Building America’s Largest Online Gun Deals Platform. Start Your Search Today! clean search

  1. Home
  2. Reviews
  3. Pistols & Revolvers
  4. Chiappa Rhino 40DS .357 Magnum Review: A Revolver That’s Ahead of Its Time
Chiappa Rhino 40DS .357 Magnum Review: A Revolver That’s Ahead of Its Time preview image
Sep 03 2023
12 min read

Chiappa Rhino 40DS .357 Magnum Review: A Revolver That’s Ahead of Its Time


chiappa 40ds sitting on tree review
Photo Credit: Tina Fail

Recently, one of my buddies was kind enough to let me borrow his Rhino 40DS for a month and put it through its paces. I took the opportunity to check out what the Chiappa Rhino had to offer, compare it to my Ruger GP100, and see how it shot at the range.

The Chiappa Rhino 40DS is a premium revolver that uses a unique design to set itself apart from other revolvers on the market. Featuring a modern design that includes a low bore axis, lightweight materials, and an ergonomic design, the Chiappa Rhino is a beautiful revolver that is sure to get attention.

Is this premium revolver all looks, or does it justify its premium price?

Chiappa Rhino 40DS .357 Magnum Review

Chiappa Rhino 40DS For Sale


Chiappa designed the Rhino with the shooter in mind. Chiappa took steps to ensure the shooting experience with the Rhino was as positive for the shooter as possible.

The first and most notable feature of the Chiappa Rhino is the low bore axis. The barrel on the Rhino sits lower in the revolver’s frame than you see with other revolvers. This design decision aims to reduce muzzle flip and felt recoil.

Another feature of the Chiappa Rhino is the sights. Chiappa made the decision to put high-quality fiber optic sights on the Rhino to aid in low-light shooting.

Chiappa also made the sights adjustable for windage and elevation. These features put the shooter first and help the shooter effectively engage their target.

chiappa 40ds rear and front sights

The Chiappa Rhino’s hammer does not stay in the back position when cocked. To provide a visual reference to the shooter regarding whether the hammer is cocked, Chiappa added a bright red indicator.

chiappa 40ds side view with rear sights and action

You will also notice that the lever to open the cylinder is on the left side of the revolver.


Caliber.357 Magnum
Capacity 6 rounds
GripsMedium Walnut
SightsFixed Red Fiber Optic, Adjustable Elevation & Windage Green Fiber Optic
Barrel Length4 inches
Overall Length8.5 inches
Weight1.87 pounds
MaterialMachined 7075-T6 Alloy Frame / Steel Cylinder and Barrel
FinishBlack Anodized Frame, Blued Cylinder

Pros & Cons

  • Low Bore Axis
  • Ergonomic Grip
  • High-Quality Adjustable Sights
  • Modern Design
  • Potential Reliability Issues
  • Price

Range Report

Special thanks to Hornady for providing ammo for the review. Hornady American Leverevolution was shot out of the revolver and proved to be a very capable round.

The loading was stout, but the ammo did a good job of punching holes where I aimed. After shooting the Leverevolution in the Chiappa Rhino, I also fired a few shots through my Ruger GP100 to compare the recoil.

The Rhino’s felt recoil compared very well to the heavy Ruger revolver.

chiappa 40ds range test with Hornady ammo
.357 Magnum Hornady Leverevolution

For comparison, I also shot some Blazer Brass 158-grain Jacketed Hollow Point loads, and the recoil was less stout, and the Rhino handled it like a champ.


The reliability of the Chiappa Rhino 40DS was overall very good. It went bang every time I pulled the trigger. I had no issues with the hammer, trigger, or cylinder release functions. I had an issue with extracting spent shells from the cylinder.

I shot over 80 rounds of .357 Magnum and another 24 of .38 Special +P. From that total, 4 cases were very tight when trying to extract them from the cylinder and required an extra effector to clear them. This only occurred with the Hornady Leverevolution.


The Chiappa Rhino 40DS did a great job punching holes in paper. I took it to the range two separate times and was very pleased with my ability to shoot accurately. I shot better with the Blazer Brass 158 JHP than the Leverevolution. The cause of the difference was my anticipation of the stout recoil of the Leverevolution rounds.

On the trips I took to the range after the initial visit, I was better prepared for the recoil of the Leverevolution and shot it much better.

chiappa 40ds range test with groupings
One of my targets from the first time I took the Chiappa Rhino out -distant to target was 15 yards
chiappa 40ds range test with groupings
One of my targets from the second time I took the Chiappa Rhino out – distance to target was 7 yards

Overall Feel

The overall feel of the Chiappa Rhino 40DS is fantastic. It fits the palm very well. The ergonomic handle feels right and makes the Chiappa Rhino a pleasure to shoot.

