While the overall market for AR-15s continues to remain consistent as of late, one sub-market within that category that continues to inch upward are pistol-caliber carbines (PCC). With the ability to share ammunition with people’s handguns, the more affordable cost of ammunition relative to rifle calibers and the potential to even share magazines with handguns, there are a lot of upsides to owning one. If a consumer is pursuing a PCC it is often one that accepts Glock magazines because of how prevalent they are in the industry. This is where the AlphaWolf comes in.
Lone Wolf Distributors is a large manufacturer and retailer of aftermarket Glock components and they produce their own firearms as well. So it is very appropriate to see them produce a PCC for shooting enthusiasts and 3-gun competitors everywhere.
In this TFB Review, we had the opportunity to test a Lone Wolf Distributors (Lone Wolf R&D, LLC) AlphaWolf Pistol Caliber Carbine. We will take a look at the overall build of this firearm, hit the range and share our after-thoughts of how we thought the firearm performed.
Specifications: Lone Wolf Distributors AlphaWolf Pistol-Caliber Carbine
The Lone Wolf AlphaWolf PCC is offered in either .45 ACP or 9mm with the option of a 10″ or 16″ barrel. The firearm we specifically test in this review is an AlphaWolf chambered in .45 ACP with a traditional 16″ rifle barrel. The complete specifications listing for this firearm, as provided by Lone Wolf, can be read below:
- Short Stroke, Gas Piston Operation
- Rotating/Locking Bolt Operating System
- Side Charging System
- Proprietary Hand Guard uses M-Lok Rail System to easily Mount Accessories
- Proprietary Receiver uses Billet 6061 T6 Aluminum for Structural Integrity
- 16″ Standard Threaded Barrel for Flash Hider or Suppressor Use
- Extended Overall Length 34 1/2″
- Collapsed Overall Length 32″
- Weight 6.4 Lbs. Unloaded w/ No Magazine
- Button Cut, Non-Chrome Lined, Threaded Barrel w/ Thread Protector included
- Thread Pitch of .578 x 28mm
- Standard AR/M4 Fire Control Group for Ease of Training
- Glock Magazine included (13 Round for .45 ACP)
- Currently tested with OEM, SGMT, ETS & Kriss magazines for the .45 ACP
- Iron Sights or Optics NOT included
This is a firearm that is 100% manufactured in the United States. The current MSRP for this PCC is $1,174.95 in either .45 ACP or 9mm.
range time: Lone Wolf Distributors AlphaWolf Pistol-Caliber Carbine
Before annihilating an unsuspecting paper target with 230 grain deliveries of freedom seeds, I popped the hood on this rifle and took a look around. While the AlphaWolf PCC has the exterior look of a classic AR-15, it does have some key differences.
The bolt-carrier group (BCG) is an obvious one because of the side-charging handle built into it. To simply remove that from the upper receiver to either clean the rifle or inspect your components, it is pretty easy. First, pour yourself a bowl of Wheaties in the morning and pull the side charging handle straight out the side of the upper receiver. It is stiff, but it will pop out. Then, everything pulls out the back as expected and the rest of the BCG can intuitively be pulled apart. No tools required.
Once the urge to dis-assemble that has been satisfied, you can see that the lock up of the upper and lower receiver is slightly different than a traditional AR-15 rifle. The lower receiver has a pronounced hump where the buffer tube threads in. That area indexes into the upper receiver for a more firm connection.
You can also see in the lower receiver a green covered screw of sorts protruding out. It looks like it is covered in Loc-Tite or a gob of green paint. Loc-Tite is likely the closer of the two answers because that is an accu-wedge or tighten screw between the upper and lower receiver to eliminate slop or play. That is a definite plus for any build.
After most of my exploratory desires were satisfied, I re-assembled the rifle and got to shooting it. Since this rifle is threaded for different muzzle attachments like flash hiders, muzzle brakes and of course silencers, we obviously shot it suppressed (insert huge, giggly smile here). To shoot it suppressed, I used my Silencerco Hybrid .46 Cal silencer which easily threaded onto the end of the muzzle. While shooting suppressed, the report was incredibly quiet and the recoil was next to nothing. The bolt-carrier group cycled flawlessly extracting, ejecting and loading rounds.
After shooting around 100 rounds suppressed with no problems or failings of the rifle I switched over to shooting it un-suppressed. This, too, went off without a hitch. All-in-all, roughly 200 rounds were fired through the AlphaWolf PCC and no problems or significant causes for concern occurred which is always a plus.
after-thoughts: Lone Wolf Distributors AlphaWolf Pistol-Caliber Carbine
This rifle had a very smooth recoil impulse. Relative to other pistol-caliber carbine or AR-platform firearms chambered in .45 ACP, this felt very mild. The muzzle report was mild as well. While either shooting indoors or outdoors, the concussion or noise from the muzzle brake was nominal.
One downside to this rifle is it has a fairly heavy trigger pull. It is smooth, consistent, and repeatable, but still heavy throughout. It had the feel and break of a Mil-Spec AR trigger. So very simple yet standard.
In regards to the accuracy, I was getting hole-in-hole accuracy with a Vortex Crossfire 2 M.O.A. Red Dot at 25 yards. For shooting cardboard silhouettes, ringing steel or shooting varying competitive leagues this rifle would perform great. Once I got the optic sighted in it exhibited “point and shoot” type of accuracy.
The collapsible stock felt a little cheap in comparison to the quality of the rest of the rifle, but that is the beauty of the AR platform. Simply slip that stock off and add in a Magpul MOE or whatever is your preferred collapsible stock and continue to blaze away.
The highlight of this rifle aside from the spooky accuracy out of the box was shooting it suppressed. Since all .45 ACP (nearly all range ammo) is sub-sonic, I would just pull a fistful of ammo out of my ammo can with no regard to the grain weight or manufacturer and have a ball with no recoil, no noise and fast follow-up shots.
One complaint I have while shooting suppressed is a moderate amount of gas would squirt out or escape the ejection port. The rifle may have been slightly over-gassed when suppressed, but I also was shooting my own reloads and a mix of factory ammo. So I will not place blame entirely on the rifle. Like a lot of reloaders, for handgun ammo, I reload it to be as cheap as humanly possible yet function safely in guns.
So point-of-information to prospective buyers, buy factory ammo or give more care to your reloads for a 100% fun suppressed experience.
conclusion: Lone Wolf Distributors AlphaWolf Pistol-Caliber Carbine
Overall, this rifle performed great. A simple Vortex Crossfire Red Dot took no time at all to sight in and it was immediately accurate. It was pleasant to shoot in regards to noise and recoil both suppressed and un-suppressed. The trigger was heavy for my liking and the stock seemed cheap. Thankfully, there is an entire segment of the market dedicated to after-market triggers and stocks for AR-15s; a very easy fix. The lock-up between the upper and lower receiver was solid, and the side-charging handle is a nice touch for those who prefer that.
At an MSRP of $1,174, I believe that is a fair asking price and anyone who is contemplating purchasing one of these rifles would not be disappointed; moreover, they would be very pleased.
A final thank you to Lone Wolf for affording TFB the opportunity to test and review one of their firearms. So what do you guys think?!… Is this rifle a winner?… Or something that needs to go back to the drawing board?… Let us know in the comments below! Thanks for reading!