“Perfection” is a strong marketing slogan, but it hasn’t stopped dozens of companies from manufacturing aftermarket replacement parts in the quest to upgrade the perfection that is GLOCK pistols. One of the oldest and largest players in this game is Lone Wolf Distributing, best known perhaps for its caliber conversion and extended length barrels. But they make a lot more than that. In fact, with the recent release of Lone Wolf’s locking blocks for compact and full-size frames, the company now makes or sells a replacement option for every single part that comprises a GLOCK. Including the frame. So, can you build a “GLOCK” with zero factory GLOCK parts whatsoever? Why yes. Yes you can. . .
Originally I was planning on hitting up Lone Wolf and trying to borrow or buy a bag full of all of the parts needed to assemble a 0% GLOCK GLOCK, but they had a different suggestion. Apparently sometime in late 2014, Lone Wolf manufactured 45 complete pistols, deemed the “Limited Edition 2014” series, but for some reason never marketed them or even offered them for sale. Well, now they’re up for grabs.
The Limited Edition 2014s were made entirely of aftermarket parts with the exception of the locking blocks. But now that LW is making its own, those can be swapped out to achieve the true zero-GLOCK GLOCK that I was looking for. The pistols are a mix of full-size and compact frame models in 9mm and .40 S&W. I’m not sure of the exact breakdown, but within those 45 guns are models similar to the 19, 23, 17, 22, 34 like my loaner pistol, 35, and some 17Ls and 24s as well.
Since my whole goal was to make a “GLOCK” without using so much as a single, factory part, I also picked up two Magpul PMAG 17 GL9 magazines. So far I’m a big fan of them, as they’re even lighter than factory GLOCK mags, they’re better at dropping free (including from a G17 or G19), and they take down much more easily. They’re made from a strong polymer that, simply from looking at it, is obviously quite heavy on fiber reinforcement content.
All of these pistols are built, of course, on top of a Timberwolf compact or full-size frame. Existing reviews on these frames are a bit of a mixed bag, as apparently the first gen wasn’t entirely consistent. I believe — mostly based on unconfirmed industry scuttlebutt — Lone Wolf stopped sales for a while to accomplish a retooling and a polymer reformulating to make it stiffer and stronger. At any rate, the frame I received is awesome.
This full-size Timberwolf frame is a huge ergonomic improvement over a GLOCK frame in every way. Of course, that isn’t saying a whole lot so I’ll say that compared to any pistol on the market, this frame easily holds its own. Grip size and grip angle are adjustable through easily-swappable backstraps.
Aggressive texturing provides a secure, yet comfortable grip. The trigger guard is heavily undercut and the high, flat beavertail allows for an extremely high grip. A decent magazine well (an oversized funnel is available, too) facilitates quick and easy mag insertion, and empty magazines drop freely from the frame upon activation of the large mag release button.
As each and every one of these Lone Wolf parts is a direct, factory replacement, a bare Timberwolf frame can be filled with GLOCK parts and topped with a GLOCK slide, or built up into an all-aftermarket beast like this Limited Edition example.
These Limited Editions come with factory GLOCK triggers and trigger bars (w/ 3.5 lb connector), but Lone Wolf’s UAT, or Ultimate Adjustable Trigger, is an optional upgrade that my example has. The shoe is a rounded, aluminum affair with a safety blade that actually depresses until it’s flush, which makes it nice on the ol’ trigger finger. It’s adjustable for both pre- and over-travel, and different combinations of connectors and springs can change pull weight.
I didn’t tinker with this one as it felt very nice right out of the Limited Edition’s Lone Wolf carrying case, although I played with it just now and was able to remove 95% of the bit of takeup that was still in it without risking a reliable reset. There’s only a touch of smooth creep before a clean and crisp break, and then the reset stroke is smooth and the reset is solid — both audible and nicely tactile. It’s much shorter, cleaner, and crisper than a factory GLOCK trigger. But don’t take my word for it! Let’s compare the TriggerScan result against that of a factory GLOCK:
As you can see, the UAT has a much shorter total travel distance and less overtravel. And this was measured before I bothered to tune out nearly all of that take-up (the first “plateau” out to about 0.1″ when creep officially begins to kick in). Obviously there’s a big difference in pull weight as well, with the UAT coming in at about 4.2 lbs and my factory G20SF measuring just over 7 lbs.
