The Chiappa Rhino, an innovative Italian-made revolver that fires from the bottom cylinder to reduce perceived recoil, was unveiled to the public at the 2010 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show. Emilio Ghisoni, and Italian firearm designer who once patented a semi-automatic revolver, created the handgun to take advantage of a seemingly simple principle ignored by other manufacturers—by lowering the bore axis muzzle flip will be reduced.
The gun has a distinctive profile, one reminiscent of a rhinoceros, hence the name. Mechanically it’s very different from any of the designs that have appeared since Samuel Colt received the first revolver patent in 1836. American Rifleman covered the intricacies of the handgun shortly after it appeared and conducted extended range sessions.
There were skeptics at first, but they’ve been largely silenced by glowing reviews. “During accuracy testing, I was surprised by how much the lower barrel axis dampened recoil and controlled muzzle flip,” American Rifleman’s evaluator wrote. “Still, I thought full-house, .357 Mag. loads would rock the Rhino. I was wrong. I could feel the bite in the palm of my hand from the Federal 180-gr. jacketed hollow-point loads, but muzzle rise was negligible.”
As that news spread, the Rhino family grew. Today versions are available with accessory rails on models with 4", 5" and 6" barrels, and carry models wear 2" and 3" barrels. It’s available in .38 Spl., 9 mm, .357 Mag. and .40 S&W. The gun can run single or double action and features a fiber-optic front sight.
Finishes include your choice of black anodized, gold PVD, nickel plated, a rainbow-resembling Nebula, slate, stainless and green Cerakote. Some are even California compliant. Add the variety of grip styles with the chamberings and barrel lengths—along with a brand-new double-action-only Charging Rhino Gen II—and there’s something for everyone.
MSRPs vary by model, but least expensive in the vast lineup is a .357 Mag.-chambered version with a 2" barrel. Metalwork is black anodized and it will set you back $1,127. The rest of the Rhino family comes in above that mark, depending on options.