Chiappa Arms Rhino 20DS Revolver – The “White Rhino”

Also see Mike Searsons’ review of the Chiappa Rhino Revolver.

MKS Rhino Revolver
MKS Rhino Revolver 20D
Virginia Citizens Defense League
Virginia Citizens Defense League

Covington VA –-( Here is my personal experience with the Chiappa Rhino snubby (I have two – one with a black finish and one with a brushed nickel finish). Your mileage may vary.

I’m normally not much of a revolver guy, but I was intrigued by the concept of the Chiappa Rhino revolver, which was even more interesting after I watched a video of the gun being shot. I held one in my hand at the last NRA convention in Pittsburg, PA and really liked how it felt and pointed.

What’s unique about the Rhino is that it fires from the BOTTOM cylinder. That means the barrel is much lower on the frame and more exactly in line with your hand. The net effect is that the recoil comes straight back and is not leveraged by being above your hand, like other revolvers. Consequently the muzzle flip is minuscule, even with full power .357 magnums fired with one hand!

The felt recoil is also mild, thanks to the angle of the grips and the direction of the recoil.

The gun is unexpectedly light. Virtually everyone who has picked up one of my 2 inch Rhino snubbies is visible surprised at its weight, or lack thereof, actually.

The grips are very comfortable and the gun comes up to a natural point-of-aim, unlike many revolvers I’ve shot. To keep the gun slender, the cylinder has flattened sides where each chamber is located.

The double-action trigger is smooth, but long and a little heavy. I would prefer a much lighter double-action trigger, but it is workable and the single-action trigger is excellent.

There is no visible hammer on the gun. Where you would expect to find a hammer, there is a hammer-like “cocking lever.” All it does is cock the gun and then returns to its forward position. To remind the shooter that the gun is cocked and has a light trigger, an orange rod pops up slightly above the frame, near the cocking lever. The trigger is also placed in a tell-tale rearward position.

Pushing down on the cylinder latch opens the cylinder. It is a very natural and comfortable motion.

Because the gun shoots out of the lower cylinder, there are a couple of important things to keep in mind:

  • You should NOT do a “thumb forward hold ” (weak hand thumb in front of the strong-hand thumb) on the gun as you do NOT want any part of your hand to be next to the cylinder gap. The blast sideways from a revolver can be powerful and the blast from the Rhino is guaranteed to get your attention. I always use a grip where both thumbs are side-by-side or one-over-the-other.
  • If you want to fire a single round out of the gun, it should be placed at the 5 O’clock position and not 11 O’clock (as for a conventional revolver with a clockwise turning cylinder).

The Rhino holds six-shots of either .357 Magnum or .38 Special (.40 S&W and 9mm will be available in the future) and comes with a 2, 4, 5, or 6 inch barrel. The barrels all have a tall rib to make up for the low position of the barrel on the frame.

The cylinder, barrel insert, and the part of the frame directly behind the cylinder are all made of steel, while the frame is an aluminum alloy. The steel behind the cylinder is unusual and should give the revolver a longer life than other light-frame revolvers.

The snubby comes with a pancake holster and there is a leather inside-the-waistband and a Kydex paddle/belt holster available from Chiappa. Other holster manufacturers are also making holsters for it.

Some think the gun is ugly, but others, like me, think it looks pretty cool and futuristic.

The Rhino has either a black or a brushed nickel finish (called a White Rhino). The Rhino snubby is not inexpensive with a street value of around $700-$800, but it is an excellent gun for those who like the reliability of a revolver for self-defense and/or want a fun gun for a day at the range.

  • Here’s the Rhino 200DS page on Chiappa’s web site:
  • White Rhino 200DS:
  • Here is a video of someone shooting the Rhino:

Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc. (VCDL). VCDL is an all-volunteer, non-partisan grassroots organization dedicated to defending the human rights of all Virginians. The Right to Keep and Bear Arms is a fundamental human right. Visit: