HS2000: The Perfected Croatian Pistol that Became the Springfield XD
With the HS95, Croatian manufacturer IM Metal (later to become HS Produkt) had learned how to effectively manufacture a good pistol. However, the design had some shortcomings and had not been accepted by Croatian police forces, nor had any commercial export contracts materialized. The company recognized that the way of the future was polymer framed, striker-fired pistols - so they set out to create just that.
Working with a variety of military and technical experts, they developed the processes to manufacture a polymer frame of the requisite strength and durability for a handgun. Mated with a simple-but-effective slide assembly, the HS2000 was born. The development began in 1998, the first pistols were made in 1999, and mass production was underway by 2000. The guns were adopted by Croatian Army and police forces, and Intrac of Tennessee contracted to import 10,000 of them into he US in 2000. The following year, a sales rep from HS Produkt and a company rep from Springfield Armory had a chance encounter at a rather boring conference, and began talking. The result was an import deal for a pistol to be sold in the US as the eXtreme Duty - which has led to more than 6 million pistols sold today.
The first incarnation of the HS2000 actually didn't meet US import requirements; a "target thumb rest" and loaded chamber indicator were added to the design for the initial Intrac imports. A trigger safety was added at the same time, and the design underwent a series of small improvements and iterations over the first year or two of production. We will take a look at all these variations today.