I'm not sure why my post is the one Bzaz has singled out and while it bothers me to reply knowing that nothing I say will penetrate I feel like I should for the others reading this thread. The first bit looks harsh. I will agree with that. I've never used that kind of bit so I can't say much about it, other than I would hope those using it are familiar with it and use it softly. The second is a might confusing to me as it resembles a little s hack but the shanks are straight so I can't tell if it is a hack, or if it's designed as a really weird chain mouth. I would have to see it person to comment. The third bit posted is not harsh by any means. It's a very mobile double jointed bit. It has a twist but the twist is gentle being smooth and rounded. It's not a bit I would seek out, all in all though not an inherently harsh bit. The twisted d ring looks well balanced and appears to have a curve to the mouth piece, as well as having smooth rounded edges. While I don't like single jointed bits my horse does, so I'm sure there are other horses out there who do. Not a bit that I would reach for, as I prefer loose ring snaffle but not a bad bit. Maybe it's the twist that is what is supposedly harsh. Twisted bits are training tools. They are not meant for everyday riding, but for tune ups and training. I have some. I use them when needed. If that makes me a bad horseman to some people, I can live with that. I have a few reasons for disliking the tom thumb. For one, it's so often called a shanked snaffle and it's not, as there is no such thing. It's either a shanked bit or a snaffle. Calling it a shanked snaffle makes it sound gentle, so beginners are drawn to it. It's so poorly designed it can't be gentle. It's a misleading and overused piece of crap. Have I used them in the past? Yup. I've worked for guide outfits and dude ranches. They are popular there because the are cheap. I've used them when I've had to. I don't chose to. There are many better options out there, I'll stick with the handmade, quality bits I've been collecting over the years.