August 2000:

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HS2000 Pistol Type:  Locked Breech Self Loading pistol
System of Operation:  Recoil, Double Action Only
Caliber:  9mm Parabellum (soon available in .40 Smith&Wesson, .357 SIG, and .45 ACP) 
Capacity:  10 round detachable box magazine (15 for Law Enforcement)
Sights, front: Fixed blade
Sights, rear:  Drift adjustable notch
Length: 7.2" 
Barrel length:  4.08"
Weight (loaded):  32.03 ounces
Retail Price:  $399.00
If invention is the result of inspiration, integration is the result of genius.  Integration in this sense is the ability to see and comprehend the best and most useful elements of the many, and then to create from them a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts.  The new polymer framed HS2000 pistol, imported from Croatia by HS America, Inc. of Knoxville, Tennessee, is an example of just such a synergistic integration.  Manufactured to exacting standards, the HS2000 combines elements of Glock, SIG-Sauer, Walther, and Heckler & Koch designs in a harmonious balance, the result of which is a finely crafted pistol that possesses a high degree of inherent safety, is reliable, accurate, and highly ergonomic.

The HS2000 is made by IM Metal of Ozalj, Croatia.  IM Metal is an experienced heavy machinery manufacturer.  Since the late 1980's, the firm has produced the standard Croatian military and police pistol, the Hrvatski Samokres (literally, "Croatian Pistol") or HS.  The manufacturing process is of the most modern type, making ample use of Computer Assisted Design (CAD) and Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) fabrication equipment.  The HS performed very well in Croatian service.  Well enough that it began to acquire a following that extended beyond the borders of Croatia.  One of foreign businesses that began to express an interest in the HS was Intrac, of Knoxville, Tennessee.  Early in 1999, Intrac identified a potential market niche for a new self loading pistol.  It was believed that the the US law enforcement market was suffering a lack of a reasonably priced, well made self-loading pistol that employed all of the most modern safety features, including a manually operated external safety.  An agreement wa reached between IM Metal and Intrac by which IM Metal was to produce a version of the HS modified to meet the needs of the US market as well as the stringent importation standards of the Gun Control Act of 1968, and Intrac would import and distribute the gun.  The resulting pistol was the HS2000.

The HS2000 is a striker fired, double action only pistol with a series of redundant safety and indicator systems designed to enhance the pistol's safety and reliability.

We contacted Intrac and asked for a sample of the HS2000 to sent to CRUFFLER.COM for test and evaluation.  A few days later the BBT arrived, bearing the package containing the pistol.

Upon opening the box and giving the pistol a once over, we were quite pleased - the pistol came with a variety of "extras."  In addition to the pistol, we found a spare magazine, cleaning rod, oil bottle, cable lock, and a Project Gun Safety CD-ROM.

The HS2000 is a polymer framed pistol with a milled steel slide.  The millwork on the slide is excellent - better than many of the gun's more highly priced contemporaries; it is as smooth as a highly polished commercial sporting arm with no evidence of tooling marks or any other finishing defect.  The slide is finished in an attractive matte black.  Each side boasts ten deep, widely spaced cocking serrations.  We prefer this type of serration to the traditional type (as seen on the Colt Government Model), as it provides a superior grip, especially when used with wet or gloved hands.  Sights are of the three dot variety, and both front and rear are mounted in dovetails milled in the slide.  The dovetails will accept all SIG-Sauer sights and aftermarket sights intended for the SIG-Sauer line of pistols.

The barrel is nicely blued, and is conventionally rifled with six grooves, with a right hand twist.  It is of the two piece variety, with the rifled tube being press fit into a separate piece containing the chamber's exterior contours and locking surfaces as well as the unlocking lug, and secured in place by a cross pin.  This method of barrel construction is fairly common, being used on products like the Browning High Power by Fabrique Nationale.  Again, the machining is first rate.

The recoil spring is a dual spring captive affair.  A larger diameter spring is wrapped around a hollow cylinder, with a smaller diameter spring wrapped around a "piston" that fits inside the cylinder and is secured by a flattened head at the outside of the hollow cylinder.  When assembled, the hollow cylinder is positioned to the front, abutting against the forward end of the slide, below the muzzle.  The rear end of the piston fits against the barrel lug.  The effect of this assembly is to create a variable resistance to the recoil impulse, increasing resistance (and decreasing the slide's rearward velocity) as the slide moves to the rear.  The effect of this is to reduce felt recoil and battering of the operating parts.