When shooting the Rhino, the recoil impulse pushes straight into the shooter’s hand instead of pushing the muzzle up and causing muzzle flip.

I shot the Chiappa Rhino 40DS back to back with my Ruger GP100, another great revolver; the Chiappa Rhino 40DS was noticeably lighter. The recoil impulse is also very different.

The Chiappa recoiled into the palm of my hand while the Ruger felt like it absorbed much of the recoil with the heavier frame and then a slight muzzle flip.

Both revolvers had roughly the same felt recoil in my mind, but it was handled or felt differently.


Bore Axis

If you are looking for a feature that truly sets the Chiappa Rhino apart from other revolvers, the alignment of the revolver’s bore is it.

Compared to other revolvers the Chiappa Rhino has a lower bore axis. The barrel of the revolver is aligned with the bottom cylinder rather than the top cylinder as on other revolvers.

chiappa 40ds barrel and front sight view
Low bore axis

The idea is to reduce felt recoil and improve accuracy. The shooter’s hand is more closely aligned to the centerline of the bore with this arrangement. This greatly reduces muzzle flip.


The trigger on the Chiappa Rhino 40DS is a double action/single action trigger.

What this means is that the revolver can be fired in double action mode, where the pull of the trigger both cocks the revolver and fires with the same long pull.

In double action mode, the Chiappa Rhino does have some advantages over other revolvers with a shorter pull and manageable weight.

chiappa 40ds profile photo
Photo Credit: Tina Fail

The Chiappa Rhino 40DS also has the option for single-action operation. This means that the shooter manually cocks the hammer allowing for shorter and lighter trigger pulls to fire the revolver.

When I tested the trigger for this specific Chiappa Rhino 40DS, the double-action pull weight averaged eight pounds over five pulls. The single-action pull weight was just under two pounds.


chiappa 40ds rear and front sights

The Chiappa Rhino 40DS features fixed front and adjustable rear fiber optic sights.

The front sight is a red fiber optic, and the rear sights are green fiber optics. The fiber optics make picking out the sights in low light conditions much easier than with standard iron sights.

chiappa 40ds rear and front sights

The rear sights on the Chiappa Rhino 40DS are adjustable for both windage and elevation. The ability to adjust your rear sights relatively easily helps the Chiappa Rhino stand out from the crowd when it comes to accuracy.

Unique Design/Looks

chiappa 40ds mounted on caldwell bag

Chiappa made several design choices with the Rhino that make it a very distinct-looking firearm. The frame of the Rhino has a shape that makes the revolver appear to curve inward and helps to set it apart from other revolvers.

The top of the Rhino is also flat, which makes it different from other revolvers available on the market.

The barrel of the Rhino, as mentioned when discussing the bore axis, is set lower on the Rhino than on other revolvers. This also helps to change the Rhino’s profile and provide a unique look that makes the Chiappa Rhino seem more futuristic than traditional revolvers.

chiappa 40ds mounted on caldwell bag unloaded
Barrel aligns with the bottom of the cylinder instead of the top.

Another distinct feature of the Rhino is the cylinder. Chiappa flattened the sides of the Rhino’s cylinder to help cut down on the overall footprint of the Rhino.

chiappa 40ds behind view
Flat-sided cylinder – Photo Credit: Tina Fail

The Chiappa Rhino 40DS’s looks aren’t for everyone. That being said, for me the Rhino is majorly sexy and I know many others feel the same way. If you want to go to the range and stand out from the crowd, the Chiappa Rhino is definitely one way to do it.

How We Tested

I tested the Chiappas Rhino 40DS by taking it to the range multiple times. During those trips to the range, I used a variety of ammo types made by multiple manufacturers. I shot the Rhino back to back with a traditional revolver, a Ruger GP100.

Ammo Used

The ammunition that I shot the most was Hornady Leverevolution.

It is a hunting round with the stoutest recoil of all the ammunition types I used. I shot accurately, but on the first range trip I took with the ammunition, I experienced fatigue and, by shot 40, was losing some of my shooting fundamentals and experienced less accuracy.

chiappa 40ds range test with ammo

Overall I was very impressed by the ammunition, and when shooting, it felt like I experienced great accuracy and would feel 100 percent confident taking it hunting in the appropriate circumstances.

To contrast with the Leverevolution, I shot Blazer Brass 158 grain Jacketed Hollow Points. The Chiappa Rhino 40DS ate this ammo like a champ. Recoil was very manageable, and I felt like I could have shot it all day without undue fatigue.

The muzzle velocity and muzzle energy of this round was below that of the Leverevolution. I would not choose the Blazer Brass as a hunting round for those reasons.

The final ammo used was a .38 Special +P target load by Remington. As with any .357 magnum revolver that is shooting .38 special, the Chiappa Rhino ate the ammo with ease, and the recoil was very manageable.

