I have worked in executive protection for various clients and individuals and have met many so called bodyguards during my experience. It is important to point out that a bodyguard is not the same thing as a protection professional. It's not just the difference in training, it's in the attitude.
In this case I was protecting a client in Sydney during a period of time when they were operating at a higher level of risk and had been threatened by people with motive and resources to carry out their threats.
Because there are not dozens of professional protection officers around the client will contact a bodyguard service company if they have little time to respond to the threats. In this case they assigned me one of these bodyguards to protect a level in the corporate office as additional support for me as I moved around with the principals.
First impressions last a long time. I always find it interesting when security guards meet each other, there seems to be a brief period of competition as each try to justify and prove that they are more experienced than the other. Commonly known as a pissing competition.
He started by telling me that he was in the navy special forces and has been involved in several military operations and such. This is never a good way for security guards to start because they haven't confirmed what the other guard has been involved in, especially the military service information, because they might be talking to someone that actually has service or been involved in that particular operation.
Next comes who has the bigger and better weapon
Quickly the talk turns to what weapon you prefer and what you are carrying. Most of my protection details have been armed because of my background, but I was trained to understand a vital fact. Your weapon is just a tool and you select the right tool for the right job regardless of which one you prefer. No executive protection officer that is required to be armed will ever take a weapon on a job that isn't the right one for the job.
I was using a pancake holster from a belt and have used this more often than others. He proudly showed me his weapon and holster. We were in the clients hallway waiting for me to introduce him to the principal as I was finding out more about this bodyguard. I was starting to get a weird feeling that I was going to not like what I found.
The shoulder holster was a western style leather gunslinger style holster with a white elastic strap harness. I queried the white elastic and he told me that he had built the harness himself from tracksuit pant elastic waistband material for a better fit as the leather harness was uncomfortable to wear.
In the holster was a chrome long barrel revolver.
Get back up quickly
I quietly told him to wait here while I contact my boss.
I went to the end of the hall and called my boss to explain the situation. As I was explaining that I did not want this guy working with me because of the potential risks the bodyguard heard me complaining about the modified holster.
He decided to prove me wrong about the holster and actually rapid drew his revolver in action towards me while standing in the client's hall.
Lost the fight
I can still see it all in slow motion as the other bodyguard went into a rapid draw of his shoulder holstered revolver. The entire holster came away from his body because of the elastic band and stretched nearly two feet from his body before it broke.
The elastic had snapped at some point and flung the holster and revolver over his shoulder about 10 feet away down the hall. I was still standing with the phone to my boss in my hand.
Without a bang
I just repeated to my boss that he is going home now because he just tried to draw his live weapon on me and it ended up being thrown on the floor in the clients hall.
The boss agreed to send him home.
Getting the right bodyguard
There are many security guards that tell people they have done bodyguard jobs for various people. Often what they are referring to is the job that they may have been involved in working with a musician or local entertainer mainly in a crowd controller role while they attended a few clubs or signings.
This is not executive protection. Professional bodyguards prepare route plans, advance parties, and other details that other bodyguards are not even aware of. A professional bodyguard tries to end their shift without a single incident including avoiding any negative reputation incidents.
Always ask what the bodyguard did to protect their previous clients and how they ensured the safety of the principal. Be concerned if details are mainly focused on what level of martial arts or fighting ability they possess.
The bodyguard has failed if a fight was not prevented or avoided.
© Copyright 2008 by Paul Baker
Information supplied by Paul Baker
Over twenty years security & risk management experience across Australia to protect corporate clients from critical incidents and security risks.
Previously served in the Military and expert in explosives, weapons, and information gathering techniques.
Achieved formal qualifications in a wide range of security risk management skills and commendations for crisis response operations
03 9642 0599