Lone Wolf’s Lightweight Tactical Defense (LTD)19 Pistol
Eve Flanigan 03.22.21
Not long ago, Lone Wolf Distributors, known for premium Glock barrels, announced their first complete pistols, called the Lightweight Tactical Defense or LTD series. I was fortunate to get my hands on a LTD 19 Version 1, the less radical of the two LTD designs, for testing. It’s been a treat.
The LTD19 is based on a Glock 19 design. Lone Wolf’s long track record of serving Glock owners is key to the variations on the G19 theme. They sought to address the most common reasons for upgrading the widely accepted design while retaining its near-legendary reliability and simplicity.
It all begins with a familiar, but not identical-to-Glock polymer frame. Lone Wolf decided, wisely in my opinion, to go with a grip angle that matches the G19’s, but the grip is missing the hump on the backstrap. To me, this alone addresses my biggest gripe about the G19—that the grip is shaped such that the distance from the rear of the grip to the trigger is greater on the compact 19 than on its full-size counterpart, the G17. On the Glock 17, the bulge on the grip occurs lower, effectively making the palm-to-trigger distance shorter. Lone Wolf designers greatly improved the design by eliminating that hump in the backstrap altogether. They accomplished the goal of making aiming the pistol as intuitive as pointing a finger.
Also familiar to Glock users is the pebbled texture of the grip. It’s impossible to please everyone, of course, and many shooters find this gentle pebbling too slippery. I find it just right, and hey, if you otherwise like the gun, stippling or other texturing treatments are always an option.
A pinch-free, recessed magazine well with a competition-style flare around the opening is featured. Here, Lone Wolf did a nice job of designing the gun for efficient performance while reducing bulk. Though the mag is recessed, I and a student who performed a forceful purge of the mag during a purposely set-up double feed malfunction proved to us that the LTD is designed to perform. There was no digging for the floorplate despite the subtle profile. One G19 owner who tested the pistol commented that he likes the flared magwell for easier loads, but would prefer it be without that somewhat bulky feature as a concealment gun. A colleague who tried the gun, who has huge hands, thinks the magwell flare feels a little weird as it meets his hand between the pinky and ring fingers; however, he appreciates the ease of loading the flare offers. Myself and another tester feel the magwell flare enhances grip as it lends a “locked in” feel as the three lower fingers fit perfectly between the mag well and beavertail. This is one trait for which the gun really needs to be fired to understand whether one finds it a good fit or not.
The overall profile of the LTD is more streamlined than its G19 muse. The trigger guard is undercut in the rear and rounded at the front. The slide and frame corners are beveled all over, making the profile as snag-free as possible, except perhaps for a gently beavertailed backstrap for shooters with the common issue of slide-flesh interference from low bore axis guns such as this one.
What’s even better, this gun accepted and fed Gen 3, 4, and 5 magazines that we tested, using 15-, 17-, and 33-round capacities. All mags dropped free without assistance. That’s a functional feature I believe is important for every sporting, self-protection, or duty pistol. As on Gen 4 and 5 Glocks, the mag release is reversible.
Unlike the Gen 5 Glock, the LTD only has a slide lock on the left side. At first, it was a bit stiff to disengage on the brand-new LTD. Somewhere north of 75 rounds, it became easy to run.
The LTD uses Glock sights, and can accommodate any aftermarket sights accordingly. For all the kvetching some do about Glock’s polymer sights, I’ve come to appreciate their rust-free qualities for any gun that might be exposed to sweat, even a little bit, but these can certainly be replaced to fit the owner’s preference.
Speaking of sights, so far the LTD doesn’t come in optic-ready configuration. Given the aggressive serrations between the muzzle and ejection port, I’d expect to see milled slides in the next iteration of this model.
The slide is a remarkable component of this gun. Its deep serrations and sculpted muzzle end say “I mean business.” The cut-away on the muzzle end is more dramatic on the V2 variant of the LTD. Lightening cuts on the slide serve to reduce recoil and happen to show off the stainless finish of the most classic of Lone Wolf Distributors products, the barrel.
The trigger is comparable to that of a Glock Gen 5. Which is to say, it has a 6.5-pound pull that feels like less, with moderate travel and reset distances. There is no shortage of shooters who’ll proclaim this is not match-y enough, but I feel it’s appropriate for a gun that’s made for defense and use in sub-optimal conditions. There’s a measure of safety built-in, but not so much that the qualified shooter can’t make it run well and fast.
One look at the machining on the barrel gives away this gun’s custom and finely-machined nature as compared to a stock Glock. It’s the company’s flagship, and the LTD shows it off well.
Years of experience as an instructor has included the appearance of countless people to the range with Glocks that are more or less tricked-out with upgrades of all sorts. Sometimes these changes are complementary to the person’s gun handling. In most cases, it’s the opposite. Timing issues are common with lightened slides, but no such issues were encountered here. We ran 115 and 124 grain factory ammo through the gun without even a hint of an impending malfunction. Lone Wolf is to be complimented for getting this right.
This is one classy pistol. My only complaint about it is that it’s configured to shoot a bit high at combat distances. At 7 yards, point of impact is, for me and the two other testers who fired five-shot groups, about two inches high. I don’t believe “holds” should be necessary for a handgun at relatively close distances. I hope the manufacturer will resolve this with a change to the sights.
Options include a gray or black frame, stainless or black nitride slide, and V1 or V2 slide configuration. If you like Glocks, but want something that’s more uptown, the LTD V1 or V2 may just be the ticket. MSRP is $699.95.
Specifications: Lone Wolf LTD
- Weight without magazine: 19 ounces
- Length: 7.16 inches
- Barrel Length: 4 inches
- Height Including Magwell: 4.77 inches
- Width: 0.99 inches Slide; 1.13 inches Frame; 1.49 inches Magwell
- Sight Radius: 5.9 inches
- Trigger Pull: 6.5 pounds
- Stainless Steel Guide Rod
- Enlarged Magazine Release
- Enlarged Slide Stop/Release
- Caliber: 9mm Luger