Chiappa Rhino 200DS review by request
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  1. #1
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    Thumbs up Chiappa Rhino 200DS review by request

    Hello all, GhostHorse mentioned in another thread that he (and possibly 1 or 2 other people might be interested in a brief review the ownership experience of my Chiappa Rhino 200DS revolver. So I am donning my flame- retardant suit and asbestos gloves and pulling up to the keyboard.
    I was attracted to the Rhino for a couple of reasons:

    • I was in the mood to buy a revolver to add to my CCW stable.
    • I wanted a .357
    • It wasnít the same old same old.

    The final reason says a bit about me. I tend not to own the gun or vehicle or phone that everyone else owns. Not out of disrespect for the ďtried and trueĒ (Smith and Wesson J-frames are an excellent product) but just as a personality quirk. The Chiappa, like the Taurus Judge, seems to elicit strong positive or negative responses from those who see it. Very few people are ambivalent.
    My Rhino is the 2Ē DA/SA blued version. Chiappa currently offers this weapon in 2, 4, 5, and 6Ē configurations, hard chrome finish, and DAO variants. In addition, they have expanded the caliber offerings to .40 S&W, 9x19 mm (parabellum), and the 9x21mm. After 8 months of fooling around with two local gun stores, I was able get one in, underwent the modern version of the Inquisition, and picked it up.
    Fit and finish out of the box was quite good. The finish was evenly applied with no visible scratches, misses, etc. There was no excessive rattling or movement. The gun ships with 3 moon clips as well as an OWB holster in tan manufactured by RADAR. There is nothing wrong with the holster; it just didnít sit well on my body. The 2Ē version has a fluorescent red sight. The grips on my gun are rubber; however Chiappa offers walnut, olive, and laminate as well. The grip is one-piece, again like the Raging Judgeís, secured by a set screw at the base. I have purchased two speed loaders and a semicustom IWB holster to facilitate every day carry.
    I have 500 rounds through the weapon at this time, and it has been 100% reliable. I feed it Hornady Critical Defense .357. The trigger pull is relatively stout, but smooth. I have had no issues with ejection of spent shells. I am able to shoot 3 to 4Ē groups consistently at 30 to 45 feet respectively. Fliers are my fault and not that of the gun.
    The design of the pistol has lead to some claims from Chiappa, as well as comments from detractors. Some that I have heard:

    • The overall configuration of the gun, as well as the flattened cylinders promotes concealability.
      • True Ė with a qualification. I donít find this gun to be difficult to conceal at all with my aftermarket IWB holster. The OWB holster that shipped with the gun didnít fit well to my body type. Itís not a bad holster, it just doesnít fit me right. I have no problem concealing this gun in my IWB holster

    • The barrel being aligned with the lower chamber of the cylinder promotes pointability and reduces felt recoil and muzzle flip.
      • True Ė In my unscientific opinion, I perceived less felt recoil and muzzle flip than with other snubbies I have shot. I find the weapon to be naturally pointable.

    • The aforementioned placement of the barrel, as well as a large cylinder-to-frame gap require a certain shooting grip
      • True Ė The operatorís manual as well as every media post Iíve watched or read requires a thumbs-tucked grip. I was taught to shoot that way anyway, so itís not a big deal in my opinion. If you tend to shoot thumbs up, it might be an issue that required a little muscle memory training. The underlying reason is that since the barrel is closer to your thumbs and the webbing of your hand, you might get hot gases crossing your thumbs. With a thumbs-tucked grip, I havenít had any issue of the sort.

    • Itís ugly.
      • Maybe Ė Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I happen to like it.

    • Itís unreliable.
      • False Ė It does have more moving parts than a traditional design. I plan to keep my booger hooks out of the workings. Iím not a gunsmith, I donít play one on TV, and I donít sleep in Holiday Inn Expresses on a regular basis. If it needs work, Iím going to send it to a professional gunsmith familiar with the design. Until then, I pull the trigger Ė it goes bang, and I test that functionality monthly.

