Help our security force choose a weapon


January 13, 2003, 05:21 PM
The new manager for the security force at the company I work for is ex-military and has mentioned looking at changing them from the current S&W Model 13's to an auto, but has not specified what, and indicates he is open to suggestion.

What would you recommend a 15-person crew in a downtown urban area (who have never had to draw their weapons in the at least in the last 50 years) be armed with.

Most of them are Non-dedicated personnel, although my compadre on the force is a 1911 brother in arms. I suggest they stay with the Smiths and just switch to an effective ammo loading (See the thread in Revolvers for the IMHO ill-advised change he's made in their carry ammo).


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January 13, 2003, 06:05 PM
If you were to change I would suggest the SIG P220. It's a nice easy gun to learn, not too big or small and is very reliable and not likely to be a maintenance magnet.

January 13, 2003, 06:19 PM
Something in 9MM for cost & training effectiveness (Since it is for a security force in low-risk environment).

Something cheap and serviceable/reliable like Rugers would be good. 3 10-round mags are plenty.

Glocks may be good also. If you can get them to keep their fingers off of triggers, it makes a very fast weapon.

No 1911-styles with 'cocked & locked' carry for security forces, too scary for the sheep.

No Berettas, too big and the safety sucks.

January 13, 2003, 06:57 PM
I guess it would depend on the number of people working at the site. If there is adequate security personnel and not a high level of threat from multiple armed bad guys, then the Model 13 is more than sufficient. I would suggest a major brand 125 gr. hollowpoint load of .38p+ or .357 mag. At least a double pouch of speed loaders with the same ammo on the duty belt wouldn't be a bad idea either.

If it is mainly a single person assignment and help is going to take a significant amount of time to arrive. A semi-auto might be a good idea with an additional 2-3 mags. I would suggest one of the major manufacturers for a 40 S & W caliber. A lot of other variables depend on the amount of firearm/retention training and good communication equiptment that are available for your security force. Most contract security companies that I am familar with offer very minimal amounts of training beyond what is necessary for licensing and liability issues. The inhouse security organizations are a bit better for the most part, but the cost factor comes into play over and over especially during tough economic times. Even in the public sector (my agency for example), training especially firearms range time has been drastically reduced due to tight budgets. Most specialized or advanced firearms training that security personnel possess was gained through the military, law enforcement, or at the individual's own expense.

I think with the low threat level that you have indicated and the lack of firearms training interests of the majority of your co-workers, I would be in agreement with you in maintaining the status quo and switching to a more effective round.

January 13, 2003, 07:12 PM
If he's dead set against another revolver (ie a 4" 686), maybe something like a XD 9 w/ 3 mags would do the trick. Easy to use, very inexpensive & durable.

January 13, 2003, 07:26 PM
Further info, the current revolvers probably only have 6-800 rounds through them, so there is no necessity to upgrade due to wear.

There are a max of 3 officers on duty at one time, with the night shifts having 2.

Officers do carry 2 speedloaders of ammo on duty belt.

January 13, 2003, 07:47 PM
"Most of them are Non-dedicated personnel"

While I'm personally a big fan of my G-17, don't think much of it for the situation you describe. Of autos for that group I'd like something double action only with magazine safety. That pretty much limits you to S/W's (though Beretta occasionally fits mag safeties on large orders) We can whine about having no real need for a mag safety all we want, but still no matter how much you train people the "drop mag-it's empty-bang.." gets people each and every year.

Agree with you that the money might be better spent on effective carry ammo (and more range time). Some real quality training would also be great, but it's expensive and with most security companies high turnover rate might make it kind of a waste.

January 13, 2003, 08:33 PM
Agree given the limited info here keep the mod 13s. Maybe allow personal weapons if person wants more and can qualify. I started with a mod 10 that I looked at for less then 5 min then carried my personal S&W 66-2. I would NOT settle on mag ammo. A good +P 38 is much easier to control and no "stigma" of a MAGNUM..... I was MUCH more accurate rapid fire with +P then mag ammo. Less muzzle flash and noise.
I would NOT feel undergunned with a +P 38 and spare speedloaders. Odds are I would make one at least full house mags. Also all S&W K frame 357 will NOT take a large diet of full house mags. THey will function MANY times longer with +P 38.
And I love the Glocks but for this case a revolver (esp since you already have them) is better idea. BUT make sure they spend part of money that would go for new guns on ammo/ retention holsters, training AND a fund to replace them when they do start to wear out.

