Chiappa Rhino Review: Spaghetti Blaster for Space Cowboys

by Travis Pike

March 29, 2024

0 comments

4.8
(4)

The Chiappa Rhino will instantly make you feel like a space cowboy. This futuristic sixgun has stepped out of the future and into my hands and maybe my heart…well, we’ll see about the second one in our Chiappa Rhino review.

I reviewed the Chiappa last year, but I recently had the chance to spend more time with it, and I took full advantage of that opportunity. After firing off hundreds of rounds with this gun, my opinions on it have shifted slightly. So, let’s jump into the updated review of this gun.

A uniquely designed, futuristic-looking revolver that doesn’t live up to its potential.

Have an opinion on this product? Click to leave your review

Chiappa Rhino 40DS Specs

  • Caliber .357 Magnum
  • Capacity 6 round cylinder
  • Barrel Length 4 inches
  • Overall length 8.5 inches
  • Weight 30 ounces

Chiappa Rhino Background

With my background as a former Marine infantryman, I’m familiar with the history of revolvers, including the origins of the Rhino tracing back to Italy. The production and design of this gun started there, and the famed revolver designer Emilio Ghisoni worked with Antonio Cudazzo to produce the Rhino.

The Rhino would sadly be the last gun he’d lend his modern flair to. The weapon was designed in 2008, and he passed away a short time later.

The Chiappa Rhino’s goal was to become a modern revolver in every sense of the word. Most revolver technology isn’t much different than it was in the early 1900s. The biggest differences often are safety-oriented and improved metallurgy. The Rhino earned its space cowboy reputation by being something truly different.

The biggest design difference was orientating the bottom of the barrel with the bottom cylinder of the revolver. This lowers the bore axis and nearly aligns it with your wrist. This is said to create less muzzle flip and more recoil transferred rearward into the wrist than upward and off target.

Closeup of the Chiappa Rhino 40DS

The weapon has a hammer, but the thing that looks like a hammer isn’t a hammer. Think of it more as a cocking tab. When you pull it to the rear to cock the gun into single action, it drifts back to its original position, but the gun is still single action. It doesn’t move as you pull the double-action trigger, either.

Another neat feature is the presence of optics and accessory rails. Depending on the size of the Rhino, you’ll have a rail for lights, and with the 60DS model, you even get an optic rail. The Chiappa Rhino comes in .357 Magnum, 9mm, 40 S&W, and 9x21mm. I’ve seen talk of a .44 Magnum Rhino, but I’m not sure if it was ever produced or at least released in the United States.

Rhino

Chiappa-Rhino-40DS-features
1 Accessory Rail

For lights, lasers…bayonets, maybe.

2 Bottom Mounted Barrel

Contributes significantly to reduced muzzle flip.

3 Adjustable Sights

But you could get crafty and put an RDS on it. Maybe.

4 Wood Grips

The disparity between a futuristic design and wood grips makes it look even more cool.

Models and Variations of the Chiappa Rhino

Other versions of the commercial Chiappa Rhino are mostly named for the length of the barrel and the action, i.e., the 20D is a double-action-only pistol with a 2-inch barrel, whereas the 50DS is a double/single action with a 5-inch barrel. This is applied across all standard calibers.

Chiappa Spaghetti Blaster –  Our Take

Rhino 40DS in Action

Let’s talk shootability. The big claim to fame of the Rhino is the bottom-mounted barrel that reduces muzzle flip and makes the gun softer to shoot. I loaded up some 125-grain .357 Magnums and took the Rhino to task. I’m not a revolver guy, but I’ve shot a fair number of .357 Magnums. Is there a noticeable difference between the Rhino and a standard .357 Magnum revolver?

Chiappa-Rhino-barrel-and-rail

Oh yes, a big difference. In fact, I’d say it makes a .357 Magnum handle more like a .38 Special at most. It’s quite the difference and a nice, impressive reduction in recoil, straight and manageable. I enjoy the lower recoil and muzzle rise, and it makes me feel like I know how to handle a normal revolver when I very clearly don’t. It’s a nice touch, and it goes beyond a gimmick.

