How do you properly assess armed vs unarmed security services? Some people feel safer when they know their protection officer carries a gun. In this article, we explain why armed protection is a necessity in some countries. Also, you discover how unarmed protection can be even more effective than armed protection. So what is better; an armed or unarmed security guard?


  1. In some high-risk countries and to protect against piracy in the maritime sector, security officers with guns provide a defense mechanism. Firearms are usually restricted to certain regions where the culture is so hostile and people are so dire, that using weapons is their only way to survive in life. You can think of countries that are in a state of war and for example the waters around the horn of Africa and the Gulf of Guinea. In these open waters, specialized agencies offer protection of superyachts and international shipping companies.*
  2. Gun safety is a priority for professional protection companies. However, accidents do happen. Worldwide, most accidents with firearms are not the result of an enemy shooting. They occur due to people who fire them accidentally, injuring themselves or others.
  3. Firearms could provoke the ‘enemy’ which could lead to a reactive action as opposed to the intended preventive action.
  4. Security officers using firearms could be seen as targets. This is the case when criminals want to rob the arms themselves, as they bring in quite some money. 
  5. Traveling internationally with weapons is very difficult. Even if the law allows people to carry a gun (with license), f.i. some states in the USA, traveling with arms can be quite a challenge. Especially when flying. Again using the USA as an example, taking your gun with you on an aircraft is allowed as long as your license is in order and the firearm and the ammunition are securely locked and reported. However, that is not a common international prerogative. Some airlines decline applications for carrying guns altogether (even for hunting or sporting purposes). Others apply varying rules. There is no standard regulation.
  6. Travel security and personal protection means that your bodyguard or protection officer travels with you or in advance, often internationally. When traveling unarmed, both you and your protector will experience no delays due to registration and extra security checks for weapons. Hiring licensed local armed guards is a better option.
  7. Armed security guards may experience a false sense of safety and could think that they are ready and equipped to handle any treacherous situation when something goes down. Contrarily, an unarmed guard tends to find solutions even before a threatening situation occurs. His or her role is more focused on anticipating threats and, if things do get out of hand, search for de-escalating circumstances.


* Firstly, we would like to clarify that if our close protection officers work in a high-risk region and carry firearms, we always cooperate with local agencies that have been fully screened and audited. We take no risk and always make sure weapon licenses, insurances, etc. are in place, and that they may carry a firearm as per local restrictions and legislation.

In general, we focus less on armed reinforcements but more on excellent preparation. As we know that working armed implies an extra heavy responsibility, we always search for the right type of security guard and ways to protect our clients in an unarmed fashion.

Moreover, we feel that if we are forced to use arms (save the above-mentioned high-risk regions), our investigative and preparatory efforts have been insufficient. Our protective intelligence department, combined with local intelligence enables us to take the required precautions, such as determining what areas to avoid or refraining from driving certain routes at night. Clever and well-considered measures and systems can save you and us from misfortune and misery.

If you enjoyed reading this article, please feel free to share it with someone who may also be interested. Would you like to ask us a question about armed vs unarmed security or how to hire armed personal protection services, feel free to contact us today.




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