Many of my builds have a choice of Reverse Clicky or Forward Clicky switches.
There is also an Enhanced Forward Clicky and a McClicky Forward Clicky.
Which switch to choose? What's the difference?
Before looking at the difference in switches, you will notice from the photo that I install a copper bypass in the spring. While the steel plated spring has excellent durability, it has poor electrical conductivity. The stock steel spring will increase resistance and reduce output. At 3.8A, the steel spring reduces the output by over 100 lumens. With a direct drive module installed, the output drops almost 200 lumens with the unmodified steel plated spring. The copper bypass will provide a low resistance electrical path and the spring will only be used to keep contact pressure on the battery. I also install a copper cap on the tip of the spring which also enhances the electrical contact with the battery. I install this bypass system to any flashlight running at 2.7A and higher and install it on all of the Solarforce hosts regardless of the power level.
Forward Clicky Switch (tactical style): With forward clicky, you can depress the switch partially and the light will turn on. If you half press it quickly, the flashlight will change modes. The momentary on feature allows you to use the light for short bursts or click it for continuous on. If you want the flashlight to remain on, just press the switch until it clicks. If you want to change modes, you cycle through the modes before pressing the switch a full click. The disadvantage of a forward clicky is, 'if the light is clicked on, you must turn it off to change modes.
NEW! Enhanced Forward Clicky Switch: Lower resistance, lower actuation pressure, higher contact pressure, smoother action, quieter and longer lasting
I've taken my very reliable forward clicky switch to the next level. Before soldering the switch to the switch board, it is completely disassembled and all of the internal parts are cleaned. Next, every internal moving part is lubricated with Krytox. This lubrication will make the switch last much longer and it will also operate much more quietly. The 'lube job' also makes the switch much easier to actuate. I also increase the length of the main spring -this creates extra pressure on the contacts for lower electrical resistance. This extra spring force offsets some of the reduced actuation pressure, but the net effect is a switch with less actuation pressure and greater contact pressure. To further reduce resistance, I clean the contacts and treat them with a very light coat of Copper Contact grease. Not only does the Copper Contact grease initially lower resistance, but it protects the contacts for any future oxidation.
McClicky Switch: The McClicky switch is a highly regarded forward clicky switch. It has a very quiet, short stroke and is fairly sensitive. Typically, the McClicky does not install properly in a Solarforce host because the Solarforce internal tail cap threads do not go very deep into the tail cap. To install a McClicky switch in a Solarforce host, I remove about 1/2 of the threads on the McGizmo retaining ring. I also create a special aluminum spacer for the switch and install a switch boot with an internal nipple. This allows the McClicky to sit the same depth as a Solarforce switch. To finish up, I add a spring bypass and cap to the McClicky spring.
Reverse Clicky Switch: Reverse clicky switches must be clicked on before you can change modes. The flashlight does not turn on until the switch clicks. To change the mode with a reverse clicky -turn the light on with a full click -then to change modes, a half press while the switch is clicked on and you will advance to the next mode. With reverse clicky switches, you do not have the momentary on feature...it's just clicked on or clicked off,
NEW! Illuminated Reverse Clicky Switch:
Many PFlexPRO Convoy flashlights are available with an Illuminated Reverse Clicky switch installed. The brightness of the tail cap is very low, but it stands out very well when looking for the flashlight in the dark. A clear switch boot has been installed to allow the tail switch emitters to show through. If your eyes are 'dark acclimated', you can use the tail cap to read something if it's held very close.
The output level of the tail cap has been adjusted to this low level for 2 reasons:
1. I don't want the current draw from the switch to change the operation of the flashlight. If the output level is too high, it will cause the light to lose it's memory function.
2. I want the discharge of the battery due to the illuminated tail cap to be measured in years... not months.
PFlexPRO uses Fast Off-Time Memory. The way this works: when the
light is on, it's always waiting for the next command (half press or
click) to change modes. It doesn't 'remember the last mode until the
light is turned off for at least 1/2 second. Fast Off-Time Memory works equally well with either forward or reverse clicky switches.
My Recommendation: I like reverse clicky with the smaller flashlights (Convoy S2 18350 and Solarforce L2M mini). These smaller flashlights do not provide the proper grip to comfortably use the momentary on feature.
For Solarforce L2P/L2T, Convoy M1/M2 and C8, I like the forward clicky better.