Q&A: Villain Security Services

I was wondering what kind of guns security guards of a building would carry (not specific models, just the types). From my research it’s small guns. But are there any exceptions? I am writing about sketchy millionaires and their houses/facilities house small armies and small prisons. They have many enemies and they are really paranoid about safety. Could they insist on bringing heavier weaponry in? Would it be possible and convenient? I want to give a realistic approach. Thank you! 🙂

There’s a lot to unpack here, so, let’s take this in no particular order.

I’m not going to harp on this too much, until it’s relevant, but, millionaires don’t really have the funds to do what you’re talking about. This is more in the range of the billionaires. If you’re talking about someone who outright owns buildings in a major metro area, and controls a major corporation, that’s probably someone who’s net worth runs to ten digits.

With that said, small arms (or “small guns,” if you prefer) accounts for most firearms. Basically, if it fires a projectile under an inch (so, .100 caliber), it’s small arms. This includes, handguns, automatic rifles, shotguns, LMGs, DMRs. Basically, anything short of a rocket launcher.

Okay, so profiling this, there’s a wide range of situations here, and even with money, a lot of things that simply aren’t worth the legal scrutiny. So, suddenly you need to start considering the kinds of places you’re talking about, and what’s being done there.

First of all, even if your backing is a billionaire, funding is not unlimited. In the context of how you approach your day-to-day life, sure, but in the larger context of someone running a business, not so much. They may have the money to outfit everyone with top of the line military hardware, but that stuff’s expensive, and if you’re talking about a corrupt corporate exec in a developed nation, outfitting your office security with assault rifles is going to be more of a liability. On the other hand, the head of a drug cartel is going to get a lot more value out of arming their personal bodyguards with serious combat gear.

If your shady exec is operating an office in a major metro area, they’re going to have access to an armed response team from the police. That means, arming their guards with anything more than handguns (with, maybe, some shotguns or semi-auto rifles) in the security stations is a non-start. If something happens that justifies a more armed response, they can call in SWAT. Or, failing that, they may have mercenaries off site (assuming that local law enforcement can’t be trusted.)

This office building scenario also works off the idea that they’re not going to do anything visibly illegal in the middle of the city where anyone could see. Or, if they are, it’s going to be well hidden. That same building could have a high-security bunker dating back to the cold war, which has a very different security profile.

Assuming that the local police are effective, then having armies of mercenaries deployed in urban areas is going to require some kind of external authorization. Now, they might use them very selectively. Deploying a squad here or there to deal with specific problems and then slipping back into hiding once they’ve completed their objectives. In that case, we’re probably assuming the range of military hardware: Assault Rifles, Shotguns, DMRs, possibly even Anti-Materiel Rifles, as the situation warrants.

Somewhat obviously, if your mercenaries start opening fire on crowded city streets, that’s going to draw the attention of the police in short order, and no matter well equipped and trained they are, they’ll be outmaneuvered, outnumbered, trapped, and then either captured or killed. That’s something your millionaire can’t buy his way out of.

Houses are a little different. It’s easier to justify keeping a small security detail on site, and arming them with semi-auto rilfes and shotguns. In some states they could even kill intruders with impunity. But, there’s some things here you might want to consider that open their options up a lot.

If the house is a mansion outside of town, and police response would be (understandably) delayed, they can get away with a lot more. Your millionaire would have more room to simply kill and disappear someone. Now, this isn’t without limitations, but, keeping mercs on site, who simply dispose of someone who shouldn’t be there, and wouldn’t be missed (or at least, wouldn’t draw a lot of attention from their disappearance), is disturbingly plausible. At that point, the mercs simply need to be able to get rid of the body (which is easy), and any durable evidence, like the victim’s vehicle, which is doable. Dump their car in a bad part of town and let it get ransacked and towed? Or just torch it. There’s options here. Things like assault rifles might raise eyebrows, but they’re unlikely to draw attention out there.

When you say small prisons, you don’t mean small prisons, you mean black sites. These are incredibly illegal, and the kid gloves are off. These tend towards more conspiracy driven narratives because very few people will have the means to fund one of these without leaving a paper trail, and move enough people through them to justify the expense. Even if they did, the risks associated with discovery are astronomical.

Staffing a black site would involve mercs, full military hardware, and a somewhat remote location. We’re talking out in the desert, where no one will go looking. It also means they need to be able to fully shield themselves from anyone ever figuring out who they are. That requires a mess of shell companies, which, we’re back to the conspiracy, because those shell companies will leave a paper trail.

