If you’re anything like me, you won’t be too hesitant to purchase something that will help you in your shooting, especially if it doesn’t break the bank. For pistols, there are generally a number of things you can do to help aid in gun control, general handling, accuracy and so on. If you’re the rare plinker, more than likely, you’ll stick with what you have out of the box, but if you’re a more avid shooter, and/or if you’re doing any kind of timed shooting, modifying your pistol for more performance will more than likely become a reality. Enter the Lone Wolf ported barrel.
Most of my pistol shooting is purely for pleasure and, from an accuracy perspective, for my own self competitiveness. I’ve been shooting for over 20 years and, generally speaking, can hold my own pretty well. In the last few years though, I’ve shot in several action pistol events, something my father-in-law got me into. I’m not going to get in to the specifics of the game, but for our purpose here, there are several classes based on the caliber and then levels of modifications to your pistol. It has been in these events that I’ve sampled several different applications of ported barrels. Now, I’m no stranger to ported pistols, but I haven’t spent much time at all with ported semi-autos. I’ve had work done on a Ruger Super Redhawk 15 years ago, and with my high pressure .44 mag, very hot loads, it definitely helps tame the muzzle flip a bit. This was a custom job and expensive. With many of the semi-autos out there, you have pretty reasonably priced options by way of “drop-in” barrels. Since I had been fortunate enough to be able to try several different set-ups, with various semi-autos, in various calibers, with different brands of after market ported barrels….and since I had also been able to try a few of the same make semi-autos with the factory barrels, using the same ammunition (a Pepsi challenge, so to speak), I knew that an after market, “drop-in” ported barrel did have a positive effect on reducing muzzle flip.
You have several choices when considering drop in ported barrels. In my case, I was looking for one for my Glock 21SF (45 ACP) and while experimenting with other peoples firearms, Lone Wolf was one in the mix of the pistols I had tried. I can’t do any kind of justifiable comparison between any the manufacturers I had tested, as my goal was simply to see if the porting made any kind of difference in controlling the gun and reducing muzzle flip. I ended up landing on Lone Wolf due to their reasonable price, around $125, and the fact that no modification is required to begin using the barrel.
My barrel is stainless and appears to be manufactured to high tolerences. You do have a few options if you’re going with Lone Wolf, which you can explore on their site. I have put around 500 rounds through the barrel with no problems whatsoever and in the case of my Glock, changing out barrels is a breeze. I can’t give an exacting review on accuracy, other then to say that the barrel prints well shooting offhand, with no noticeable difference in accuracy between the ported barrel, and the factory barrel. I’ve measured a 2 inch 10 shot group, offhand at 7 yds.
Using the Lone Wolf (2 port) Ported Barrel
Now, this isn’t going to turn you semi-auto into an instant race gun, but it adds a bit more control by controlling muzzle flip; the action of the barrel “kicking” upward after discharging a round. For timed events, such as action pistols, this means that you can recover more quickly after firing and get back on target for your next shot.
One note I have on ammo loads, is that it very much depends on the specific barrel that you purchased. I’ve found that this barrel, for my Glock 21SF, handles the same range of loads that the factory barrels handle. I had initially created several test loads, using Rainier 200 grain copper plated round nose bullets and Accurate Arms #2 powder ranging from about 850 fps to 1000 fps, with no problems cycling the gun. I later had purchased the same barrel, but for my Glock 17 (9mm), and had found that it wouldn’t cycle anything below about 950 fps. Here I’m using Rainier 115 grain copper plated round nose bullets and Accurate Arms# 2 powder. I’m actually still working on getting this gun set up the way I want it and I really need to mention that my Glock 17 has several other modifications to it, including a different weight firing spring and recoil spring. So, it may very well be me , and not the barrel. It’s my understanding that if you should have a problem with your loads, you can send your barrel back to Lone Wolf for their inspection, and modification, if the barrel is at fault. That’s something I may need to follow up on, based on whether or not I’m successful in troubleshooting my configuration……stay tuned.
Take a look at the following video which demonstrates the installation of the barrel in my Glock 21SF, as well as a live fire demo with an overlay of both the Lone Wolf ported barrel and the Glock factory barrel.
The Final Word
For about $125, this is a solid purchase for a noticeable bit of improvement in the handling of my Glock 21SF. The gun prints as well as it does with the factory barrel and can handle lighter hand loads if so desired which is not usually the case for ported barrels. I found that lighter loads cycled pretty well, but ended up ejecting cases vertically, causing them to either fall back on the gun or hit my arms. I chose to use hotter loads to avoid getting hit. One valuable note is that, as I understand it, you can shoot led through the Lone Wolf barrels, something you can’t do easily with the factory Glock barrels due to lead fouling. Another consideration is that you probably don’t want to use a ported barrel for self defense due to the upward direction of muzzle blast, which can be a problem in low light, and due to the the increase in noise, as the blast and gases are going up, not forward as with a standard barrel.
I have no regrets with the purchase, an do recommend the Lone Wolf ported barrel, if you’re looking for improved handling and target acquisition. If it turns out you’re not as impressed as I have been, I doubt you’ll have much difficulty selling the barrel for only a little less than you paid.