Over the years I have used many different flashlight techniques while shooting a handgun. The “Chapman”, “Harries”, “Rogers”, “FBI”, etc. all work with varying degrees of efficiency. All take away points of contact on the handgun when compared to a standard two handed grip. This drawback paved the way for weapon lights to take over the professional sector.
In the concealed carry world, a weapon light causes some new difficulties. Weaponlight holsters are bulky and most sub-compact handguns are not designed to accept weapon lights. Now we are back to having to use one of the old-school flashlight techniques, while minimizing loss of contact on the weapon.
Thyrm LLC’s SwitchBack helps to solve some of these problems. The SwitchBack is a simple polymer ring that slips over the tail cap on a variety of popular tactical lights.
In use, the index finger of the shooter’s support hand goes through the loop with the rest of the flashlight body pointing down in the palm of the hand. This is what I refer to as the “utility” grip. During my testing, I found that it is a very secure way to hold the light for most tasks that do not involve a firearm. For regular searching I would hold the flashlight in the center of my chest, palm down. If I needed to draw my handgun, but did not have a threat, then I could use the “FBI Technique” where the light is held high and away from the body.
When it was time to bring up your handgun and light up a target, you allowed the light to rotate around your index finger, pivoting on the ring. This brought the tail cap switch into contact with your middle finger. The “bump” on the ring falls perfectly under the pad of your thumb. In this position, pushing forward with your thumb causes the light to pivot on the ring and press the tail cap switch, momentarily illuminating the light. I will refer to this as the “tactical” grip.
Once you have the light in the “tactical” grip your middle, ring and pinky finger are free to wrap around your strong hand and assist in keeping your weapon on target. In use I found this grip to be much more stable than the G2Z in a “Surefire/Rogers” grip.
During our test I installed the Thyrm LLC, SwitchBack on a Surefire G2X light. Initially we used the stock Surefire momentary switch. At first the switch was very hard to depress, but as it broke in it became easier to activate the light in the “tactical” position. Later we swapped out the factory momentary switch for a “clicky” switch. This made is easier to activate in momentary on. The fit of the SwitchBack on our G2X made it almost impossible to twist the tail cap for constant on. The installation of the “clicky” switch solved this problem. I definitely suggest using an aftermarket “clicky” switch or selecting one of Surefire’s other models if you intend to add a SwitchBack.
Thyrm LLC was also smart enough to add a pocket clip to the body of the SwitchBack. This clip makes it very easy to keep the attached light high in a pocket for quick deployment. In civvies, it allowed me to clip the light in my support side pants pocket with no problems. I never once had anyone ask about it. In uniformed use, it clipped perfectly inside my cargo pocket divider on my 5.11 Stryke pants.
The biggest benefit to a non-weapon mounted light is during non-gun situations. Sometimes, 500 lumens of white light may be enough to discourage whatever antisocial behavior had arisen. Other times I may require a more personal non-lethal response. When going “hands-on” the G2X and Thyrm SwitchBack have some added advantages. The G2X features an aluminum head and slightly toothy bezel. In a downward strike it can dissuade an attacker from continuing his hostile actions. When held in the “utility” grip, the SwitchBack places the thumb “bump” directly at the index finger’s middle knuckle. This could provide a focused strike, or even better apply a great deal of force to a pressure point for pain compliance. Thankfully there was not a need to test either of these features during this review.
With a $19.99 purchase price, the Thyrm LLC, SwitchBack offers a lot of value. Even if you do not currently have a light that the SwitchBack will fit, I feel it is worth the expense to purchase one if you routinely carry a non-weaponligth handgun.