are looking for the best security solutions that can be found in and around Manchester, New Hampshire, the Northeast and the United States, your search is over.

As an established, reliable and accredited full-service security company, American Alliance Security Agency is ready to help with all of your security needs. Please don't hesitate to contact us for a free quote or consultation!

American Alliance Security Agency, Inc.