Chiappa Rhino Review

Richard has reviewed the Chiappa Rhino Revolver

Felt recoil from .357 Magnum loads is almost non-existant.

Sounds like a pretty bold statement, I suppose. But after shooting the Chiappa Rhino at the 2011 Media Day at the Range, that sums up my feelings exactly. Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start from the beginning…

After I do a lot of shooting with heavy(ier) caliber guns, I find it really hard to judge recoil. By the time I got to the Chiappa guns I had done so much shooting I could not accurately judge the recoil. I can say that at the time the recoil did not seem bad. Bryan, who was with me at Media Day, took these photos of the Rhino …

Photo © Bryan Jones
Photo © Bryan Jones

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Andy from CT

    I’m more than likely buying one. I’ll buy a 2nd and sell the first once they make a larger framed one in .44 mag.

  • Dave

    Looks like the guy in the second pic’s about to burn his right thumb. Ouch!

  • The Other John C

    My friend has one of these and he said it has almost no kick. One thing I didn’t notice until holding it was the cylinder release – in the first pic you can see it. Its like a lever to the left of the hammer.

  • Glenn G

    That is a stunning example of the Hollywood Teacup hold (top photo). It appears that he tethered his wrist to the ground to manage the recoil. 🙂

  • Vitor

    Always glad when a product delivery what it promised.

    And the cool design doesn’t hurt either.

  • Squidpuppy

    Although I suspect it’s got significant design differences, I have a Mateba Unica 6, and I’m constantly having to take it apart and tune the mechanism; it’s simply not reliable as anything other than a toy. Could be okay for those who always like to fiddle with their equipment, so perhaps okay in competition, but as a defensive tool – nope.

    I recently got a S&W Scandium 627PC 2″ bbl, and that thing is a joy to shoot. Yes, when putting full load .357s through it, it has that distinctive magnum character, but if you know how to shoot a magnum revolver, it’s actually very controllable, and way more accurate than me. I put 110 gr .357 loads through it mostly for practice, or 110 gr .38+P defensive.

    I’ll certainly get a Rhino, and the article said the samples had been put through their paces to the tune of thousands of rounds; all good. The question will be how reliable are the mass produced pieces? I bet the reviewer sample of the Unica 6 was a champ too…

  • Burst

    The Rhino is a nice advancement, but it could be so much more.

    Imagine the area over the barrel fitted for a integral laser, or moonclip conversions for 9mm/.40sw (blame the exceedingly stupid Italian ban on ‘military calibers’)

    I’d settle for decent crimson trace grip and extended hammer, though.

  • Arrkhal

    Comparing one of these to a 6 Unica is kind of crazy. The Rhino is basically just a normal revolver with an unorthodox cylinder release, and an external cocking whatsit rather than a more conventional enclosed or shrouded hammer.

    And FWIW, my 6 Unica in .44 mag has been reliable so far, but it definitely IS a range toy and NOT a self defense gun; just too mechanically complex to be very rugged, even if a particular one hasn’t acted up YET. Seems like the best niches for it are metallic silhouette, possibly some bowling pin matches, and big-game hunting if you have a backup; basically the same handful of things the Desert Eagle’s actually good for, except the Unica has even less recoil, a much better trigger, and a grip that’s actually usable by people that aren’t Andre the Giant.

    What I’m not sure of with the Rhino, is why did they bother to put a topstrap on it? The 2006M had a topstrap, too, though that was probably to support the swing-up crane. But for the Rhino, it’s completely unnecessary, particularly since it looks like the crane is designed around a beefed up lower frame. All they did was make the gun 1/8″ taller for no reason.

  • Mechman

    Squidpuppy: Matebe has nothing in common with the rhino except for the barrel arrangement. This is a classic revolver action, not the autorevolver.

  • Zander

    I don’t know why but I find designs that are well designed & deliver what they’re meant to to be very attractive.

  • Cymond

    Some of the longer barrel variants showed up recently on Gunbroker. The lowest price with s&h is $865.

    I certainly do want one, but I’m not sure if it outranks my desire to get a 686 first.

  • Anyone know if a 4″ barrel version would be legal for IDPA and USPSA revolver classes? I have an ~80 year old Colt, but I’d like a more modern revolver, and you don’t get much more modern than this, I suppose.

