Many unarmed security guards after some years of experience start to consider becoming an armed security guard. And for good reasons, after some years of working as a security guard, your pay will reach its maximum potential and only rise nominally. If you are looking for growth, then one way is to become an armed security guard.
Armed security guards get paid higher (up to 30% more than unarmed security guards), so it may seem that it is an obvious choice but there are more factors to consider before decide to become an armed security guard.
Factors to consider before you become an Armed Security Guard
Required training for handling firearms: Training is required for one to carry and operate firearms. The training fee may have to be borne by the person pursuing the training. This is especially true when you are not working as an unarmed security guard at some company which also sponsors the training expenses for their employees. The training requirements vary from state to state.
Other checks and formalities: The training is not sufficient, you have to register with the state authorities and also get a license to carry firearms. You will also be required to register your fingerprint with FBI and pass a background check.
Cost of the guns: You may be required to purchase your own gun. While many companies reimburse you for the gun, they have a maximum set to a very basic gun. In most cases the guns available for the low price may not give you confidence of safety in times when you really need it. The extra cost will have to come out of your pocket. If the gun you opt for is $200 more than the gun your company will reimburse you for then you may end up working up to 100 hours more to make up the difference (i.e. if you make $2 more than what you are making as an unarmed security guard per hour, then it will take 100 hours to make up the difference).
More risk: The additional compensation an armed security guard makes comes with additional risks. Since you are protecting assets that require guards to carry firearms, chances are that you may have to use it at some point in time. As an armed security guard, you may get a job of moving precious assets which may attract thieves and pose a danger to you or you may get tasked to man a garage (where the odds of encountering a risky situation would be less).
If you are considering becoming a security guard, you have to weigh your options and make a decision and go for it. In difficult economies, you may not have an option. Even if you have concerns for becoming an armed security guard, you may have to get trained and take the responsibility of an armed security officer or risk losing your job. Once you become an armed guard, you always a have the option of returning to a unarmed security guard position. If being an armed security guard is something that you have considered, give it a try and if you don’t think it’s a fit for you due to any reason, request your company to give you an unarmed security officer role.