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I currently work for a small private company in the Richmond, Virginia area that provides private law enforcement and security and specializes in high-crime, low-income apartments. As part of my daily assignments it’s not uncommon to make arrests from simple crimes such as trespassing or open containers to more serious crimes like possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute. Most times we are on-sight before police arrive and are more likely to accidently walk into criminal activity than have a heads up from dispatch. We use the term ‘protective service Agent’ for what I do which provides a more professional and versatile definition than just plain security . . .

As part of my daily duty wear, I have a Point Blank vest equipped with Level IIIa soft armor and a level IV ceramic plate in the front. I carry all the usual tools that a police officer would usually have on their duty belt. As a certified EMT, I also carry a very well-stocked IFAK that will act as an active shooter EMS bag, capable of treating traumatic gunshot wound victims.

My primary duty weapon is a GLOCK 22 with 175gr Hornady Critical Duty ammunition. This isn’t an issued weapon, I purchased it myself. I have it equipped with Trijicon’s standard night sights as well as a Hogue Hand-All grip. My choice to carry a 40-caliber handgun, a GLOCK 22 to be exact, didn’t come from the usual “GLOCKs are the best guns in the world and .40 S&W will stop every threat imaginable” standpoint. My choice to carry the GLOCK stems from the fact that it works every time (period) and .40 caliber, while maybe not immensely better than a 9mm, has been the choice of many departments as well as colleagues alike.

While Richmond Police choose to carry the SIG P229 DAK in .357 SIG, both Chesterfield and Henrico County, for the time being, have chosen the GLOCK 22. That means all my magazines are interchangeable. At the same time, most of my fellow co-workers have chosen the G22 as their service pistol and therefore compatibility is very common. Do I believe the 22 is the Savior of the World, the best gun, and end-all be-all gun? Maybe not, but I do believe it works, I shoot it well, it has very good support from Safariland and other holster manufactures. And I know that IF I have to pull the trigger, it will go bang.

As for ammo, I’ve been a Hornady Critical Duty fan since my 9mm days of 135gr +P. While the Critical Duty round isn’t by far the most expansive round, it works and performs consistently. It was made to perform through heavy clothes, light barriers and cars, which are all possible things that I may have to do. And for some reason, this product doesn’t break the bank, with 50 rounds costing me about $30 per box at my local gun store.


For all you police officers, military members, tactical gear gurus and tier 1 operators, I hope you stay safe and carry on.

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  1. Looks like a solid gun and ammo choice. If I could choose my duty weapon it would be my Sig 229 Tac Ops with 9mm 124 grainHST +P.

    • The .40 cal generated the enthusiasm for me to sell off a bunch of guns, all in different calibers.

      While shooting a full size 9mm and .40, one day, I realized, having damn near the same pistols, but in different caliber was just wasting money for no good reason. So, I sold several guns and moved exclusively to 9mm and .380, and never looked back.

      I didn’t realized how much many I had tied up in different guns, mags, ammo, etc., which all served the same purposes, until I had the cash proceeds in my hand from the various sales.

  2. “My choice to carry the GLOCK stems from the fact that it works every time (period) and .40 caliber, while maybe not immensely better than a 9mm, has been the choice of many departments as well as colleagues alike.”

    Damn smart move. No reason to get fancy or exotic. What everyone else has, and what works, is all that is needed. Especially, when you’re paying for it.

    Also, +1 for Hornady products. All my pistols are loaded up with Hornady HPs.

  3. The Glock 22 is a great gun, nothing wrong with your choice. I like mine, but use it for HD rather than CCW due to size. It is a solid duty gun.

    I don’t care for the idea of “private law enforcement”. I don’t like the “law enforcement” mentality. I am also troubled by the “private” aspect of it. I think we should have “peace officers”, and that they should be public servants. Private security should provide just that “security”. I generally prefer to provide my own security, hence the Glocks, Smiths, etc.

    • There’s a security “agent” in an apartment complex where I work (which is actually in one of the jurisdictions mentioned in the above article). I can’t stand the guy. He always antagonizes people before he calls us so every time I respond out there we have to de escalate the situation since this guy has no people skills. He will bust into people’s apartments and find a bit of weed, call us and demand we charge them, and gets pissy when o refuse because what he did was freaking illegal.
      He also gets pissed when people give him some lip and I refuse to charge them with anything when he calls us. It’s to the point where I’m considering filing a DCJS complaint against him.

      Not saying all guards are like this but my experience with this one guy has not been a positive one

      • I am sorry you have problems with security, I am not a least bit surprised. I am just glad the person who you are describing isn’t me (as I could care less about marijuana these days).

        The biggest problem I have found with this line of work is the extreme level of difference in employees. The minimal amount of training and the high turn around means that you end up with a large majority of employees that don’t know what they are doing and shouldn’t be more than ‘gate guards’ or you get a few that THINK they know what they are doing and want to play cop. There’s a large amount of abuse with this line of work and I cannot particularly say I enjoy doing it as much as I used to.

        From a police officer’s side, it can be scary to go to a property protected by some of these companies and not knowing which one you’re going to get.

      • We’ve gone through 3 security companies and probably 20ish guards where I work.

        maybe 2 of them were good, 4-5 of them were OK but not great, and the rest caused almost as much grief as they solved.

      • Although you have to remember that long before police departments took on the role of detective work, most all crimes were investigated by private detective companies. When the change for public law enforcement to investigate and catch criminals rose, it pushed the private industries to change their roles from investigation back to prevention.

        Not saying that these companies are professional enough to replace police departments but it is a consumer’s market -if private properties did not see any benefit or influx in crime due to these private security companies then they wouldn’t pay them.

