Product Review: ThruNite TI4 Flashlight

Advantages: Small size, powerful output, common battery type
Disadvantages: Confusing controls
Rating: Four out of five stars.

I’ve been carrying a SigTac flashlight for a year now, and I like it because it’s bright (enough), small and it takes one AA battery. Yes, this means it isn’t as bright as an equivalent flashlight that uses CR123 batteries, but it also means I can find batteries on the Moon if need be.

However, it’s a thick flashlight, and that thickness is something that I need to deal with when I take other things out of my pockets. Sometimes, it’s not about the gadget itself, but how that gadget plays well with others. Also, I wasn’t really satisfied with the output of the SigTac light, so I started to look around for a slimmer light with a bit more candlepower.

I settled on a Thrunight Ti4 LED light. It’s powerful, easily surpassing the output of the SigTac. It’s also light, slim and becuase it looks like a pen, it doesn’t scream “I have a tactical flashlight on me!” when it’s clipped in my front pants pocket.

2xAAA LED flashlight

If I have one complaint, it’s the controls. The light has four modes: Firefly (very weak), Low (good for navigation), High (good for dazzling someone) and Strobe (good for triggering epiletic seizures). The light starts out in the dimest mode available when turned on and then the other modes are accessed by double-clicking the end cap, twisting the lens barrel or pressing and holding the end cap. It works, but it’s a bit kludgy. I’d much prefer some way to set up the light so that it starts up in my preferred mode every time I turn it on, rather than having to cycle through all the modes to get to the one I want. Also, an “emergency switch” of some sort would be nice to quickly turn on the strobe function when I need to use it stop a potential bad guy from doing me further harm.

Overall, though, for the price, it’s a great light, and definitely an upgrade from the SigTac light I had been carrying or the Streamlight MicroStream I carried before that.

Production note: As an experiment, this post was created entirely on my iPhone 6+ using an iWerks Bluetooth keyboard and the Camera+, Tilt/Shift Generator and Resize Image apps. It took me about twice as long to write than if I’d used a full-size computer, mainly because the layout of the keyboard is slightly different and toggling between browser windows is tougher on a smartphone than it is on a desktop, but I found out I can write a blog post on gear I can fit into my pockets. Cool.

Current Every Day Carry

I’ve made a number of changes to what I carry on a daily basis, so I thought a review is in order.


Clockwise from upper right left:

I carry the belt gear on a Uncle Mike’s tactical instructor’s belt, and I really like it. It’s infinitely adjustable and holds my gear in-place throughout the day. I don’t carry everything I *might* need, I carry the basics of, well, everyday carry. This is bare minimum needed to keep me safe and functioning on a daily basis.

Well that, and coffee.

The rest of the crap I need to live a day on my own I have near me in another bag, and an even bigger bag (and gun) to deal with the really bad stuff.

Your gear?

Gear Review: SOG Instinct Mini Knife

Advantages: Easy to grasp and deploy, scabbard fits almost anywhere
Disadvantages: Small size
Rating: 4 out of 5

I’ve been looking for a good way to carry a self-defense knife for quite some time now. I started out carrying a CRKT Pazoda clipped to my weak-side pocket, switched to a Boker AK-74 and tried out a Kershaw Shuffle, but I never liked any of them as they were either too big and took up too much space in my pocket or too clumsy to deploy quickly.

I normally conceal my pistol with an un-tucked shirt, (Memo to Florida lawmakers: Pass open carry, and soon), so there is plenty of room around my belt line to conceal the gear that I’m already carrying, so it made sense to move my knife up from my support-side pocket to my waistline and use a knife that didn’t require an activation beyond pulling it out of a sheath.

The SOG Mini Instinct is tiny. Not small, tiny. Maybe a little too small for effective use, but I’ll need more experience with it to determine if that’s true or not.


That’s the Instinct Mini compared to the Boker AK-74 it’s replacing, and here’s one of the Mini Instinct versus a Kershaw Shuffle.


Like I said, tiny. The good things about this new knife are its scabbard, which is easily configurable to allow for carry just about anywhere on your person and its small size, making it easy to carry.

The reason I carried a knife in the support side pocket was to help with weapon retention, but carrying it up front makes more sense, as I can access the knife with equal ease with either my left or right hand. So far, the Instinct Mini has been completely inconspicuous on the front of my belt under my shirt, and feels like it’s not there at all, which is all you can ask for in an everyday carry knife.

The body goes where the brain leads

The American Warrior Show is rapidly turning into one of my favorite podcasts. Mike’s stuff tends a little bit more to the tactical side of the equation than where I currently reside, but his interview with Rob Leatham is absolutely a “must listen” to anyone who wants to shoot a pistol fast and accurately, and Mike follows that up with an interview with Joel Jameson on conditioning and exercise for fighting versus other sports.

