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Hiring armed guards - Pros and Cons

Pros and Cons of Armed Guards

Should Your Executive Protection Personnel Have Guns?

If you’re considering arming your executive protection personnel, there are some clear pros and cons to consider.

So, you’ve decided to hire security for yourself or another VIP. That’s great! Having a good executive protection plan in place is incredibly important.

But there’s one other big decision you need to make, and that’s whether to arm your executive protection personnel.

Like any topic, there are pros and cons to both approaches, but it might not be apparent to you exactly what those are. That’s what this article will hopefully help clear up.

Hiring armed guards is a serious subject that deserves careful consideration, so here’s a comprehensive breakdown of the pros and cons.

Pros of Armed Guards

When considering the pros of hiring armed guards, a few might seem obvious. That said, we’re still going to touch on everything, just to make sure all your bases are covered.


The first thing that might come to your mind is the added level of protection. This is an undeniable benefit of armed security. Simply put, your security personnel are better equipped to deal with problems of a much more serious and dangerous nature.

In the unlikely situation that you or someone else is confronted by an armed assailant, unarmed guards might not cut it. This is one of the biggest benefits of armed guards, which is versatility.

You may be familiar with the phrase “it’s better to have it and not need than to need it and not have it.” That applies doubly when it comes to potential security threats. While a life or death situation isn’t likely to crop up, having guards who are equipped to adapt to any threat is a huge bonus.

With unarmed guards, you’re simply limited on what level of security you can reasonably expect. Sure, they’ll likely be adequate 99 percent of the time, but if that 1% scenario plays out, you might be in trouble.


The funny thing about security is that the ideal scenario is one in which they never have to do anything. By arming them, you potentially increase the odds of making that ideal scenario a reality.

At the end of the day, potential attackers are going to be far less apt to go after someone who’s surrounded by armed guards. That’s sort of a no-brainer. Deterrence is a huge part of the security game, and armed guards definitely bolster that.

Of course, this comes with another smaller consideration even if you’ve already decided to arm your security. Namely, whether to have your guards open carry.

The answer to that really depends upon your security goals. In many cases, simply having security present at all will act as an adequate deterrent. But in some instances, you might decide having a clear show of force is the best option.

It comes with its own pros and cons, but when it comes to spooking would-be criminals, there aren’t a lot of things more discouraging than a gang of clearly armed guards.

Cons of Armed Guards

Whereas the pros of arming your security are more obvious, the cons aren’t so self-evident. As such, here’s a detailed breakdown of the downsides.


In the case of armed guards, increased risk is probably the biggest and most obvious downside. Any time a firearm enters the equation, the stakes get much higher.

For one thing, there’s the simple risk of something like an accidental discharge. People aren’t perfect, and even well-trained individuals can have accidents and make mistakes. Guns significantly raise the seriousness of those potential accidents.

On the topic of humans and imperfection, firearms are also risky in the sense that people sometimes can’t be trusted with them. Carrying a gun can have a profound psychological effect on someone and make them act with increased and unnecessary aggression or cockiness.

It can affect people in other ways, too. When a security guard is armed, they’re entrusted with the right to use deadly force if they deem it necessary. That’s a huge emotional weight.

Someone not emotionally equipped to deal with the pressure of wielding a firearm might end up shooting someone that doesn’t need to be shot. That potentiality means that you’ll need to take out adequate insurance policies, which leads us to our next topic: cost.


With everything that can potentially go wrong, insurance costs are a serious consideration. When someone is injured or killed by armed guards, the ensuing claim is no doubt going to be significant.

The added insurance liability comes at substantially higher costs. Often times, that extra cost also covers less than a lower cost insurance policy would for an unarmed guard.

Furthermore, if one of your guards does kill or injure someone in the line of duty, insurance costs are going to be the least of your concerns. There’s a precedent for sizable lawsuits in such an instance, and it’s unlikely a judge or jury is going to land on your side.

Even if you do manage to win a case, the court costs alone can be astronomical. Settling out of court is always a possibility, but that comes with its own hefty price tag.

Last, it usually costs more to hire armed guards. Frequently, these are people with military or law enforcement backgrounds, and that added expertise doesn’t come cheap. Never mind the potential costs, this is an upfront cost that you can’t avoid.

To Arm or Not to Arm?

At the end of the day, the decision to hire armed guards falls squarely on you. The best thing you can do is sit down and seriously consider whether or not they’re suited to the job you need done. Each choice comes at a cost, so take your time and make sure you’re making the right decision.

Whether you decide to arm your security guards or not, you still need to be prepared for any circumstance. Arm yourself with a top-notch insurance plan.

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