The Chiappa Rhino looks like a weapon straight out of Blade Runner, complete with old-school reliability of a revolver but aesthetics of a modern semi-auto pistol. Let’s dive right into it and see if it lives up to the hype!
The Rhino is by all means a very accurate revolver, especially due to its ease in pointing and easy-view sights. Firing both .357 Magnum and 9mm, it had nearly pinpoint accuracy at twenty-five yards, at least partially due to low recoil. Perhaps the only negative contribution towards accuracy of this revolver is its single-action, being a little bit rough for a high-end revolver.
Double-action accuracy had nearly identical accuracy, with 1.5-1.9 inch shot groupings, on par with any .357 SIGs, Rugers, Glocks, and other similar guns. Overall, this revolver is designed with exceptional Italian accuracy in mind, and it more than delivers on that principle.
A revolver of this tier is nearly guaranteed to be reliable under any circumstances. Regardless of ammo type, it fires well and accurately and never fails in regards to the cylinder opening for reloading or emptying. The hammer is about as solid of a revolver hammer as I’ve encountered, and never once had difficulty cocking it even as someone generally not a fan of revolvers.
When it comes to weather or conditions resistance, the Rhino is like many revolvers in the sense that it is durable. I would advise still maintaining this revolver consistently however, as the cylinder will be the most prone to breaking down after use in poor conditions. This isn’t necessarily due to poor design or quality, but rather the nature of wheel guns and the few parts they do actually have.
While the technical handling on the Rhino is excellent, its biggest downfall is the ergonomics of this firearm. The extremely unique grip and top rail on it tend to be quite blocky, virtually getting in the way of an easy aim or draw.
However, the almost nonexistent muzzle-climb and recoil of the Rhino make those complaints quickly disappear. This contributes to the extremely good accuracy and tight shot groupings, and given that it only has six rounds, this is critical. On balance, the handling of the Rhino is well-tuned and smooth, but the ergonomics are a killer if you’re extremely picky about comfort when firing.
Perhaps one of my only major criticisms of this pistol is its 4.60kg trigger pull, being far weightier than other revolvers. With trigger modifications (such as aftermarket triggers), you can bring this down to 3.0kg, or 6.6 pounds in weight. This is unfortunately still a bit heavy, but if you are used to revolvers it likely will not even phase you during your shooting experience.
In my experience the trigger was neither bad nor good, but with an aftermarket trigger, the revolver became quite exceptional and really helped complete the Rhino. I would strongly recommend investing in such aftermarket parts as it can only further ensure a comfortable gun to operate.
Magazine and Reloading
As with all revolvers, the Rhino can hold six rounds within its cylinder. In an era of semi-auto, magazine-fed firearms, this can be a major factor as it will delay you due to reload time. While moon clips or speedloaders can significantly improve this, such a delay still has the potential to be fatal if you can’t reload in enough time.
From my experience, it was an exceptionally easy revolver to load due to the cylinder’s perfect reload angle. Speed-loaders are an excellent choice for this firearm, as it took my original reload time from 7.2 seconds to 5.5 seconds, precious time in a self-defense scenario.
Length and Weight
The Rhino has three length variants, the 20DS (6.5 inches), 50DS (9.4 inches), and 60DS (10.3 inches). The 20DS especially in my experience is the perfect length for this weapon, and could be used comfortably as a concealed carry weapon (CCW). For that reason, I would say the 20DS is the most reasonable variant for anyone planning to use this gun for self-defense purposes.
All three variants of the Rhino are nearly identical in weight, coming in at around 1.5-1.9 pounds, extremely light for a revolver of any kind. This is on par with the weight of an HK VP9, proving the Rhino is like carrying the most high-tech modern firearm with the vintageness of a revolver. The low weight and perfect length of this gun make it arguably one of the best shooter- friendly revolvers out there.
It’s not often you can say a firearm has no or virtually no recoil, but the Rhino is one of those. Honestly, you’re more likely to feel the actual pull of the trigger more than you are the recoil of this weapon. Even while firing Magnum, I felt almost no recoil, allowing me not only consistently tight shot groupings, but also a comfortable shooting experience.
Considering every shot counts with a revolver, low recoil contributes to good accuracy and the Rhino truly fits that bill. Recoil-wise this is the best revolver hands down I have fired, and it was an absolute blast to shoot!
Coming in at around $800-1,000 USD, the Rhino is certainly one of the most expensive revolvers out there. It’s certainly up to every expectation placed on such a price tag, but the amount is certainly worth considering before purchasing. However, its expensiveness is easily outweighed by its smoothness, reliability, modularity, and modernity. If you have the money, it is in my opinion worth every penny.
Few revolvers are as fine-tuned as the Rhino, even fewer are so modern in design and are able to compete against far more modern designs. Despite its somewhat weird ergonomics, the gun is extremely comfortable and easy to shoot, with unparalleled accuracy even at mid-range. It was designed with quality in mind, to give new life to revolvers; and it certainly does.
In conclusion, I think the Rhino is more than worth the price if you have the extra cash. It is one of the most complete revolvers out there currently, and extremely viable as a CCW weapon. If you love modern weapons but still have a soft spot for revolvers, the Chiappa Rhino is for you!
Richard Douglas is a firearms expert and educator. His work has appeared in large publications like The Armory Life, Daily Caller, American Shooting Journal, and more. In his free time, he reviews optics on his Scopes Field blog.