Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Small Arms Warships & Submarines Military Ranks Military Pay Chart (2024) Special Forces
Infantry Small Arms / The Warfighter

HS Produkt VHS (Visenamjenska Hrvatska Strojnica)

Assault Rifle [ 2009 ]

The HS Produkt VHS assault rifle was developed in response to a Croatian Army need for a NATO-standard weapon

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 10/19/2017 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The VHS assault rifle saw its origins in the Homeland War / Croatian War of Independence (1991-1995). The conflict saw loyalist government elements pitted against the socialist Yugoslavians and accompanying Serb forces. The bloody campaign resulted in a Croatian victory which garnered its national independence in the process while preserving the borders it had set out to retain. During the conflict, attention was given to refining the world-famous Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifle into a handier "bullpup" form (A bullpup weapon system is nothing more than a firearm having the action - including magazine feed - set aft of the pistol grip and trigger unit). Bullpup firearms, particularly assault rifles, offer some advantages in-the-field for they become more compact overall designs when compared to conventionally configured rifle systems. This allows for greater portability, better close-range accuracy, a lighter overall handling weight and makes use of all available internal space in the shoulder stock. Though many firearms continue use of the conventional configuration - in which the action is concentrated ahead of the pistol grip and trigger unit, with the magazine feed fitted forward - many more modern firearms designs are appearing utilizing the bullpup configuration - the most notable of these being perhaps the Austrian Steyr AUG of 1979 which, depending on the barrel, could be rather easily modified into an assault rifle, submachine gun and light machine gun form with the rest of the gun body remaining essentially untouched.

Croatian gunsmiths attempted this modification to the fabled AK-47 with only limited success. However, the development period led to a variety of other promising prototype endeavors though none of these advanced. In 2003, a new prototype emerged with the Croatian Army pushing for its development to coincide with a requirement for a NATO-friendly combat rifle - in particular utilizing the widely-accepted 5.56x45mm NATO standard round. Design work continued into 2005 to which the rifle was delivered to the Croatian Army authorities. After a period of evaluation, the VHS was formally selected for serial production with the first quantitative order placed in late 2007 numbering some 50 examples. These initial rifles were then sent with Croatian forces as part of the NATO coalition operating in the Afghanistan Theater following the American invasion in 2001. This valuable in-the-field combat exposure was used to finalized the VHS design even further. Upon full operational acceptance, the VHS is intended to replace all outgoing Soviet-era Kalashnikov service assault rifles. Since its inception, the VHS family line has been produced by the Croatian concern of HS Produkt (formerly IM Metal), a private defense contractor based out of Karlovac.

Outwardly, the VHS bears an uncanny resemblance to the French FAMAS - an assault rifle design appearing in 1978 and also centering on the bullpup configuration while being chambered for the 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge. Like the FAMAS, the VHS has a long running carrying handled joined at the front and rear of the receiver. The handle also contains integrated aperture sights. The cocking handle is set within the carrying handle loop along the top of the receiver. The receiver is designed as two major components - and upper portion and a lower - and showcases a short forend hand-hold area ahead of the trigger unit to encourage a strong two-handed grip. The pistol grip is slightly angled rearwards and ribbed for a firm hold. The trigger is curved in design and protected by an oblong trigger guard. The shoulder stock is somewhat enlarged and fixed in place for the required action and internal working components. The firing action is said to be gas-operation with a "tappet" closed gas system utilizing a rotating bolt. Rate-of-fire is reported at 750 rounds per minute with a muzzle velocity of 3,120 feet per second. The magazine feed is set under the shoulder stock (aft of the pistol grip) with the ejection port set to the right hand side of the gun body. The barrel protrudes a short distance away from the gun body and is capped by a muzzle accessory. The base VHS-D assault rifle (available variants described below) model sports an overall length of 765mm with a barrel length of 500mm. Beyond the standard provided sights, optional optics are available for specialized fire. Construction of the rifle includes both metal and polymer components. The VHS is also designed to fire rifle grenades from its barrel while also having provisions for use with a grenade launcher - this presumably fitted under the forend. All told, the VHS weighs in at 7.5lbs with its 30 inch length. The VHS accepts both 20- and 30-round magazine counts in STANAG form.

As of this writing, the VHS system exists in two distinct production forms - the basic VHS-D assault rifle and the VHS-K carbine. In the latter, the VHS is completed with a shorter barrel measuring in at 400m in length. This installation provides the basic VHS body with a much overall shorter running length, making it ideal for use in close-quarters battle (CQB) or for use by combat elements such as paratroopers or vehicle crews. Performance specifications vary only slightly between the two with the K-model sporting a rate-of-fire up to 760 rounds per minute with a lower muzzle velocity rated at 3,080 feet per second. The VHS-K weighs in at 7.3lbs and showcases a 26 inch length.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


HS Produkt - Croatia
Croatia; France (evaluated); Iraq; Kuwait; Syria; Venezuela
Operators National flag of Croatia National flag of France National flag of Iraq National flag of Kuwait National flag of Syria National flag of Venezuela
Service Year
National Origin

Features a mechanical function to automate the firing action.
Modern class of long gun featuring select-fire properties, automatic internal function, and magazine feeding.

765 mm
(30.12 inches)
Overall Length
500 mm
(19.69 inches)
Barrel Length
7.50 lb
(3.40 kg)
Empty Weight
Gas-Operated; Rotating Bolt
System utilizes internal mechanism to lock the breech or rear barrel assembly prior to firing.
Gas-operated system is featured, typically involving a gas cylinder and rear-driven piston directing energy to the bolt component.
5.56x45mm NATO
May not represent an exhuastive list; Calibers may be model-specific dependent; Always consult official manufacturer sources.
20- or 30-round detachable box magazine
Aperture Sights; Optional Optics and Aimers

Material presented above is for historical and entertainment value and should not be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation - always consult official manufacturer sources for such information.

3,120 ft/sec
(951 m/sec)
Muzzle Velocity

VHS-D - Base Assault Rifle
VHS-K - Shortened Carbine Form; 26" length; 15.7" barrel assembly.

Military lapel ribbon for the American Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon representing special forces
Military lapel ribbon for the Ukranian-Russian War
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2


1 / 1
Image of the HS Produkt VHS (Visenamjenska Hrvatska Strojnica)
Right side profile view of the HS Produkt VHS assault rifle

Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies

2024 Military Pay Chart Military Ranks DoD Dictionary Conversion Calculators Military Alphabet Code Military Map Symbols

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com. No A.I. was used in the generation of this content; site is 100% curated by humans.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org (World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft), WDMMW.org (World Directory of Modern Military Warships), SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane, and MilitaryRibbons.info, cataloguing military medals and ribbons. Special Interest: RailRoad Junction, the locomotive encyclopedia.

©2023 www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-2023 (20yrs)