If you follow the online gun scene even peripherally, then you’ve read about the Chiappa Triple Threat: a three-barreled beast of a shotgun that looks like something out of either Mad Max or a steampunk comic. Today I got a little bit of trigger time with this gun, and the biggest surprise was that it wasn’t really that surprising. From reading about the gun online, I got the impression that it’s an high-priced novelty gun that inspires a moderate-to-high level of “OMG want” in many scattergun fans, but that the fit and finish doesn’t quite match up with the $1,600 price tag. And after handling the gun a the SHOT Show’s range day, I can report that this impression a was confirmed.
First, the good: It really is a nice little coach gun, and yeah, I definitely kinda want one. The fit and finish were a few notches above “workmanlike” — this is definitely not a cheap Stoeger that will need some gunsmithing right out of the box — and I was pleased with how the gun looked despite the fact that it didn’t blow me away with its craftsmanship. It breaks open cleanly, and when closed the fit is tight. The checkering on the stock is good, and the wood’s finish is nice, although not so nice that I’d freak if accidentally nicked it. I shot the model with the full-sized stock, and had absolutely no complaints about the pull length (I’m average height) or the trigger action. I didn’t try any rapid firing (see Chiappa’s video if you don’t know what I’m referring to), but in all it was very pleasant-shooting little coach with recoil on the lower side of moderate.
As for the bad, the main problem here, as everyone else has pointed out, is price. I own a Pioneer Arms coach gun (#100TW in walnut), which set me back about $1,400 back in 2009 when you could still find one available; in terms of fit, finish, and overall feel that Pioneer one of the finest firearms I’ve ever handled. I thought it was a steal at $1,400, and would have happily paid a grand more for it. The Triple Threat isn’t even in the same league as the Pioneer in the fit-and-finish category, yet it lists for $200 more. I think the Triple Threat would be more appropriately marked between $800 and $1,000, where it would still be as expensive as two great home-defense shotguns from the likes of Mossberg or Remington. But I think the novelty and fun factors would be worth the markup at that price. But for double that? No way no how.
I’ll put it this way — I could see myself actually paying full price for this gun one day in the distant future, after my girls have gone to college and I’m comfortably retired in my mansion on my 1,000-acre ranch, where I spend most of my time looking after my horses and polishing my collection of German sports cars. Until then, Chiappa needs to come down on the price if they want to make this thing more than a conversation piece for rich gun collectors.