Springfield Armory announces the 5.56mm Hellion semi-automatic bull-pup rifle, a civilian version of the Croatian HS Produkt VHS-2K assault carbine with a few modifications and features aimed at facilitating import and distribution on the US civilian market
Announced on the US commercial market on January 14, 2022, the Springfield Armory Hellion 5.56x45mm semi-automatic bull-pup rifle is the semi-automatic, civilian version of the HS Produkt VHS-2 bull-pup assault rifle series, currently fielded by military and law enforcement services in numerous Countries, including Croatia itself.
Semi-automatic versions of the earlier VHS-1D and VHS-1K rifles had been available on the civilian markets in Europe for some time now. The Springfield Armory Hellion is at the same time the first civilian-grade version of the VHS platform to ever reach the US market and the first semi-automatic variant of the improved VHS-2 design to be launched anywhere.
Manufactured in Croatia by HS Produkt and distributed by Springfield Armory, the Hellion has been tweaked with a little bit, with some minor but nonetheless important features changing from the original select-fire design to make it eligible for import in the United States and more appealing to civilian customers worldwide.
Chiefly, the original pistol grip of the VHS-2 assault rifle series has been replaced with a BCMGUNFIGHTER Mod.3 AR-15 compatible design. The Hellion also features a new, US-made four-prong flash hider and M-LOK polymer handguard.
One of the key features of the VHS-2 bull-pup assault rifle system is a modular magazine well design. As Croatia had purchased a number of Heckler & Koch G36 rifles from Germany as a stopgap before adopting the VHS platform, the VHS-2 assault rifles are compatible from factory with G36 magazines and can be fitted with an adapter to use STANAG 4179 (AR-15/M16/M4-type) magazines. Being the latter way more common than G36 magazines on the US and global commercial markets, the Springfield Armory Hellion is compatible with AR-15 magazines by default.
Nonetheless, the Springfield Armory Hellion retains most of the features that made the VHS-2 assault rifle series so successful, such as the fully ambidextrous charging handle, magazine release latch, hold-open release catch, and manual safety.
The bolt carrier group of the Hellion rifle can be configured for left-hand or right-hand ejection upon field-strip. Additionally, just like the VHS-2 assault rifle series, the Springfield Armory Hellion rifle comes from factory with an adjustable cheek riser and a 5-position extendable buttpiece, allowing users to adjust the length of pull according to their body type, their equipment, and generally to keep their face well away from the ejection window regardless of whether the rifle is set to eject from the right or the left side.
Based on a 2-positions adjustable, short-stroke gas piston system, the Springfield Armory Hellion semi-automatic bullpup rifle is 717 to 755 mm (28.¼" to 29.¾") long overall, depending on the length of pull, and comes from factory with a Melonite-treated, CMV steel 406 mm / 16" barrel sporting a 1:7" twist rate.
The Hellion rifle comes from factory with a raised full-length MIL-STD 1913 Picatinny rail for optics and a set of flip-up iron sights – more specifically, a height-adjustable front sight and a windage-adjustable, 5-positions aperture rear sight.
The Springfield Armory Hellion rifle weighs in at 3,68 kilograms / 8 lbs. when empty, and is available on the US market at a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $1,999.00. Information concerning international availability and pricing is not yet available at the time of writing.