One small improvement they could make to make these guns more shootable is a more aggressive grip texturing. This would make the gun even easier to handle.

Low-mounted barrel of the Chiappa Rhino

Shooting Straight

The downside of the design is that we get into a height over-bore situation at ranges inside five yards. The barrel is quite a bit lower than the sights, so at these close ranges, you’ll hit low from your point of aim.

Outside of that, we have a decently accurate gun that doesn’t quite live up to its potential. The double-action trigger pull is very heavy but admittedly smooth. It’s not bad, but it gets whipped by gun triggers like the LCR. The gun can be cocked into single-action, but holy crap, is that one stiff cocking lever.

It takes two thumbs to cock the gun into single action. And I don’t have small hands.

This stiff cocking lever means I would never use the single-action outside of the range. Although in single-action, the trigger is very nice, light, and short. The adjustable sights also help to dial in some precision, and the high visibility front sight is quite nice. This is a revolver that will make you a very good revolver shooter with a strong trigger finger.

Ergonomically Inclined It’s Not

You might have to throw away most of what you know about revolvers. I mentioned the cocking lever is stiff, and I want to mention it again. Holy crap. I have decent grip strength, and the fact it takes two thumbs is absurd. The cocking lever is also small, with very little texturing to provide a good grip on the thing.

Unlike traditional revolvers where the trigger guard is located beneath the trigger, the Chippa has its trigger guard located above the trigger. This gave me better control and recoil management by allowing me to grip the revolver lower on the frame.

I liked how the rear sight of this gun was easily adjustable. It allowed me to customize the sight alignment for comfort, and the green fiber optic element made visibility better. The intuitive positioning matched my line of sight, which reduced strain and made my shooting stance feel more natural too.

The cylinder release is positioned right below the cocking lever, and while different, it’s very easy to use. The cylinder pops right out and makes reloading easy. The ejection rod tosses out the casings with ease. The grip is okay, not bad, and plenty comfy, but I want more texturing!

Rolling the cylinder out of a Chiappa Rhino 40DS

Blasting Away

Man, I see why I don’t shoot revolvers often. The ammo is expensive! Even .38 Special costs significantly more than 9mm. Oh well, I guess that’s the price of admission. After a few hundred rounds of .38 Special and a box of .357 Magnum, I can say the Rhino lives up to one normal part of revolver usage: it’s reliable!

Chiappa Rhino 40DS side view

The gun didn’t have issues digesting the mix of Remington and Winchester white box ammo I put through it, and it always went bang. More than that, the cylinder always popped out easily, and rounds left the cylinder without a problem.

They are proud of this thing when it comes to value. Consider it a value if you can pick one up for less than a thousand dollars. These are not cheap guns. I don’t mind paying a good bit of money for a nice gun, but I have a hard time justifying the cost of the Rhino. The heavy trigger and hard to cock single action really make me lean more toward an S&W Performance Center than a Rhino. But the Rhino did make our list for best 357 Magnum revolvers.

Chiappa Rhino Pros and Cons 

  • Not impulsive – Extremely lenient muzzle rise
  • Pops loose – Excellent cylinder release
  • Goes railed – For lights and such
  • Terrible trigger – No seriously, it’s TERRIBLE
  • Hard to cock – Extremely stiff *snicker*
  • Expensive – Cool design and aesthetics do not = good gun

Report Card

Shootability

The low muzzle rise is a nice touch, and the gun stays put in your hand. What makes it tough to shoot is the heavy trigger.

B
Reliability

The Rhino has no problems going bang. It’s a capable weapon that will function with every press of the trigger, in my experience.

A
Ergonomics

The grip is good, and the cylinder release is great, but the heavy cocking lever really pops points off. Why even offer a single-action option?

C
Accuracy

The gun could be much more accurate, but the hefty trigger makes it a little harder to keep the gun on target, and getting into single action isn’t easy.

C
Value

The unique design of the gun likely led to its high price, but that unique design doesn’t warrant Performance Denter prices without Performance Center performance.

D
Chiappa-Rhino-review-final-grade

Our Grade

C+

Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade

A+

Based on 9 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Gun? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

Chiappa Rhino Gun Deals

Chiappa Rhino Review- FAQs

What caliber does the Chiappa Rhino 40DS use?

