Chiappa Rhino Revolvers

chiappa rhinoChiappa Firearms was showing off their new series of Rhino revolvers at the 2010 SHOT Show.  When you see the Rhino for the first time, you know that it is definitely a different revolver than what you have known previously.

The Rhino’s barrel is at the bottom, no the top, of the frame.  The cartridge in the bottom of the cylinder is the one that fires.  This design is supposed to reduce muzzle flip and enhance shooter comfort.

Four models of Chiappa were shown: a 2” DAO, 4”, 5” and 6”.  All models except the 2” have a Picatinny rail under the barrel for a white light or laser attachment.  All models except the 2” also have pinned front sights and adjustable rear sights.  The 2” Rhino has fixed sights.  All are chambered in .357 Magnum.

I have a few concerns about the Rhino.

First, the exposed “hammer” isn’t really a hammer.  It is used to manually cock the internal hammer into single action mode.  After you pull the “hammer” back,  it then falls back into the “down” position.  There is no way to know the gun is cocked and in single action mode.

chiappa rhino revolverSecond, there is not a decocking lever.  To decock the gun, you have to pull the trigger.  According to the Chiappa rep, you can hold the exposed “hammer” back, pull the trigger and then lower the exposed hammer as you might on another single action revolver.  But, the exposed “hammer” isn’t THE hammer. So I don’t know if this is a safe, or even effective, method of decocking the revolver once it is cocked.

Lastly, the trigger and cylinders were very stiff.  This is likely due to the staff using early samples.  However, I do not understand why you would bring less than your best product to a trade show.  I hope that the production models will be smoother.

Retail runs from “about $750” to “about $950” depending on the model.  Chiappa believes they will begin shipping later this year.

This video is of the 2″ Chippa Rhino revolver chambered in .357 Magnum being fired.  The lack of muzzle flip is pretty impressive, as is the fireball that a short barrel .357 Magnum can make.

The load was the .357 Magnum Federal Classic 125 grain JHP.  Watch the target video in the upper left corner as it is fired.  Combat accuracy/speed appears to be very good.

Update: More Chiappa Rhino Information

2″ Chiappa Rhino revolver at the 2010 SHOT Show

The Chiappa Rhino revolver is now shipping to distributors, and should be hitting your dealer shelves very soon according to the Tactical Wire.  The 2″ Rhino chambered in .357 Magnum is on the trucks and rolling out, with the other Chiappa revolvers to follow in the near future.

The Rhino revolvers will be offered in both “D” and “DS” actions.  The D is a double action only action, while the DS is a double/single action.  All Chiappa Rhino revolvers will hold six rounds.

MSRP on the different models:

  • 2-and 3-inch, $749
  • 4-inch, $869
  • 5-inch, $895
  • 6-inch, $950







Update – January 2012

Chiappa Rhino
This is the sum total of the recoil produced by the 2″ Chiappa Rhino with .357 Magnum rounds.

One of the most unusual revolvers on the market, the Chiappa Rhino, has taken another very non-traditional move by chambering the revolver in .40 S&W.

The .40-caliber version of the Rhino will be a six shooter, using full-moon clips to hold onto the rounds, since the cartridge is “rimless.”

While the .40 S&W version of the Rhino is interesting, it would have been far better to chamber the gun in 10mm.  The amazing recoil reduction achieved by the gun’s design would have been a great match with full power 10mm loads.  Additionally, the revolver could have also fired .40 S&W loads to give the shooter more flexibility.

In August 2011, Chiappa rolled out the above video showing a 9mm and .40 S&W Rhino at work on the range.

Second Update – January 2012

The Chiappa Rhino was in prominent display at the 2012 SHOT Show, including the new model chambered in .40 S&W.  Here are a few photos of what was on hand.

Chiappa Rhino .40 S&W

Chiappa Rhino .40 S&W

Chiappa Rhino

Chiappa Rhino

Something I thought was interesting was the pink grip sleeve on this Rhino revolver.  I was not able to obtain information from Chiappa if grip sleeves will be an option on their revolvers going forward.

Chiappa Rhino pink

Update – March 2012

The Chiappa Rhino is now available in the 9×21 cartridge.  This brings the total number of cartridges the Rhino is chambered for to three: the .357 Magnum and .40 S&W being the other two.

Chiappa Rhino

A rimless cartridge, the 9×21 may seem like an odd chambering in this revolver. However, the 9×21 makes sense when you take a closer look.

Chiappa is an Italian company.  Certain countries, including Italy, ban the possession of 9mm Parabellum (9×19) by civilians.  The 9×21 was developed by IMI as a way around these arbitrary bans.  So, if Chiappa wants to sell the Rhino in a 9mm cartridge in certain countries, they have to chamber the revolver in 9×21.

Oddly, the Rhino is available for more rimless cartridges than for traditional revolver rounds.  While I like variety and odd-ball chamberings, I would really like to see a compact Rhino in .44 Special and/or .44 Magnum.

By Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson is a gun writer, amateur historian and - most importantly - a dad. He's done a lot of silly things in his life, but quitting police work to follow his passion of writing about guns was one of the smartest things he ever did. He founded this site and continues to manage its operation.

39 replies on “Chiappa Rhino Revolvers”

I had a chance to shoot one of these and I was pretty impressed. The recoil was very soft and the trigger wasn’t bad. It is just ugly as sin..

Bottom line…if you want a snub nose revolver that comfortably handles .357, this is pretty much the best choice. Long term reliability remains to be seen. For a full size revolver with a 4 or 6 inch barrel, I’d stick with a Smith or Ruger ( I love my GP100).

I shot a friends Rhino last weekend and I was impressed with how much it did not kick. I don’t know if I want one, but I can say they don’t kick much.

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