It also means your millionaire is now bankrupt. Maintaining personal bodyguards isn’t too expensive, even in the extreme you’re looking at less than $250k a year in expenses. Chances are, their income can cover it, if they’re so inclined. However, spending hundreds of millions on a remote Bond villain lair, and then outfitting it with henchmen? Yeah, that’s going to tap your millionaire’s net worth pretty hard. At that point, the question would be, “where did your money go?” With huge expenditures on a remote build site, where all it takes is one low level contractor accidentally posting photos to Twitter for the entire idea to start to coming apart at the seams.

I suppose it would be possible, for them to be hiding it under a ski resort or something, which would be all kinds of goofy, but we are, functionally, talking about the villain’s lair from a superspy novel at this point.

So, real talk for a second, your character has, functionally, unlimited funding, and wants to eliminate a foe. Do they:

  1. Spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a facility out in the desert, staff that facility with 50-100 people, any of whom could now destroy their financial empire or blackmail them?
  2. Hire a hitman to kill their foe?
  3. Or, feed information to their foe through a third party, and then litigate the hell out of them the instant they try to take the information public? Destroying their foe’s career, life, and reputation, in the process?

If you answered 3, you’re probably familiar with what happened to Gawker.

Or, you remembered that mid-2000s Spiderman comic where Norman Osborn (The Green Goblin) sued the shit out of Ben Urich for outing him as The Green Goblin. I suppose that’s possible too. And, yes, that is a plausible outcome for trying to expose a successful businessman as a supervillain, even when that successful businessman really is a goddamn supervillain.

Option 2 is cheap, efficient, and leaves far less of a paper trail. A one time payment from your character to someone else. Who may even be one of their employees (so this gets bundled into payroll as a bonus for whatever.)

It’s worth noting that, option 1 is only really, attractive to intelligence agencies (and, shadowy trans-national conspiracies that have been operating since the dawn of civilization because logic and reason left the building at this point.) You could make it work if you’re moving the victims across national boundaries into countries that really don’t care, but this is still the domain of actual spies, and state actors, not angry corporate executives.

The first option also, technically, works if you’re talking about criminal enterprises. If your character is a drug lord, it’s not really a surprise that they’re torturing people in the back of an auto body shop and dumping their body in a landfill somewhere.

Now, there’s an edge case here that’s worth considering, if your corrupt corporate exec is operating a mercenary company. That would justify the existence of a black site (as it’s intended as a military base), but we still have problems. Mercenary companies aren’t that valuable. And the risks they’re taking on are not worth what they’re getting out of it. Obviously, this is a little different if their activities are occurring on the other side of the world, but it’s still easier to simply have someone snuff a troublemaker or enemy and dispose of their corpse.

The funny thing about all of this is, 3 is a very safe option. Best of all, it’s legal. You don’t have to kill someone to destroy them, you just need to be able to throw money at them until they’re no longer relevant.

When it comes to the security itself, you’re asking to skip over what really does set it apart, the hardware.

A normal, armed security guard might be sporting something like an older gen Glock, Smith & Wesson 5900 series pistol, 1911, some M9 (Beretta 92) knockoff, or a number of other cheap, reasonably reliable, handguns.

In contrast, your millionaire’s security team may be equipped with higher end, or at least better looking, weapons. They may be carrying things like H&K USPs, Walther P99s, Beretta PX4 Storms, FNX series pistols, FN Five-Sevens, or SIG Pro variants.

In the cases of things like shotguns, the changes are more subtle. You might still see something like a Remington 870, or a Mossberg 500, but the better funded group would have higher grade examples of models.

With rifles, you would see a difference depending on the millionaire’s outlook. If they’re the ones looking for weapons, you might see things that look slick, like the War Sport LVOA, while if they have someone in procurement with a military background, you’re more likely to see things like the HK416.

In rare cases, where the millionaire’s interests are in the military industrial complex, you might see stuff that’s very recent, like HK433 rifles, Desert Tech MDRs, or Glock 46 pistols. Or, slightly unusual weapons, like the Kel-Tec KSG shotgun, or Vector SMGs.

The result is, the difference will be in how well equipped their guards are likely to be. In fairness, this also isn’t proof of anything, because a non-corrupt corporate exec, with reasonable security considerations, could outfit their security with high end hardware, as appropriate. (Yes, including up to full merc teams in some overseas locations.) And, it’s also possible your paranoid, corrupt, exec wouldn’t splurge for better gear on their office security. Again, if something goes wrong, they can call the cops. The same is true of their personal bodyguards. Things like S&W 5900s, or Glocks are still solid, reliable, service pistols. They’ll will get the job done. They may not be flashy, but how cool you look doesn’t matter in a gunfight.

-Starke

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