NEW YORK (AP) _ Three men robbed an armored car containing $800,000 at gunpoint outside a shopping center, handcuffed a guard inside and escaped with an undetermined amount of cash, ''enough to retire on,'' police said.

Police Sgt. Ronald Severin said there was $800,000 in the car operated by Rapid Armored Truck Corp. when the robbers struck just before 1 p.m. Tuesday, said police Sgt. Ronald Severin, but estimates of how much they stole ranged from $100,000 to the full $800,000.

The vehicle was parked outside Macy's department store at the Staten Island Mall while two of the three guards assigned to it took a cash delivery inside, Severin said.

The third guard, left inside the vehicle to guard it, suddenly heard ''a clicking sound'' and saw the door burst open, Severin said. He later told police a man standing outside the door had what appeared to be a machine gun.

The gunman handcuffed the guard to a bar inside the truck, and with the help of a second man began grabbing bags of money and throwing them into a blue and white car that pulled up to the armored truck, police said.

The two robbers then got into the car and the driver sped off, Severin said. Police had no idea where the bandits were heading, and Severin said, ''I guess they took enough to retire on.''

Bill Staderman, executive vice president of the armored car company, identified the guards as Jose Varela, 40, Peter Paese, 46, and Frank Retzlaff, 53, all from Manhattan. He said Paese was the one in the truck.

Paese reportedly was treated for chest pains at Richmond Memorial Hospital.

The Joint Robbery Task Force, operated by the police department and the FBI, was investigating, Severin said.