SHOT Show 2011: Chiappa's Rhino Model 20DS .357 Magnum

While at SHOT 2011, I got to shoot Chiappa's Rhino Model 20DS, a two-inch, .357 Magnum, six-shot revolver that simply does not resemble the “normal” vision of a gun with a revolving cylinder. This gun is a significant paradigm shift from the way revolvers behave: It fires from the six o'clock position, which definitely softens recoil.

To those from the orthodox revolver school, the Rhino is upside down. That is, cartridge that fires is at the bottom of the cylinder.

If the axis of the bore is in the center of the palm, the recoil impulse has less leverage, simply because it swings at a lesser arc. The result? This gun felt like a sub-caliber trainer when I shot it.

The Chiappa Rhino Model 20DS, a two-inch, .357 Magnum, six-shot revolver is a game changer. (PoliceOne Image)
The Chiappa Rhino Model 20DS, a two-inch, .357 Magnum, six-shot revolver is a game changer. (PoliceOne Image)

Let's put this ion perspective. I put +P .357 loads into a snubbie which normally delivers a pretty solid pounding. I faced a steel plate at about seven yards and proceeded to rapid fire that plate, delivering six solid hits in rapid succession. I couldn't compete with Jerry Michulek — in my book, no one can — but I could keep up with my cadence on my .25 ACP. The Rhino is a game changer.

From my brief shooting session, the fit and finish of this product suggest great attention to detail. It can use speed loaders already in production and is supplied with a good quality off duty holster. Chiappa has flattened he cylinder sides into a trimmer package while maintaining the inherent strength of keeping enough cylinder "meat" to hold the pressures of a magnum cartridge. While it is in battery, both flat sides face outward, meaning that it is much thinner than most revolvers. In fact, I could easily carry a 6 shot magnum in my pocket.

The photograph is a of a four-inch version (Rhino 40DS), which I thought looked pretty good with the wood stocks. The two-inch 20DS has rubber ones. This may be my next revolver.

About the author

Lindsey Bertomen is a retired police officer and retired military small arms trainer. He teaches criminal justice at Hartnell College in Salinas, California. He has a BS in Criminal Justice and an MS in Online Teaching and Learning. Lindsey has taught shooting techniques for over a decade. His articles on firearms tactics have appeared in print for over a decade. Lindsey enjoys competing in shooting sports, running, and cycling events.

Contact Lindsey Bertomen

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