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VHS assault rifle (Croatia)
|Caliber:||5.56x45 mm NATO|
|Action||Gas operated, rotating bolt|
|Overall length||760 mm||660 mm|
|Barrel length||500 mm||400 mm|
|Weight:||3.0 kg||2.8 kg|
|Rate of fire||750 rounds per minute|
|Magazine capacity||30 rounds|
The VHS assault rifle was developed by Croatian arms factory HS Product. The first prototype of the VHS rifle was first announced in 2005. It was externally quite similar to the Israeli Tavor TAR-21 rifle, and was said to feature patented 'gas recoil cushion' system, in which hot powder gases were taken from the bore to gradually slow down the bolt opening (similar system was developed decades ago for Soviet AM-23 aircraft cannon). It must be said, however, that final versions of the VHS rifle, which by now (end of 2008) are undergoing field trials with Croatian army, do not have this feature, and instead use a conventional return spring. The external looks of the rifle also have changed so now VHS looks not dissimilar to the French FAMAS G2 rifle. The future of the VHS is not yet clear, but it is said that it will go into full production in 2009.
The VHS assault rifle is gas operated weapon that uses direct impingement gas system. Barrel locking is achieved by more or less traditional rotating bolt. The gun body is made from impact resistant polymer, and the gun us designed in the bullpup layout. The ejection port is on the right side of the gun only, so firing it from the left shoulder can be problematic to say the least. The charging handle is located at the topof the gun housing, and can be swung to either side to provide ambidextrous handling. The safety / fire selector is located within the trigger guard, in the front of the trigger, and is rotated around the vertical axis. When it is turned toward the trigger, the gun is safe.When safety / selector is turned to the left side, it provides full automatic fire, when it is turned to the right side, it provides semi-automatic fire (single shots). Iron sights are built into the large integral carrying handle, which also has several strong points for attachment of the Picatinny rails. Additional accessory rails can be attached to the forend of the rifle. On the full-size VHS-D rifles,the barrels are fitted with rifle grenade discharging adapters and bayonet lugs; compact VHS-K rifles have neither. Feed is from NATO-standard (M16-type) magazines.