January 13, 2003, 08:57 PM
I've worked as an armed security guard employeed in contract security. I hate revolvers. I don't like DA/SA pistols either. I like my Glock 17. If I couldn't carry a Glock 17 & must carry revolver, DAO pistol or DA/SA pistol. I would choose a Beretta Model D (DAO) w/ a trigger pull of 8# to 9.5# for every trigger pull. I would probably choose the Beretta Cougar 8000D. Now who has to pay for the handguns? The guard or the employeer? If the employeer that means ya gotta buy new pistols for the guard force then train them to use the new pistols. How about having a guide line for type of handguns & let the guard carry their own weapon? The worst thing ya can do is supply the weapon & then pass the weapon between shifts. Ya the co has control over the weapon but the guard can't practice w/ weaspon. So qualification scores would be poor. The best policy to have would be to have the guard supply their own weapon from a list of manufacturers: S&W, Colt, Beretta, Glock, HK, Sig, Kimber, Ruger, SA, Or any other name brand handgun manufacturers by permission. Any action SA, DAO, or DA/SA. in .38, .357 magnum, .9mm, .40 S&W, .357 Sig, or .45. No SA cowboy style revolvers. then have a strict qualification requirement.

January 13, 2003, 09:08 PM
Why carry what Everyone else carries??

Want a highly dependable, but very affordable 15-shot 9mm
with honest-to-goodness hi-caps for your officers?

A decocker(very safe) that points well and is carried by many
a police force across the planet.

The CZ75BD Police. Comes with a ten rounder and a 15 shot mag.
all for about $350 dealer.

The new CZ-P01 is more compact..but holsters would be a

Dare to be different.

Dave Markowitz
January 13, 2003, 09:12 PM
Based on the facts you presented, I suggest retaining the Model 13s and spending the money on ammo for practice and training.

Software, not hardware.

January 13, 2003, 09:20 PM
I would suggest going with Glock. Very easy to train on, simple yet reliable. Easy to clean the dust off since they don't draw their guns much.

January 13, 2003, 09:27 PM
How many hours are dedicated to firearms training and qualification? If the program doesn't provide a good block of time and you are staffing with a high turnover and low interest in firearms, stay with the revolvers. They are solid, reliable units that everyone can understand. +P .38's are a good choice, from the equipment longevity and controllability aspects.

KY Moose
January 13, 2003, 10:30 PM
Ditto on Glock. My vote goes with the Glock 17 and Glock 19. The Glocks are easy to maintain and train with. The 9mm will be easy on the budget. You can get it pretty cheep, even cheeper when bought in bulk.

January 13, 2003, 10:46 PM
What Frodo sez.

Chris Rhines
January 13, 2003, 11:14 PM
Can you be a little bit more specific as to what you are securing? Is it patrol or site security? Threat level? What kind of training do the officers have, and what can they expect in the future?

My knee-jerk reaction is the same as Dan and Frodo, but other than that I'll play the "need more info" card. :)

- Chris

January 14, 2003, 12:18 AM
First, there are a lot of "non dedicated" personnel carrying handguns all over the world. All sorts of handguns.

Second, reducing training to save short term training costs is a huge risk in long term liability costs. This includes personal possessions, like bank accounts and houses. :banghead:

That said, I'd look for something these employees do their best with, and they have to have good ammo as well. A good M13 is not a bad choice.

It is surprising how many non dedicated personnel do well with Glocks, which a large Federal Agency (ATF) has declared double action only. Very simple, easy to train, easy to maintain, reliable, and accurate. If Admin complains about the stock trigger (very successful worldwide), just put the NY1 trigger spring in them for a consistant proven safe 8 lb trigger pull (also successful worldwide). Approved by lots of Administrators all over the place. Food for thought.

IDPA should be encouraged for training.