The frame is made of the black polymer that has become very familiar to American shooters.  The grip panels are smooth with ambidextrous thumb swells.   The front and back straps are well grooved and checkered.  In practice we found that this configuration provided a an ample, no slip grip, but that the thumb swells were positioned slightly too high to be of real use.  The frame boasts a pair of  interesting features:

The magazines are made of chromed steel.  They are of sturdy and solid construction.  The chromed finish provides additional lubricity, ensuring that the magazines will drop free, loaded or unloaded.  Additionally, the finish provides a degree of rust-proofing for the magazine.

Safety Systems
The HS2000 has four embedded safety systems.

Observation Systems
In addition to the embedded safety systems, the HS2000 has a pair of very useful devices that allow a shooter to determine the pistol's loaded and cocked status regardless of lighting.  Atop the slide at the rear of the ejection port is a loaded chamber indicator.  When the chamber is empty, it is entirely flush with the top of the slide.  When the chamber is loaded, it projects above the top of the slide.  At the rear of the slide is a hole.  When the striker is cocked, the rear end of an indicator pin projects through the hole.

Based on our inspection, we were very much intrigued by the HS2000.  Hoping that it would shoot as well as it was apparently made and looked, we headed out to the NRA range.  We also brought along a trio of the HS2000's potential competitors for comparison purposes - a Glock 17, a SIG-Sauer P228, and a CZ75B.

We brought along some representative 9x19mm ammunition with which to test the pistol, to include:

We fired the HS2000 at twenty one, thirty, and fifty feet, using a standard NRA B-2 target with a 3" black center.  At each of those distances, the gun proved capable of significant accuracy.   Sight regulation was excellent, with all groups striking to point of aim at all distances.  The best groups, fired from a rest, were impressive.  At twenty one feet, the group could be covered with a twenty-five cent piece.  At thirty feet, the edges of two holes could be seen peeking out from the edges of the quarter.  At fifty feet, the group was about one and three-fourth's quarters in diameter.  These groups were obtained with a variety of ammunition types; the HS2000 did not seem to express a preference for one type of ammunition over another.

Comparison firings with the other pistols were very revealing.  The HS2000 was significantly more accurate than the Glock 17, slightly more accurate than the SIG-Sauer P228, and slightly less accurate than the CZ75B.  (NB:  The CZ75B's accuracy edge was not especially significant.)

Recoil and Ergonomics
It's been our experience that one feels more recoil when shooting lightweight pistols, or pistols with lightweight polymer than heavier, all steel guns.  The HS2000 contradicted this experience entirely.  Recoil was mild, almost soft, with a minimal muzzle flip, and no "slapping" sensation whatsoever.  By comparison, the Glock and SIG-Sauer produced much more felt recoil, and the CZ75B slightly more.  We attribute this to the design of the recoil spring/rod and to the shaping of the frame.  With respect to ergonomics, we found the pistol to be much more comfortable to hold than the Glock, and no less comfortable than the SIG-Sauer or the CZ75B.   The HS2000's trigger pull was truly excellent, feeling more like a good single action pull than a double action striker type pull.  In fact, one person who tried it described the HS2000's trigger pull as "what a Glock should be."  We're inclined to agree.

Nothing to report here!  The HS2000 ate everything we put through it without hesitation.  No failures to feed, fire, extract, or eject.

The HS2000 is an excellent example of what a successful integration should be.  It marries advanced and high quality manufacturing with tried and true design principles found on other successful pistols into a product that is truly more than the sum of its parts.  Moreover, at less than $400.00 retail, the pistol represents an excellent value for a broad spectrum of shooters that includes novices, law enforcement officers, and experienced "gunnies."

Value may be one of the most important commodities that the HS2000 brings to the table.  It's superb manufacturing and excellent performance should put an end to the  common misconception that unless one spends in excess of $500.00 on a defensive pistol, one must be compromising on quality.  We recommend this pistol highly to anyone who is in the market for a defensive or general use pistol.

 If you have any questions about where and how to go about acquiring an HS2000,  please contact either CRUFFLER.COM or HS America.

And now, our Buy-O-Meter rating for the HS2000:


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