Archive for the ‘Personal Defense’ Category

Switchback – Thyrm

Posted: July 25, 2014 in Personal Defense


While I stray away from equipment and gear reviews, every so often a product comes out that is actually worth talking about. While I’ve carried, bought, used, tested, broken and discarded hundreds of dollars of gear over the years, once in a great while I come across piece of kit that works, is simple, and actually meets the definition of tactical. This time around it came in the form of a flashlight accessory.

I’m talking about the Thyrm Switchback. Developed with Chris Costa from Costa Ludus, this accessory attaches to the tail cap of a Surefire or similar flashlight and allows you to have and operate a light source while keeping two hands on your firearm. By placing the index finger of your support hand through the loop and then establishing a two handed grip on your handgun, the pressure switch on the tail cap rests against the third knuckle of your middle finger. Using your support hand thumb you push against the tab applying forward pressure, which drives the pressure switch into your knuckle and activates the light. (See Thyrm’s photo for visual reference)


With a quick spin around your finger, you can now grip the barrel of the flashlight and shine the light in different directions without having to cover everything with the muzzle of your gun. Probably the best way to apply the Switchback is in conjunction with a weapon mounted light. The fixed light on your weapon will give you target ID and the switchback will give you an additional source of light that you can search with as you move without risk of covering something or someone you love with the weapon muzzle.


The last feature I found was probably not intentional when it was designed, but the little tab that protrudes from the loop also makes an excellent point you can use to strike with, or use in conjunction with a control hold to apply acute pain to a pressure point. Having your finger through the loop gives you a good grip and will assist in using your light as a kubaton or yawara self-defense device.

The other great thing about the Switchback is that very minimal training was required to be proficient with it. With only two trips to the range for live fire practice and a couple hours of dry practice, I found myself very proficient at accessing the Switchback from my pocket, establishing a good grip on my handgun, and controlling the light with simple thumb pressure.

Unlike the Ayoob, Chapman, Surefire, FBI or Harries techniques, the Switchback from Thyrm goes right to work and requires very minimal conscious manipulation to become proficient. If you have ever tried any of the aforementioned techniques, then you know how much time and training it takes to become good at them.

The last and most important thing is that the Thyrm Switchback is an excellent value. It is not an overpriced accessory and can be had from their website for around $25. I highly recommend this product if you carry a firearm on a daily basis. If you are carrying a handgun, you should be carrying a light source… and that light source should have a Switchback attached to it.

Until next time, be safe – Train hard and Never give up!

Scott S
One Weapon, Any Tool

Bob Mayne from the Handgunworld Podcast and Suarez International is coming to California on October 18th! Join us for his Beyond Concealed Carry course at the San Joaquin Rifle & Pistol Range in Linden California. To register go to:


Personal Protection – Beyond the waistline

When talking about self-defense and personal protection, an awful lot of attention is devoted to the waist line. Let’s face it, that’s where we carry the most important tool in our arsenal. Be it appendix carry, inside or outside the waistband, with a sturdy belt and spare magazines, the waistline plays a major role in our day to day safety. Sometimes however we count on our hips too much when we should be focusing on our body overall.

Since we are at the waistline, we’ll start there and then move on. If you have a large waistline, especially an ever expanding one, you need to focus on fitness. General fitness is a huge factor in surviving a dangerous and potentially lethal encounter. Not everyone needs to bench 300 and compete in a marathon, but everyone who is serious about their safety should be able to run a reasonable distance to safety. You should be able to fight off a physical attack without becoming so exhausted you collapse and become a victim anyway because you can’t protect yourself or flee. When you are under critical stress and your heart rate hits north of 175, being in good shape can be the difference between victory or victimization. So if your tactical pants are size 54… you might want to consider starting a fitness regime.