Money quote:

“If you’re talking about the average person who is just trying to prepare for a combat situation, they don’t need 15 hours a week of fitness training for that. They need a lot more skills training and tactical training as opposed to getting the fitness side of things because a lot of that stuff is the brain becoming accustomed to the environment you’re in. You work out, you do intervals and then you get on the mat and roll for 3 minutes and you feel like you’re out of shape. A lot of that is because your brain is not used to the environment and doesn’t know how to handle the stressful situation.”

There’s a lot of truth there. I used to be WIPED after a four stage match, but know it’s no big deal, but know I find I’m more relaxed and more focused after I shoot a stage.

And yeah, I gotta get to the gym and get in some sort of shape that isn’t round and pear-shaped.

The Unorganized Militia Strikes Again.

The more we learn about this latest outbreak of Sudden Jihadi Syndrome in France, the worse it gets for the authorities, and more for having a dispersed response to a dispersed threat.

“Train staff on board the high speed train which was the scene of a suspected Islamic extremist attack yesterday have been accused of barricading themselves in their staffroom and locking the door, leaving passengers to fend for themselves.”

Which, fortunately, they did, thanks to some off-duty U.S. servicemen.

US airman Spencer Stone, who on board the train during the attack, spotted the 26-year-old Moroccan acting suspiciously and heard him trying to load his weapon in the toilet.

He was travelling with Oregon National Guard member Alek Skarlatos, 22, who was on leave and travelling through Europe at the time after returning from a tour in Afghanistan.

With the help of their friend Anthony Sadler, from Pittsburg, California, and fellow passenger British IT consultant Chris Norman, they managed to wrestle the attacker to the ground, stopping what could have been a deadly terrorist attack.

A U.S. airman spotted someone acting suspiciously and heard him load up an AK in the bathroom, then clobbered him as him tried to shoot up a train.

Ladies and gentlemen, that is the very definition of how situational awareness should work. Kudos to Airman Spencer and all involved, and may the train staff who ran and hid be ridiculed for the cowards they are.

Between this incident and the incident in Philly, conditioning and weapons retention training have now zoomed to the top of training priorities.

Yet Another Flashlight Bleg.

I recently switched my everyday carry flashlight from a Streamlight AAA Microstream to a Sigtac STL-100. I like the extra horsepower that the SigLite puts out compared to the Streamlight, but I know there’s got to be something out there better still.

Here’s what I’m looking for:

  • Candlepower. I want it as bright as I can.
  • AA Battery. This is a must. I don’t like being dependent on batteries that I can’t buy at a convenience store in Buenos Aires.
  • Tail Cap Switch. A must-have.
  • Pocket Clip. Also set up for lens-down carry.
  • Small. Ideally, around 1″ circumference.
  • Inexpensive. Around $30.

Your suggestions?

Games without frontiers

Or, if looks could kill, they probably will.

Matt over at Jerking The Trigger had a good post on how we set our training priorities and how that affects the gaps in said training:

Why do so many shooters emphasize shooting courses and turn up their noses at combatives and first aid training? I suspect most people are more likely to need to know how to use a pressure bandage or throw a punch than to need to draw their handgun in anger over the course of their lives.

Yep. Backup irons become important if you train on a square range in the daytime. Take a night-shooting class, though, and those iron sights mean NOTHING compared to a good weapon light.

Also, think about how competition affects our gear and our training: Maybe one of the reasons why there is very little integrated combatives/firearms training for us civvies is because we haven’t found a way to make a game of it yet. The Greeks figured out 3000 or so years ago that if you make a game of war, you get better at war, and USPSA and IDPA are capitalizing today on what was learned on the slopes of Mt. Olympus long ago.

We’ve yet to apply those same ideas to combatives / firearms training for civilians, and when we do, then the idea that just having a gun won’t be enough will REALLY take off.

Why Carry More Than Just Your Gun?

So you can do more than shoot somebody, that’s why

I’m moving to Alaska from Georgia. Was having dinner with my half brother in Colorado springs, CO. Carrying as usual. Helped an old lady change a flat in the parking lot then as I’m walking to my car I hear someone yelling “help me.” Look down and it’s a younger guy with 2 other people talking to him so I assume he’s drunk and goofing off. Then I hear some slapping noises. Look again and some guy is hitting him with a piece of wire or hose or something about 10 feet long. The guy keeps yelling for help and goes fetal while this guy is nailing him. I’m on top of a hill above them, maybe 10 feet up and 25 feet away. My first instinct was to run down and draw on the guy but I didn’t want to get too close to him so he can hit me with his weapon. Instead, I pulled a flashlight out of my pocket and yelled at him that the police were on their way. As soon as I said that he looked up at me and turned around and ran away. It turned out the 2 guys were arguing over a woman that was with them. End of the story I didn’t draw but used my flashlight to blind a guy instead. I stayed out of range of the guys weapon, but was prepared to draw if he did come towards me up the hill.

Bottom line, having the means to deal with a violent threat but not having to use said means to keep yourself and others safe is a bigger win than if you had to draw a gun and shoot. 

Always carry your gun. And carry other stuff, too. The life you save may not be your own.