“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.
Yeah, at twice the price, I’d rather just buy two glocks..
I mean that’s the thing, right? The LW is undeniably a more comfortable, more refined, nicer-to-shoot, almost certainly more accurate “Glock,” but for the crowd that’s looking for a tool then the actual Glock looks like a better value. If you’re looking for something to enjoy on the range or in competition, etc etc, the LW is a nicer gun to shoot for sure, without question. If this and a Glock were sitting on a table, the ergos and trigger would be enough to get me to choose the LW to go shoot with every single time. At least when my life isn’t on the line…If they’re both on a table and zombies are coming out of the woods, I might go with Gaston’s version as it’s more of a known quantity to me.
BTW I managed to get the MSRP incorrect. It’s $850 for the 9mms and $950 for the .40s (which come w/ an extra barrel & guide rod). So like 55% more than a Glock, which is definitely a lot more but sure isn’t twice the price.
The other thing to think about is that you can build a custom gun without having a pile of fiddly bits left over that you will just throw away. I just built a stainless 17L that cost me ~$900 which is significantly less than what you would spend if you bought a stock 17L and upgraded it to the same performance level.
Very nice job on the review, appreciate the honest pros and cons.
Any idea how licensing works on this sort of thing? Does an after-market parts house have to pay Glock to make a compatible (insert part name here)?
How about a whole gun? Just curious.
$975 HA! neat concept though.
$850, I had the price wrong.
Yawn – Gluck
I have some naive questions. How does this get around IP law? I vaguely remember hearing stories of Glock’s ruthless litigious nature. Do the patents only protected the frame (which is at least aesthetically different)? I use Lone Wolf parts in my Glock and really like their products (awful customer interaction aside) so this isn’t a “they shouldn’t be able to do this.” More power to them, but I’m sure Glock doesn’t like that they do this, though, and I’m wondering how they’ve avoided lawsuits. Anyone know?
I’m not sure Glock’s patents from the early 80’s are still enforceable. Protections may have expired by now. Otherwise I would have said it’s probably legal to make nearly any aftermarket, replacement part, but assembling them all together into a functioning firearm that operates with identical mechanics would seem like a patent issue, sure.
Assuming that most of Glock’s patents were filed on their first gun, the G17, they would have been filed in the early 1980s, so they should have expired years ago. Most of Glock’s “innovations” since then have been just refinements of the same basic design, so they probably haven’t got many patents still active.
Most, if not all of the earlier Glock patents are probably long expired. At the time, US utility patent term was 17 years(and design patent term 13 years) from issue. Since, we have gone to 20 years since priority date, but that was more than 20 years ago. Glock may have an 80s vintage patent or two still hanging in there, but eve that is highly problematic.
That could be the reason why LW didnt sell the special editions fully assembled. Selling aftermarket parts is ok, but selling the whole thing might run into the patent problems.
That is one fugly looking pistol.
It’s dog-ass ugly, for sure. And yet, it’s somehow still better-looking than the equivalent Glock.
Its like a Hi-Point and a Glock had an illegitimate child and beat it with an ugly stick. (Opinions will vary, but not on this I hope).
If that follows though it could be the most reliable handgun of all time.
Of course I could, with a little effort, pick up two decent used Glocks and a Hi-point (or maybe two) for the same price.
@Mack Bolan: That was my first thought as well. What an ugly pistol. My Beretta and my SCCY are both nicer looking than that Frankenstein monster. Could almost buy 3 SCCY pistols for that price. Guessing that for self protection use the end result would be about the same. Both go bang when the trigger is pulled and both are accurate enough for self defense purposes.
Made by Dvorak.
And here I thought they just made keyboards!
Is the info from the TriggerScan valuable to you? As in, if every firearm review through my hands had TS data & graph, would that make them better? It’s on loan right now and a review of the unit itself will be forthcoming (plus it’s going to be crucial for the AR-15 drop-in trigger shootout that’s coming soon), but if I want to keep it it’s $$$$$. I know it’s worth that money for a manufacturer, a good gunsmith, etc, but I don’t know if it will add enough value to reviews to make it worth a few grand… (the value is likely in the ability to compare one gun to another… I intend to scan a VP9 and a PPQ to try and put the “best striker-fired trigger” argument to rest haha)
I would gladly pay twice as much for one of your reviews with the TriggerScan info as one without it… 🙂
A bargain at twice the price!
