The Lone Wolf Timberwolf–No GLOCK Required

Editor's note: I spent a couple of days on the range with the Timberwolf. It ran exceptionally well. I tried everything I could to induce failure, and I couldn't. Even with the AAC can attached.

Editor’s note: I spent a couple of days on the range with the Timberwolf. It ran exceptionally well. I tried everything I could to induce failure, and I couldn’t. Even with the AAC can attached.

Editor’s note: When is a GLOCK not a GLOCK? This isn’t a riddle–or the intro to a joke. But it will require a bit of mental gymnastics to work through. Let’s start with some of the more familiar parallels. Some guns are oddly similar. I’m thinking of firearms like the Ruger LCP and the Kel-Tec P3AT. They’re so similar that there were law suits. And then there are the myriad of off-patent guns like the 1911 that were licensed out, then picked up by everyone. Even the Taurus copies of the Beretta 92 are above board.

And so it is with the Timberwolf. Lone Wolf, the company that makes the component parts of this review gun, is not GLOCK. They’re not building GLOCK pistols. No one in their right-mind would accuse Lone Wolf of trying to steal from GLOCK’s customer base. In fact, you won’t find complete firearms in their catalog (yet). Lone Wolf exists to serve a tiny fraction of GLOCK’s customers.

Lone Wolf makes upgraded GLOCK parts. We’re all aware of GLOCK’s reputation for unfailing quality. No question–the GLOCK has earned its place in history. But GLOCK doesn’t offer a lot of options. Think of how many different ways you can buy an off-the-shelf 1911 these days. Now think of how many options you have from GLOCK.

That’s why Lone Wolf exists. They’ve built their business on providing options. New sights? Different rifling in the barrels. Threaded barrels. New slides, triggers, internals, controls… the only piece missing was the frame itself. Now they’re offering that, too. So you can put together a complete gun, even though it isn’t really advertised. Why would you want to? We’ll get into that below. Let’s just say you won’t be sorry that you did.

Check out what Lone Wolf does for GLOCKS: https://www.lonewolfdist.com/

Buy your own GLOCK and fit it with Lone Wolf mods: /GLOCK

The Lone Wolf Timberwolf isn't striving for aesthetic perfection--more functional perfection.

The Lone Wolf Timberwolf isn’t striving for aesthetic perfection–more functional perfection.

What is the Timberwolf Compact?

The Timberwolf Compact is a GLOCK 19 copy with a few important differences. First let me quote Mas Ayoob “The Timberwolf concept embodies a polymer frame with a straighter grip-to-barrel angle than the GLOCK, which is rather Luger-ish in that respect.” It felt so much like a 1911 that it was like shaking hands with an old friend. It comes with interchangeable grip inserts and a beaver tail molded into the frame (not part of the insert). These design elements allows the beaver tail to extend back protectively over the web of the hand without diminishing the trigger reach. This accommodates those with smallish hands as well as those of us blessed with bear paws.

Most all the parts of a GLOCK 19 will fit this pistol. However, this frame also has a full picatinny rail not found on my GLOCK gen 4. The conventional rifling of the stainless threaded barrel allows use of unjacketed lead bullets, also unlike my GLOCK gen 4. I would be remiss if I did not mention this gun is good looking and ready for concealed carry with a snag-free stainless slide. I did not find a single number or letter on the slide, or even a caliber marking. Thank you for not printing a lawyer notice or billboard on the side of my slide. Over the last several weeks, I have carried this gun concealed, taught a class with this pistol and done range work, both with and without a suppressor attached. I have handed it off to fellow instructors and students alike.

What makes the Timberwolf frame different? It is easy to see in this diagram.

What makes the Timberwolf frame different? It is easy to see in this diagram.

Timberwolf and a GLOCK 19. The GLOCK is wearing black.

Timberwolf and a GLOCK 19. The GLOCK is wearing black.

Side by side, the similarities are obvious. They're supposed to be. It is the subtle differences that make the Lone Wolf special.

Side by side, the similarities are obvious. They’re supposed to be. It is the subtle differences that make the Lone Wolf special.

