What gun, caliber, equipment and training? I get a lot of these questions from unarmed security guards who desire to become armed security officers. These people realize that they can do more for their community than standing around unarmed waiting to react with a phone call to police. They can make more money, open up more employment options, and be more valuable to their community as an armed guard.
Cost is one of the biggest factors in handgun selection for security officers. Unarmed guards making $10 to $18 per hour find it difficult to spend the money. They can look forward to making $12 to $35 per hour as an armed guard with the right training and credentials. One handgun manufacturer makes purchasing cost less of an issue by offering a program for law enforcement; this includes security guards and police. Glock has a program called their “Blue Label” program that provides a $100 discount off of the price of a new gun, and they include three magazines with the gun (usually manufacturers only provide two, and three are required). Total saving is $135 with this program. All you have to do is find a dealer that participates in the Glock Blue Label program and show them your California Guard Registration card.
Safety is also brought up as a concern. Many people are concerned with having a firearm in a house where they have small children. I address this issue personally, and recommend professionally the option of having an electronic, coded lockbox. Small lockboxes specifically designed for handgun storage are inexpensive, allow quick access to the right people, and will keep anybody else from gaining easy access to your gun. I have purchased one for $40.
Training is another consideration because there are many people offering firearms training; how do you know where to go? Veterans can receive free training from an organization called Work for Warriors. They offer free training for the initial guard registration, and free training for the firearms permit. People without a military background should look for a large, well-established training center. Wherever you go, be sure to check the trainer’s credentials with the California Bureau of Security and Investigative Services on their website. Look for a “TFF” number on the website or business card of the instructor and verify that number with the BSIS to confirm their credentials.
The quality of your training is more important than firearm selection. This is summed up best by the motto of Front Sight Firearms Academy where “Any Gun Will Do, If You Will Do” and this is a leading firearms training school.
Caliber selection is also settled by another one of Front Sight’s mottos where “Shot Placement is More Important than Caliber Selection.” The caliber of the handgun is related to the amount of power it has. The larger the caliber, the more stopping power there is and that makes the tool more effective with its purpose of stopping someone from hurting you. One idea for caliber selection is to carry the largest gun that you can handle and shoot accurately. Another consideration for handgun caliber selection should be given to the type of work you are doing. As a security guard, seeking work in the field, there has been some standardization by the clients we serve in our industry. Working Federal Contract Armed Security, in most jobs, requires the use of the .40 caliber handgun. Working Federal Contract Armed Security is some of the highest-paying security work. The job description for most armed security jobs calls for a semi-automatic handgun in 9mm, 40 cal, or 45 cal. Why pick a different caliber of handgun that can limit your choice of jobs?
Firearm selection for the Private Security Industry allows for the selection of almost any handgun. At the gun counter at the gun shop, how do you select the best one without taking several to the shooting range and trying them out?
First consideration is how it fits your hand; how it feels when you hold it needs to be a comfortable feeling. The bigger gun may feel more comfortable, but it will be more difficult to carry as it weighs more, and takes up more space. If you are going to carry it concealed after obtaining a concealed weapons permit, then a smaller gun is usually more preferable. I have worked as a Robbery Suppression Officer at a Bank where I wore a suit and tie. Being a gunfighter was my first consideration, and going up against robbers armed with rifles or shotguns made me consider the biggest gun with the most ammunition. My final decision on the firepower I carried was to use a smaller, yet very effective tool for the job; a Glock 23. The power difference between a 9mm, 40 or 45 caliber handgun was determined again by committing to shot placement and the 40 caliber gun gave me more ammo in the gun than a 45. The Glock 23 also concealed better on my body than the larger-sized Glock 23. While selecting a handgun, just make sure you can get a good comfortable grip on the gun.
Next consideration is how easily you can operate the gun by manipulating the controls. Considering a handgun in the same caliber, the smaller-sized gun may be more difficult to operate the slide. The shorter recoil spring on the smaller guns makes it more difficult to pull the slide back. Pulling the slide back on the handgun is an activity that needs to happen often to load, unload and check to see if the gun is loaded or clear of ammunition. The part that determines how difficult this can be is called the recoil spring and it is located in the top of the gun in the slide. Sig Sauer brand pistols have a strong spring that takes more muscle and a stronger grip to pull back. The spring weight in the 45 caliber Model P220 is 20 pounds. A 9MM Glock 17 has a spring weight of 16 pounds, yet a sub-compact Springfield Armory 9mm has a spring so strong that some people lack the strength to operate this gun. Other controls include the magazine release, slide release and any safety levers.
Parameters set by security companies and their clients will narrow handgun selection to a semi-automatic in 9mm, 40 cal or 45 cal. With a “double-action” trigger pull. This parameter is usually set to exclude a single-action firearm with a light trigger pull such as found on a Model 1911. Double-Action trigger pulls require a little more effort that is looked at a way to confirm the operator’s sincerity of pulling the trigger during a high-stress moment.
Handgun manufacturers to choose from include such as Glock, Springfield Armory, Sig Sauer, Beretta, Smith & Wesson and a few others. Semi-Automatic pistols are most popular for their increased ammunition capacity and speed of reloading. Revolvers are still carried by some security officers because that may have been what they trained with many decades ago; and they still work.
What handgun fits the most people and the most security job applications? The Glock 22 or Glock 23 has the combination of cost, quality, durability, dependability and availability. The Glock 22 is larger and the Glock 23 is a compact frame size. Between the two of these, the Glock 23 makes the most sense in California where most people have been limited to a 10 round magazine of ammunition. Why carry the bigger Glock 22 with the same amount of ammunition when the Glock 23 is easier to conceal and carry exposed? The Glock Blue Label program saves cost and the guns are readily available. Glock boasts that 65% of law enforcement officers in the United States, including the FBI rely on the Glock for protection.
If you need more help, contact us at CALTAC Security.