Chiappa Firearms Rhino: New Revolver with a Twist

chiappa_rhino_01Chiappa 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.

chiappa_rhino_02The 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.

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About Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson is a gun writer, police trainer and really bad joke teller. Check out his other writing in Combat Handguns, Guns & Weapons for Law Enforcement, on The Firearm Blog and at BlueSheepdog.


  1. looks like mateba is making a return


  2. The Rhino was designed by the same people that designed the Mateba but its not an auto-revolver. I hope Chiappa starts to offer a quality Mateba clone for a reasonable price. I’ve heard stories of Matebas being had for under $500 a few years ago, not to get a new one (the manufacturer is closed but the warehouses are still close to full) You can expect to pay about $2200 last I checked.

  3. Interestingly enough, this revolver more closely resembles the Nosorog AEK 906 revolver chambered in 9×19. In addition, the word nosorog in russian means ‘rhinocerous’ Mateba’s aren’t really on the same level since they’re autoloading revolvers rather than the rhino which I believe is a traditional revolver. Nice to see this design being used again.

  4. If anyone has ever herd of a animated tv series called, “Trigun.” Vash the Stampede (the main character) uses a revolver with the barrel at the bottom of the cylinder just like this except his was a 45. I just find it kinda funny because i used to watch it when i was a kid thats all. lol This looks like a great gun though I want to look for some range results before i would buy it though.

  5. Will Ganz says:

    Any updates on this revolver?

    Would like to get one and try it out.

  6. Jon Waite says:

    If the warehouses are full of MAtebas, how can i get one!!!!!!!!


  7. That thing looks like a modern day belly gun

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