Will you include the $30ish slide fire 3.5 lb trigger in the Ar review?
It’s the only “drop in” self contained trigger group I currently use. Id like to see how it stands up with your others if possible. So far, for the price, it’s the only thing slide fire has that’s actually worth the asking price. Well, aside from the “.22recoil enhancer”. Heheh.
Can you link me to it? I only know of their $179 drop-in trigger that is clearly a CMC trigger white labeled for Slide Fire…
Agreed! I like the trigger scan data enough I might actually turn my adblocker off when I browse the site…at least on my home PC…
Yes! I really like the Trigger Scan data. Though it cannot replace actual tactile feel of the trigger in the reviewers opinion, it is another wonderful tool to help show the facts on a gun.
+1 on TriggerScan. A graph is much more descriptive to me than marketing terms or visual poetry. Not that I don’t enjoy strained attempts to describe triggers with fresh-sounding metaphors.
I am looking forward to the trigger shootout. I’d also like to see a comparison of Tavor triggers, since the stock trigger was a major sticking point with the original design. A comparison of stock vs. stock-with-spring-removed vs. Geissele vs. Timney vs. ShootingSight would make a good article. Another good article would be a comparison of various bullpup triggers.
I love the idea that I can get things to make a gun my own. I own several conversion barrels from Lone Wolf and love what they offer.
With all that said, Lone Wolf makes some of the ugliest and cheapest looking parts and pieces I have ever seen. I would highly recommend they hire a few designers and not let the shop guys control the look and feel of the brand.
With Glock as the baseline you can upgrade quite a bit and still look ugly and cheap 😉 . No but seriously, they are exact factory replacement parts so they must be a dimensional match, which would seriously limit any sort of unique design / look / feel. I do hear people say that their logo looks childish or “cheap” fairly often, though, which could then color perception of the product.
How do you feel about the locking block (seen in the cell phone photo just under the embedded video review)? It’s flawlessly machined from a billet of stainless steel and looks worlds better than the factory Glock piece, which is MIM (metal injection molded).
Internals are great. My conversion barrels are nearly perfect. It is the external look of just about every piece they make on their own that looks cheap or just plain ugly. And yes the logo looks amateurish. They clearly pay someone to produce their brochure and Web site. I might start with a new company for that and then move to back plates, slide logos and so on. This is not meant as a personal attack. Just constructive criticism.
I recently bought a 9mm and 357 SIG LWD barrels for a new G3 G22. Neither barrel has the LWD logo/bilboard/bumper sticker on them, unlike my ca. 2006 9mm G33 conversion barrel.
can i buy just enough to fit a mech- tech upper?
Yeah, they sell just the frames: http://www.lonewolfdist.com/Products.aspx?CAT=3168 …if you aren’t scavenging parts out of a Glock frame you’ll need to purchase more than just the bare frame, though, like the “completion kits” they have on the same page and a trigger and whatever else. But it would be a cool way to turn a MechTech into a permanent firearm without having to sacrifice a pistol to do so. You can also typically find factory Glock frames (just the frame, no slide) on GunBroker and such, but the nicer grip of the TW frame would be cool on a MT upper.
…I’m sure most anyone reading comments here already knows this, but keep in mind that the frame is the serialized “firearm” as per the gov, so even if you’re just buying a totally stripped TW frame (or Glock frame) it still has to go through an FFL…
ah. so no wolf tech ghost carbines then. count me among those few that thought the article suggested unserialized parts.
still, a way towards a short nine without scavenging a complete pistol.
not that one less glock in the world would bother me.
Haha no, no ghost carbines. A Glock frame — most pistols’ frames — is the same as an AR lower receiver… doesn’t matter what brand it is or whether it’s stripped or assembled or a replacement for something you already have or what, the lower is the serialized part and it’s treated as a firearm by big bro 😉
If more companies did this and the price came down, this would be an interesting story. Glock is a good pistol and revolutionized the way they look and hold ammo flush (not hi cap if it fits flush imo)
We all love the AR format because we can build our own. But not many people will brag about building a $2500 “foal brand” M4.
