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Which Revolver Has the Least Recoil? Soft Shooting Revolvers

Revolvers are favorites among classic gun enthusiasts, but due to their mechanics, they tend to have a strong recoil. This is thanks to the fact that the human body, rather than mechanics of the weapon itself, absorbs most of the recoil force when a revolver is fired. So which revolvers have the least recoil?

The Chiappa Rhino 20DS has one of the softest recoils on the market for a revolver. It’s engineered to be easy to shoot, easy for beginners to use, and incredibly sturdy. Other soft shooting revolvers exist, too, which may be ideal for those new to guns, or who would like an entry-level revolver for self-defense.

Keep reading to learn more about the Chiappa Rhino, what makes traditional revolvers so tough on the recoil, and how to find the best soft shooting revolver for you.

Which Revolver is Softest on Recoil?

The Chiappa Rhino 20DS is a very uniquely designed, undeniably odd-looking little snub-nosed revolver that scores some extra points for being well thought out, very gentle on the recoil, high-quality, and easy to conceal.

The Chiappa Rhino comes in a variety of design types, with the main differences being barrel length. The 20DS has the shortest barrel length, making it easy to conceal, lighter weight, and a bit less cumbersome to draw and use in an emergency.

The Rhino is designed to shoot from the bottom cylinder as opposed to the top. This keeps the center of gravity of the weapon lower and helps the revolver itself absorb quite a bit of the burst of kinetic energy after the weapon is fired. This also helps keep the revolver level as you shoot and makes rapid fire quite a bit easier.

  • The grip is available in wood or in rubber.
  • We recommend the rubber grip for the greatest energy absorption after firing.
  • Rubber as opposed to wood will help to capture more of the recoil’s intensity after firing, and the grip feels good in the hands, and makes the weapon that much easier to use.

The machined alloy frame is high-quality, durable, and meant to last. One word of advice; don’t try to open up and modify this little guy.

Due to its compact size the internal parts of the Rhino 20DS are incredibly small and nuanced. It would be better to take it to a professional to get it repaired and leave the hardware of this weapon alone.

Here’s a cool video comparing revolver recoil, with more info below:

I use either Brownells, Palmetto State Armory, or Optics Planet to buy parts, that way I always know what I’m getting and that it will actually show up.

What Makes Revolvers Tough on Recoil?

So, what makes revolvers so hard on the wrists? While modern weapons are semi-automatic, the revolver is old-school. The mechanics of a semi-automatic weapon mean that the gun itself is absorbing a lot of the kinetic energy set off by firing.

With a revolver, though, it’s the human shooter who absorbs the bunt of this energy and feels the greatest kickback when the gun is fired.

The revolver is a much simpler machine and is designed to do one thing well: shoot. It’s also designed to be small, easy to wield, and easy to whip out in a fight. Think a Clint Eastwood-style shootout.

These simpler mechanics from a less complicated era combined with a traditional top-cylinder bullet expulsion mean that all this energy travels back to the shooter’s wrist, through the top-center of the weapon, and makes the gun a bit harder on the carpals.

The Chiappa Rhino 20DS addresses all of these issues by being a well-designed, bottom-cylinder shooter with minimal weight and a fantastic grip.It’s also a bit slimmer than many other revolvers, thanks to the hexagonal as opposed to circular cylinder design, making it easier to conceal in garments, a waistband, purse, or a coat pocket. 

What is the Best Caliber for Low Recoil?

Most gun enthusiasts swear by 9mm caliber bullets as being among the easiest to handle and least problematic to fire. They’re a good match for a low-recoil weapon, and work well with the Chiappa Rhino 20DS.

The best caliber for low recoil is the 22 caliber round for both handguns or rifles. They are easily found and inexpensive. Another good option for low recoil is the 9mm. Also easily found and inexpensive but has a little more stopping power than the 22.

They’re also gentler on recoil, and work well with semi-automatic weapons as well as classic revolvers. There’s less kickback, and more efficiency. Granted, 357 magnums have more power behind them, but the 9mm caliber is better suited for snub-nosed weapons, revolvers, and ease of handling.

.22 caliber bullets are the smallest that can be used in many weapons and are an excellent choice for those new to guns, who are wanting to learn how to fire with minimum recoil. They’re not the best choice for the Chiappa Rhino, but can be paired with other weapons, as we’ll see below. 

.22 calibers are not as powerful as either a 9mm or a 357 magnum but can provide enough power to deter and even kill in dangerous encounters. They’re recommended for beginners, and those new to handling weapons.

Other Soft Shooting Revolvers

Apart from our top choice, other soft shooting revolvers on the market include the Smith and Wesson 531C (source: when paired with .22 caliber ammo. This ammo and weapon pairing will be easier to handle with less recoil, and the smaller size of the 531C makes it great for concealed carry, and easier for women and beginners, too.

Another good choice here is the Ruger LCR (source:, another snub-nosed revolver designed to be easy to handle, and with a lower recoil. The grip is manufactured to absorb more of the kinetic energy created by firing, and this small, simple weapon is lightweight and ideal for beginners.

I use either Brownells, Palmetto State Armory, or Optics Planet to buy parts, that way I always know what I’m getting and that it will actually show up.


The best soft shooting revolver with the least recoil is the Chiappa Rhino 20DS. It’s a small snub-nosed revolver that shoots from the lowest cylinder and comes with a durable rubber grip, helping to reduce recoil, and make the weapon easier to fire.

It is also durable and slender, making it great for concealed carry, and easy to use for beginners. Pair it with 9mm bullets for minimum recoil, and best possible impact.

Other soft-recoil revolver options are the Smith and Wesson 531C with .22 ammo, and the Ruger LCR, both of which would work well for those new to weapons, and shooters with a smaller frame.