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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Point||Lone Wolf||GLOCK 19|
|Empty weight with magazine||24.7||24.2|
|Width front of trigger guard||0.593||0.601|
|Back strap to tip of trigger||3.074||3.277|
|Width of grip||1.152||1.173|
|Depth of grip||1.88||2.252|
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 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.
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?