At this price point, Id rather just upgrade to a new XDM than pay twice the price for a Home build glock.
Or Just buy the parts and build a couple “100% glock glock’s” and make the wife happy too..
To be fair… For $2500, you’re probably building a top shelf Mk18 or Mk12 and for only a little more than a stock KAC AR.
What do you mean by “revolutionized the way they hold ammo flush”? There are several double-stack nines that predate the Glock 17, and have similar capacity. Or am I misunderstanding what you’re saying?
Like any other typical glock, it jammed, failure to feed and so forth. You limp wrist it a bit there?
No, there was no jam and definitely no limp wristing. It failed to close on a newly inserted magazine.
My wrists are as floppy as overcooked noodles.
“Glock Perfection ” is one of the greatest marketing slogans ever invented. Glocks are so perfect that you can improve on just about any factory component. Glocks are durable, reliable and accurate. It’s like buying the Big Mac of guns but that’s not a great marketing slogan.
If you take a stock glock, send the frame off to have the grip cut and all the other mods that the LWD give your in a complete package it’s hard to beat. From my own experience I do prefer some of the stock internal parts over the Lone Wolf items. I am highly interested in trying their locking block and trigger. The reason I don’t see a tom of guys going to them like the 2011 grip frames out there is because of the shooting sport divisions. Using these custom parts/frame/slides takes you out of the “stock” divisions in most shooting sports.
so for $30 more I can get an SP01 Shadow…
Some people prefer polymer and prefer strikers. They’re wrong, of course, but it’s still true 😉
It’s precious that you call them “people”.
Those are people generally that have no experience with other pistol designs. I was one of them not that long ago. I bought all the selling points on plastic guns hook line and sinker. Then i experienced the magic of single action hammer fired guns, then the 75 variant.
I’ve personally converted several people from the Cult of Glock to hammer fired platforms in the past 6 months. The story is always the same, they thought they knew what they liked until they picked up another platform.
If you can build a Glock without a glock part then is there any need for glock?
There is no spoon.
Great review Jeremy. You mentioned you would update review with results of shooting the OEM mags.
Were those jams from the PMAGs, ammo, or just random limp wristing?
Yeah it was annotated at the very end of the video, I think, but I couldn’t reproduce the issue with factory GLOCK mags. Definitely not limp wristing, as the issue was inserting a new, loaded magazine after the slide locked back on empty and not being able to drop the slide. I’m not sure how one of those pmags was managing to keep the slide locked back, but it did it some of the time.
PS if the limited edition G23 40/9 came with the Lone Wolk UAT trigger, it would be worth the money.
PS2 definitely continue the TriggerScan data. Subjective reviews are fine but what I like about TTAG is you go beyond the typical online reviews and give more detail, where you can.
No 10mm? Ghey…
Still trying to find something that’s double-stack 10mm and not a Glock…
Lone Wolf does tons of 10mm stuff, but the big glock calibers (.45 and 10) require different frames and that would be a huge investment. There are other options out there for high capacity 10mms like EAA/Tanfoglio and a few 2011s. I actually have a Rock Island Armory 2011 (holds 15 or 16 rounds…forget which) in 10mm here right now. But… The glock 10mms are damn good guns. A G20sf is my woods carry gun with a Lone Wolf 6.6″ barrel and 21 or so pound recoil spring & guide.
i’m waiting until they make their 10mm upper and order it with the 10mm, .40 S&W & 9mm barrels with the latter being extended and threaded for a suppressor. Maybe I’ll even throw in a .357 SIG and a multi caliber suppressor. It will be my End of Days EDC. Now that I think about it, a very long hunting barrel would prove advantageous, especially when fitted with a real detachable stock – like a German Navy Luger – instead of using one of those too-expenseve “PDW pistol extenders”.
Is it legal to attach a shoulder stock to the baseplate of a magazine™? There’s no permanent attachment to the firearm. You heard it here first.©
They already make all of those parts. You could do a 100 percent lone wolf upper from slide itself to internals of it. No .40 conversion barrel necessary, either.
And no, the law doesn’t require permanent attachment. Even temporary counts as attached and it would be an SBR. Sorry…
So it jammed, but you gave it 4 stars…? But, you complain about Glocks, but, on the other hand, I have several that I don’t think have EVER jammed.