Samuel Colt is credited with creating the first modern mass-produced revolver. The concept of firing 6 shots in less time than it took the most practiced shooter to reload a flintlock pistol revolutionized the concept of the handgun as both an offensive and defensive weapon.
Since that first manufacturing run of Colt revolvers, the basic concept of the revolver has remained unchanged.
A cylinder holding six rounds of ammunition that spun around an axis to align each cylinder in turn with the barrel and a hammer to strike the primer on the cartridge was the key. Colt positioned the barrel so that the top round in the cylinder is aligned with the barrel.
This basic design, with a few modifications, has been the standard method of revolver design for the last 150 years. Then came Chiappa firearms and the revolutionary design known as the Rhino. The latest development from Chiappa Firearms is the Rhino 60DS.
The Chiappa Difference
Designers Emilio Ghisoni and Anotinio Cudazzo envisioned a revolver based on a lower barrel profile that puts the forces acting on the gun in a different relationship to the shooter’s hand and arm. The Chiappa design features a lower bore axis compared to other revolvers. A lower bore axis directs the recoil forces to a more natural point in the shooter’s hand, thus reducing recoil and muzzle flip.
This re-engineered design produces other benefits as well. The design is more ergonomic and allows a better fit for more shooters’ hands. Chiappa managed to keep the operating controls in many of the same places as other traditional revolvers, making the Chiappa Rhino an easy gun to pick up and operate for most shooters.
Chiappa also utilizes state-of-the-art manufacturing to keep costs low and quality high. Most parts of the Chiappa Rhino frames are CNC machined from high-strength aluminum alloy. Those parts that are exposed to the combustion forces use alloy steel.
Specifications and Features of the Chiappa Rhino 60DS
These Chiappa Firearms are not as different from traditional revolvers as you might think. However, understanding the bones of these pistols is very important. A look at the specifications and features offered by Chiappa Arms is in order.
The Rhino line of revolvers has more than 50 variants from which to choose.
Barrel lengths vary from two inches to six inches. There are models that are designed to be California compliant.
Finishes include a black anodized frame to nickel-plated. You can even get a gold-plated model if you want to feed your vanity. There are many other variations from which to choose, but each incorporates all the Rhino revolver design features.
Since this article reviews the Chiappa Rhino 60DS, we will deal specifically with the factory specifications for this pistol model:
- Type of Firearm – Revolver
- Caliber – 9mm
- Action – Double action only
- Barrel Length – 6 inches
- Capacity – 6 rounds
- Grips – Grey Laminated
- Trigger – Fully adjustable
- Front Sight Style – Fixed with red fiber optic
- Rear Sight Style – Adjustable Elevation & Windage with green fiber optic
- Safety – Internal
- Weight – 2.00 pounds
- Length Overall – 10.5 inches
- Material – Machined 7075-T6 Alloy Frame with steel cylinder and barrel
- Finish – Black anodized frame, blued cylinder
- Extraction – Manual
This gun looks massive coming out of the box. When you finally get through admiring it and pick it up, you may be surprised at how little it weighs. The use of aluminum and the innovative design features a lower weight than you would otherwise expect.
As you might expect, there are some outstanding features included with the Chiappa Firearms Rhino 60DS. This is already an outstanding handgun and the included features add to the value.
- Unique design with a lower bore axis compared to other revolvers reduces muzzle flip and felt recoil.
- Available as a standard model or a California Compliant model.
- Separate hammer spring and trigger return springs for individual adjustment or replacement.
- Trigger travel is adjustable.
- Finger grove frame and custom Rhino grips provide solid and reliable operation.
- Fiber optic sights come as standard equipment.
- Now available in 9mm as well as other popular pistol cartridges
- Includes 10 moon clips with the 9mm pistol package and a removal tool.
- One-year warranty on defects in manufacture, including free parts and labor for the original owner.
I must admit that this is an expensive handgun. At this price, I would have expected a bit more in the warranty department.
However, looking back on my experience, I have never had a name-brand firearm fail because of material or manufacturing defects. I have had problems because I did something stupid, but never because the maker did something stupid.
Getting Inside the Chiappa Firearms Rhino 60DS
The Chiappa Rhino 60DS is an amazing new take on revolver design. As such, it is important that we look at the differences between a Rhino 60DS and a standard traditional revolver – and how that can affect performance and shooting.