Score Card

Reliability (6/10)

I wish this was better, but the stuck cases in the cylinder were concerning.

Only the Leverevolution had the issue, and I feel like it is probably only an issue with this specific loading. That being said, in a self-defense or home-defense situation, a stuck case would be catastrophic.  

Ergonomics (10/10)

The ergonomics of the Chiappa Rhino 40DS are a personal preference. I felt like they were excellent. The revolver fit in my hand nicely, and it pointed well. The sights are top-notch and make it very easy to get on target.

Customization (7/10)

The customization on the Chiappa Rhino is good for a revolver. It has a Picatinny rail which facilitates the mounting of lights and lasers. It is also possible to mount a red dot to the Chiappa Rhino if you so desire.

chiappa 40ds picatinny rail and front sight
Picatinny rail

Appearance (10/10)

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the Chiappa Rhino definitely fits the bill. I think it is a beautiful firearm, and at the range, it got a lot of attention from others. The Chiappa Rhino 40DS pushes all the right buttons for me.

Value (8/10)

The Chiappa Rhino is a relatively expensive firearm. It tips the scales north of $1,000, and it fires the not-so-cheap .357 Magnum cartridge.

The value of a given firearm comes down to the individual and what their financial resources and needs are. For most, the Chiappa Rhino is not a value revolver, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth acquiring one.


Speed Loader/Moon Clips

A speed loader or moon clips is a must for any revolver that is going to be used for self or home defense. There are several high-quality options available that work with Chiappa’s Rhino revolvers.

Two of the best-reviewed options are HKS Speed Loader and the Safariland J-R4C Comp II Speedloader. Both of these speed loaders allow the shooter to quickly and efficiently reload their Rhino and be ready to shoot.

Moon clips are an alternative to a speed loader. These allow the shooter to drop in six fresh cartridges in a heartbeat. There are several manufacturers of moon clips for the Rhino. The ones made by Chiappa are one option.

Alien Gear Chiappa Rhino 40DS Cloak Tuck 3.0 IWB Holster for Revolvers

Alien Gear Chiappa Rhino 40DS Cloak Tuck 3.0 IWB Holster for Revolvers

There are multiple holsters out there for the Chiappa Rhino 40DS. The Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.0 IWB is a good option for those seeking to carry it inside the waistband.

If the Alien Gear Holster isn’t your cup of tea, check out the selection of holsters on the Chiappa website to see what else is available.


Ruger GP100

sportsmans.comCHECK PRICE
grabagun.comCHECK PRICE

The Ruger GP100 is a medium framed .357 Magnum revolver. The build quality of the GP100 is excellent, and the GP100 has many features you would expect from a quality Ruger firearm.

It is a double/single-action revolver that can be used for self-defense and target shooting. It provides good value, excellent reliability, and durability to its owners.

Smith and Wesson 686

palmettostatearmory.comCHECK PRICE
grabagun.comCHECK PRICE

The Smith and Wesson 686 is a .357 Magnum revolver with a long track record of excellence.

The 686 features a steel barrel and, like the Chiappa Rhino, is both double and single-action. Known for being durable, reliable, and accurate, the Smith and Wesson 686 is a good choice for self-defense and target shooting.

Colt Python

gunprime.comCHECK PRICE

The Colt Python is a classic revolver that was reintroduced by Colt in 2020. It combines high-quality craftsmanship, a smooth trigger pull, and a heavy-duty frame.

It is a double and single-action revolver that is suitable for self-defense and target shooting.

The Gun Made team even put together a review of the Colt Python.

Last Words

The Chiappa Rhino 40DS is a really unique revolver. The looks, the feel, everything about it speaks to the care Chiappa put into designing this revolver and making something you would be proud to own.

The Rhino isn’t just a safe queen either. It shoots well. It was accurate. It handles recoil well. I do have a concern, though, with the fact that I had some issues with ejecting spent casings from the cylinder.

Whether it was an ammunition issue or something else, I would need to put a lot more rounds down range before I was truly confident in using the Rhino as my primary self-defense weapon.

With that caveat in mind, I really liked the Chiappa Rhino 40DS. If you plan to pick up a revolver, I recommend you check out the Rhino. See if your local range has one you can rent and get some trigger time.

Have some thoughts on the Chiappa Rhino 40DS or have a question? Leave a comment below.

Chris Fortenberry photo Chris is a firearms enthusiast and collector located in Texas. Chris’ passion for firearms started at a young age and was fueled by his passion for history. Chris used that passion to become a historian and feels that spreading the understanding of firearms functionally, socially, and politically is one of the paramount jobs of the 2nd Amendment community. He seeks to share his knowledge with those around him.


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

Explore more