The Good

The Timberwolf Compact ran for all the shooters and using all ammunition, both factory and remanufactured. It was not sensitive to ammunition, even when running suppressed. Every shooter was able to operate the gun without trigger reach issues or hand biting. All responded that the look and feel of the gun was equally as pleasing as the performance.

The Timberwolf's frame has a slightly different shape which may hinder popper holster fit in some retention holsters, like the Safariland.

The Timberwolf’s frame has a slightly different shape which may hinder popper holster fit in some retention holsters, like the Safariland.

The GLOCK trigger guard is just a touch wider, and has a protrusion on the end that is missing from the Timberwolf.

The GLOCK trigger guard is just a touch wider, and has a protrusion on the end that is missing from the Timberwolf.

One key issue that a prospective buyer should consider in any concealed carry pistol is the holster selection. I was a little concerned that, because the trigger guard is shaped differently than a GLOCK 19, holsters could be an issue. I can report that we tested several holsters with this gun and all but one worked satisfactorily. The Safariland ALS locking system did not like the Timberwolf as it uses the trigger guard to index the locking mechanism. My preferred choice for this pistol was the Cobra from Concealment Solutions. The Cobra provided all day comfort with good retention, and there wasn’t so much size difference that either fit or retention were issues.

The Bad

If you shoot as much as I do, you will develop strong opinions about sights. I have no love for the sights on the Timberwolf. They were BattleHook Tritium Front & Black Rear, a traditional style notch and post. I think the rear sight was the problem. In low light I could not find the front and in daylight they were hard to acquire when drawing from the holster.

The rear sight is really the only point of contention we found. Even without the suppressor height, it wasn't ideal.

The rear sight is really the only point of contention we found with the frame as it was sent by Lone Wolf. We didn’t think through that detail when making our T&E request.

That said, remember that GLOCK sights are begging to be upgraded, and you can put whatever you want up-top.

That said, remember that GLOCK sights are begging to be upgraded, and you can put whatever you want up-top.

What I do not understand is why you would put sights on a suppressor-ready gun that are rendered useless when the can is attached. They did not stand up tall enough to see over the front of the AAC TI Rant. All of the shooters were forced to point shoot. I will note that it is sadly common in the industry to build guns with threaded barrels and standard sights. Common or not, this is wrong! It’s only purpose might be for the “cool-kid look” or to save money. Or to fit a very picky holster. Regardless, if you are building one of these at Lone Wolf, you really have complete control. If you end up with a lousy sights, you can fix the problem very easily.

The front sight is meant for fast acquisition, even in low light.

The front sight is meant for fast acquisition, even in low light.

Low sights are a solid choice for holster carry, but disappear when you put on a can.

Low sights are a solid choice for holster carry, but disappear when you put on a can.

You can see the problem here. Oddly, when shooting like this, the sights are visible--it is the target that disappears down range. Looking down the sights super-imposes an image on the target that allows for modest efficacy, but no real accuracy.

You can see the problem here. Oddly, when shooting like this, the sights are visible–it is the target that disappears down range. Looking down the sights super-imposes an image on the target that allows for modest efficacy, but no real accuracy.

The Facts

I tested the gun with both practice loads and concealed carry loads. The best group I got was 1 inch at 15 yards with Winchester white box. I was forced to work with the gun in monsoon conditions and I think that needing to wring the water out of my socks may have caused some issues. The Hornady Critical Defense produced a group of 1.25 inches. American Eagle seemed to be the least accurate with just over 2 inches at 15 yards.

Data PointLone WolfGLOCK 19
Empty weight with magazine24.724.2
Width front of trigger guard0.5930.601
Back strap to tip of trigger3.0743.277
Width of grip1.1521.173
Depth of grip1.882.252
This is how to think about buying a Timberwolf. Pick and choose what you want until you end up with the exact gun you want.

Pick and choose what you want until you end up with the exact gun you want.

Ordering

Lone Wolf does not sell complete guns. They will sell you an assembled top-end, and they will sell you a fully assembled lower. The total of the tested gun was $815.05. Lone Wolf has a laundry list of awesomeness on its website (https://www.lonewolfdist.com).

The grip on the GLOCK isn't the fattest double stack around, but some still have trouble getting enough finger on the trigger.

