Chiappa Rhino 20DS [Revolver’s Review]

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The Chiappa Rhino revolver is a one-of-a-kind take on the classic revolver — a gun with an unusual appearance. I love the unique design of the Rhino that sets itself apart from ordinary revolvers. What you will notice upfront is the barrel, which aligns with the lowermost chamber of the cylinder, and the gun’s six-chambered cylinder is hexagonal rather than circular. There are reasons for it. As such, I’ll show you how the pistol is not only stylish but also functional in a variety of ways. 

With model numbers indicating barrel length: 20D, 20DS, 30DS, 40DS, 50DS, and 60DS, you have a variety of options. Today, I’m going to give you a first-hand look at the Chiappa Rhino 20DS/200DS in particular. Let’s start with the pros and cons.

Pros
  • Sleek design: Not only is it classic, but the design is simple and elegant.
  • Perfect for concealed carry applications: The hexagonal cylinder of the revolver makes it small and transportable.
  • Minimal recoil: Recoil is still there, but hardly ever felt due to reduced muzzle rise.
  • Accurate and reliable: The gun is accurate, and you can reach and hit your target.
Cons
  • Heavy trigger pull: Trigger pull is 4.60 kilograms, which is a little heavier than other revolvers.
  • Increased parallax error: At close range, the increasing vertical distance between the sight and bore axis may cause parallax inaccuracy.
  • Expensive: Not to complain, but the gun comes with a high price tag.

The Chiappa Rhino History

Chiappa Rhino is a well-known firearm made by Chiappa Firearms. It is an Italian firearms manufacturer with headquarters in Brescia, Italy, and a United States base in Dayton, Ohio. Chiappa makes single-shot, combination, and triple-barreled rifles and shotguns. The Chiappa Rhino is one of the company’s most prestigious successes.

Because of the intention to improve the accuracy of guns in rapid-fire competitions, Emilio Ghisoni collaborated with another designer, Antonio Cudazzo, to create something very special. These two designed the Chiappa Rhino in 2008 and production started in 2010 up to the present.

Ghisoni was an avid firearms enthusiast and had an interest in designing revolvers. His father established the well-known Macchine Termo-Balistiche (Mateba). He learned the business and developed his first design, the Mateba Autorevolver. Chiappa Rhino is similar to the design of this automatic revolver. The two revolvers have one thing in common: they both fire from the cylinder’s bottom chamber. Thus, resulting in a low barrel axis and more controlled recoil.

Chiappa Rhino 20DS Metaba Autorevolver
Metaba Autorevolver: Image by Wikimedia Commons

Keep in mind if you come across Chiappa Rhino 200DS on the internet this is in the US interchangeable with the 20DS. 

Who is this Gun for?

I couldn’t take my gaze away from this well-made revolver. I mean, how would it feel to add the Chiappa Rhino 20DS into my gun collection? So, I get this gun without a second thought as it is a dream come true for any gun enthusiast. This gun is wonderful and simple to use. It is also a well-concealed carry gun because of its compact design. For both novice and experienced shooters, Chiappa Rhino is a fantastic revolver. I also like that the Rhino is functional for plinking or self-defense use. 

It’s apparent that they developed the gun with a definite function in mind. By lowering the bore axis and reducing muzzle rise due to recoil. The main purpose for that is to increase accuracy and improve the shooting. If you’re looking for a new game, the Chiappa Rhino 20DS is an excellent gun. It can meet your cravings for a modern yet classic revolver of all time.