Not that I have strong opinions or anything. :)

January 14, 2003, 12:31 AM
Basic setup is one office on dedicated post at main gate with 2 other officers manning 2 less trafficed gates, 1 for employees only, and 1 for trucks. There is one officer roving on patrol. At night there is one officer on post at the main gate, and one on patrol.

Sorry guys, I know there's a lot of you who will promote Glocks, and I know the safety on them should be between your ears. Having said that, the Glock is the last auto I would recommend, given the number of ND's the LPD and other agencies have had with the Glock.

Turnover is very low, our guards are employed by the company, not an outside security force, most of the force has been on for over 10 years.

The company owns the revolvers, and each guard is issued one. However, they are kept locked up at the main post, and they draw them at the beginning of their shifts, and return them to the locker at the end of it. They are not permitted to take them off campus (another thing I disagree with, I believe the officers should be issued them just like with a PD, but you know how the lawyers are on liability).

January 14, 2003, 12:45 AM
After reading all the posts, it sure would seem logical to keep them using revelovers, in my opinion. They are used to them, no retraining issues to speak of, dependable, and heck, no one has ever had to pull one out of their holster in 50 years so it doesn't "sound" like a high risk environment.

January 14, 2003, 02:07 AM
The company owns the guns off site? When do they get cleaned? How does the company expect any of the people to actually hit anything they may NEED to without a chance to shoot them occasionally? I gotta wonder..shoot well

January 14, 2003, 02:12 AM
I don't get this what's the level of threat BS. Lets face it security work is more dangerous the working as a cop. Cops may encounter vlolent attacks more often than security guards. But cops survive violent attacks better than security guards. Why better equipment, training, & backup. Ok most security guard that get killed are unarmed. Armed guards are mostly armored car guards that get killed in an ambush style robbery. But why should "level of threat" determan the type of weapon used? The standered should be "what weapon does the guard shoot the best?". The same standered that any civilan uses to pick a carry weapon. Revolvers have there place as, "learning tools". I carry a Glock 17 because that's the pistol I shoot the best. If I had to qualify w/ a revolver my score would be worse than shooting the same qalification w/ my Glock 17.

January 14, 2003, 02:19 AM
If it were my company, I would buy them all SS Ruger P95DCs. Rugged, reliable, accurate, inexpensive, light weight, simple, American Made!!!:)

January 14, 2003, 02:21 AM
Only works if the co sets up w/ a local firing range an identital weapon available for practice including ammo.

Lord Grey Boots
January 14, 2003, 02:38 AM
They have good guns now. Keep them. Spend the $400-$500 each on training....

January 14, 2003, 02:53 AM
Like the guy in front of me sez..:)

January 14, 2003, 02:53 AM
1 state that I worked in required 20 hrs of training. This was a basic how to shoot a revolver w/ the isosceles stance point aim. Latter I took a 16 hr combat training at my local range. I would suggest ya get a copy of the federal security guard training & qualification course & provide that training. Keep the revolvers for guards that are new shooters. For a pistol a Beretta model D (DAO) either a 92D or Cougar 8000D both 9mm. Beretta model Ds have a trigger pull of 8# to 9.5#s. Then set up a training course w/ a local range based on federal training & qualification. If ya need to keep all weapons on co property. Have identical practice weapons/ammo available at the same local range. Also ya should require additional training in baton, OC spray, handcuffing, & some type of weapon less self defense. Your armed guard should be able to provide police style protection. With out proper equipment & trainng all ya got is an armed warm body in a uniforms.

Dave Williams
January 14, 2003, 03:55 AM
I agree with most of your comments re training being necessary. However, and no offense intended, you said:

"Level of threat BS
I don't get this what's the level of threat BS. Lets face it security work is more dangerous the working as a cop"

If these people have never drawn their weapons, it's definitely less dangerous than being a cop.


January 14, 2003, 07:01 AM
The one advantage of the Glock is that it was designed to emulate the function of the service revolver. With the NY trigger, the transition would be easy as pie!!

January 14, 2003, 02:41 PM
No offense, but it amazes me how many people want to
stick with a weapon designed in 1899. (S&W MP and the
.38 special) when there are many Autoloaders on the market
at near the cost.