The Chiappa Rhino uses the .357 Magnum caliber. It can also fire 9mm rounds. This dual compatibility gives you the flexibility for different shooting preferences and situations.

Is the Chiappa Rhino suitable for concealed carry?

Yes, the Chiappa Rhino is suitable for concealed carry. The lightweight design and the compactness make it a good choice for your personal defense.

How does the Chiappa Rhino handle rapid firing?

When it comes to rapid firing, the Chiappa Rhino delivers. With its bottom-mounted barrel, the Rhino fires smoothly and consistently even during rapid shooting sequences. It gives you a reduced muzzle flip, allowing for faster follow-up shots and improved accuracy.

Is the sight picture on the Chiappa Rhino good?

When you aim with the Chiappa Rhino 40, you’ll notice a sight picture that works really well. You get a fixed red fiber-optic front sight and an adjustable rear sight with vibrant green fiber-optic inserts. Together, they create a clear three-dot sight picture that’s easy for you to see. This setup makes it easy for you to line up your shots, even when it’s dark out.

Ammo: Feeding Your Rhino

Feeding a Rhino can be expensive. And loud! But here are some suggestions.

Least Expensive for Training

Speer Lawman 38 Special Ammo

Speer Lawman 38 Special 125 GR TMJ

Marketplace
Cost Per Round
Target Sports USA $0.60

Good Defensive

Speer Gold Dot 357 Magnum 158 Grain Ammo

Speer Gold Dot 357 Magnum 158 GR HP

Marketplace
Cost Per Round
Optics Planet $2.34

Great for the Range

Sellier & Bellot Revolver .357 Magnum
Marketplace
Cost Per Round
Sportsman’s Guide $0.77
Lucky Gunner $0.83

Another Defensive Option

357 Mag - 110 Grain SJHP - Remington
Marketplace
Cost Per Round
GunMag Warehouse $1.14
LuckyGunner $1.03

Rhino Accessories

Rhino Accessories

X300 UWeapon Light
  • 1000 lumens
  • TIR lens for far-reaching light
  • Attaches with Universal and Picatinny rails
On Amazon
Streamlight TLR-2
  • Flashlight/red laser combo
  • 1,000 lumen output
  • 283m beam range
Check price
Paragon Optic Cleaning Lens Cleaner
  • Clean your optics and weapon light lens
  • 5ml Weapon Light Cleaner
  • 10ml Optic Lens Cleaner
  • Micro Fiber Cloth
Check price
The first half of
  • Proper eye protection is critical and should always be worn
  • Ballistic-rated, not just sunglasses
Compare top eyepro
The second half of
  • Ear protection is also critical. Protect your hearing!
  • Many styles (some stackable) are available
Compare best earpro
Appropriate cleaning kit
  • For cleaning, care, and maintenance
  • Not all kits are created equal
Compare top kits
Dark Angel D.A.R.K. Trauma Kit
  • You should always have medical gear when shooting (any gun)
  • External Tourniquet for easy access
  • Pull handle for rapid deployment
  • Vacuumed sealed insert to keep your contents protected
  • Kit content scalability
Check price
Handgun Master Cleaning Station
  • Fits .22 to .45 as well as some oddball cartridges.
  • Wide range o
  • Fits .22 to .45 as well as some oddball cartridges.
  • Wide range of tools for maintenance and cleaning.
  • Big work area but stores small.
  • Tools for maintenance and cleaning.
  • Big work area but stores small.
Check price
Suitable biometric safe
  • Biometric scanners are a plus but only one 0ption
  • Securing an off-body handgun is paramount
Compare biometric safes

The Chiappa Rhino is a neat gun with a smart design that tries hard to push the revolver forward. It fails to some degree, but I can honestly say good luck finding something that competes with it.

Care and Feeding Your Rhino

A reliable handgun requires regular maintenance and cleaning. Check out this video to help you with that task.

Suggested Resources

Rate

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 4.8 / 5. Vote count: 4

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

About Travis Pike

Travis is a former United States Marine Corps Infantryman and currently a firearms writer, instructor, and works in Emergency Management.

Recent Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *