CMMG Dissent Review: 5.56 in the Field

by coldboremiracle

February 2, 2023

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CMMG has been making AR-15-style rifles for two decades. They’ve come up with some new innovations that set trends in the firearm industry along the way. The Dissent pistol is one of their more recent products, and I was excited to see if the excitement was warranted. As a serious aficionado of short-barreled rifles (SBR) I immediately wanted to see what the Dissent had to offer – which of course, brings me to this CMMG Dissent review.

CMMG Dissent Specs

  • Caliber 5.56mm
  • Operating System Compact action radial delayed blowback
  • Barrel Length 6.5 in.
  • Trigger Triggertech AR-D 2-stage
  • Weight / Length 4.6lbs / 14.7″
  • Barrel twist 1:9
  • Muzzle thread 1/2×28

CMMG Dissent Background

The Dissent is an AR anomaly. In fact, it’s even more unusual than the Banshee Mk4 I wrote about previously.

The Dissent utilizes CMMG’s compact action. It doesn’t use the buffer tube we are familiar with on AR-type rifles. Instead, the buffer assembly has been reloaded inside the upper receiver above the bolt carrier assembly. This allows the Dissent to achieve ultimate compact size without the need to fold or attach a buffer system to operate the gun.

In place of the buffer tube, there is instead a vertical pic rail to allow installation of your choice of arm brace, buttstock, or any other suitable accessory.

A quick perusal of CMMG’s website can give you the feeling that they, too, don’t care for the pointless infringements imposed on owners of SBRs by the NFA. The DIssent name itself seems to be a swipe at the ATF’s meddling.

Gun University CMMG Dissent review: about to hit the range.

The Dissent brings with it CMMG’s high quality and classy fit and finish. It’s a handsome weapon from a proven manufacturer…but how does it shoot? Keep reading.

CMMG Dissent Features

CMMG Dissent review: weapon features
1 Patent pending compact action

A compact action radial delayed blowback system.

2 Triggertech AR-D 2-stage

An excellent trigger with a proven track record.

3 Muzzle threaded at 1/2 x 28

Allows for a wide range of muzzle devices.

4 MLOK compatible handguard

For the accessories or furniture you need/want.

5 Non-reciprocating side charging handle

Another factor in its compact maneuverability.

Dissent Models and Colors

The Dissent Mk4 is available in three calibers and many colors; the version I’m testing today is a Coyote Tan pistol chambered in 5.56×45. Other calibers you can get in the Dissent include 9mm, 300Blk, and 5.7×28.

You can choose from several color options and two barrel lengths: Armor Black, Charcoal Green, Coyote Tan, Midnight Bronze, Sniper Grey, and Titanium among the latter, 6.5″ and 10.5″ in the latter.

On The Range – Our Take

After installing a Trijicon red dot on the Dissent, I took it out into the winter wonderland to warm it up. With a few boxes of PMC XTac 55-grain ammunition and some other gear that I figured would help feel out the Dissent.

After (legally) putting a stock on it and loading up a few PMAGs, I figured I’d start slow and make sure everything was flawless before I got too aggressive with it.

The first shots from the rifle came easy enough; a butt stock makes all the difference. I am more of a rifle than a pistol guy, so holding the Dissent without a stock felt awkward and silly.

The Dissent worked very well out in the weather - better than the shooter's hands and feet.

The gun functioned perfectly, despite the sub-freezing temperatures around us.

It didn’t take long to get comfortable, and I was in a groove with the Dissent very quickly.

Shootability

CMMG Dissent with stock locked out

The Dissent was very easy to handle of course, due to its diminutive size. The controls are all smooth and comfortable as you’d expect from a quality AR rifle. I was really surprised by how nice the trigger is, Trigger Tech’s are alway nice in my opinion, but such a nice trigger in a pistol/SBR is a breath of fresh air.

CMMG Dissent with stock folded inboard

The charging handle is in the front of the rifle, on the left side of the handguard. It’s easy to grab and very functionally pleasing, the claw that keeps it from reciprocating is easily depressed when charging the rifle, and keeps it out of the way while you’re shooting.

The gun is incredibly short, CMMG has one of their fairly standard hooks at the bottom front of the handguard, but it is barely enough to keep your fingers a safe distance from the muzzle. I easily corrected this issue by installing a suppressor.

