Timberwolf Aftermarket Glock 19 Frame After 2000 Rounds

| July 19, 2017 | 2 Comments

In late April of this year, one of our Glock 19s was damaged during a training exercise. The pistol was set up for a failure to extract (sometimes called a “double feed”). Two live rounds were used for this drill. I have done this drill well over 200 times over the last six years, and have witnessed the drill being done over 2000 times.

When the instructor setting up the drill released the slide, the first round detonated, causing damage to internal parts of the slide as well as the frame and its components.

No one was injured due to the combination of safety procedures in place. After being relieved that everyone was OK, I saw this as an opportunity to fix some of the things I disliked about the Glock frame.

I missed the grip angle of the 1911s I used to carry. Some people I trust added beavertails to their Glocks. Some did a grip reduction, and quite a few modified the texture of the frame via stippling.

I purchased a fully built Timberwolf frame, and have run a few thousand rounds through it.

In short, I am not satisfied with it, and I do not think my concerns can be easily addressed, and/or would be better addressed by modifying a factory Glock frame.

Glock 19 Test Builds

  • Factory slide milled for Trijicon RMR
  • Suarez International slide milled for Trijicon RMR
  • Lone Wolf Timberwolf built Glock receiver, with Lone Wolf trigger, mag release, slide stop lever, and slide release lever
  • Factory barrels and slide components (NOTE: the slide damaged in the incident had complete OEM replacement parts installed by a Glock armorer, including a new extractor)
  • Trijicon RMR RM07
  • Magazines used: Glock 19 OEM, Magpul GL9, KCI Glock 19, KCI Glock 19 + Scherer magazine extension
  • Ammunition used: Remington UMC, Federal HST 147gr, Wolf, Brown Bear, Aguila, Tula

Test Conditions

  • Static range shooting
  • Fight focused shooting drills, including shooting on the move, one handed shooting, hostage rescue shots, etc
  • QSI Basic Handgun class
  • QSI Advanced Handgun class
  • Shivworks ECQC class

Total rounds personally fired: 2141

Estimated total rounds fired during testing (includes shooting by others): 2400

Concern #1: Reliability

If you train long enough, and shoot from non-standard positions often enough, you will experience some failures. This is not a big deal.

However, several of us experienced failures during basic test firing. Solid stance, solid two handed grip, slow, measured fire, etc. Imagine going to a range to work on trigger presses or recoil management. Slow.

Reliability decreased as speed and complexity increased.

Nearly all of the live fire malfunctions (~50) were failure to extract. In general, the frame was very unforgiving of anything by a tight, proper grip. I got a lot of practice malfunction clearing during the QSI advanced class and during ECQC.

Some combinations of magazines and ammunition were worse than others, but I wouldn’t call any combinations “better.” I kept trying different combinations of slides, mags, ammo, etc to see if I could isolate any issues. The good news (?) is that it wasn’t the rest of my gear.

Given the wide range of ammunition used and the two different slides tested, I believe the issue is with the frame.

Concern #2: Magazine seating problems

Every once in awhile you might get in a hurry and not fully seat a magazine, or smash your hand between the mag well and the magazine. You press the trigger, gun goes bang, mag falls to the ground. That happens.

Unfortunately the Lone Wolf frame had significant and recurring problems with seating magazines, especially when there was a round in the chamber.

Magpul GL9 magazines fared the worst, and I could only solve this problem by downloading the 17-round mags to 15 rounds. For the record, I had the “newer” generation GL9 mags that supposedly fixed feeding problems.

I had mixed success with Glock OEM magazines, and the KCI Korean mags with the Scherer extensions.

I had the best results with the stock KCI mags.

I have a feeling that the problem is the extended magazine release (made by Lone Wolf). If I cared to continue testing I would be inclined to install an OEM mag release.

I think the reason the KCI mags did so “well” is because the bodies are not made as uniformly as OEM or MagPul mags, and the spring tension is strong enough to encourage proper feeding and seating when fully loaded.

Concern #3: Trigger set screw issues

The Lone Wolf trigger has two set screws that can be used to adjust trigger travel and reset. I read accounts that one of the set screw “walked” on people as they shot their Glock. Eventually the screw walks out so far that the Safe Action trigger safety was ineffective.

