Speed Zones

josh froelich shooting a handgun outside

Millions of dollars can hinge on whether a running back runs a 4.1- or 4.7-second 40 in the annual NFL Combine. Baseball scouts drool when they look at a JUGS Gun and realize a pitcher is hitting speeds of 99 mph. Speed matters.

Ask professional shooter Josh Froelich, and he’ll tell you few things trump speed when it comes to a self-defense situation. He believes having a draw-and-shoot time somewhere between one- and one-and-a-half seconds is critical. This can only be done if you’re familiar with your gear and spend time perfecting your draw. Here’s how to get there.

Starting Out

Froelich recommends finding a holster and mag carriers that fit you well and provide ease-of-access. He also notes the importance of deciding on a concealed-carry position and staying with that position.

“You don’t want to carry inside-the-belt appendix one day and pocket or strong-side-hip the next,” he says. “You have to perfect your draw-and-shoot process, and the only way to get faster is repeating the same process with a purpose each and every day. Not only that, but safety will become an issue if you’re changing all the time and trying to draw with live ammo in the firearm from various carry positions.”

Importance Of Dry Fire

Froelich does a ton of dry fire to practice. Why? It’s safe and builds muscle memory and confidence. With no round chambered or in the magazine, he can get comfortable with how he’s going to lift his shirt or other garment out of the way to clear it, and how he’s going to obtain a solid grip on the gun and the like.

“During dry-fire runs, you can get comfortable and learn all of your gun’s controls. Your firearm may have an external safety that needs to be manipulated while you’re pressing out. All of those pieces come into play when it comes to speed and learning your process. You can’t just grab a firearm and expect to be fast and lethal just because you have it on your person. That firearm has to become an extension of you.”

Rather than doing hundreds or thousands of dry-fire reps in a single session, Froelich recommends doing 20 or 30 speed drills per day. When you put the holster on in the morning, do 20 or 30 reps before you load the gun. The more comfortable you get with how you’re going to draw and how you’re going to move with your firearm, the better off you will be. Practice wearing different articles of clothing. Spend time working on sweeping that clothing away with your off hand. Practice developing a solid grip before pressing out, and then, a few times per week, do the process live. When shooting live, keep a journal of your times. Go shoot with a buddy or a spouse and have them time you. You can do the same for them, and you can track your progress over time.

“It’s proven that without speed, you can put yourself in a pretty bad spot in a self-defense situation,” Froelich says. “Three seconds is too long, and you will never get faster unless you dedicate yourself to being faster.

Speed Isn’t Everything

New shooters need to understand that not all parts of the draw-and-shoot process are fast. Although Froelich wants to be lightning-quick up until he gets to the gun, he then wants to focus on a grip that requires no re-adjustment and a press-out that allows him to get on target and hit what he’s aiming at. If every movement up to the gun is rapid, he can show a little less urgency once he gets on the gun. This is important for safety and accuracy—you’ll need both to defend yourself or someone else should the worst happen.