Of all the assault rifles designs put into production released since I first started TFB, the Croatian-made HS Produckt VHS Assault Rifle has been one of my favorite (and the only one I have not had the opportunity to shoot). This is partly because the sleek/skinny design appeals to me and partly because it pleases me to see that the bullpup concept has not been completely abandoned.
A few weeks ago HS Produkt unveiled the next generation VHS called the VHS-2. The VHS-2 is significantly different from its predecessor and should be considered a separate rifle in its own right, not just a line extension of the original VHS.
The first and most obvious difference between the original VHS and the VHS-2 is the addition of rails. The original just had one under-rail for attaching foregrips. The carry handle’s integrated sights have been remove and have been replaced with a NATO Accessory Rail. Side rails have been added to the front handguard. Like the original, the handguard can be removed and replaced with HS Produckt’s 40mm grenade launcher.
The most interesting change in my opinion is the addition of a six position adjustable stock. This may be the only production bullpup rifle to feature an adjustable stock.
The VHS-2 retains the ability to switch shell ejection to the right or to the left, but to allow impromptu use of the rifle on either shoulder during combat, the gun now features a large shell deflector which prevents the shell from being ejected up or back onto the operators body or face. Judging from the video below, shells will eject forwards in a downwards trajectory. The shell behavior may indicate that the VHS-2 operates at a higher pressure internally and so is ejecting the shells with more force against the shell deflector. For comparison purposes, a correctly tuned AR-15 should ejects shells slightly rearward (3 O’Clock to 4:30).
The trigger mechanism has seen some significant improvements as well. Instead of the confusing toggle switch inside the trigger guard, the VHS-2 has an ambidextrous 3-position (safe, semi, full auto) selector switch above the trigger. The trigger guard has been significantly enlarged to make the gun easier to shoot with gloves.
The VHS-2’s new features are demonstrated in the video embedded below …
The VHS-2 looses the simplistic sleek design of the original but gains significant improvement. While the original VHS feature set looks like the bare-minimum required to Croatian Army specifications at the lowest possible cost, the VHS-2 looks like the rifle HS plans on marketing for export.
Many thanks to Vicario, Milo, Nigel, BR and Japanac for information about this rifle.