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Sometimes things are just named perfectly. The CMMG Dissent exemplifies that. CMMG created the Dissent, and it certainly dissents from what we know an AR to be. CMMG took the AR platform to the drawing board and found a way to slice off the receiver extension and buffer to create a unique AR design. Yet, while it’s an incredibly different take on the AR, it’s still an AR.

Kind of.

To be specific, this is a large format pistol, or rifle-caliber pistol, or whatever else you want to call it. Legally, it’s a handgun, but it fires a rifle round. CMMG offers the Dissent in 5.56, 300 Blackout, and 5.7x28mm. With ammo prices being the way they are, the 5.56 variant delivers the most bang for your buck. Literally.


What’s the Big Deal With Buffers?

Eugene Stoner designed the AR-15 to function with a direct impingement system that used a buffer housed in a receiver extension. This leaves shooters with a fixed stock. Outside of a few niche solutions, the buffer of an AR-15 has always added length to an AR-15. CMMG’s elimination of the traditional receiver extension gives you a short and sweet AR-15 platform.

Instead, CMMG used what they call a Compact Action. The Compact Action employs a set of dual-guide rods with springs that replace the buffer and buffer spring and allows the action to complete its cycle. The Compact Action allows the Dissent to use either a direct impingement or radial delayed action.

Removing the receiver extension wasn’t the only change CMMG made. They ditched the standard charging handle for a nonreciprocating charging handle mounted above the barrel. Users can swap the charging handle to the left or right side to make things lefty friendly.

CMMG goes above and beyond with their ARs, and the Dissent features some enhanced controls worth mentioning. The magazine release and safety are ambidextrous, and the bolt release is massive. Ergonomically, the Dissent is a blessing and makes the weapon easy to handle and shoot.

Where the buffer would be mounted sits a 1913 rail for adapting stocks and braces to the gun. Around the barrel also sits a lightweight M-LOK rail for mounting an accessory or two. That M-LOK handguard sports a built-in hand stop to help you keep your forward hand safe.

Range Time

Pulling the trigger of the CMMG Dissent delivers the sound of thunder! A 5.56mm projectile screaming down a 6.5-inch barrel means you get a serious dose of concussion, noise, and muzzle flash. It’s a thrill per trigger pull and a ton of fun.

That short barrel limits the effective range of the 5.56 round significantly. At 100 yards, you might be tapping out on the round’s ability to fragment inside a threat. The Dissent should be considered more of a personal defense weapon, meaning it’s best at bad breath ranges. It’s begging for a suppressor, and the shorter barrel keeps things handy even when a suppressor makes an appearance.

While the boom makes the weapon sound brutal and intimidating, it’s fairly easy to shoot and control. Recoil remains light, and muzzle rise isn’t too bad. You can fire double taps or failure drills with complete control.

Getting wrapped up in the long-range accuracy of the Dissent would be a silly test. How does the gun perform at 50 and 100 yards? As a pistol, it lacks a stock, and shooting it with precision to measure groups is tricky.

Personal Defense

Approaching the CMMG Dissent with its use as a PDW and from a practical accuracy standpoint made more sense. The trigger is outstanding, and it’s a CMMG design known as the AR-D. It’s a two-stage trigger that is super short and very light. That trigger helped me make precision shots at 50 yards a breeze and shots on center mass at 100 yards a non-issue. At 50 yards, ringing those four-inch gongs wasn’t difficult, and at 100 yards, the same thing could be said for a 10-inch gong.

Firing at 50 yards, the standing, unsupported shots measured about three inches. Shooting at 100 yards, the shots were taken in a supported kneeling position, and the groups measured a little over five inches. With a tax stamp and a stock, those groups would shrink considerably.

State your Dissent

The CMMG Dissent gives shooters a unique take on the AR platform. It’s about as small as an AR can reasonably get. The accuracy of the pistol design is impressive, and while it’s loud, don’t let the bark intimidate you. It’s controllable, easy to shoot, and direct between targets. Pair this with the exceptional controls and ergonomics, and the Dissent takes the AR design to a new level.


ACTION: Compact Action
CHAMBERING: 5.56 (Also available in 300 Blackout and 5.7x28mm)
RECEIVER: CMMG Proprietary AR 15
BARREL TYPE AND TWIST: 4140CM with 1:7 Twist
TRIGGER: (w/pull weight) – CMMG AR-D 4 lbs pull weight
SIGHTS: None – Optics Ready
WEIGHT: 4.6 lbs.
MSRP: $1,999.95

Want to compare to another compact AR platform rifle? Check out SIG’s MCX Rattler Canebrake.

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