The New Chiappa Poly Lite Rhino Revolver

Chiappa PolyLite Rhino

Looking for a new polymer framed revolver?  The new Chiappa Poly Lite Rhino was recently shown to wholesalers at the National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers (NASGW) Expo.  The new gun is a derivation of the existing Rhino line, but with some significant differences.

The PolyLite Rhino will be available only in .38 Special, not in .357 Magnum like the other revolvers in this series of guns.  Presumably, the polymer is not strong enough to handle the repeated shooting of Magnum pressures.  It is not yet known if the revolver will be rated for the +P loads, or standard pressure only.

The cylinder holds six rounds, and appears to have the same general size as the existing Rhino revolvers.  It is likely shortened to prevent the accidental loading of .357 cartridges.

A 2″ barrel model will be first introduced.  Currently, there is no information to suggest that longer barreled PolyLite revolvers could be made in the future.  The guns use a red fiber optic front sight and a fixed rear notch.  Black is the only available color.  If the guns sell well, I would not be shocked to see frames in a variety of colors.

Gallery of Guns interviewed Kenneth Vanhoose of MKS Supply about the new Poly Lite Rhinos:

I’ve had the chance to shoot the Rhino in .357 Magnum.  The guns are surprisingly easy to shoot with very little recoil.  I wasn’t sure I would like the guns, but I fell in love with them once I started putting rounds downrange.  Although I disagree with the video’s intimation that women can’t handle recoil, I suspect that this revolver will be very soft shooting.  No one is looking for more recoil, so I would expect the gun to be popular with anyone shooting it.

So, what do you think?  Is this a gun you would consider buying?  Would you carry it for self defense?

January 2014 Update

The following photos and information were gathered at the SHOT Show.  All of the information was relayed to me by MKS representatives (the US importer of Chiappa firearms.)

Chippa Rhino polymer

Chiappa is now making a polymer frame version of the Rhino revolver.  The polymer frame Rhino works the same as existing Rhino revolvers, but is chambered for the .38 Special +P, not .357 Magnum.  The guns hold six rounds.

MKS Supply handles distribution of Chiappa products in the United States.  Representatives at both Chiappa and MKS Supply advised the guns were in production and would be imported into the US as soon as possible.  I would expect to see these in US sales channels within two months.

polymer Chiappa rhino

polymer rhino

Chiappa polymer rhino

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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.

  • Glenn

    A polymer frame will flex under recoil, so the felt recoil will be slightly reduced from that also. Shoot an aluminum frame Smith & Wesson and then the Ruger LCR and feel the difference.

  • Paul O.

    I’ve shot 25 rounds of .357 through a Ruger LCR. Did that exactly one time. Now I just carry 38 +Ps. Recoil is fine. Call me a wimp if you want but light frame magnums are painful.

  • Ted

    Curious concept. I’ve shot the LCR and it is definitely easier shooting than a j frame. I look forward to trying out on of these

  • cjohnson

    I have a 357 magnum Rhino, and the thing shoots fantastic. 38sp has almost no kick at all, and even 357s are pretty easy to shoot. I love the gun. I’m not sure how a plastic version would do… but I’d be really interested in trying it out…but thats next to impossible without having to buy it.