Chiappa Arms Rhino: Not Pretty, But Effective
When shopping for a handgun, the general design of a pistol or revolver is usually a given. There are differences in size, weight, capacity, and caliber, but there was nothing so outlandishly different that it inevitably resulted in a double-take. That all changed when Chiappa Firearms introduced the Rhino revolver.
The Rhino’s extraordinary design is an engineering effort to reduce recoil while increasing concealability in a high-powered handgun at the same time.
For the most part, they succeeded. Chiappa retooled the traditionally round cylinder into a narrow hexagon, which leaves a much smaller print.
Then Chiappa moved the barrel down from the top of the gun to the top of the trigger guard, effectively lowering the gun’s center of gravity while firing.
The result is a greatly reduced recoil and muzzle flip, which transfers into improved accuracy. Shooters using .357 Magnum loads reported that the recoil was similar to that of .38 Special +P ammo.
Another non-traditional feature of the Rhino is that the exposed hammer does not operate as the actual firing device, but only as a cocking device for the internal hammer. A United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA) article; “Spaghetti Western: The Chiappa Arms Revolver” at USConcealedCarry.com, describes the Rhino’s firing mechanism:
“The hammer spur is pulled back to cock the gun, but once [the gun is cocked] springs back to its rest position. Since it doesn’t move when cocked or during shooting, it is always in position to serve as the rear sight.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
The futuristic design of the Rhino makes for one very accurate firearm, especially with multiple fast-fire rounds. The low recoil and muzzle flip allows the target to essentially remain in the sights while emptying the cylinder. A sticky rubbery grip also helps keep the Chiappa Rhino on a steady aim.
However, the Rhino did not emerge unscathed from field testing. Shooters complained about the 12 pound trigger pull; a result of the double-action mechanism. The long trigger reach brought about complaints from those with shorter fingers and there are also a limited number of holsters available for the oddly shaped weapon.
Yet overall, the Chiappa Rhino is an engineering marvel. Despite its limitations, the Rhino could easily become the ultimate concealed carry weapon. Its concealability, combined with impressive stopping power, make this oddball handgun a formidable ally in the self-defense arena.