It’s funny: I just responded to Pelle Schultz’s comment last night about my Rhino review, and I mentioned the likely availability of a trigger upgrade. I said “The grapevine is whispering that Chiappa has developed a trigger upgrade, and I hope it’s true.” Well, it IS true. (Does that mean my magic lamp only has two more wishes?) The grapevine can shut up now, because Chiappa president Ron Norton confirms that trigger upgrades (called “Performance Kits”) will soon be available . . .
It sounds like Norton and his crew has listened carefully to us ‘beta testers’ in the gun world, and I hope these kits perform as planned. If a decent but not expert shooter like myself can obtain the results I got from a Rhino with a punishing 15-pound DA trigger, then a Rhino with a smoother 10 to 12 pound DA trigger will be a world-beater. Many fine revolvers (including our reference S&W 686) have 12-pound DA triggers; the difference is all in the smoothness, not the weight.
No matter what miracles Chiappa can work with the trigger pull, I doubt I’ll ever be a good enough shooter to replicate the 1.5 second, 2″ group that Norton demonstrated in his video clip above.
I didn’t spend decades as a police officer and member of the Army Marksmanship Unit, but my rainy afternoon with a stock Rhino (getting 2.0 second, 6″ groups) has me wondering just how close I can get. Being able to fire a gun so powerful so quickly, makes me feel like I’ve just sat down at a cathedral organ (where I can barely pick out a few simple chords) and played a note-perfect Toccata and Fugue in A Minor.
Just like a new Callaway titanium driver, a new Z06 Corvette, or a new Gibson Les Paul Custom Gold-Top, the Rhino is an implement that can really raise your game to a new level. When it shoots for you like it shot for me, you’ll feel like a rock star.
But back to reality. These ‘performance kits’ sound like just what the doctor ordered to cure a bad case of triggerisimus gravis, so why not offer them as preventive medicine instead?
An otherwise-phenomenal pistol with a harsh trigger is like a Ferrari, equipped with a 6″ lift kit and knobby tires so it won’t bottom out on logging roads. It may sound pragmatic, but it ruins one critical and outstanding performance characteristic in favor of an operational characteristic you don’t need and will probably never use. How many times have you seen a Ferrari on a dirt road? And no, the gravel driveway to Robin Masters’ Oahu estate doesn’t count.
So let’s hope that Chiappa ships USA-bound Rhinos with the ‘Stage 1’ trigger as standard equipment, and makes the other triggers available to gunsmiths or by special order. The ‘stock’ trigger can be OEM for deliveries to other countries, and it might be chosen by American handloading artillery hobbyists who use Small Rifle Magnum primers in their depleted uranium .357 handloads.
The extra-light ‘Stage 2’ and ‘Stage 3’ triggers might be ordered by other handloaders who tailor their ammunition (with softer primers) to fit their guns, or by competitive shooters who shoot one load of ammunition exclusively and test it for reliable ignition. The ‘Stage 1’ trigger would be for you and me; recreational shooters and CCW holders, and even for police and armed security as well.
If this gun ships from the factory with a good trigger, it could change everything. I hope it does.