How To Get Armed Security Guard License In California: Learn

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How To Get Armed Security Guard License In California

If you are looking for a purposeful job in California that involves protecting others, you might want to learn how to get an armed security guard license in California. 

Entering a career in the security industry can be fast-paced, lucrative, and rewarding. There is a wide array of job opportunities within the security industry besides just being a mall cop. 

One of the prestigious jobs of a security guard is being a bodyguard, where one protects the lives and property of high-level corporate executives, VIPs, and celebrities. 

Let’s see how you could get an armed security guard license in California as you look to advance in your security career. 

How To Get an Armed Security Guard License In California 

To get an armed security guard license in California, you must have a guard card and a firearm permit to hold a firearm. You must fulfill the following requirements to apply for a firearm permit in California: 

  • Be a US citizen or have a legal permanent residence status (green card). 
  • Be 21 years old and above.
  • Pass a 14-hour course in the handling of firearms. 
  • Pay an $80 firearm application fee and submit the firearm application.
  • Submit your security guard registration with the firearm permit live scan form the live scan operator has signed. 
  • Pay a $32 California Department of Justice (DOJ) fingerprint processing fee, a $38 firearm Eligibility application, and a $19 Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) fingerprint processing fee. You must pay all fees at the live scan site. 
Payee Price 
Firearm application fee $80
DOJ fingerprint processing fee  $32
Firearm eligibility application  $38
FBI fingerprint processing fee  $19
Training Fees  $50
Total  $219

What is An Armed Security Guard License?

It is a legal document allowing a security guard to carry a firearm and even use it in challenging situations without legal consequences. An armed security guard is a security guard that has a gun.

The law will issue the license to the security guard after completing a firearm training course and passing its exams.

Subjects You Should Expect To Cover In The Firearm Training Course

A standard firearm training course in California will take a minimum of 8 of classroom training and a 6-hour firing range training. You will cover the following subjects in the training course: 

1. Moral And Legal Aspects 

The moral and legal aspects subject of firearm training are to help individuals in the class understand their duties and responsibilities. 

Under the subject, the instructor might discuss the importance of firearm safety and its mental health considerations.  

The legal aspects around firearms will include firearm restrictions and national laws regarding firearm ownership. The instructor will also review the times you could legally use the firearm on a threat. 

2. Firearms Terminologies

In the course, you will also learn some firearm terminologies to help you develop a solid understanding of the functions and components of a firearm. 

Some terminologies to expect in this course include; fully automatic, semi-automatic, trigger pull, and recoil. You will fully understand the importance of such terminologies within the course. 

3. Weapon Handling And Shooting Fundamentals

You will understand the theoretical part of weapon handling and shooting fundamentals in the subject. 

Therefore, you will be able to have a rough idea of the proper techniques for handling a firearm and using it effectively. 

Stance, grip, sight alignment, breath control, trigger control, follow through, reloading, and firearm malfunction clearing will discuss in the subject. 

4. Emergency Procedures

Generally, being a security guard means that you will be handling all sorts of dangers that might involve death. Therefore, it is critical to understand some emergency procedures that might be helpful in such critical times. 

Under this subject, you might learn how to keep your finger off the trigger, some range safety violations, misfire procedures, and emergency medical responses. 

You will also learn about firearm accidents/injuries, facility evacuation, and communication protocols. 

Additionally, you will discuss how you could use protective equipment during a crisis and emergency contacts where you could report an incident. 

5. Range Training 

Range training is considerably the most crucial subject in the firearm training course as it allows you to apply theoretical knowledge discussed in class. 

Under the subject, your instructor will do a range safety briefing and teach you how to inspect and prepare your firearm for duty.

Additionally, you will explore different shooting positions, learn how to shoot from the cover, and perform some time shooting exercises. You might also learn some shooting with movement drills and reloading drills. 

Throughout the training course, your instructor will emphasize safety and continuously remind you to point your firearm in the right direction. 

Note that a Bureau-certified firearms instructor should give the firearms training course at a bureau-certified training facility. 

Therefore, it is vital to check the legal identities of your instructor before paying and even starting the course. 

At the end of the course, you will have to complete a written and range exam to evaluate what you learned. 

