Executive Protection Academy

Executive Protection Academy

Effectiveness of fire arms in executive protection

There has been a lot of discussion on the effectiveness of firearms in executive protection. For many protectors, as well as for protectees guns are synonymous for protection and, in addition, an indispensable requirement to exercise this profession. This is why we gave ourselves the difficult task of determining, with facts, the effectiveness of firearms in real situations.

However, this purpose is almost impossible to specify through absolute scientific rigor, since, only in Mexico, it would be practically unfeasible to account for how many people perform this activity, between private security elements, complementary police, police officers, military who perform these tasks on official commission, military in retirement who work on their own etc.

 We do not have the precise number of the protectors in the world, we do not know how many of them have a gun, nor the number of total events in which they could have used it with or without success. We know, that only in Mexico according to the INEGI, in the last three decades a total of two thousand 877 executives are murdered, but we ignore how many of them had protectors and how many of them carried a firearm. If this is extrapolated on a global scale, then, doing a totally precise study becomes impossible. This is the reason why we decided to take a representative sample that allowed us to obtain a result, although approximate, significant enough to determine the performance that firearms have on executive protection. For this purpose, we analyze 124 attacks against prominent public figures that were carried out during the twentieth and the 21st century in 60 different countries.

What were the criteria to consider these 124 cases? For the sample to be significant, the following aspects were taken into account: 

* Universal nature -the cases are from around the world.
* Historically verifiable and widely disseminated facts.
* The number of cases must be sufficiently representative.
* Covers a significant time period.
* It must be verifiable that the victims had an armed security protection team.

Victims are people of very high rank in their respective countries, or persons with official protection assigned by the authorities (so it can be presumed that the agents that provided protection were duly selected and trained. Thus, the reaction failures cannot be attributed to a lack of training or aptitude, characteristic of extreme relevance for the present analysis).

Only assassinations and assassination attempts have been taken into account because kidnappings would be impossible to quantify. Moreover, it would be extremely difficult to have historically verifiable facts about the performance of armed personnel in each case. The same applies to the use of firearms against random assaults and other types of similar problems since they are even less documented.

The sample of the 124 universal and verifiable cases is sufficiently broad and representative to show us what the best-armed security groups, in their respective countries, managed to do in the cases of real attacks that occurred over more than a century and what was the relevance that firearms had to protect people in all these cases.

To consider that in a particular attack the use of firearms was successful, the criterion is that weapons should have been used effectively; that is to say, that their use was decisive for the protectee to be unharmed, otherwise, the survival could be attributed to an accident and not to the effectiveness of weapons.

The cases are divided into two parts: In the first one the attacks was not successful for various reasons, and, in the second one, the attacks had a fatal result.

It can be noted that only in 4.03 % of cases, firearms were decisive to save the protectees. However, if we eliminate coups and military or paramilitary-type operations from this equation and focus only on regular executive protection (the one exercised by most of the protectors in the world) -the effectiveness of firearms in our regular operating conditions is only 1.63%

So, this particular study shows very little relevance that this tool has in executive protection. Of course, as we could also see 4.03 % (or 1.63%) can save the life of the protectee, so it should not be abolished;

However, firearms should not be considered the main tools in executive protection, nor the security system of a VIP should be focused on its employment. Of course, this is not intended to be a definitive study, but it can give a general idea about the effectiveness that firearms have in executive protection.

It is also important to note that, for decades, its preponderance in this industry was based on a myth, or in action movies, not on the facts or the hard data.

It is surprising that, in 7.2% of the cases, the attacks were frustrated or later controlled by "empty hands", These techniques were used against the lonely aggressors who attacked public figures from the crowd (attacks against Reagan, Isaac Rabin, Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, etc.) This does not necessarily mean that empty hand combat techniques are more effective than weapons. This simply showed their efficacy for a specific threat that was frequent in the study.


It is important to point out the attack against the presidential candidate of Colombia, Luis Carlos Galán, who was killed despite having 18 armed agents. This fact makes it evident that a strong operation is not necessarily an effective operation.

As a conclusion, the present representative sample gives an approximate value of 4.03% effectiveness of firearms in real situations- or 1.63% - depending on which operational environment is relevant to us: civilian or military/paramilitary.

This means that in the executive protection the firearm is a tool of minor reliability, however, it should not be dismissed, since, as we saw, in some conditions they can save our lives. The important thing is to focus our operations on preventive activities that allow us to deactivate the attacks before they happen and not focus our operations on methods that historically have not given results.


