A Path Less Traveled: IM Metal’s Tavor-Based Prototype for the VHS-1

Today we are continuing to trace the development of the IM Metal / HS Produkt VHS rifles. During this period, Croatia briefly considered adopting the Israeli Tavor rifle. Part of the adoption would have included a license for domestic production, and HS Produkt would have been the company to do the manufacturing. As a result, the company got a good look at the Tavor, and when the government decided not to adopt it, the company decided to integrate some of the features into one of their own prototypes. This led to a split in development, with the company developing one design based on a gas-operated conversion of the FAMAS and a second design based on elements of the Tavor.

Only a small number of prototypes of each style were built, for comparative testing. This Tavor-type example also has an integrated 40mm under barrel grenade launcher. It has an AR-180-like rotating multi-lug bolt, basic iron sights, and a creative (but woefully impractical) bipod built into the pistol grip and trigger guard.

Many thanks to HS Produkt for giving me access to prototypes like this one to film for posterity!


  1. I appreciate Ian’s intro, yet am not sure where this particular sample fits into the HS rifle development lineage. I read in the past of a stage where there was gas used as means of action delay. This one does not seem to have it. Is not the part which looks like piston in fact a gas tube? It enters into Bolt carrier at a noticeable depth, instead just pushing on face of it.

    It is quite revealing how “wild’ were the HS attempts to develop an indigenous rifle. They were learning thru initial obstacles fast.

    • I think patented idea was something like using gas and redirecting it somewhow to cushion the end of bolt travel. Would really like to see a video how it worked and/or why it failed.

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