Ultimately, it isn’t a spectacular trigger but it’s a huge improvement over a factory GLOCK and it’s also way above average when compared to most striker-fired pistols.
The Slide and Barrel
Slides and barrels have been Lone Wolf’s moneymakers for years, and they’re quite nice. Machining, fit, and finish are all very clean and lockup is solid. For the Limited Edition guns, both slide and barrel are nitrided black.
Everything else inside of the slide — striker, springs, extractor, plungers, captive recoil spring with stainless guide rod, and slide plate — is Lone Wolf. Sights on my example are tall night sights from Trijicon made to clear a suppressor. Lone Wolf also loaned me a G34-length threaded barrel, and I did most of my wonderfully ear pro-free shooting with the Liberty Mystic attached to it.
On The Range
Combine an ergonomic grip with a really low bore axis, a fairly good trigger, and great sights, and I’m going to be a happy shooter. I started off by plugging steel at 15 yards, and then swung downrange to knock a Corona bucket and a 6″x6″ cardboard box off a stump at 70 yards with only two misses. That’s beyond my normal pistol shooting capability, but these sights are crisp and dead-on and the barrel proved highly accurate.
Overall it balances and shoots like a GLOCK and it looks basically the same from behind, but the grip feels better. I definitely haven’t shot enough rounds — it would take thousands — to say whether or not this pistol is as reliable as a GLOCK-brand GLOCK, but it ran fine and at this point I’d happily rely on it for competition and target shooting.
It looks like a GLOCK, it quacks like a GLOCK, but it ain’t a GLOCK! Well, it kind of is, even if it doesn’t use one single GLOCK-brand part. The Lone Wolf Limited Edition 2014 is a more refined and finer tuned pistol, which I’d expect would please anyone who enjoys a polymer-framed gun…possibly even a dyed-in-the-wool GLOCK fan. It’s a great shooter.
Specifications: Lone Wolf Limited Edition 2014 (as tested, G34-esque example)
Standard Capacity: 17+1
Barrel Length: 5.31″
Overall Length: 8.5″
Weight (no magazine): 24.41 oz
MSRP: $850 (all 9mms are $850, and all .40 S&Ws are $950 and come with a 9mm conversion barrel and guide rod)
Ratings (Out of Five Stars):
Accuracy: * * * * *
Highly accurate. Many people purchase Lone Wolf barrels to improve on factory GLOCK accuracy (and to allow the use of non-jacketed bullets), and there were no disappointments here.
Ergonomics: * * * * 1/2
Really solid. I’d give it 5 stars if I hadn’t shot the PPQ and VP9 and Strike One, which are really all more or less at the pinnacle of the ergos game, but the Timberwolf frame doesn’t lag by much. Considering GLOCK compatibility is forced into the product, it might be fair to say that it’s an even more impressive feature than starting from scratch and coming up with a 5-star rating.
Reliability: * * * *
It’s a little tighter than a factory GLOCK, and one of my Magpul magazines caused a hangup a few times — the slide didn’t want to drop after a new, full mag was inserted — that hasn’t happened to me in a factory GLOCK. Granted, it isn’t completely fair to ding the mags or the gun for this, as Magpul mags weren’t made for this setup and this setup wasn’t made for Magpul mags, but it does prove that a 0% GLOCK GLOCK isn’t exactly, 100% mechanically identical to a GLOCK GLOCK.
Trigger: * * * *
Really good for a striker-fired gun. Well above average. And adjustable.
Customization: * * * * *
It may share no factory parts with a GLOCK — although it could if you wanted it to — but it can still share any of the aftermarket parts and most of the holsters. This leaves your customizing options as open as any firearm on the market.
Overall: * * * *
It’s a sleeker, more precise, refined, and easier-to-shoot GLOCK. Of course, those improvements will run you a few hundred bucks more than Gaston’s finest.