A Quick Guide to All of the Different Types of Security Guards

A Quick Guide to All of the Different Types of Security Guards

Before hiring a security guard, it is helpful to understand the options that are available to you. There are different types of security guards, and your particular setting will determine which kind you should hire. The following guide will help you choose the right type(s) of guards for your needs and get started with the hiring process.

Armed Versus Unarmed Guards

Not all security guards carry guns. In fact, one of the major distinctions between types of security guards is whether they are armed or unarmed.

Armed Guards

Guards who carry guns or other weapons of lethal force are considered armed guards. These guards can be important to employ in high-violence settings or situations that involve priceless valuables.

Because armed guards must have a good understanding of operating and using firearms, they require more training than unarmed guards. Therefore, they usually command a higher price. Often, people who work as armed guards have a military or law-enforcement background.

Unarmed Guards

Not all situations require that a guard be prepared to use lethal force. For those settings, an unarmed guard may be the best choice. Unarmed guards may carry non-lethal weapons, such as pepper spray, batons or tasers. Unarmed security guards are also prepared to physically restrain assailants.

Plainclothes Versus Uniformed Guards

In some situations, a guard should be clearly marked so that everyone knows what role he or she is performing. In other settings, the guard may need to blend in with the crowd. There may be times when having both types of guards on hand can be the best approach.

Plainclothes Guards

Blending security officers in with the crowd can be beneficial for monitoring activity because people are more likely to let down their defenses around an undercover guard. Plainclothes guards may also help people feel more comfortable at a venue than they would be in the presence of uniformed officers.

Uniformed Guards

You can't miss a uniformed guard. He or she looks the part, and it's clear what role the person is there to fill. A uniformed security guard may be a better deterrent to crime since perpetrators might not attempt a robbery when they see a guard present.

Proprietary Versus Contract Guards

How a guard is hired determines whether he or she is a proprietary or contract guard. This distinction also determines how the guard is paid.

Proprietary Guards

When a company hires a security guard directly, this is a proprietary arrangement. The company is responsible for training and overseeing this employee, and the person is included on the company's payroll.

Companies who want complete control over how the guard team is managed may prefer this approach to hiring. However, this requires the employer to possess a good understanding of the security business so the guards can be directed appropriately.

Contract Guards

When guards are hired through a private security company, they are known as contract guards because the hiring establishment contracts with the security firm for services.

The security company takes care of background-checking, hiring, training and assigning staff to various responsibilities. The guards are on the security company's payroll.

Stationary Versus Patrol Guards

Guards may stay in one spot throughout a shift, or they may be assigned to cover a particular territory.

Stationary Guards

Often, stationary guards are posted at critical spots throughout a building, such as entryways and lobbies. They play a sentry role, keeping watch over what goes on in their assigned areas. Other stationary guards work in a control room to keep an eye on feeds from surveillance equipment.

Patrol Guards

Patrol security guards are responsible for a particular area, and they move throughout that territory during a shift. Patrol guards may move on foot or drive around.

Security Guards by Assignment

Guards can serve individuals, homes and businesses. Although assignments often do not fit into neat categories, a general overview of can help to increase your understanding of the different types of security guards.

Personal Guards

Also known as a bodyguard, a personal security guard provides protection for an individual. This position can also be called executive protection or close protection.

This is often an on-the-go position, as guards may escort clients between locations or accompany clients to events. Because no two days on the job may be the same, the guard must be trained to protect and respond in a wide variety of situations.

See an example of a personal security guard who protects high-profile people in the video Billionaire Security: Behind the Scenes with Warren Buffet's Bodyguard.

Residential Guards

Security guards can work at private homes. This job can involve patrolling the property to monitor activity on the grounds. Guards must keep an eye on doors and windows. A large home with a gate may position guards at this entry point to regulate access onto and off of the property.

Business Guards

  • Establishment Guards: Many establishments that are open to the public or to a large group of people may want a security team to monitor their property. This can include schools, retail stores, hospitals, apartment buildings, bars, banks, hotels and museums.
  • Corporate Guards: Office complexes and business headquarters may want security guards to monitor the facility and keep watch over who enters and exits the property.
  • Government Guards: Local, state and federal government facilities may hire security guards to restrict access and monitor on-site activity.
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    Warehouse Guards: Guards who are posted at a warehouse serve to protect both inventory and personnel.

Which Type Do You Need?

Do you now feel more equipped to hire the right type of security guard for your needs? If you need more guidance, contact a professional team who can help you decide between armed or unarmed, stationary or patrol, plainclothes or uniformed guards. You can also leave questions below.

About the Author Richard Allen

Mr. Allen is the Founder & President of American Protect Bureau (APB). APB is a licensed, bonded and insured private security company. He is a well respected industry expert with extensive knowledge and over 25 years experience in all aspects of security and protection. Having personally provided security for some of the hottest nightclubs and highest profile people, he understands first-hand what it takes to ensure venues are protected and people are kept safe. Richard conveys this point to every single security guard employed by his company.