Gear review: Thyrm Switchback flashlight ring


This was published last week on


Several months ago I heard of a new product called the Switchback, from a company called Thyrm. The Switchback is a pretty cool concept: it’s a tactical flashlight accessory that lets you transition from holding the flashlight in your off hand in search mode, to holding your weapon in an almost-two-handed grip with the light illuminating your target.


I say “almost two handed” because your offhand thumb and forefinger are busy with the light, leaving only three fingers to assist with stability. Even without a full two-handed grip, it’s designed to be far more stable than any other method of firing with a flashlight (other than using a weapon-mounted light, of course).

To search, you hold it like this:


To shoot, you switch to this:


Simple, right? I thought so too. Then I tried it. I found out it is a great concept, but it’s not simple. There’s a formula to make it work right.

The first time I handled the Switchback, it seemed easy to use. Offhand trigger finger goes through the loop, offhand thumb presses against the projection at top of loop which presses power button against offhand middle finger and activates light. I practiced the grip many times at home, and it always worked fine.

So in June, I tried it out at a Graham Combat class. I was firing a Beretta Nano and had two sizes of Surefire lights, a Fury and a smaller Backup, with Switchback attachments. The power button on the Backup is momentary-only, meaning it can’t be left on, but the Fury can be operated in momentary or standard mode. I used both in momentary.


We were shooting at night, from behind vehicles. The positions were a little awkward, and the targets were about fifty meters away. That sounds far for a Beretta Nano, but it’s not. This sounds crazy, but earlier in the day Graham had walked us back from ten meters all the way to 130, and had us shoot steel silhouettes every ten meters. I made a first round hit with the Nano at 130 meters (and I sure as hell wasn’t going to tempt fate by firing a second shot). So I knew I could hit a target at 50 meters, no problem.

I lined up on the target with the Backup. The grip felt awkward as hell and I had trouble keeping the light oriented on the target, but I got the light in the right area, and squeezed the trigger.

I missed. And the light turned off. And the friggin’ thing hurt.

I kept trying. Same results, every time. I couldn’t keep the light on, couldn’t hit anything, and the damn thing hurt more with every shot. I switched to the Fury, tried different positions behind cover, and eventually tried just standing in the open to eliminate the unorthodox shooting stances. Nothing worked.

I was a little down, but figured I had the deck stacked against the Switchback that night. Fifty meters isn’t impossible but isn’t close, and it’s not very likely I’d use the Switchback or defensive pistol at that range. I was mostly shooting from unusual and uncomfortable positions behind cover, and the Nano has an unusual trigger guard slope, which may have affected my grip; on top of that I was tired from shooting all day and I was whiny, emotional and retaining water. Something must have gone wrong and messed up my Switchback experience; I mean, smart guys had designed it, and experienced guys were fans of it. So it had to be me.

I took it to a square range the next month to give it another try, this time with a Glock 27. I did my best, I swear. But I still couldn’t make it work.

Now I was depressed. I really liked the Switchback concept and wanted it to work, but it just wasn’t happening. I thought about writing a review then, but decided to hold off. Maybe something would change, the heavens would open and drop the secret to the Switchback on me.

As it turned out, the answer didn’t come from the heavens. It came from the almighty Glock.

Switchback with a Glock 42, recoiling after a shot. Note that the light is still on.

Switchback with a Glock 42, recoiling after a shot. Note that the light is still on.

Read the rest at

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Chris Hernandez is a 20 year police officer, former Marine and currently serving National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for and Iron Mike magazine and has published two military fiction novels, Proof of Our Resolve and Line in the Valley, through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at or on his Facebook page (

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