Without getting too technical, a look under the hood, so to speak, is essential to understanding how different this revolver is and how those differences translate into the shooting experience.
Barrel and Cylinder Orientation
A first glance you might mistake a Chiappa Firearms Rhino 60DS for a traditional revolver. A closer examination reveals a very significant difference.
Traditional revolvers line up the barrel with the cylinder opening at the top. The Rhino 60DS lines up with the bottom cylinder opening, giving the barrel a considerably lower bore axis compared to other revolvers.
The barrel shroud is raised and vented to provide a flat aiming surface the length of the six-inch barrel. Many shooters find this helps with a natural point of aim when they shoot. The lower bore axis helps prevent muzzle rise during shooting and creates less felt recoil in the shooter’s hand and the entire arm.
It may look unwieldy and seem weird, but after shooting the Chiappa Firearms Rhino 60DS, I was amazed at how it came to a natural point of aim. I was able to quickly reacquire my target and make follow-up shots accurately.
The Chiappa Rhino 60DS Trigger Assembly
Chiappa Firearms rethought the whole control and firing system in the Rhino 60DS. At first glance, the entire assembly looks more complicated and has more parts than a traditional revolver firing system. This is true, but the reasons make sense and the results are truly remarkable.
Hammer and Trigger Return Springs
Chiappa separated the hammer return spring and the trigger return spring into two components. This allows each of these operations to be independently adjusted or replaced. This allows you to precisely tune the entire fire control system to your wanted settings.
While Chiappa Firearms doesn’t specifically call this fire control group a competition model, most competitive shooters will appreciate the ability to fine-tune the feel of the trigger.
Most average shooters have very little concern with trigger travel, especially on a revolver. They simply pull the trigger and release it when they can’t pull it any further.
However, competitive shooters know the advantage of trigger travel that doesn’t exceed the release point by more than a few thousandths of an inch. The ability to adjust the trigger travel is not found on many factory handguns.
Being used to Glock three-dot sights, I was pleasantly surprised to find the factory sights on the Chiappa Rhino 60DS to include fiber optic. The front sight has a red fiber optic and the rear sight features a green fiber optic. These sights work extremely well for target acquisition while shooting.
Shooting the Chiappa Firearms Rhino Revolver
Shooting revolvers is a blast. I love wheel guns. I was a bit apprehensive about the Chiappa Firearms Rhino 60DS because it is such a radical design. However, after just a few rounds on the range, I became convinced that these Rhino revolvers have something going for them.
I will admit that I am not a big fan of revolvers chambers in 9mm. The 9mm cartridge was designed to be fired in semi-automatic weapons and the lack of a rim makes most revolvers a pain in the you-know-what for this cartridge. Anticipating this problem, Chiappa Firearms includes 10 half-moon clips with each of these revolvers to make things easier and faster.
Comfort and Shootability
I knew going to the range that I would experience some difference in the feel of the Chiappa Rhino 60DS. As soon as I put the first six shots down range I was aware of the difference. I shoot a lot of 9mm from semi-automatic firearms including Glocks and Caniks. The Rhino 60DS has them all beat hands down when it comes to recoil felt by the shooter’s hand, wrist, and arm.
The recoil felt extremely light during the shoot. The lower axis on the barrel bore in relation to the shooter’s hand means the energy is better absorbed and controlled by the arm and shoulder. By putting the barrel more in line with the shooters hand and arm, the amount of recoil felt by the shooter is mitigated.
In the hand, this revolver feels like a fit and provides the shooter a more natural feel. The fixed red fiber optic sight and green fiber optic rear sight provide a great sight picture. All in all, this is a great revolver to shoot. There is almost no muzzle rise to speak of. The recoil felt by the shooter in the hand, wrist, and arm is much less than in comparable guns.
Unlike semi-automatic pistols, revolvers very rarely suffer from reliability issues. As one would expect in a firearm of this quality, the fit and finish speak for themselves. The tolerances are tight due mainly to the precision of the CNC machine process used by Chiappa Firearms during the manufacturing process.
My Take on the Chiappa Firearms Rhino 60DS
In my opinion, this is one of those guns that, once you shoot it, you feel married to it. I am not so sure about the 9mm choice. However, the Rhino 60ds is available in .357 magnum and other pistol calibers.
I wish I would have had the chance to shoot one of these pistols chambered for .357 just for comparison to see if the more powerful cartridge recoil is better absorbed and controlled as the 9mm.