It is 2003, and i want a gun to reflect that. 9mm or .40, even
my big CZ in .45. My P-01 fits the bill.

Years ago. security companies in S. Africa were restricted to
Revolvers. I think some companies here in the USA stick to
the revolvers..out of cost considerations..and the level of
personnel they can hire at low wages.

I was restricted to a revolver, too many times. Always wanted
to carry my Combat Commander:0 or my CZs.

I've carried a lot of brands. Only trust the Cee-Zed, COLT
(with tuning) Glock and Beretta.

Sounds like your manager is Progressive in his thinking.
Hope you will advance to a semi-auto, even the Glock.

January 14, 2003, 04:42 PM

No offense taken, and I hope you won't take offense at my reply. The auto that you wish to carry won't stop a goblin any better than the Smith revolver that our guards carry. I think too many people get caught up in the having to have the latest, thinking that means it's also the greatest.

Don't get me wrong, I carry a 1911 every day. (BTW, I'm not a guard for my company, I'm in IS, I just hang out with some of the guards who happen to be gun people, so this guy is not my manager.) But for NDP, I still believe simpler is better, and the revolver has lasted this long for a reason.


January 14, 2003, 05:21 PM
If your new manager just absolutely wants semi-autos for his boys, then the suggestions for auto-chuckers with similar operation are the way to go.

The situation you described, with "non-dedicated personnel", little or no ongoing training and practice, and from what I gather, the majority are not gun owners, is the EXACT situation that leads to Glock ND's!!! No matter WHAT he decides, a Glock is the LAST thing most of these guys need to have in their holsters. At least, if they did end up with Plastic Fantastic, they can't take them home and get careless!

(none of what I just said applies to you, of course, since you are a shooter...)

I don't like DAO's, and I don't like mag safeties, but in this case, I agree that a S&W like the 4583 would be ideal... again, IF your new manager does go ahead with a new issue sidearm.

January 14, 2003, 05:40 PM

That's EXACTLY why I think our guards should not go with the Glock, although, as we all know, Glock is gathering a lot of police and security market, because they are the low bidder.

January 14, 2003, 05:45 PM
Likely hood of attack has nothing to do w/ the ability to survive an attack. If attacked cops have manny advantages that security guard don't have to survive that attack. First cops wear body armor. Most guards don't wear body armor. Cops get better training on how to survive an attack. Security guards get trained how to shoot a gun at a paper target. Cops have radios & procedures that protect them. If a cops gets in trouble help is a radio call away. Dispatch knows the cops loacation. 2 cops get sent to calls for service. Security guards work alone w/o backup, at night, sometimes w/o communication, & poor training. If a guard gets attacked he will be alone, he may not have communication, & he wont be wearing body armor. If the guard gets attacked nobody will know untill his dead body is found. Given these factors ya security work is more dangerious than being a cop because security guard aint given the tools to surive an attack. My worst fear is to be walking in a parking lot & stumble into a crime in progress committed by 3 to 5 BGs armed w/ knives, chains, tire irons,or baseball bats & attacked ambush style. Then I gotta fight or get killed. I don't want to be armed w/ a revolver. Anybody that can't see that security work is more dangerious than being a cop must think the guard life is not worth anything.

Dave Williams
January 14, 2003, 05:50 PM
You make many good points. The scenarios you mention are indeed dangerous.


January 14, 2003, 06:00 PM
If your not the security guard who's directly affected by weapon choice. Why are you trying to pick someone elses weapon? How would you like it if I told you you couldn't carry your tusty 1911?

January 14, 2003, 06:31 PM

I didn't mean to come across as trying to select a gun for someone else. IMHO, the guards should be able to carry any weapon they can qualify with and use safely.

In the real world, however, the company will dictate what it thinks is best for someone else to carry based on the company's liabilty.

January 14, 2003, 09:27 PM
Working in this industry, I'll say that the weapon type is completely irrelevant. The bottom line is that 90% of the security force personnel do not train with their weapons and couldn't hit the broadside of a barn. I've seen it with my own eyes.