  • Variable
  • Mike W

    One of the guys who was on the design team for the Mateba also worked on the the design of this, so the comparison isn’t completely insane.
    I have one of the two inch barrel models. It shoots well, conceals better. The muzzle rise/flip is nearly non-existent. The only issue I have is that it redirects all recoil back into the webbing of my hand. With full .357 loads it is like getting karate chopped constantly in the hand. Fun little gun though.

  • Squidpuppy

    You’re all right, the Rhino is not a Mateba; I should have been clearer in stating my point about complexity. Take a look at this:
    The Rhino is a DA/SA revolver, but it ain’t got a classic revolver action; it’s rather more complex – and that’s what I meant. Design deviation can be very cool, like the Rhino, but time will tell if it’s a net positive to the technology.

    Makes no never mind on whether I want one; I do. And my hat’s off to the designer & everyone involved in bringing it to us. Innovation is always something to applaud. Now all you guys with Mateba’s… where do you get your’s serviced, please? Thanks!

  • Justin

    Reminds me of the Mateba revolver, I would love to have either.

  • derfel cadarn

    The one design feature that should be borrowed from the Mateba is the interchangeable barrels

  • Cymond

    “One of the guys who was on the design team for the Mateba also worked on the the design of this, so the comparison isn’t completely insane.”

    That would be Emilio Ghisoni, the mastermind behind Mateba. The Rhino was originally available on a custom-order basis from his post-Mateba company THE.MA. However, Mr Ghisoni died several years ago before the Rhino achieved any kind of significant production numbers. The design was in limbo for a while, and then it took Chiappa so long to get them into production that I was afraid they would never make it.

  • Enthusiast

    I’m looking for a new revolver… The design of the the Mateba Unica 6 has caught my eye. I understand the concept of the pistol, and it’s uniqueness. However, I’ve never held or fired one. My greatest concern is the quality of the product. I’ve read reviews from both sides of the fence on the Mateba concerning quality… Some say that the Mateba is impractical, too complex to be reliable and have various other problems. Some think that the Mateba is a brilliantly designed firearm, that has very little recoil or muzzle jump, is very accurate, capable of a high rate of fire and have never had a problem out of em…. No doubt that the Mateba is unique in design and function… But what good is a firearm that you don’t have faith in, or is easily broken? I must have read 50 reviews, and I’m having trouble finding information that doesn’t seem extremely slanted to one side or the other in favor. Any help in this matter would be greatly appreciated.. If I were to get one, it would be a 44mag.. And as a gun collector… an item such as this with limited production, unique design and high popularity in some circles…. if nothing else it would be a good investment in 10 years time… However I believe in reliability, and the confidence that when I pull the trigger.. this gun WILL fire…. Anyone with actual experience and an unbiased opinion… Feel free to comment.

  • gabo

    I have owned a Chiappa 2″ barrel for almost a year. I have not experienced any problems. It is not the type of gun you take to range and expect to shoot 100 to 200 rounds. 25 to 50 rounds is my limit. The only negative is that it is not very comfortable. It is a very good concealed carry. It is very accurate, very little kick, built very solid with a real sharp finish. I have shot both 158 and 125 grain .357 rounds. The shooter in picture # 2 does not appear to be following the instructions on holding and shooting the Rhino which is in the manual.

  • You can checkout another detailed review at:

  • Shaun L.

    I have been following the progress of the Rhino and am seriously considering buying one but I do have a question…. Why does every article tout the Rhino as “revolutionary” or “ground breaking” while consistently ignoring the Russian AEK-906 and AEK-906-1 revolver developed and built two decades ago? I’ve also scoured the net for info on the AEK-906 and have found very little in the way of details. Can someone please do an article about the original “revolutionary” revolver and give credit where credit is due?

    I don’t want to take away from the Rhino in any way, I’d just like to know more about it’s actual heritage and if there were any inherent flaws with the original design while it was in production in Russia.

  • Glenn

    Great concept, not well executed. Got my new one, loaded six rounds of .357 Magnum ammunition. Of the six, only two fired. Of those, one of the cases was split full length. Firing pin is hitting off center, chambers are oversize. Sent it back, said they would replace it, still waiting. I suspect that they are overwhelmed with warranty work. Wait awhile till they get the bugs worked out before you let go of the money.