I fired approximately 300 rounds before the screw came out as far as it could go. I applied some blue Loctite and this issue did not happen again, some 2100 rounds later. I would have a real problem on my hands had I not stumbled upon the experience of others.

Concern #4: Beavertail design

The design of the beavertail grip on the Lone Wolf lower prevents me from getting as high a grip as I like. A “high tang” grip is necessary for managing recoil and shot-to-shot consistency.

This gap required me to overly fixate on my grip strength and pressure. While it is a good training exercise to think about your grip, this is not something you should be doing while running a hostage rescue drill or rapidly firing through Craig’s extension and compression drills.

I also believe that this design exacerbates whatever other problems that encouraged the double feeds.

Additionally, the beavertail sticks out so far, and has such a pointed edge, that carrying appendix is uncomfortable. It pokes into my soft desk jockey belly. I’m used to wearing a Glock 19 for 12 – 16 hours a day, so this is a pretty big quality of life concern for me.

Concern #5: Extended slide stop lever

At first I really liked the Lone Wolf slide stop lever. It stuck out more on both sides and had a more aggressive texturing than the factory one. This made it easier to disassemble the pistol, and I’ve tried to clean my handguns more regularly and thoroughly now that I have an ultrasonic cleaner.

Unexpectedly, the extended lever caused some huge problems during one-handed malfunction clearing drills. I was able to actuate the extended slide stop lever with my knees, and strip the slide off of the frame.

During a live fire drill.

Three times.

At least I know I can fix this problem if it ever happens in a real defensive situation :\

Concern #6: Frame pins walking

The pins in the frames walked significantly during the first 100 rounds. The trigger pin walked the most. After the first 300 rounds this ceased to be a problem, but I check them every time I put the pistol on as part of my “pre-flight” procedure.

Random observations

The frame was least likely to malfunction when shot with a single hand. Hand dominance did not play a factor in reliability. Perhaps this frame is best suited for tally-ho, pistols-at-dawn engagements.

The ammunition that performed the most reliably was Brown Bear. I was disappointed that the brass cased Aguila and Remington UMC fared poorly. The “werewolf” zinc plated Tula was the worst.

The pattern on the grip was not an improvement over the Gen 3 Glock texturing. I was surprised and disappointed by this.

I really liked the grip angle, and the grip width.

The trigger did not make as big an impact as I expected. I adjusted the trigger to minimize overtravel and reset, but when running splits on a timer it did not appear to make a significant difference.

Possible fixes

It would be possible to put an OEM slide stop lever, OEM trigger, OEM magazine catch, reduce the beavertail, and stipple the frame. This would probably fix all of the issues I encountered with the Timberwolf frame, but then what would be the point of buying it?

All I would have left is a thinner grip and a 1911 grip angle.

The former could be accomplished on an OEM frame via a grip reduction.

The grip angle is something I would miss, but I’d rather have a more reliable pistol than one that felt great in my hand.

Next steps

I’m going to buy a replacement Glock 19 frame, load it up with factory parts, and get a grip reduction and stipple job done locally.

If you’d like to give this frame a try and you reside in Minnesota please contact me. We can work out a great deal.

About the Author:

Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd is a regular guy and works to make Web sites and mobile apps easier for people to use. He spends his free time attending fight-focused firearm, knife, and combatives training, motorcycling, writing, and playing games. His daily carry is a Glock 19 pistol and an AR15 .300 Blackout pistol in a backpack.

2 Comments on "Timberwolf Aftermarket Glock 19 Frame After 2000 Rounds"

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  1. Adam says:

    Thanks for the write up. I had considered a Lonewolf frame for a Suarez G19 slide. I think I will just do T. Mark Graham’s grip reduction from Arizona Response Systems on a factory G19 frame. He has done them for 25 years.
    Did you contact Lonewolf about the reliability problem? What was their response? It was a 2% failure rate.
    The slide in the photo does not have the Suarez International logo. I have shot a Suarez Slide on a G17. The logo is on both sides of the slide unless it was a Gunsmith bare slide purchase. Were all the slide internals Suarez parts or Glock factory?
    I would guess that is a Glock slide that might have been milled by the Suarez team?
    Again, thanks for saving me some money.

    • Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd says:

      You are correct, the slide on my EDC G19 is an OEM slide milled by SI. My wife has the SI custom slide on her Glock. Both had problems on the TW frame.

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