    • I worked private security in Dunbar Armored before my current job. Since I was primarily involved in transporting cash and valuables, I rarely saw the need to confront anyone. My opinion on security is basically that you get what you pay for. Minimum wage doesn’t get you the best and the brightest. Those who possess marketable skills tend to move elsewhere.

      Then again, some security gigs are very lucrative and I might get into one after I retire if it allows me to live a reasonably normal life.

    • Same question. I thought private security could enforce rules on private property through bluff and intimidation, and stop criminal behavior under self defense laws, but have to call the police for any law enforcement.

    • In theory any citizen can make an arrest… That being said it generally isn’t a good idea by any stretch of the imagination.

      Citizens usually lack the training to safely detain someone for starters and they almost always lack the support and materials needed to do so. You also have to be careful that you aren’t committing a crime in terms of detainment of another person. You have to worry about medical care by qualified persons (if needed), making sure no further injury occurs to the detained once they are no longer a threat and so on. In short, it is a nightmare so just don’t bother.

      Honestly the only time something resembling a citizens arrest seems to go well enough is if someone breaks into your home and when confronted by you (probably armed) they do not try anything and do the whole lay on the floor bit until the police arrive. This is a dangerous situation simply because you do not know if the one or two people you have on the floor are all involved. You are basically forced to stick around and maintain a watch on them which means you can’t be any other place you might be needed doing things like providing security in the event that there are more threats, any medical attention that might be needed or just simply calming the family/kids.

    • Security basically operates on the private person’s arrest or can legally enforce trespassing laws under the authority of the property owner. In CA trespassing is defined under CA Penal Code 602 and the appropriate subsections. Laws vary by state.

    • Presumably each resident’s lease contains a provision whereby they agree to be subject to the rules of the facility and the enforcement of those rules by the management’s agents. Also, if the housing is public/subsidized, the local applicable governmental authority could essentially delegate the requisite limited LE power to their private contractors.

      • Yep. I worked security at gated communities for a number of years. Anybody moving in signed a contract and agreed to the terms. At one community I even made traffic stops. Any citations I wrote went to the HOA elected panel. We referred to this universally as the “kangaroo court”.

        Any arrests I made went directly to the local PD. Including a repo man trying to pass himself off as a aworn police officer. That, like most everything else, is a no no in CA.

        • it. Makes sense, just never heard of that. But, no “gated community’s” in my neck of the woods LOL….

    • I work for a private hospital as a security officer. In MI we have something called PA-330. Which stands for police authority 330 we get put through an academy and actually get a badge number from the local police department. While on company property, in uniform, on the clock we have all of the arrest authority of a cop in the state of Michigan.

  4. I am not a police officer, current military member (I am a veteran though), tactical gear guru, or a tier 1 operator. But, I am an armed Unitied States Citizen. I can come to the aid of people in distress and government officials in distress. So, to all the citizens out there like me; I hope you stay safe and carry on.

    Ok with that said, man I wished I had chosen a career as a Mall Ninja like Brian F!!!!

  5. Nice job, Brian F. BTW, private security saved a lot of people in a case in which I was involved. I can’t say the same about the cops. That’s just the way it was.

  6. In case ya’ll are wondering, Virginia is one of the few states that gives Armed Security Officers the power to arrest for crimes committed in their presence. This means that if someone comes onto the property that has been previously barred, they can be detained by security and charged by security. Most of the time trespassing is releasable on a summons and therefore Security Officers are given the power to write Virginia Uniform Summons and do not need Police intervention or assistance. This differs from Citizen arrests because in Virginia a Citizen is limited to only detaining an individual for felonies and ‘crimes against the peace’ and then police make the arrest using the citizen as a witness.

    The tricky part comes in when there is evidence such as drugs or firearms as Private Security cannot reasonably store evidence. When this occurs typically the police get involved and assist in either taking and logging evidence or charging the suspect themselves making the security officer the witness.

  7. I worked as a Public Safety Officer for a number of years in WI. We, too, did a lot of low income housing patrols, and also were the “911” for many of the wealthy liberals and university types in Madison. Due to Madison being a destination for Chicago and Milwaukee gang-bangers to lay low, there was never a shortage of danger in these apartment complexes. My nightly duties were varied and interesting, from being an armed presence at a gay nightclub (omg- the drama) to sporting events, hotels, sorority houses, you name it. It was a GREAT part-time job that got me through a very tough financial period in my life. Our officers ran the gamut from gung-ho a-holes that usually got canned very quickly, to off duty cops with a couple of divorces to pay off. I had a day job, but had been a campus cop when I was younger, so when the financial reality of my own divorce and failing business hit home, the security job provided a needed distraction and pretty good pay. We had an owner that gave you the opportunity to take actual LEO classes to advance, and he ran the agency just like a police dept. He was an actual police officer with instructor credentials and a great relationship with all the local departments. Now, we, too had some idiots, but they usually never made it long enough to get firearms training. They were usually sent to walk the local zoo on foot at 2am, or banished to guarding the gate at a shuttered plant. I have no shortage of colorful anecdotes from the time I spent in this field, and it was overall a good experience. I dealt with many different deputies and police departments as I traveled all over the state and the vast majority treated me as a fellow professional. I wore a full police-style uniform with body armor, Glock 22, and duty belt, always spotless with polished boots and a pressed uniform blouse and trousers, so I looked the part. I found that many of the younger guys who had just gotten their criminal justice degrees or had finished their academy training, benefited greatly from the experiences they got working security for the variety of situations that arose nightly. There are small town officers that might not see that much activity in a year. Personally, I enjoyed the preventative aspect of the job. There were quite a few times we detained folks until the PD arrived, but arrests involve lots of paperwork and reports. It was a lot easier back then giving the impression that street justice was about to be handed out. I never worked unarmed after getting certified. NEVER. You are just a target. Especially now.


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