Just the other day, a friend of mine asked me about the new Rhino revolvers and inquired about their potential lack of compliance with NRA DR rules. It’s a factory produced revolver, and as such, should conform.
At the time I didn’t remember it. Although, after Googling for it, I briefly remembered seeing it mentioned by various blogers in the early part of this year.
By reviewing the photo below, I’ll be the first to admit its design is striking, maybe even wicked looking; where some of my blogosphere comrades have even referred to it as having a metro-sexual look. I don’t know about that, but it’s certainly unique looking.
Chappia Firearms Group (Armi Chiappa, pronounced KEE-opp-a) of Azzano Mella, Italy teamed up with Antonio Cudazzo and Emilio Ghisoni, who labored on this concept for about two years before applying for a patent.
Strangely enough, it looks and functions much like a Mateba. It appears the Rhino is, at least visually, a cousin to this ‘somewhat’ known automatic revolver. Sadly, the Mateba went out of production when its Italian manufacturer filed for bankruptcy in 2005.
None the less, the basic benefit of both guns appears to be their vastly lower bore-line.
Competitive shooters have shied away from revolvers due to their inherent high bore-line, where the effects of recoil become exaggerated. For the better part of sixty years most major target pistol manufacturers, especially those located in Europe, have concentrated on building and redesigning semi-autos with a never ending quest of lowering the bore-line.
The Rhino accomplishes this by having the gun fire from the lower cylinder (6 o’clock). By that process, the barrel is located at or slightly below the web of the shooter’s hand. The intent is for the shooter to get a gentle push into their palm during recoil, and the frame’s rotation is minimized too. The designers’ goal from a recoil standpoint was to provide the shooter with an easier and much shorter time to reacquire the sight picture during sustained fire.
It looks attractive. I’m told it’s very solid even though it does sport an aluminum frame. But there have been some concerns about its DA trigger pull being a bit stiff. The cocking lever (it’s not a hammer, or maybe it’s a faux hammer) atop cocks the internal mechanism by linkage to shoot in SA mode. And if someone wanted a smith to massage the gun, I doubt there could be much accomplished to enhance the trigger’s pull, due to the use of wire springs being used internally.
Currently the gun’s availability is somewhat limited here in the States. Should this design platform catch on, the price point may even decline a little. Apparently Chappia produces most of them as a snub nose for the concealed carry market, where the snubby commands a price tag of about $800.