Alternatives to Weapons for Security

Alternatives to Weapons for Security

                Since I’ve been in security, 31 years, the idea of weapons with security officers has been a debate. And it should be a debate. I believe that there are other considerations to think about as well. And some of the reasons companies don’t want their officers armed… let’s just say, well read on.

                Many companies simply don’t trust their officers to be armed. And I don’t blame the security companies, rather I blame the clients – but that’s an entirely different blog! And many companies that employ their own proprietary officers don’t want their officers armed either.

                In addition to the situation not needing them, mainly it is the cost and liability of arming officers. In order to arm the officers, with firearms in most jurisdictions, is the liability issue. Most security officers and clients suffer from WBS (warm body syndrome). They don’t care who’s on post, as long as someone is there so they can look like their protecting the property and people on it. The other reason goes hand in hand – the financial cost of training not to mention the hiring process to find an armed officer that is trustworthy enough to do the job.

                But over and above that there are weapons that a company can arm their officers with that are just as effective as a 9mm Glock (and please I hope the .38 detective special has been outlawed by security companies/departments).

                So, what are these alternatives that are just as effective? They are not necessarily cheap, nor are they a throw together and forget about it. But they are effective and should be considered where your officers/employees may be in danger or the size of the property or risk of crime is high.

  • Night sticks, ASP batons, or similar
  •  Tasers
  •  Pepper spray
  •  Training

Each of these items has their own inherent risk of either a lawsuit or not being effective. And they all require significantly more training than a state mandated requirement, including the last one training it.

                Batons can break bones and cause significant injuries and noticeable bruising as well as ‘pressure cuts’ (as what a boxer gets above the eye many times) Tasers can be effective for normal people, however if they get someone who is high on drugs or has a hidden medical problem it may or may not be effective and lead to many other legal and liability issues.

                And with pepper spray it has a tendency to disperse everywhere and could injure others in the area. And those injuries could be blindness if they already had eye issues. Or even death if they have a severe allergic reaction or breathing problems.

                Your best bet overall is training. Yes simple words and role play. By instructing your officers in the ways to verbally disarm and talk someone down from their tirade and keep them calm and others away can be just as effective as having a police officer pull their firearm on a suspect.

                Role-playing with these tactics is also effective and should be mandatory. If the officers don’t use these skills after learning them, then they will atrophy and most will be forgotten within a few days. And a hand book and continual training should also be used in conjunction with the lecture (yes no videos only) and role play. 

                Is this cheap? Absolutely not. A one-time training session can cost a company easily a few hundred to several thousands, depending on how deep they cover the subject. If you can in an expert in any of these it could cost you even more. Is it worth it? Unequivocally, YES!

                A hundred years ago 90% of security ‘guards’ were armed. Now the number is fewer is less than 7%. But the world is getting more dangerous by the day. Companies and clients are demanding higher and better levels of protection from their providers/departments. Therefore, the training that is involved in instructing your officer in various non-lethal ways to subdue someone should be considered, because you never know if the person is a hooligan, drunk, high, or having a medical emergency.


                Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on workplace/school violence prevention and other security issues. With numerous interviews, blogs, articles, and 2 books he has proven himself in the security arena for more than 31 years, and 22 studying workplace/school violence issues.

                He utilizes his years of field knowledge to give real life examples of incidents pulled from both his own experiences and the news headlines. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or visit his website at; is too Many to see incidents of WPV/SV you may not have seen or thought about.