7 June 22
“All great truths begin as blasphemies”
Bernard Shaw
VHS (Hellion) Rifle and optics.
At a DTI Urban Rifle Program last weekend on the East Coast, I got my first chance to work with and carry the bullpup Hellion Rifle, imported from Croatia by Springfield Armory.  All my students shot it.
With the Croatian Army’s endorsement, there has never been a question with regard to this weapon’s reliability. It runs just fine, as one expects from any military rifle. I’ve yet to experience even my first hiccup!
And, the rifle’s compactness represents a major benefit. I flew to my destination via commercial air (SW) with the rifle within a hard case, within a roller-duffel. No need to separate the upper from the lower, as I have to do with my M4 in order to get it short enough.
Traveling with the VHS and having it close-by and readily accessible continuously, yet discretely out of sight (and out of conversation), is thus what is most attractive about this system.
Yet, I am still getting accustomed to having most of the weight to the rear, finding the magazine well during reloads, remembering to close the dust-cover, and also remembering that the charging-handle (non-reciprocating) is now forward-mounted on the left side (or the right; it can be accessed from either side), instead of to the rear (M4-style).
Unlike a typical M4, the Hellion’s trigger features generous take-up. Reset is snappy.
I initially had a Primary Arms RDO rear-mounted on the rifle’s full-length Picatinny rail. Mounted in the rear, so as not to interfere with operation of the charging-handle.
This combination is very satisfactory, but I’ve since replaced the non-magnifying RDO with Osprey-Global’s 1×4 optic.
This new combination gives me the option of discerning additional downrange detail when necessary, although the optic’s “default setting” is always 1x.
I’ve decided that 1×4 is as much optional magnification as I want on this rifle!
One of my students used an M4 with a 1×10 optic. The scope itself is big and bulky, but what concerned me most was the way he consistently “got lost” when using magnification above 4x.
For a serious rifle, the default setting on any magnifying optic is always 1x, as noted above, because the nature of my next challenge cannot be predicted, and I want all the speed of engagement endemic to an RDO, at least initially.
However, when my 1×4 optic is mistakenly left on the highest magnification, and I’m suddenly obligated to fight for my life, even at 4x I can usually figure-out where I am, where the threat(s) are, and get into immediate and effective action, all without having to take time to “adjust” the optic.
I find that magnification above 4x is rarely beneficial, nor necessary (for serious purposes), and I’ve watched
students with optics inadvertently set on 6x, 8x, 10x, pick-up and mount their rifles in a panic, only to find themselves hopelessly lost!
So, I’ve concluded that 1×4 represents a good compromise for our kind of shooting!
Of course, that means close eye-relief, but close eye-relief is probably endemic to this system, no matter what kind of optic you use, for reasons noted above.
My students are equipping themselves and coming to me for this kind of serious training, because they see the “handwriting on the wall.” The wise are thus enhancing their level of preparedness.
Now is the time!
“… tomorrow was made for some
Tomorrow may never come,
… for all we know!”
From the popular Interwar Years song (1934), “For All We Know.” Music by J Fred Coots. Lyrics by Sam M Lewis. Most popular rendition was by The Andrews Sisters.