Chiappa Rhino 20DS Chiappa White Rhino 20DS
Chiappa White Rhino 20DS; Image by moto4moto4 from Flickr

Chiappa Rhino 20DS Specs

The Rhino contains groundbreaking innovations that bring the revolver up to date. Despite design limitations, the revolver’s specifications prove that it is a warrior. Let’s look at its full specs:

TypeRevolver
Caliber.357 Magnum/ 9mm Luger
Capacity6 Rounds
MaterialMachined 7075-T6 Alloy Frame/ Steel Cylinder & Barrel
FinishBlack Anodized Frame; Blued Cylinder
Weight1.5 pounds
Length6.5 inches
Barrel Length2 inches
ActionSingle/ Double
Front SightFixed red fiber optic
Feed SystemHexagonal cylinder
SafetyInternal
ExtractionManual

Chiappa Rhino 20DS: Hands-on Review 

The notion of a revolver with an under-barrel has been around for a long time. Designs like the Rhino are the future of revolvers. With a novel design that tames the primitive trait that most revolvers have, you might ask. So, what’s with this revolver? Let’s look first at the design details.  

Design Details

I like that the Rhino’s frame is Ergal aluminum alloy. It means that it is corrosion-resistant, strong, and lightweight. Besides, some parts like the receiver, are computer numerical control (CNC)-machined, resulting in an accurate fit. The gun is also light and easy to handle thanks to its aluminum frame and stainless-steel cylinder.

Chiappa Rhino 20DS Chiappa White Rhino
Chiappa White Rhino, sitting elegantly on the table; 
Image by carolcooper1111 from Flickr

If you are also unaware, the gun’s low bore axis is a fantastic design. It makes the gun pleasant to shoot. Unlike any other revolvers, the gun fires from the lowermost chamber in the cylinder. This also minimizes the muzzle flip and directs recoil into the wrist instead of from above. Yet, this design has the disadvantage of increasing the vertical distance between the sightline and the bore axis. It results in increased parallax error while shooting at close range.

Chiappa Rhino 20DS The Rhino’s close-up muzzle shot and barrel engravings
The Rhino’s close-up muzzle shot and barrel engravings; 
Image by moto4moto4 from Flickr

Furthermore, the front sight on Rhino 20DS is standard, but there is no rear sight. The hexagonal cylinder of this revolver with rounded corners is another unusual design. Its purpose is to make the pistol as small and portable as possible. The Rhino 20DS is also available in black, stainless-steel, or brushed nickel finishes.

Chiappa Rhino 20DS Close up shot of the Chiappa Rhino 20 DS cylinder
Close up shot of the Chiappa Rhino 20 DS cylinder; 
Image by carolcooper1111 from Flickr

Features

With .357 Magnums, the Chiappa Rhino 20DS is fun to shoot. It can, however, handle 9mm Luger loads and contains six bullets in its hexagonal cylinder. The precise reload angle of the cylinder makes it an easy revolver to load ammunition. For this pistol, speed loaders are also a good choice. Rhino sights are also adjustable. Plus, there are many different sight configurations available. 

On its grip, it has a groove in which you can place your thumb and bend your other thumb. It allows you to hold the pistol with ease. When it comes to resistance, the Rhino is like many revolvers in the sense that it is strong. But I would recommend continuing to shoot this revolver on a regular basis to keep it in working order.

Chiappa Rhino 20DS Chiappa Rhino 20DS close up shot from the back
Chiappa Rhino 20DS close up shot from the back;
Image by carolcooper1111 from Flickr

The revolver also comes with several safety features. First, the Rhino’s trigger guard is a metal loop that covers the trigger. It protects it from damages or discharge by accident. Second, the hammer is visible on traditional revolvers, thus it is easy to see the action modes. However, on the Rhino, you’ll know that it’s on the single-action mode through its red flag. You can see it on the left of the rear sight of the revolver. It means that the pistol is ready to fire when the flag is jutting out.

Lastly, there’s automatic trigger safety. It prevents the hammer from approaching the firing pin before you even pull the trigger. The hammer cannot approach the firing pin while uncocked. Only when you move the trigger to the firing position does this safety disengage.

Usage and Handling

Carrying the Rhino is light and easy because of its aluminum alloy frame and barrel shroud. As such, the Chiappa Rhino 20DS is ideal for concealed carry. I’m not surprised as the revolver is compact, I could even carry a six-shot magnum in my pocket at ease.