Reliability

As expected, the Dissent went flawlessly until I ran out of ammo; no malfunctions of any kind were experienced during my testing. I shot both PMAGs and GI metal magazines without issue, and adding a suppressor caused the Dissent no problems.

Preparing to take the Dissent from CMMG out to the range.

Ergonomics

The CMMG “Zeroed” brand furniture was a perfect match for the gun. The only time I found the gun less than comfortable was when I tried shooting it without the stock. I felt much like a chimp with a tennis racquet until I got the stock properly installed.

The charging handle can be reversed to the right side of the gun if you so choose, but that does require purchasing a right-side charging handle. I would have preferred they design it to be reversible.

Accuracy

Short-barreled rifles and pistols of this type are not particularly designed for accuracy. The short barrel, while stiff, does rob the 5.56 cartridge of a good deal of its velocity. Firearms configured like this are better suited for close-quarters situations. For that, I found the accuracy to be perfectly acceptable.

The one-in-seven twist barrel had no issue stabilizing bullets even at these lower speeds, and accuracy at twenty-five yards using my red dot sight was everything I would expect for a gun of this type. Shots were grouping around 1.5 inches at this distance.

Value

The Dissent’s MSRP isn’t insignificant. However, when compared to other similar rifles offered in the industry, the Dissent does compare pretty well. There are plenty of competitor rifles with a similar price point, and they come with buffer tubes and mil-spec triggers.

While the Dissent isn’t what I’d call cheap, I think it certainly warrants their asking price. Assuming the weapon fits your needs (or wants), the quality and features that accompany it make it worth the expense.

Cold Bore Miracle shooting the CMMG Dissent

CMMG Dissent Pros and Cons

  • Bufferless- Very compact and easy to fire
  • High Quality- Lifetime guarantee, Cerakote, excellent fit & finish
  • Trigger Tech – Trigger Tech’s AR-D is the bee’s knees
  • Great suppressor host- Radial delayed blowback makes a fine host
  • Not Cheap- But I guess that’s a good thing
  • You’ll wanna SBR it- You’re gonna end up paying the ATF
  • Stubby- Very short; watch your fingers!

Report Card

Shootability

With a stock properly installed it is fantastic.

A
Reliability

No malfunctions were experienced during testing.

A
Ergonomics

Great fit, could use a bigger hook at the front of the handguard.

B+
Accuracy

For what it is, accuracy was fine (it’s not a sniper pistol).

B-
Value

Not inexpensive, but certainly worth it for those who want this kind of gun.

B+
CMMG Dissent review: final grade, A-

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by coldboremiracle

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CMMG Dissent Mk4 Ammo 

Most of what I shot in the Dissent was PMC XTac, I did shoot some Hornady Frontier 55 grain HP ammunition that also worked great.

Black Hills 5.56 NATO TSX Ammo

Marketplace
Cost Per Round
Brownells $1.96

NORMA 62 GR FMJ 5.56X45

Marketplace
Cost Per Round
Palmetto State Armory $0.60

I would have liked to try some 75- or 77-grain ammunition just to see how the seven-twist would stabilize it from such a short barrel but that will have to wait for another time.

CMMG Dissent Review
The cold weather and precipitation had no perceptible impact on the CMMG Dissent – more so on my fingers and toes.

Targets? Targets!

If you’re going to shoot, you’ll need some targets. We have ’em for you. You’re welcome.

Dissent Accessories 

A buttstock- For me, this was a must-have. I prefer the JMAC version sold by CMMG. Another good option if you don’t want to kneel before the crown is the JMac Arm Brace.

A good red dot or prismatic sight is always a Good Thing- I used the Trijicon MRO but any quality red dot sight would be a good fit for this firearm.

Suppressor- I used several suppressors, and all worked well. Others, like the Surefire Socom 556, would also suit the Dissent.

Vertical Grip- This could easily remedy the issues caused by the (very) short barrel. It would give you a better purchase and stopping point for your hand. This one from BCM won’t significantly increase the size of the Dissent and will function admirably in this capacity.

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More About Your Dissent

For more info regarding the Dissent, and some ways to train, check out the following resources:

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About coldboremiracle

coldboremiracle is a self-taught "Freelance Sharpshooter" based in the Rocky Mountains. A true gun nut at heart, but has a passion for precision shooting particularly as it applies to hunting. When not at home or work, he is more than likely behind a riflescope in the high country evaluating the wind for the next shot.

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