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VHS-1: Croatia Copies the FAMAS (But Not Really)

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The VHS-1 was heavily influenced by the French FAMAS, albeit with a short stroke gas piston operating system. Early development began in the late 1990s with the prototype designs we looked in over the past few weeks, and the VHS-1 itself really emerged between 2003 and 2005. It was formally announced in 2005, and after formal testing by the Croatian military it was adopted, and the first military deliveries arrived in 2007.

In addition, the VHS-1 was exported to Kurdistan and the Iraqi Army. Two versions were made, the D1 with a long barrel and the K1 with a short barrel, and the upper assembly could be had with either iron sights (much like the FAMAS iron sights) or an integrated optic similar to the G36 and Steyr AUG. In total about 20,000 were manufactured, including a run of 40 made as civilian semiautomatic-only rifles for the Hungarian sporting market.

Lessons learned in the fielding of the VHS-1 would be used to further refine the design and lead to the VHS-2, aka Springfield Hellion.

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