The grip on the GLOCK isn’t the fattest double stack around, but some still have trouble getting enough finger on the trigger.

The Timberwolf's grip is reduced, which shortens the length to the trigger and reduces the bulk in the palm of your hand.

The Timberwolf’s grip is slightly reduced, which shortens the length to the trigger and reduces the bulk in the palm of your hand.

The end to a 20 year quest?

I know that some of you are reading this and asking difficult questions. What’s wrong with the GLOCK 19? Why would anyone who wanted a GLOCK 19 not just buy a GLOCK 19? I think the answer lies in the details I’ve listed above: upgraded controls, wider ammo selection, grip angle, fit–even some of the odd finish options Lone Wolf specializes in.

But there’s more to this. For some of us, finding the perfect pistol is nothing less than a quest. Look at what happened with the release of the 43. Rabid GLOCK fans thought the answer had finally come. But I see the GLOCK differently. I want to buy an off-the-shelf GLOCK that is spot-on perfect. But I never have.

In the mid to late 1990’s I began a quest to find the GLOCK-style pistol that was right for me. GLOCK has a problem with my hand, more specifically the web of my hand. I think the term GLOCK Bite was invented just for me. Unwilling to endure the constant rasping off of the top layers of skin on my hand, I gave up on GLOCK.

The GLOCK has the tendency of biting my hand. I have big hands, but even with the beave-rtail, I can't escape it.

The GLOCK has the tendency of biting my hand. I have big hands, but even with the beaver-tail, I can’t escape it.

The Timberwolf frame is just slightly different, yet the frame prevents slide bite.

The Timberwolf frame is just slightly different, yet the frame prevents slide bite.

Over dinner one night in 2000, Mas Ayoob suggested that I send a GLOCK to Robbie Barrkman at Robar and have a grip reduction and a beaver-tail added. Shortly thereafter I took his advice. The work was perfect. This tamed the bite, but it was not an inexpensive treatment. On a visit to Arizona a number of years later, I got the chance to meet Robbie in person and discovered the work he was doing building all-metal CCF Race frames into complete GLOCK-style guns. All I could say was, “Shut up and take my credit card please…I have to have one!” A few months later my new Super-GLOCK-style was in and so was the credit card bill. This gun was a perfect custom GLOCK-style gun for a mere $2K.

Zoom forward a decade and I was teaching with Mas again. He asked me to shoot the Lone Wolf Timberwolf. This began to raise my hopes of finding the perfect GLOCK-style pistol for me at a reasonable price. The gun had just one issue. The slide would lock open on a loaded magazine. Sadly, I returned home where my gun collection still lacked a GLOCK-style gun that would not bite the hand that was feeding it.

The editor for Guns America asked if I would like to do a review on the new Lone Wolf. Ok, let me clarify that a bit. He brought the gun to the range and I refused to give it back. I just knew this could be the gun for me.

I don’t know if I will ever give this gun back. The Timberwolf Compact is what I have been after for the past 20 years. If I keep the gun, I expect the sights to be gone immediately. That is not a big deal as there are legions of replacements, all of which are easy to install. I think reaching out to Heine Specialty Products for a set of suppressor Straight Eight sights is the way to go. Now where did I leave my credit card?

No need to by a stock gun and then upgrade it. Start off with what you want.

No need to by a stock gun and then upgrade it. Start off with what you want.

The Timberwolf's rail is more complete.

The Timberwolf’s rail is more complete.

Here you can see the narrow grip on the Timberwolf.

Here you can see the narrow grip on the Timberwolf.

The rounded over trigger guard next to the concave guard on the GLOCK.

The rounded over trigger guard next to the concave guard on the GLOCK.

Lone Wolf slides have many different serration patterns. This one is tame, but still offers extra options for control.

Lone Wolf slides have many different serration patterns. This one is tame, but still offers extra options for manipulation.

And remember: if you already own a GLOCK, you can swap out parts--piece-by-piece--until you end up with a gun exactyl like this one. And if you save all of the original parts, you will have two guns!

And remember: if you already own a GLOCK, you can swap out parts–piece-by-piece–until you end up with a gun exactyl like this one. And if you save all of the original parts, you will have two guns!

