In December, I was lucky enough to snag one of a small prototype run of compact Timberwolf frames by Lone Wolf Distributors. A replacement frame for Gen3 Glock 19s and 23s, the Timberwolf frame features a reduced backstrap, undercut trigger guard, modified finger grooves, and a picatinny accessory rail on the dust cover. At $100 shipped for the prototype run, it was a steal.
I then went shopping for parts, and found a used G23 upper with lower parts kit for only $233. After selling the .40 barrel and snagging a threaded 9mm conversion barrel by Lone Wolf, I was finally ready to ignite some rounds with my new blaster.
20-degree weather and snow probably isn’t the ideal test-firing session, but I got 150 rounds through Pauline, my TWOLF, before needing to thaw out. I experienced three failures to eject, which I attribute to slightly under-powered 124-grain Aguila ammo and running the .40 extractor with a 9mm ejector. In any case, I need to swap the extractor and run more rounds through her. (Lone Wolf notes the possibility of FTEs on their web site, which they attribute to under-powered ammo and heavier barrels–the conversion barrel is thicker than a stock barrel, which saps energy from weak rounds.)
Besides the FTEs, the Timberwolf was a pleasure to shoot. We were shooting steel plates at about 15 yards, and Pauline hit everything, as long as I did my part. The improved ergonomics of the frame, however, were the highlight.
First, the reduced backstrap fits my hand and provides a more natural point of aim for me compared to a stock Gen3. I initially tried the flat backstrap that came with the frame, but soon switched to the arched. The flat backstrap was just too flat. With the arched piece in place, though, Pauline felt like a blend of M&P and XD–a sexy semblance of 1911-ish polymer. And the mild finger grooves actually fit my fingers! Much less prominent than a stock Gen3’s, the finger grooves on the Timberwolf frame are wide and textured in serrations and checkering. Combined with the undercut trigger guard, I can get the high grip that I prefer but not feel like my fingers are cramped by the grooves. Since I wore gloves for this shoot, I can’t report on the rough spot under the trigger guard which I noted in the write-up of my brother’s TWOLF build. More on that when I shoot gloveless.
The magazine release of the Timberwolf is also one of my favorite features. It’s large and slightly extended, allowing me to hit it without having to change my grip even half as much as I do with a stock release. It drops the mags freely and allows for a fast reload. But it’s not so big that my bear mitts bump it by mistake.
Recoil was very manageable, and while it didn’t seem significantly different from a stock frame, the higher grip the TWOLF frame allows brought me back on target a little quicker. And the beavertail will probably prevent any slide-bite for you chubby-pawed shooters.
My only real complaint with the frame is its texturing. The TWOLF’s frame is only a bit more aggressive than a Gen3’s, and I like my frames to be grippy. I mean, I thought the RTF2 frame was perfect, so the TWOLF frame left me a little disappointed. I find the texture to be in-between a Gen3 and Gen4 in terms of aggressiveness. That being said, I fixed the problem with universal grip decals made by my buddy at Tractiongrips.com. I simply cut them to fit and applied them. Voila! A grippy gun. The wool mitten I wore on my support hand probably didn’t help matters, but I prefer the grip decals over the TWOLF’s bare frame, for sure.
Next, I’ll be sharing a step-by-step guide to my TWOLF build, and I’ll be throwing more rounds through Pauline this weekend. This time, I’ll try an actual 9mm extractor and see if that helps.