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My review of the Chiappa Rhino. 357 Magnum was great fun to write. And the research was no drag either; it’s not every day that you get to blast away with a heavy-hitting concealed carry pistol that has nearasdammit no recoil at all. And when that pistol is also remarkably accurate, weighs only a few ounces heavier than a Walther PPK and looks like you stole it from the set of a James Cameron sci-fi spectacle, that doesn’t make your reviewer’s job any harder either.

In fact, the only sour note in my my entire Opus Rhinoceros was my dissatisfaction with its excessively heavy double-action trigger pull. How heavy was it? I’ll never know for sure (my gunsmith’s trigger gauge didn’t go high enough) but it was fifteen pounds if it was an ounce, and it may have been twenty. I’m sure my chunkiest cat, a clawless and tailless tuxedo tabby with a physique like Ralph Kramden, could have hung for dear life from the Rhino’s trigger and not set it off.

It almost required the strength of two fingers to pull it.

The Ironman trigger didn’t disguise the Rhino’s outstanding inherent accuracy, but it hampered what should have been a sublime double-action shooting experience and produced only acceptable practical accuracy. The revolutionary Rhino was only a long trigger pull from perfection.

The folks at Chiappa were not deaf to this tragedy, and as it happens they already had a solution in the works. The solution: their ‘Stage One’ trigger upgrade, a $100-ish process that President Ron Norton said would lighten and smooth out the double-action trigger pull.

And it does. The recently renovated Rhino arrived at my gunsmith’s a few days ago, wearing attractive wood grips and a new trigger package. The laser-stippled wooden grips are listed as being smaller than the optional rubberized grips. Robert Farago found the rubberized grips too large to allow him a proper hold on the pistol, and when I ship it to him (wait your turn!) we shall see if the wooden grips fit smaller hands better.

So, what about the trigger?  Does it solve the problem?

All I can say right now is “I think so.” The fates conspired against me and I wasn’t able to shoot the Rhino yet in a manner that would have taught me anything meaningful. My local public shooting range has a long list of rules which include ‘no rapid fire’ (as though one shot per second is ‘rapid’) and no photography. Since most of my efforts would have been devoted to exactly thos two activities, I will have to wait until next weekend to shoot the bejeesus out of the Rhino again, at a place with fewer rules.

Until that happy day, I can report that the double-action pull is now a smooth eight pounds instead of the knuckle-torqueing 15 or 20 pounds that it was. And the single-action pull is a very smooth 3.5 pounds. I think it will deliver the goods this time around, but I can’t be sure until I wring it out thoroughly and tell you all about it. Watch this space.

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  1. I don’t mean to bash the good folks at the English Pit shooting range here in Vancouver. For years we had no public range at all, and it took an heroic volunteer effort to get it up and running. I am very thankful for their efforts.

    I don’t blame the RSOs either; they deal with dozens of The Great Untrained every day, and they have to have eyes in the back of their head to keep some moron from accidentally shooting other patrons. Like me.

    • Ooooooooooooo, Chris, I don't care if I need Popeye's forearms to work the damn thing, I just gots to get me one of those Rhinos.

  2. Can you describe the process on getting the update done? How long did it take? My Rhino is set to arrive tomorrow and I'm sure I'll want to do the upgrade. I might also like to get the wood grips, what do they run?

  3. Ridiculous that you have to pay extra for the sort of trigger it should come with as standard: 8# DA isn’t even down in the target pistol category of trigger pulls!

  4. Like Bryan, i’d like more info about where/how you had the work done. I like my little rhino, but would love it if it had a smoother DA trigger! although i might like wood grips without the stippling effect.

  5. I bought one used, and it looked like it hadn’t been fired once. Rhino must have fixed any problems or this one has had an upgrade, but mine shoots double action as smooth and easy as any revolver I have shot before. With what I estimate between 7-8 pounds trigger pull and a hair trigger on single action. I mean light. Maybe a one, one and a half pound pull. At most
    Shooting 38+P rounds feels like your shooting a large framed 380. No muzzle rise. Just straight back into your palm. The mag rounds make more noise and you can feel a slight difference in the palm of your palm. But not much. You can shoot this gun one handed off the hip if you aim it like pointing your finger. Dead on up to 15 feet after some practice. That is the most and best advantage to the rhino concept. That the barrel lays right in line with your index finger. Making it Ideal for defensive situations where you don’t have time to aim your weapon properly.

  6. I recently purchased a 200DS and even though this article is accurate it also leaves out significant points about the trigger and cocking hammer characteristics. This may be because this article is old. I felt a modified trigger may help with my specific application; defense. The cocking hammer was somewhat heavy. I overcame this to some degree with technique. I went ahead with #2 modification. This was an improvement to both trigger pull and cocking. A fellow Rhino owner and I compared his standard and my modified. At the range, easier cocking came in handy. The trigger pulls were so similar, it didn’t make much difference. It shouldn’t go with saying Modifications 3, 4 and 5; I have no idea of their performance. However, the difference in trigger pull is only at the initiation of the trigger travel. Once the firing mechanism is engaged, the trigger becomes quite light. This is very different from the only other 2 revolvers with which I’m familiar. Without naming them, I will say I glad I don’t own them; very hard to control compared to the Rhino. With the exception of cost, I’m pleased with the purchase of the Rhino in it’s 38/357 configuration. Lots of ammo choices and easily tamed by this old 45 1911 Fan.

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  8. A new from the factory $700 dollar plus revolver with a rough 15 pound plus double action trigger is broken no matter who makes it.

  9. The trigger pull is horrible – Called Chiappa to see if I could buy a kit. they said no; I have to ship the firearm and $249 to modify – add overnight or 2 day shipping charges – that’s a rip off

  10. I received my Rhino 40DS 12-28-2019.. Did not get a chance to shoot it until early feb. Double action trigger pull is smooth and reasonable at about 8 to 9 lbs, and stages well. Single action is very nice and smooth and in the area of 3lbs. my only complaint is the cocking lever is very stiff. I went to revolvers because of weak hands due to arthritis, and difficulty in racking my 9mm. I shoot much better with this gun than any of my other 5 pistols. I like it a lot, and let my friend shoot it. He has placed an order for one also.


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