You will get those rare few who take their jobs with some seriousness and will practice with all of their gear on their own initiative. You will get some folks that like guns, maybe grew up hunting, and like to shoot. These folks come in to the job with some previous experience/training.

It would be silly to change weapon type because the revolver is perfectly serviceable and easy to operate. I've been running for Armored Transport for over three years with a S&W 686 on my hip, and I don't feel the slightest undergunned. I buy my own ammunition, targets, range time, etc, because I take the responsibility of carrying a weapon seriously.

Would switching over to a glock make the security officer faster on the draw? Would issuing a ruger make the mozambique easier? Would allowing personal weapons to be carried increase one's alertness, thereby averting hostile encounters?

All questions are answered...NO. Only practice and training will make you better equipped to survive the shift. If your company doesn't provide training, seek them out on your own. Show some initiative. I've done it and it's not that hard. Heck, dry-fire practice doesn't cost penny one!

And, to get back on the original topic, I support the use of the LSWC-HP for the 38/357. Oh, and remember, if J. Miculek can shoot twelve rounds accurately in under three seconds, a revolver can't be that bad for duty use. It all comes down to practice.

January 14, 2003, 09:59 PM
First ya need to hire a security mananger that knows what he's doing. Then ya need to back off & let him do his job. Don't micro-manage him. Last ya need to back up his decisions. If your worried about "liability" & a security manager should be worried about "liability" also. But the key to reducing "liability" is training, not weapon selection. A revolver is a good choice for the new shooter because of the long hard DA trigger pull which might reduce the likely hood of ADs. On the other hand that same long hard DA trigger pull is a liability because long hard trigger pulls cause more trigger control mistakes which reduces accuracy. Which could get a guard/employee killed because the guard was unable to hit the target. If the guard misses where does that rd go? Now if that same revolver has an "action job" then the revolver might be a better defensive weapon. DA/SA pistols are a bad choice because they're the hardest pistols to shoot properly. Most shooters miss w/ the all important first shot. Then w/ the light trigger pull the shooter might shoot more times than intended. Ya shoot a controled pair DA/SA & shoot 3 shots because ya wasn't use to the light trigger pull after the hard. So DA/SA pistols are a bad choice. So now your to the point where ya want a consistant trigger pull. So now your choices are SA C&L like a 1911 which scare people for no reason. Or a DAO pistol. Now with a DAO pistol your back to trigger control mistakes like w/ a revolver. s ya want a DAO pistol w/ a trigger pull less than the 12#. So ya got 2 choices A Glock w a 5.5# trigger pull or a Beretta model D w/ a trigger pull between 8# & 9.5#. Pistols are a better choice than revolvers because the hold more rds & are quicker to reload. Training should include less that lethal force. Because if ya train a guard how to use a handgun only. Then all problems get solved by the handgun. Another thing is to have enought personel to handle problems. That means when dealing w/ persons that are uncoopertive, have 2 guard present. So "liability" is a tricky thing. The key to reducing "liability" is training.

January 16, 2003, 10:46 AM
Keep the M-13's.

Use the money for good training, maybe an LFI course.

If an increase in firepower is needed, get shotguns.

January 16, 2003, 12:27 PM
Vaughn_T and Seeker2 have your answer.

problems with armament are mostly software (people) not hardware.

Have them put in a day of training each month with 4hrs every other month dedicated to firearms training. Give bonus/incentive for improvements and excellence.
It will amaze you at the change !!

Otherwise your company is hanging in the breeze, waiting for an incident/liability storm to "blow them away". Regardless of whether or not you change to another weapon system.

The reason the S&W revolvers have hung on is that they "WORK"!

I've been in L.E. for 23yrs and mostly in a job where if I could call for backup, it would often be 4-8hours getting there. (Often requiring aircraft or boat to get to me). Most of my career I carried an issue mod65,19, or 686. Never felt under-gunned, especially when I had Mini-14 or AR-15,and 12ga shotgun available in vehicle.

A much better $500.00 investment would be in body armor, and additional training, and upgrades in duty gear, ect.

Just been there, done that.

Now carry an issue Glock M-22. Less accurate than 686 (much less), slightly less powerful cartridge, just more shots. 16 rounds in gun, 15 more than I ever needed !!

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