Style or Substance?

Chiappa Rhino

Chiappa Rhino

The Chiappa Rhino.

It made a bit of a splash at recent gun conventions.  Firstly due to its striking and controversial appearance, and secondly because of its unique design features.  Namely that its barrel is below the cylinder axis, and it fires from the bottom chamber of the cylinder.  This reduces felt recoil and muzzle flip.

The internal lockwork to make this system work is pretty complicated.  Thus the trigger is on the heavy side.

(more) Our friends over at The Truth About Guns reviewed the Rhino, and considered it full of potential, held back from being a true competitor to Smith&Wesson due to the heavy trigger, and the lack of clearly visible sights.  The unknown factor is durability.



Gunsforsale reviewed it, and found that the excellent job of taming recoil more than compensated for the trigger.  American Rifleman took a look at the Rhino and raised the issue of a lack of a track record for reliability in an otherwise positive review.

So far, I haven’t seen any reviews where the Rhino locked up (like Taurus revolvers sometimes do).  But I do want more of a track record of use to judge the durability and reliability of the gun before I would consider buying it.  And, part of me wonders what will happen when a Rhino kabooms.  In a conventional revolver, the top chamber is what will get kaboomed, and the force & debris will be sent to the side and upward.  The Rhino fires from the bottom chamber, which is very close to the shooter’s hands and has less metal  between the chamber and your hands.

The Rhino is actually an updated version of the Mateba Autorevolver, by the same designer.

Mateba Autorevolver

Mateba Autorevolver

UPDATE by Crapgame:

Here’s a short video illustrating how little barrel rise you get with the Rhino:

UPDATE 7/18/11:

Shelly Rae at GunNutsMedia put a Chiappa Rhino into the rental counter where she works.  The verdict: heavy DA trigger and numerous misfires due to suspected light strikes.  Hopefully there will be updates as the situation progresses.

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3 Responses to “Style or Substance?”

  1. Dann in Ohio says:

    I had the opportunity to shoot a 4″ barrel version of the Rhino belonging to a friend. I couldn’t tell if it was the design or the “anchor a battleship” weight that reduced the recoil. The trigger pull was definitely on the high side. He paid almost $700 for it. Some think it’s an ugly gun, but even an AMC Pacer functioned as designed. I think there are better options available in traditionally designed revolvers at this point, but it is encouraging to see a manufacturer try something new.

    Dann in Ohio

  2. Crapgame says:

    I kind of like the looks of the Rhino — it’s vaguely sci-fi looking. It reminds me of Deckard’s gun in Blade Runner (although, after looking at images of the prop, it’s a very loose approximation).

    If our local gun store/indoor range ever has one for rent, I would happily give it a try, if only to satisfy my curiosity.