  1. Eduard, Prince of Wales - 1900
  2. Leopold II, King of Belgium - 1902
  3. Alfonso XIII, King of Spain - 1906
  4. Theodore Roosevelt, presidential candidate EU - 1912
  5. LENIN - 1918 (Attacker submitted using empty hands)
  6. Georges Clemenceau Prime Minister of France - 1919
  7. Benito Mussolini, leader of Italy Fascist - April 1926 (attacker subjected by empty hands)
  8. Benito Mussolini, Leader of Italy Fascist - May 1926 (attack submitted using empty hands)
  9. Herbert Hoover, President USA - 1928
  10. Franklin D. Roosevelt, President USA - 1933 (attacker submitted using empty hands)
  11. Keisuke Okada, Prime Minister of Japan - 1936
  12. Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Iran - 1949
  13. Harry Truman, President United States - 1950 (firearms were decisive)
  14. Prince Hussein, Prince of Jordan - 1960
  15. Konrad Adenauer, German Chancellor - 1952
  16. Hendrik Verwoerd, Prime Minister of South Africa - 1960 (attack submitted with empty hands)
  17. Charles de Gaulle, president of France - 1961 (Vehicle driving was decisive)
  18. Charles de Gaulle, President of France - 1962 (vehicle driving )
  19. Georgios Papadopoulos, President of Greece - 1968
  20. Leonid Brezhnev, Secretary General of the Soviet Union - 1969
  21. George Wallace, presidential candidate USA - 1972
  22. Anne, Princess of England - 1974.
  23. Sukarno, President of Indonesia - 1962
  24. Gerald Ford, President of the United States - 1975 (Attacker subjected with empty hands)
  25. Elizabeth II, Queen of England - 1981
  26. Pope John Paul II - 1981 (attacker subjected with empty hands)
  27. Reagan, president of the United States - 1981 (attacker submitted using empty hands)
  28. Chun Doo Hwan, President Korea of the South - 1983
  29. Margaret Thatcher, First British Minister - 1984
  30. Augusto Pinochet, President of Chile - 1986 (Firearms were decisive)
  31. Wonfgang Schäuble, German Minister German - 1990 (attacker submitted using empty hands)
  32. John Major, Prime Minister of UK - 1991 (armored windows were decisive)
  33. Eduard Shevarnadze, President of Georgia - 1992
  34. Eduard Shevarnadze, President of Georgia - 1995
  35. Hosni Mubarak, President of Egypt - 1995 (Firearms were decisive)
  36. Kiro Gligorov, President of Macedonia - 1995
  37. José María Aznar, Spanish politician and expression of government - 1995 (armored vehicle and the faults of the attackers were decisive)
  38. Prince Charles of Wales 1995 Eduard Shevarnadze,
  39. President of Georgia - 1998 (shielded vehicle was decisive)
  40. Jacques Chirac, President of France, 2002 (attacker submitted with Empty hands)
  41. Hamid Karzai, president of Afghanistan - 2002 (firearms were decisive)
  42. Pervez Musharaf, President of Pakistan - 2003
  43. Murat Zyazikov, President of Ingushetia - 2004
  44. Shaukat Aziz, Prime Minister of Pakistan - 2004
  45. Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister Bangladesh - 2004
  46. Ibrahim Rugova, President of Kosovo - 2005
  47. Pervez Musharaf, President of Pakistan - 2007
  48. George W. Bush, president of the United States, and Mikheil Saakashvili,
  49. President of Georgia - 2005 Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed,
  50. President of Somalia - 2006
  51. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Secretary of Defense of Sri Lanka - 2006
  52. Dick Cheney, Vice President of the United States - 2007
  53. Guillaume Soro, Prime Minister of Ivory Coast - 2007
  54. Abdul Gayoom, President Maldives - 2008 (attacker submitted using empty hands)
  55. Jose Ramos Horta, President of East Timor - 2008
  56. Queen Beatrix, Queen of Netherlands - 2009
  57. Yunus- Bek Yevkurov, Leader of Ingushetia - 2009
  58. Stephen Timms, British Labor MP - 2010
  59. Ali Abdulah Saleh, President of Yemen - 2011 APHA
  60. Alpha Condé, president of Guinea, (Firearms were decisive)
