Sergeant Major (retired) Kyle Lamb of Viking Tactics developed the VTAC 9-Hole Drill. You can use this night variant to practice better light management in non-standard shooting positions. Follow along has he explains the fundamentals of a drill that is difficult to master but provides an excellent low-light skills builder.–SF

Kyle Lamb and the VTAC 9-Hole Night Drill

We all have the latest and greatest SureFire lights on our pistols, carbines, or hanging in the pockets of our jeans or duty gear. Life wouldn’t be the same without really bright lights. We also work mostly in the dark while using these great flashlights, but how often do you practice with your lights?

I hope the answer is, “All the time.” If you felt embarrassed by the fact that I am calling you out for not shooting on the range enough with your ballistic implements and the lights that ride alongside, then maybe you should hit the range for a little VTAC 9-Hole Drill.


If you don’t have a 9-Hole Barricade, head to Viking Tactics and you will be able to find a diagram under the Instruction tab to create one, or go to: Once you have the barricade it is time to head to the range and get started. I would recommend conducting this drill during the day before getting into the night iterations. Use your light as you practice to become confident in activation of the light and, almost as importantly, deactivation of the light. When conducting night drills, white light discipline is paramount. If you aren’t using your light, turn it off. This goes for white light and IR. You never know what the enemy will have in the way of Night Vision gear.

Kyle Lamb. Photo by
Kyle Lamb. Photo by


Take two VTAC Double-Sided Tactical Targets and place them about 1 yard apart at 10 yards for pistol drills and 3 yards apart at 15 yards for the carbine. Also place the targets closer to the ground than normal so you will be able to shoot safely into your backstop when in the prone positions.


Start with the carbine down and the pistol in the holster. Once the start signal initiates your movement, engage each target with two rounds each from every port, 36 rounds total. This means either a reload with the carbine or a transition to your sidearm unless you have the SureFire 60-round magazine.

VTAC 9-Hole Night Drill Target Setup



As you work your way from port to port, the light must be turned off and on as you go. This is what makes the drill difficult – light management while getting into nonstandard shooting positions. If you normally just carry a handheld SureFire you will see the increased benefits of having a pistol-mounted or carbine-mounted light very quickly. You will also see what the light does to help or hinder your performance. I like a focused-beam light to give me extended throw and less light on my cover or concealment.

If you plan to use a handheld light, it should also be stowed before starting the VTAC 9-Hole Drill. It never hurts to practice getting your tools into the fight. If you normally use a weapon-mounted light, you should try to practice the worst-case scenario every once in a while. Use your handheld light as though your primary light source has been destroyed.


Once you have mastered the drill, try shooting from your support side. Once you have mastered that, start shooting strong hand or support hand only. Think outside the box. If you only have one hand, what will you do with your light? On the ground pointed at the target? Keep fighting and keep thinking.



Sergeant Major (retired) Kyle Lamb is a veteran of more than 21 years in the U.S. Army, where he spent over 15 years of that time in Special Operations SMU. He served in many conflicts, including Desert Storm, Bosnia, Iraq and Mogadishu, Somalia, the latter featured in the movie Black Hawk Down. Lamb received numerous valorous awards and decorations during his career. He is the Founder and President of Viking Tactics, Inc., a tactical training and tactical gear business.

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