Chiappa Firearms is introducing a new revolver: the Rhino. This compact six-shot .357 Magnum revolver looks different than many contemporary revolvers, and for good reason: the barrel is aligned with the bottom of the cylinder, not the top.
Chiappa aligned the barrel with the bottom of the cylinder to put the bore more in line with the shooter’s hand, which would reduce perceived recoil and muzzle flip, in addition to creating a more natural point of aim.
Chiappa claims the Rhino can use very lightweight metal alloys due to the reduced perceived recoil. However, the 2″ barrel Rhino has a stated weight of 0.7 kg, or about 25 ounces, which is slightly heavier than the 2 1/8″ barrel Smith & Wesson 640 (23 ounces). But for that extra two ounces, the shooter does gain an additional round (Rhino’s six to S&W’s five).
Of course, neither the Rhino, nor the 640, are nearly as light as the scandium framed S&W 340 (less than 13.5 ounces), but no one in their right mind shoots .357 Mag through that revolver anyway.
Chiappa states the Rhino will be available in barrel lengths of 2-6″, but the initial offerings will be 2″ models. Shooters will have the choice of black or stainless steel finishes.
The Chiappa Rhino revolvers are scheduled for shipping in “late 2009.” No MSRP has been announced.
According to Chiappa Firearms, “The position of the barrel lowers the center of gravity and yields a centerline of the bore more in line with the shooter’s arm, allowing for the most natural “point ability” while engaging a target. This drastically reduces both recoil and muzzle flip…” Based on my shooting of this pistol at Media Day, I would very much agree. These guns, even with full bore .357 Magnum ammo, are very light recoiling handguns. If you don’t mind working around some of the other issues (such as a lack of holsters), these guns are awesome.