Since we’ve also wandered into the topic of attire, you should also take a few moments and consider what you are wearing. I do not endorse the wearing of your favorite brand of tactical clothing everywhere. You want to dress in such a way that you tend to blend in with those around you. While walking around dressed like a 5.11 billboard may provide you with a convenient place to carry your flashlight, and spare magazines, certain brands can identify you as someone likely to carry a firearm. This is particularly true if you are in law enforcement. I have sat in a restaurant on numerous occasions and seen tactically attired individuals come in. They stick out and that is the last thing you want to do.

Dress in neutral colors and serviceable attire. Do your best to blend in with the crowd around you so if there is an unexpected assault, you will not be singled out and that provides you with the advantage of surprise. If there is a group and you need to slip away to avoid a conflict, it will be much easier to fade into the scenery.

You can be quite stylish and still be tactically prepared. Make sure your covering garments are easy enough to manipulate to allow a quick draw stroke, but loose and comfortable enough to completely conceal your handgun. Every time I go clothes shopping and try on an outfit, I twist at the waist, raise my arms over my head, and bend to see how well the shirt hides my handgun. Considering I carry a full size P226 most of the time, finding a good covering shirt is sometimes difficult. Don’t be tempted to upsize either. Buying an overly large shirt to help you hide your
handgun can also make you stick out or draw attention to you.

Even logos like the 5.11 tabs and shirts with large firearms logos or manufacturer’s advertisements may also draw negative attention to you. Be wary of advertising your favorite handgun brand, someone may realize that you are doing more than advertising.

If you normally wear a large but walk around in a XXL to hide your gun, you’re going to look out of place and look like you are hiding something. One of the ways police train to recognize gang members who are carrying weapons is oversized clothing, or clothing that is in appropriate for the weather. A guy wearing a hooded sweatshirt or a puffy jacket on a summer day is a dead giveaway… they are trying to hide something.

You may also get tangled when drawing from concealment. Trying to manipulate the excessive fabric under stress, will slow your draw speed or cause a malfunction. Also, if you need to clear out of an area, you do not want a large wind sail slowing you down or getting snagged on protruding items you may pass by. Loose and large clothing is also easy for an attacker to grab on to, and will entangled you during an altercation. There is a reason MMA fighters don’t wear baggy pants and T-shirts when training.

Wear good serviceable shoes that will stay with you when you need to make your escape or stand and fight your way out. While hot weather may make sandals comfortable, how fast can your run in flip flops? I do know a few martial artists that prefer flip flops because they can be easily discarded for kicking, but unless you train to a competent level of street fighting, I recommend rubber soled and lightly cushioned footwear. You want shoes that will allow you to run a reasonable distance, maintain good traction on a variety of surfaces and stay with you as you move. Don’t fool yourself and think you can run barefoot. Unless you train and toughen up your feet, you will not be able to move far or fast without good footwear.

Concealed carry and personal protection is a lifestyle. Taking on the responsibility of protecting yourself and others sometimes means giving up a little bit of comfort and sacrificing the latest fashion trends that expose your firearm or interfere with your defensive capabilities.

Go and test your gear. Take your (unloaded) handgun and daily carry items and clothes and go for a sprint around your block. I said a sprint, not a jog, because you will not be lightly jogging if you need to get away from a lethal threat. After your run assess your equipment. Is your handgun still secure in the holster? Do your feet hurt from poor support? Are you on the verge of collapse due to your lack of fitness? After your fast run, do some dry fire practice and try a couple of magazine changes when your heart rate is elevated. You need to also have an understanding of your ability to perform in less than ideal conditions. (Please observe safety protocols for dry fire training). Another good method is to don your EDC clothes and gear and go head to head with a heavy bag for a solid, fast paced minute. Then reassess the above considerations.

As always, be safe, and train hard. If you want to assess your skills and abilities you can always contact One Weapon Any Tool for some personal defense training.

Scott S

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Bob Mayne from Suarez International and the Handgunworld Podcast is coming to California on October 18th! Go to and register today for Beyond Concealed Carry.