Chiappa is reporting that their Rhino line of revolvers has cleared all the US import requirements and testing and is available for distribution through MKS Supply. You can read all about the unique aspects of the revolver on this flier. There are a number of models available from 2″ to 6″ barrels in either polished or black finish. The 6″ version features integral top and bottom picatinny rails (pretty cool an practical in my opinion).
It’s certainly an interesting design with a number of possible advantages over a traditional revolver. There are a number of sites that cover all the mechanics, features, etc of the Rhino. So I will focus on the marketability of a radically re-designed revolver…. in other words, will shooters be flocking to gun shops to buy a Rhino?
Gun buyers in general (and especially revolver buyers) are a conservative group of people and tend to go for time tested designs. The fact that the Rhino is so different in operation and appearance will be a deterrent to many buyers – at least initially.
I will say that I’ve been surprised at how quickly the polymer-framed Ruger LCR caught on (granted Ruger is a well-respected manufacturer with a solid customer and dealer base). And with both S&W and Taurus now also offering polymer framed revolvers, it seems like revolver buyers may not be as old and starchy as I once believed (no offence to revolver buyers, I’m among the old and starchy myself).
There will certainly be people who buy a Rhino simply because it’s unique. If these buyers have good experiences with the gun, and if the gun is well received by the gun media, it may go on to have a long and successful life on the US market.
Price is another factor. MSRP starts at $775 and goes up to nearly $1,000. There are a lot of good, proven pistol and revolver designs available at this price. The Rhino will need to be something special to compete in this price range.