Since you must be a security guard before taking a firearm permit, some training facilities can allow you to take both simultaneously. 

California Security Guard Registration Information 

The requirements for being a security guard in California differ slightly from those of an armed security guard. 

After completing the security guard training, you will get a guard card which shows that you can now go for firearm training. To get a guard card in California, you will have to: 

Complete Mandatory Training 

The Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS) requires individuals who wish to be security guards to complete a legal training course. 

After the course, you must do an evaluation exam so that your instructor can grade what you’ve learned. 

Courses will range depending on the facility you are in, but most of them are usually 8 hours. If you cannot go for in-class training, don’t sweat it, California allows online completion of unarmed guard training. 

Therefore, you could stick to your daily routine and attend your online class whenever you are free. The best thing is that you can rewind video lectures in areas where you do not understand. 

Be 18 years Old and Above.

You have to be at least 18 years old to qualify to train as a security guard, and then you could later acquire a firearm once you reach 21. 

Complete Application Forms

You can submit your application online or via mail. Mail-in forms will be available once you complete the training course. After filling out the forms, you must pay the BSIS fees. 

Live Scan Finger Prints And Background Checks

You must find a live scan operator and complete a digital fingerprinting process. You will also have to fill in some forms and submit them to the operators, who will collect the FBI and DOJ fees with an included rolling service fee. 

The FBI and DOJ fees are for running a criminal history background check to see if you have any criminal records. 

You might not get a guard card with a bad criminal history. However, you will get your guard card if you are clean and pass all the tests. 

After getting a guard card and applying for your firearm permit, you could complete a 16 personality factor (16pf) questionnaire (firearm Assessment) to get your license. 

BSIS Security Guard Firearms Permit 16 Personality Factor (16pf) Questionnaire

The BSIS contracted the PSI to administer the assessment of a BSIS security guard seeking to get a firearms permit. 

The Business and Professions code will require the security guard to complete the assessment to see if they possess; good judgment, self-control, and restraint. 

They must check if the security guard they will license has the right personality traits for carrying a firearm. PSI is responsible for administering public safety tests, credentialing, and licensing. 

It has 23 locations around California where you could do the assessment, which comes in the form of a 16-personality factor questionnaire. 

The PSI has based the scoring standards of the test on specific attributes in good judgment, self-control, and restraint.  

You will have to pay a $60 fee to take the assessment and pay it as part of the assessment appointment scheduling process. 

What If You Have Convictions? 

Can you still be an armed security guard with a conviction? Potential trainees with convictions who want to be armed security guards often ask this question.

If you have a conviction, your chance of being an armed security guard greatly depends on the BSIS. 

The BSIS will send the applications of all applicants with convictions to the disciplinary review committee for review. 

Make sure you answer all the questions in your application truthfully. Any omission of important information could lead to the denial of your application. 

Convictions also lower your chances of getting an armed security guard license. However, the Bureau might consider you if you have some evidence of rehabilitation. Your application will have a section asking you if you have a conviction. 

Staying truthful and laying out the reasons for your conviction is essential, as the Bureau takes false information very seriously. 

Nevertheless, once the Bureau approves your application, your armed security guard license will be on its way.  


Discovering how to get an armed security guard license in California is a giant leap forward toward an individual’s security career. 

A guard card and a firearm permit are all you need to get an armed security guard license in California.

When filling out application forms, make sure you stay transparent to avoid the denial of your application. The PSI will carry out a firearm assessment which is inform of a 16-personality factor questionnaire. 

So, if you are 21 years old and without a conviction, get your armed security guard license today and transform your career. 

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Susan Tapia is an ambitious, savvy news writer with a vibrant personality and an eye for detail. She is highly experienced in crafting compelling stories and dedicated to seeking out the truth. With her inquisitive nature, she delves deep into every subject she touches, uncovering unexpected facts that help her engage her readers. Susan has an unbridled passion for writing, and she strives to inspire others through her work. She confidently shares her thought-provoking ideas with enthusiasm and candor, making sure the world can see the truth no matter how uncomfortable it may be. Simply put, Susan Tapia is a trailblazer in the journalism industry who never fails to deliver her readers riveting stories they won't soon forget.

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