Springfield Armory introduced its civilian-legal version of the Croatian military VHS bullpup as the Hellion in 2022. Our review found it to be a solid contender in the bullpup class, and the rifle went on to win a Golden Bullseye award as the 2023 Tactical Product of the Year. Now Springfield is adding two new models to its Hellion line-up, one with an 18" barrel and one with a 20" barrel. Chambered for 5.56 NATO, the extra barrel length allows the rifles to take full advantage of that cartridge’s ballistic potential, while still exploiting the compact overall size of a bullpup design.
For 2023, Springfield Armory is adding two new barrel length options to its Hellion line-up. The 18" barrel version is pictured. Image courtesy of Springfield Armory.
The new 18" barrel Springfield Hellion’s extra barrel length makes the rifle 2" longer than the original Hellion and 3 ozs. heavier, at 30.25" overall with the Hellion’s unique-for-the-bullpup-world telescoping scope collapsed all the way and weighing 8 lbs., 3 ozs.
In addition to a 20" barrel, the longer version of the Hellion also has the ribbed barrel and bayonet mounting system of its military counterpart. Image courtesy of Springfield Armory.
The 20" barrel Hellion follows the lines of the HS Produkt VHS-D2 rifle that is the official service rifle of the Croatian army. This goes beyond the rifle’s barrel length. The 20" version also has the ribbing on the forward portion of the barrel, just like its full-automatic military counterpart, as well as a lug that allows for a bayonet to be mounted to the muzzle. This bayonet is proprietary and will be offered as an accessory from Springfield in the future. This version of the rifle is 8 lbs., 6 ozs. and has an overall length of 32.25" with its stock fully collapsed.
The new Hellion models have the same specifications and features as the 16" barrel version originally introduced by Springfield. Image courtesy of Springfield Armory.
The new barrel length offerings highlight the advantage of a bullpup design. The 18" version has a shorter overall length than an M4-style AR-15 with a 16" barrel. The 20” version is basically the same overall length, with four additional inches of barrel. Despite the Hellion's quick-change barrel system, at this time, Springfield is not offering barrels as an accessory for those who would like to swap to a different length.
The Hellion is a fully ambidextrous bullpup design and can be switched to right or left ejection without tools. Image courtesy of Springfield Armory.
Besides the barrel lengths, the new Hellion models have all of the same features and specifications of the original model, including an adjustable gas piston operating system, fully-ambidextrous controls, toolless switchable ejection direction, built-in backup iron sights and a five-position telescoping stock. Differing from its European counterpart, the Hellion has M-Lok-compatible slots in its handguard, and its grip is removable and compatible with AR-15-type grips.
The Springfield Armory Hellion with an 18" barrel (H L918556B) has an MSRP of $2,016 and the 20" barrel model (HL920556B) has an MSRP of $2,031. For more details, visit springfield-armory.com.
Editor's Note: This article has been updated to reflect new information about bayonet compatibility and the availability of standalone barrels as accessories.