Headquartered in the northern Italian town of Azzano Mella, the KIMAR S.r.l. Group − doing business as Armi Chiappa − has recently evolved from the replica maker it had been mostly known as in the past to a modern, more dynamic company, offering now a wide range of centerfire and rimfire pistols, revolvers and carbines. Armi Chiappa now also operates a north American branch − Chiappa Firearms Ltd., headquartered in Dayton, Ohio − and spent the last years to forge alliances with other well-known international gunmakers; a policy of innovation that's now starting to yield its benefits, with new models being launched basically every year,
Year 2013 was no exception, as Chiappa Firearms launched two new impressive three-barrel shotguns − something seldom, if ever, seen before − at the SHOT Show in Las Vegas (NV) and IWA expo in Nuremberg (Germany). Dubbed respectively the "Triple Crown" and "Triple Threat", these three-barrel shotguns are chambered for the 12-gauge, 3" ("Magnum") shotshells and are based upon a solid, sturdy, massive breech manufactured in Turkey by AKKAR, a specialized company that has been making its own guns and supplying third parties with components and parts for decades now.
Chiappa's "Triple Crown" and "Triple Threat" shotguns are basically built around a conventional break-open mechanism that's typical of all over-and-under and side-by-side shotguns, albeit of course scaled up for the dimensions of the massive breech and three barrels overall. Both models feature a standard manual safety crest, a standard opening lever, and a single trigger. Opening the breech requires quite some energy, it's hard and heavy, but it's necessary as the opening movement also automatically arms the three internal strikers of the gun − providing such a system with external hammers would of course be impossible. On the other side, though, the trigger is quite light on both versions, and the three barrels can be emptied on a target as fast as the shooter can pull the trigger; the extra weight overall and the compensation ports on the barrels definitely help to keep recoil and muzzle climb to a minimum, even when firing 3" shotshells.
Both models also feature sturdy, classy wooden stocks and forends, and individual "RemChokes" on each of the three barrels, yet differ by name and some specifics. For instance, the "Triple Crown" model is definitely more apt for hunting, as it features three 28-inch barrels, topping an overall lenght of 45 inches, an overall weight that reaches up to 8.7lbs, and coming with a high-visibility front sight and a long rib. The shorter "Triple Threat" has instead been conceived mainly for home and property defense, and as such comes with 18.5" barrels, no rib and a standard metal front sight, and a two-parts stock, with the butt being removable to leave the gun with nothing but a mere pistol grip so that it will be easier to handle in confined environments.
As of today, the "Triple Crown" and "Triple Threat" shotguns are only available on the north American market, and solely through Chiappa Firearms Ltd., the U.S.-based company branch. European and otherwise global distribution has however been announced in Germany last March, and should be starting in the near future; as soon as it happens, the "Triple Crown" and "Triple Threat" should become instant hits, especially in these legislations − Australia and the United Kingdom, to name a couple − that either pose severe restrictions or outright ban all semi-automatic shotguns and/or all shotguns other than the break-open type. Providing one more shot over the standard SxS or O/U, Chiappa's three-barrel wonders might just be packing the "extra firepower" that the shooters in these tightly gun-controlled Countries have been waiting for.