Chiappa Rhino 20DS Chiappa Rhino 357 in a holster
Chiappa Rhino 357 in a holster; 
Image by Rusty Shackleford from Flickr

However, one of my few main criticisms of this weapon is its 4.60kg trigger pull. It is heavier than that of other revolvers. The sleek double-action trigger is a tad lengthy and heavy. I’d love a lighter double-action trigger; nonetheless, it still works.

Chiappa Rhino 20DS Close up shot of the trigger
Close up shot of the trigger; Image by carolcooper1111
From Flickr

Moreover, the hammer is a cocking device. But it only cocks the weapon before returning to its forward position. Overall, the Rhino’s technical handling is excellent. But if you value comfort when firing, the ergonomics are a deal-breaker.

Shooting the Gun

Accuracy

This revolver was created with great accuracy in mind, and it more than lives up to that expectation. The Rhino is an accurate revolver. Thanks to its ease of pointing and easy-to-view sights. It had precise accuracy at 25 yards when firing both .357 Magnum and 9mm, thanks in part to reduced recoil. Look, this revolver is cool. The red fiber optic front sight is tiny enough not to cover small targets at greater distances. I can touch a target with this sight. The pistol is much too accurate for striking smaller objects out to 35 yards.

Recoil

Shooting the gun was a thrilling experience. The Rhino’s recoil sensation was notably different. Anyone who has shot a Magnum revolver knows that there is an upward recoil or kick when the gun is fired. However, this is the finest revolver I’ve ever fired in terms of recoil. I felt almost no recoil even when firing full-power .357 Magnum. It allowed me to develop perfect shot patterns and a pleasurable firing experience. It is because the Rhino revolver has a lower bore axis than conventional revolvers.

So, when firing, I noticed that the barrel is parallel to my wrist and arm. As a result, it gives me virtually no muzzle rise. Because energy is absorbed better and handled by the entire arm, the amount of recoil I felt is less. You all know that, with a revolver, every shot counts. Having a low recoil helps meet good accuracy, which the Rhino certainly does.

Reliability

This revolver is reliable. It fires well regardless of ammo type. Plus, the cylinder opening for reloading or emptying never fails. The hammer is about as firm as any revolver hammer that I’ve ever seen, and I’ve never had any trouble cocking it. This gun points admirably. With the gun’s unusual design, it became more controllable and reliable to shoot.

Chiappa Rhino 20DS: Taking It Apart

Chiappa warns against dismantling the Rhino. Well, I’m sure cleaning the cylinder and changing the grip is good. However, out of curiosity, I disassembled my pistol. It’s a breeze to disassemble this magnificent weapon.

To remove the grip, there is a single screw at the bottom that holds the handle in place. You can remove it with a 4mm Allen key. Once you take out the screw, the grip comes off fairly. To remove the cylinder, first, unscrew the little screw that holds it in place on the side. After that, you should be able to remove the cylinder easily and start the cleaning.

After this procedure, I still remove the housing and inspect it. To remove the housing, you’ll find four screws to take off on the side of the revolver. When you pull the casing apart, there is an extremely tightly wrapped spring inside. Make sure there are no small pieces that will fly out when you do that. However, don’t touch this area of the revolver because there’s nothing special going on in there. You don’t want to lose other critical tiny components and have problems, do you?

Maintenance

Clean your gun after each use to remove any corroding factors like humidity, or lead residues. It is critical for those substances to cause minor damage over time. When not in use, you can clean your revolver at least twice per year. 

For lubricating the gun’s mechanical parts, you may use standard firearms oil. Chiappa warns to do that procedure when needed and not as routine maintenance. However, for cleaning the inner components, Chiappa advised that you go to a professional gunsmith. Pulling the casing apart needs extra care. The grip, however, is easy to assemble and disassemble.

