What’s Hot in Handguns?

Cougar .45 with light.A year after introducing a Model 1911 look-alike in .22-caliber, Chiappa, marketed by MKS Supply (8611-A North Dixie Drive, Dept. GDTM, Dayton, OH 45415/(866) 769-4867/www.1911-22.com), is out with two new versions of that pistol, and the rather unusual Rhino revolver in .357 Magnum. I’ve fired the .22-caliber pistol and found it to be accurate, but haven’t had the chance to shoot the Rhino, which discharges out of the bottom chamber in its 6-round cylinder.

The semi-auto has a synthetic magazine, checkered wood grip panels, fixed sights and fixed steel barrel. The revolver is available first with a 2-inch barrel, and will be followed (perhaps by this time) by guns with barrels measuring 3, 4, 5 and 6 inches. The handgun’s low barrel design is supposed to reduce muzzle flip during recoil.

Chiappa’s Rhino is a hefty gun, weighing 25 ounces (with the 4-inch barrel), and has a frame made from Ergal, a high-strength alloy with a blued or brushed alloy finish. Stocks are composite rubber or wood, and there will also be a polished stainless version.

Fans of Steyr (7661 Commerce Lane, Dept. GDTM, Trussville, AL 35173/(205) 655-8299/www.steyrarms.com) semi-auto striker-fired pistols can smile because the M-A1 and S-A1 are being brought back to the American market. They began arriving on our shores in the fall, and both pistols are available in either 9mm or .40 S&W. The M-A1 has a 4-inch barrel and is a full size model while the S-A1 is a compact with a 3.6-inch tube.

Both pistols have polymer frames with molded accessory rails, low barrel axis design and an integrated trigger safety with what Steyr calls a “Reset Action System” trigger. They feature a keyed safety lock, low-profile sights and polygonal rifling.

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