You can't shoot what you can't see. Before Weapon Mounted Lights (WML) hit the market, handheld flashlights were pushed into service to provide light, so that we could see our potential targets. There were many flashlight techniques for use with handguns, but most were clunky. WMLs have taken hold as being a very useful accessory to modern handguns, but you can't just whip out your gun whenever you need a light. Thyrm has created the Switchback, a flashlight accessory that brings the handheld light into the 21 century.
What Is The Thyrm Switchback?
The Switchback is an accessory that fits to the tailcap of a handheld flashlights. It adds a finger loop onto the light, that allows for easier use of the light, especially when shooting handguns. Some versions of the Switchback also integrate a pocket clip into the design, and some do not.
Although I'm not trying to draw comparisons, the last product that tried to fill a similar niche was the Surefire flashlight ring. There were iterations of these over the years, but they were a troublesome solution. They were better than nothing on the light, but they were far from a real solution. They were a plastic and rubber construction, and in my experience, did not hold up well. Mine all have hairline cracks in the plastic rings, which don't really affect function, but it is disappointing to see.
The Switchback is made from a lightweight polymer and is manufactured in the USA. The three Switchbacks that I tested, two Switchback 2.0s and one Switchback Backup, are a one-piece design. The lights used during the testing period were an ancient Olight M18 Striker, a Surefire 6PX, and the previously reviewed Surefire EDCL2-T.
Surefire 6PX with a Switchback 2.0 attached.
Where To Find The Thyrm Switchback
All prices are current at the time of publication. Please click the link to see the most up to date pricing.
How Well Does The Thyrm Switchback Work?
The first part to seeing how well the Switchback works is to get it onto your light. Included in the packaging are a rubber O-ring, and an aluminum shim. These are used to help fit the Switchback to certain lights. When I first received my Switchback 2.0, I put it on my old Olight, which was not on the "approved" flashlight list. I got creative, and used electrical tape on the flashlight body, to shim the Switchback on. It worked, although I wouldn't recommend doing this.
Ancient EDC dump, with the jury-rigged Switchback on an Olight.
Fitting the Switchback onto the 6PX is easy, just drop the O-ring in place, and screw the Switchback and the tailcap back into place.
The newest iteration of the Switchback S was made with the EDCL2-T in mind, however, I retrofit an old Switchback S onto my light about 3 months before the new one was released by Thyrm. I had to sand the inside of the Switchback to make it fit properly, however, this should not be a problem for any that are purchased now. The EDCL2-T has been my primary EDC light since the middle of last year, and has worn a Switchback during that duration.
The Switchback is very intuitive to use. Your index finger goes inside of the loop, and now you can use it properly. You have two main ways to use it, either icepick or in front of the fist. It is very quick to flip between these two, as you just flick the light around, and you are in the other grip. This makes the transition from a "searching" action, to a "firing grip" very easy.
The administrative "searching" grip...
...and the "firing" grip.
With the light on the outside of your fist, you simply push your thumb into the fox-ear tang of the loop. This draws the light slightly towards you, depressing the button, which activates the light. Now we can maintain a tight grip on our blaster while illuminating the target.
It only takes a little time to get the technique of the Switchback down. Flipping between the searching and firing grips feels very natural, with just a flick of the finger and cant of the wrist. Within a day or two of getting it onto a light, I was already in love with the Switchback.
Is The Thyrm Switchback Good?
To me, the Switchback was a polarizing product. It changed how I used my EDC light in conjunction with a handgun. Without delving too deep into handheld light techniques, the Switchback just simplifies how to use a light and a gun. I'm sure that you have your preferred handheld light technique of choice, such as the neck hold or the Harries' grip, however, these still pale in comparison to the Switchback. Those aforementioned techniques still have a place in our tactics handbook but in a more administrative role, rather than a "combat" one.
EDCL2-T and 6PX, with their Switchbacks sitting proud.
The Switchback is not meant to replace the WML, but really, is there to augment it. We know that we can't yank out our gun and use the WML to find our keys when we drop them. Not every situation requires a gun, but many require a flashlight. The Switchback takes the essential handheld light, and makes it easier to flex into the WML role, if need be. I am not always carrying a gun with a WML, and with the Switchback, I'm not feeling like I'm behind the curve when I don't. After years of trying awkward flashlight techniques, the Switchback is like a splash of cold water.
Aaron Cowan of Sage Dynamics has done some excellent videos on the Switchback, and the Switchback 2.0. I found out about the Switchback from his videos, which show the use of the Switchback in great detail.
I've stated it in prior Thyrm reviews, but this company just sets out to provide niche solutions to niche problems. The product works great and fulfills the function that it is made to do. If you carry a flashlight as part of your EDC (and you should), you should have a Switchback on it. It is one of those things that has no drawbacks and only provides more function to your light.
Both Thrym Switchbacks were purchased at retail price by the author.
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