    • The controls are odd.
      • False. That thing that looks like a hammer is actually a cocking lever. If you want to go SA, press the cocking lever down just like you would a traditional hammer. The actual hammer is concealed in the grip of the gun. When the gun is in SA mode, a bright red cocking indicator protrudes from the top strap. Decocking works just like on revolvers of familiar design. The cylinder release is slightly higher and to the rear, but I have no issue swiping it.

    • Itís not as concealable as a (insert your favorite model here).
      • Maybe. The bottom barrel adds bulk below the line of a ďnormalĒ snubby. If you look, the top barrel ďlugĒ (Iím grasping for a term here) extends where the actual barrel normally is. The barrel extends below that. That doesnít make the overall square of the gun any bigger. It might be slightly bigger than your favorite model, but itís not a fault of the design in my opinion.

    Iím confident enough in this gun that I have added it to my EDC rotation. I currently carry my Springfield Armory EMP and the Chiappa Rhino and switch out monthly during the 9 months of the year where I donít wear a heavy coat. During heavy coat weather I break out the Raging Judge (because I can ;-) ).
    The Rhino certainly isnít everybodyís cup of tea, but thatís why I like it. Iíd be happy to answer any follow up questions that I can.
    I know that you believe you understand what you think i said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
    ďAre we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense?" Patrick Henry, 1788

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    Thanks for the review! I've seen these a time or two in the LGS, and it's good to get an owner's opinion.

    How's the accuracy?

    Are there aftermarket grips, or do you just stick to what Chiappa offers?

    You use a moon clip even with rimmed rounds?
    "It is wonderful, in the event of a street fight, how few bullets seem to hit the men they are aimed at." Ranch Life and the Hunting Trail, Theodore Roosevelt, 1888

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    Accuracy is good understanding that it's a 2" snub-nosed revolver. I usually play with a Birchwood Casey 12" ShootNC and can easily keep rounds in the 10 and bull rings at 15 yards. I'm sure someone younger with even steadier hands could do even better. I haven't seen any aftermarket grips yet - Chiappa's accessory grips look nice. I've thought of reaching out to a true custom grip maker to see if they would be willing to give it a shot. I've got some other money to spend first. I don't use the moon clip. I use speed loaders. It does ship with the moon clip and a "tool" to load and unload them. I haven't been motivated to use it. I prefer the speed loaders. Thanks for the idea. I enjoyed writing this.
    I know that you believe you understand what you think i said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
    ďAre we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense?" Patrick Henry, 1788

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    Great report!


    Uh, where are the photos?
    jimb1972, darbo, Go4Soda and 1 others like this.

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    Thanks for the report, they make these just down the road from me but I have never even shot one before I think I need to change that.
    Go4Soda likes this.

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    Thank you for the excellent review! Very informative!
    Go4Soda likes this.
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    I knew I wouldn't be the only one interested in hearing about these.
    Go4Soda likes this.
    "It is wonderful, in the event of a street fight, how few bullets seem to hit the men they are aimed at." Ranch Life and the Hunting Trail, Theodore Roosevelt, 1888

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    Quote Originally Posted by Go4Soda View Post
    Hello all, GhostHorse mentioned that he and 1 or 2 other people might be interested in a brief review the ownership experience of my Chiappa Rhino 200DS revolver.

    I tend not to own the gun or vehicle or phone that everyone else owns. Not out of disrespect for the “tried and true” (Smith and Wesson J-frames are an excellent product) but just as a personality quirk.
    Nothing wrong with that.

    Prior to joining here I tended to own nothing but the top name brands; S&W, GLOCK, SIG, Kimber, Colt, Ruger et al.

    After test driving a couple of my student's Taurus's (9mm PT-111 & .45 ACP PT-145) I was sold on the line's reliability, ergonomics, handling, looks, and yes...price point.

    Not always "running with the herd" is how we find the best of all worlds; restarunts, tools, clothing lines etc.
    NULLI SECUNDUS

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    Yeah, if it weren't for personality quirks we might all be shooting Glocks...ups, I meant 1911's and eating at McDonalds.
    Go4Soda, jwc007 and MOONDAWG like this.
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    Thank you for the report.
    Price? Or did I miss it?
    Go4Soda likes this.
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