Rental gun stress test: Chiappa Rhino initial review

I wanted the Chiappa Rhino to be great so badly. The concept is awesome: the barrel on the bottom of the cylinder to lower the bore axis and reduce muzzle rise. The gun shoots fantastic: recoil is noticeable due to the light weight design but manageable due to the barrel placement. The follow through has been disappointing.

I finally talked my boss into putting a Chiappa in the rental counter. He was hesitant because he thought it would break. Well it didn’t break. Then again, it didn’t work to begin with.

The gun is a rockstar if you can muscle the striker back into single action mode, but those of us who know better and engage the Rhino’s gajillion pound double action trigger (okay, I’m exaggerating) are treated to a series of misfires. When we first put the gun out it was just with .357s but now the .38s are starting to misfire as well – and back to Chiappa she goes.

At first appearance it seems to be a firing pin issue. The strikes we saw on the primers were off center, shallow and larger in circumference compared to a few rounds out of the same box we fired through a GP100. Given our limited interaction with the gun, though, no one is sure.

I hope it gets fixed, does so quickly then runs forever. My hope is now stifled, though, and I no longer see the Chiappa as the shining beacon of innovation I had hoped it would be. Maybe this is a fluke, a lemon, who knows? Maybe Chiappa will give us a real firing pin and all will be well. I can only hope.

Until then I feel as if I found out the elf queen is 400 lbs and living in a trailer park.


    1. I desperately wanted the Rhino to not suck, I really really did. It’s too bad of course that it did suck, and in some cases pretty spectacularly.

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