What Else in the Market that Competes?

The Chiappa Rhino is near the bottom of the popularity rankings. Still, it competes with the best revolvers in the market. Let’s look at the Rhino’s biggest competitor — the Ruger LCR 357.

Chiappa Rhino 20DS vs. Ruger LCR 357

RevolverChiappa Rhino 20DSRuger LCR 357
Caliber.357 Magnum.357 Magnum
Capacity6 rounds5 rounds
Barrel2 inches1.87 inches
Weight24 ounces17 ounces
Length6.5 inches6.5 inches
MSRP$1,282$809

The Ruger LCR is a compact gun that was originally chambered in the .38 Special round. Ruger released the LCR 357 only a few years ago. The LCR 357 version can only hold five rounds, whereas the Chiappa Rhino 20DS can hold six.

In terms of weight, the LCR 357 is 4 pounds lighter than the Chiappa Rhino. When I pull the trigger, the LCR’s trigger is simpler to pull than the Rhino’s. I favor the Ruger LCR over the Rhino since it is a superb gun that I can carry comfortably. But for recoil control, I go with Chiappa. Because of the gun’s design, it’s fairly obvious. The front sight is pinned, and you can also upgrade the grips with a range of custom alternatives. If you’re interested to know more about this revolver, check out our hands-on review of the Ruger LCRx .357 Magnum Snubby.

Retail Cost

The Chiappa Rhino 20DS certainly lives up to the high expectations that come with such a price tag. The Rhino isn’t cheap, with a retail price of roughly $1,200. It’s still a great gun for individuals who want a reliable revolver and want a pleasant gun to shoot at the range. But for the budget-conscious, the sum is worth considering before making any purchase. 

Customization and Accessories

There isn’t much you can do to customize the gun. But that doesn’t mean you cannot improve your weapon. You can alter the grips, add sights, and get a holster for your Rhino. However, make sure that the aftermarket parts and accessories will fit the Rhino. To help you get the most out of your revolver, here are some recommended accessories.

Chiappa Rhino Carbon Fiber Grip

Getting a grip that is suitable for your hand is the first thing you should consider. It can affect a variety of factors, including precision, control, and comfort. It’s not that I don’t like the original Rhino’s grip, I like the wooden grip and the medium walnut look. But if you’re not satisfied, there are a variety of options. One is the Carbon Fiber Grip available on Amazon. They fit almost all Chiappa Rhino models. Carbon fiber grips are becoming a trend not only for revolvers but rifles as well. The obvious benefit is the reduced weight, and there are cool designs from which to choose.

Premium Leather OWB Paddle Holster

This leather outside the waistband (OWB) holster comes in brown color and fits the Chiappa Rhino 20DS perfectly. The holster is very useful for high concealment, you can either use a belt or not to carry your revolver. It fits up to 4.5 to 5cm belts. The holster is made of premium genuine leather with an adjustable tension screw. Plus sight rail space can protect the muzzle sight. You can also adjust the angle through its moving polymer paddle.

Chiappa Rhino 20DS OWB Paddle Holster
OWB Paddle Holster Fits Chiappa Rhino 20DS 357 Mag
from the official Amazon site

The Final Word

The Rhino is an excellent weapon. It’s not just about the barrel profile. The gun has outstanding controls and ergonomics, and various improvements that set it apart from typical revolvers. The gun is quite comfortable and simple to use, with exceptional accuracy even at midrange. It was created with the goal of giving revolvers a new lease on life, and it succeeds admirably.

Finally, the Chiappa Rhino is well worth the price. It’s one of the most comprehensive revolvers on the market right now, and it’s a great concealed carry weapon. The Chiappa Rhino is for you if you like modern firearms but still have a sweet place for revolvers.

Have you ever used the Rhino? Let us know what you think in the comments section below. Stay safe!

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Feature image by Image by carolcooper1111 from Flickr

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