  61. Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, leader of the Pakistani Senate - 2017.
  62. Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela - 2018
  63. Omar Garcia Harfuch Chief of the City of Mexico 2020
  64. Ivan Duque, President of Colombia- 2021
  65. Assimi Goita, President of Mali - 2021 (Attack subjected by Empty Hands)
  66. Aleksandar Vučić President of Serbia 2022 Consummered facts
  67. William McKinley, President of the United States - 1901
  68. Franz Ferdinand (Franz Ferdinand), Archduke of Austria - 1914
  69. Sidonian Country, President Portugal - 1918
  70. Michael Collins, Irish Revolutionary Leader - 1922.
  71. Ahmet Muhtar Zogolli -1924
  72. Alexander I, King of Yugoslavia - 1939
  73. Walter Edward Guinness,
  74. Lord Moyne, Minister of United Kingdom in the Middle East - 1944
  75. Ahmad Mahar Pasha, Egypt Prime Minister - 1945
  76. Mahmud Fahmi Nokrashi, Egypt Prime Minister - 1948
  77. Abdullah I, King of Jordan - 1951
  78. José Antonio Remón Cantera, President of Panama - 1955
  79. Hendrik Verwoerd, Prime Minister of South Africa - 1960
  80. Hazza Al Majali, Jordan Prime Minister 1960
  81. Louis Rwagasore, Prime Minister of Burundi, 1961
  82. John F. Kennedy, President of the United States - 1963
  83. Jospeh Bamina, Prime Minister of Burundi, 1965
  84. Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd, President South Africa, 1966
  85. Robert F. Kennedy, United States Attorney General -1968
  86. Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, Somalia President, 1969 Wasfi Al-Tal, Prime Minister of Jordan - 1971
  87. Abdul Rahman, Malaysian police general inspector - 1974
  88. Francois Tombalbaye, President of Chad, 1975
  89. Shaik Mujibur Rajman, President of Bangladesh, 1975 Muhammed, Head of State Nigeria, 1976
  90. Hans Martin Schleyer, German business leader - 1977
  91. Markenngouabi, president of Congo, 1977
  92. Ahmad Bin Hussein al-Ghashmi, President of the Republic of Yemen - 1978
  93. Park Chung Hee, President of South Korea - 1979
  94. Lord Louis Mountbatten, Diplomat, British Royal Navy Officer - 1979
  95. William Richard Tolbert, President of Liberia, 1980
  96. Anwar Sadat, First Minister of Egypt - 1981.
  97. Ziaur Rahman, President of Bangladesh, 1981
  98. Bachir Gemayel, elected president of Liban, 1982
  99. Mohammad Ali Rajai, President of Iran, 1981
  100. Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India - 1984
  101. Rodrigo Lara Bonilla, Minister of Justice of Colombia - 1984
  102. Thimas Sankara, President of Burkina Faso, 1987
  103. Carlos Mauro Hoyos, Attorney General of Colombia - 1988
  104. Luis Carlos Galan, Presidential Candidate of Colombia - 1989
  105. James N Rowe, US Military Advisor - 1989
  106. Waldemar Franklin Quintero, Commander of Antioquia Police, Colombia - 1989
  107. Alfred Herrhausen, CEO Deuche Bank - 1989
  108. Samuel Doe, President Liberia - 1990
  109. Bernardo Jaramillo Ossa, Presidential Candidate, Leader of The Patriotic Union Party - 1990
  110. Rajiv Gandhi, Hindu Politician - 1991
  111. Giovanni Falcone, Judge Anti-Mafia - 1992
  112. Melchoir Ndadaye, President of Burundi 1993
  113. Luis Donaldo Colosio, presidential candidate Mexico -1994.
  114. Juvento Habyarimana, president of Rwanda - 1994
  115. Yitzhak Rabin, Prime Minister of Israel - 1995
  116. Vazgen Sargsyan, Prime Minister of Armenia - 199
  117. Luis María Argaña, Vice President of Paraguay - 1999
  118. Zoran Djindjic, Prime Minister of Serbia - 2003
  119. João Bernardo Vieira, President of Guinea 2009
  120. Ali Abdulah Saleh, President of Yemen - 2017
  121. Alexander Zakharchenko, President Republic Donetsk - 2018
  122. Aristotle Sandoval, former governor of the state of Jalisco - 2020
  123. Jovenel Moise, President of Haiti- 2021
  124. Shinzo Abe former Prime Minister of Japan 2022