{ 11 comments… add one }
  • JohnMS November 5, 2015, 9:42 pm

    I recently assembled a complete Lone Wolf Timberwolf 19 clone. I’ve tried every combo of parts between glock 19 and TW 19 to find each combo function as it should.

    As a complete TW19, the gun is designed to be tighter and hence more accurate and consistent. Although I would love to think I could expect the same ability to function in dirt and grime like my G19, it’s not realistic to try.

    I’ve owned most every model since early 90s and have come to expect reliability to the end with my Glocks. But like a well tuned 1911 can’t be expected to run with grit and grime, neither should anyone expect a glock design that has had the slop taken out run through anything either.

    Go into this knowing things have been designed to have less free room. This will give you a carry gun that will surpass the accuracy you’ve come to expect from your Glocks. This and the fact it has the frame mods for shorter fingered individuals makes an accurate durable gun I can grip like I’m supposed to.

    No way I’m going to drag this thing through the dirt and rocks to prove it will jam. I suspect it would. Case closed.

    I know once broken in, this TW19 will be an incredible protector of my family. In my holster and with me in normal life will keep it clean and functioning just fine.

  • Jon August 16, 2015, 8:49 pm

    A shooting buddy recently bought a complete Lone Wolf upper and lower Glock cline.

    He shot about 500 rounds of Wolf 9mm and he got some failures to feed and failures to eject. He then rolled it around in AZ desert dirt. It became a Jama-matic.

    It would sure be interesting if others tried to tortue test their Lone Wolf Glock clones to see if theirs function moe like Glocks or more like clones because a 1911 grip angle is worthless if all you have is a handclub.

  • Tommy Barrios August 4, 2015, 4:12 pm

    I just got off the phone with Lone Wolf and I was told that a .45 ACP version will most likely be coming out in late January 2016 😉
    I am saving my ducats in anticipation 😉

  • Jay August 3, 2015, 8:37 am

    Good article and most if not all Glock owners know of Timberwolf! I have always been one who appreciates diversity as no one firearm fits everybody perfectly. That being said, after field testing any Glock I own, I rework the shape of the grip of mine for less than a few dollars each. I realize not everyone would take on such a task but I make mine mimic my 1911s. You can lay the 1911 on top of my glock and they look the same grip wise. Just my preference!

  • Benjamin Vander Jagt August 3, 2015, 7:39 am

    Could this be the beginning of a mass industry of modular modern handguns with parts made by everyone, like the PC industry saw beginning in the 80’s? When Taurus starts making Glock-a-like’s, 3D printable GLowers get uploaded, and Glock stops making guns, then we’ll see. (-:

    Very cool article! Thanks!

  • Destro August 3, 2015, 4:08 am

    The slide was probably locking back because you were riding up on the slide stop. I had this issue particularly with the extended slide stop. Swapping it out for a normal one made a huge difference.

  • roger swiss bianco August 3, 2015, 3:49 am

    i use my g19, g34 and g26 suppressor set up with ameriglo suppressor (tall) sights, they work really well. the variant is the green tritium. they make non tritium ones as well.

  • Will Drider August 1, 2015, 1:24 am

    Re: Sights vs Can
    A single Can can be used on several firearm applications. With the length of most Cans, the owner can make/add redementry sights to the Can. Manufactures should start adding sights on the Can that can be indexed to proper allignment. Think outside the box!

    • Bob Fairlane August 6, 2015, 5:20 pm

      Re add sights to can. Sure! If the can will come back to the same place every time it is attached, put a Tom Knapp stick-on shotgun sight on the can, as far toward the end as possible. It sticks on with 3M tape, and is about $12-15.

  • Zack Carlson July 30, 2015, 10:23 am

    RE: The regular sights with threaded barrels.

    Thanks for the review! Regular sights can easily be perfect on a threaded barrel gun. You seem to be forgetting that it’s not just suppressors that people attach to a threaded barrel. There are compensators, flash hiders, and sometimes people just put a thread protector on it because they just wanted a slightly longer barrel.

    We sell tall suppressor sights and will happily install them on anyone’s build.

    Thanks
    Zack
    LoneWolfDist.com

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