|Founded||Ozalj, Croatia (1990)|
|Founders||Ivan Žabčić & Marko Vuković|
|Key people||Željko Pavlin (CEO)|
|Products||Handguns, assault rifles|
HS Produkt was founded as IM Metal in 1990, during the initial democratic changes in the Republic of Croatia. The company was situated in the town of Ozalj, Croatia, about 50 kilometers southwest of the capital Zagreb; in 2000 it was relocated to Karlovac.
HS Produkt's current production facility produces about 30,000 pistols per month with a trend of continued growth; ninety percent of production is exported to the United States. The number of employees rose from around 80 in 2000 to nearly 1000 in 2007, making HS Produkt the leading employer in Karlovac County.
Founders and co-owners of HS Produkt, Ivan Žabčić and Marko Vuković, are both mechanical engineers; Vuković is the chief designer behind most of the company's products. Vuković also has combat experience as a veteran of the Croatian War of Independence, in which he was wounded twice.
Company's first design was the PHP (Prvi hrvatski pištolj) semi-automatic pistol, manufactured from 1991 to 1994. It was based on Walther P38, with some features common with Beretta 92. The second handgun model was the HS 95, described as an unlicensed copy of the SIG Sauer P226 with some original external features. These early all-metal pistols were considered solid designs, but were plagued by quality issues due in large part to the difficulties of manufacturing during wartime.
The company's most successful product, the HS2000 polymer-framed semi-automatic pistol, was HS Produkt's third pistol in a series developed on the basis of experience gained during the Croatian War of Independence. It is marketed in the US by Springfield Armory, Inc. under the XD (eXtreme Duty) brand.
Today the pistol is the standard sidearm of the Croatian Armed Forces and Police. It has attained a niche of its own on the world market; as of 2007[update], more than 500,000 pistols have been sold in the US, where it is popular both with law enforcement and the country's civilian market.
VHS assault rifle
The most recent product announced by HS Produkt is the VHS assault rifle, a 5.56x45mm NATO bullpup select-fire weapon. The VHS rifle was first introduced at the 2007 iKA, the annual Croatian innovation display that takes place in the city of Karlovac. The development was carried on following a request of the Croatian Army for a new infantry rifle to update the individual equipment to NATO standards.
The information on the rifle is still somewhat sketchy. Apparently at least two prototypes have been produced: one superficially resembles the French FAMAS rifle , while the other has been compared with the Israeli IMI Tavor TAR-21. The rifle is 750 mm long, with a 500 mm barrel. Polymer parts are extensively used in the construction, and the weight of the rifle has been variously reported as 2.3 kg and 3 kg.
On November 19, 2007, the Croatian Ministry of Defence placed an order for an experimental batch of 50 rifles to be tested by the Croatian contingent currently deployed in Afghanistan within the ISAF. Full scale production began towards the end of 2008, when field testing completed. Other nations, including Kuwait and Venezuela have shown interest in acquiring the rifle.
On May 12, 2009, the Croatian Minister of Defence Branko Vukelic confirmed the positive end of a torture test over the rifle and on May 15 officially signed a contract with HS Produkt for the acquisition of 20,000 rifles kit (both versions) for a medium price of 10700 Croatian Kunas each.
- "Model HS 2000 već godinama "best buy" pištolj u SAD-u". Večernji list (in Croatian). 17 December 2011. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
- Orešić, Boris (9 November 2007). "Hrvatska puška na Bushevom ramenu". Globus (in Croatian) (883): 84–88.
- "HS PRODUKT d.o.o.". Embassy of the United States of America, Zagreb, Croatia.
- Volarić, Mladen (June 18, 2007). "U svemirskom programu NASA-e Vukovićev izum". Poslovni dnevnik (in Croatian). Retrieved 2008-11-30.
- Kotnik, Jani (May 2001). "The Croatian Service Pistols". The Small Arms Review.
- "RH-ALAN HS-95 (Croatia)".
- Fortier, David M. (December 2000). "A New Polymer-Frame Service Pistol From Croatia". S.W.A.T.
- "A new Croatian Bullpup Assault Rifle by HS Produkt for the Croatian Army: Croatian VHS Assault Rifle".
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