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When we were at the Primary Arms range day before NRA in Indy earlier this year, Jeremy got a chance to shoot Anderson Manufacturing’s new AM-15 Dissipator rifle. It’s an updated 5.56 take on the classic Vietnam era M16 with a 16-inch barrel and a Magpul flip-up rear iron sight among other updates. Here’s Anderson’s press release . . .

Anderson Manufacturing has launched their AM-15 Dissipator, a modernized take on an iconic, Vietnam-era rifle. This rifle, upon initial launch, will be available exclusively through Classic Firearms.

The Dissipator origins stem from the 1960’s into the Vietnam War and was introduced to facilitate the need for a lighter, more compact weapon system without pivoting from the already fielded M16 Service Rifle. The fix was simplistic in nature- chop 4’’ off the barrel to bring it down to a 16’’, this gave troops the clearance they needed to go door to door and fight CQB (close quarter battles) without sacrificing the sight radius, felt recoil and reliability of a rifle gas system.

Anderson’s AM-15 Dissipator is equipped with a 16’’ government profile, front sight based (FSB) Anderson Barrel, chambered in 5.56, with a 1:8 twist rate and capped off by an A2 Flash Hider. The FSB is pinned, the sight is adjustable and serves as the gas block for the rifle-length gas system. Butted up against the FSB is a triangle end-cap that secures the 12’’ polymer, A2 Style Handguard with internal heat shield, all secured by an A2 Barrel Nut.

The barrel nut is secured to an AM-15 Upper Receiver which is matched up with an AM-15 Multi-Cal Lower Receiver, both forged from 7075 T6 Aluminum. There is a Magpul MBUS Rear Flip-Up Sight attached to the flat-top, 1913 picatinny rail atop the upper receiver. The upper is host to an Anderson M16 Profile Bolt Carrier Group (Carrier: 8620 Steel, Bolt: 9310 Steel) and Anderson’s Standard Charging Handle. The fire control group is an Anderson Premium Lower Parts Kit and the stock is an A2 Rifle Buttstock with the A2 Rifle Buffer, spring and tube.

The A2 Rifle Buttstock gives you a rear sling connect while the FSB features a front sling attach point. This rifle ships with a 30 round ASC Magazine, Anderson Owner’s Manual, Anderson Chamber Flag, Rifle Cable Lock and an Anderson decal. Anderson Manufacturing has the MSRP listed at $599.99, check out for their exclusive pricing.

“The A4 Dissipator gives a classic rifle a slight refresh, maintaining a true to original rifle gas system while adding a flat top receiver to mount modern optics. The rifle gas system on a 16″ barrel offers an extremely smooth recoil impulse and long sight radius, while maintaining a short overall length. This rifle answers the question: ‘What would have happened if the original chopped m16 made it all the way to the A4 generation?’” -Truman Brough, Anderson Manufacturing’s Product Engineer.


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  1. FYI, this is not based on a “classic Vietnam era M16” rifle from the 1960s and early 1970s.
    Instead, with its M16A2 buttstock, M16A2 handguard, and M16A2 barrel profile, this is based on the M16A2 from the mid-1980s to 1990s.

    FYI, the rifles used in Vietnam were M16A1, M16E1, and straight M16.
    There were no M16A2 rifles until the mid-1980s.
    When I served in the US Army, I qualified as Expert in 1983 on the M16A1, not the A2.

    • S­t­a­r­t w­o­r­k­i­n­g f­r­o­m h­o­m­e! G­r­e­a­t w­o­r­k f­o­r-E­v­er, ­S­t­a­y a­t H­o­m­e M­o­m­s O­R a­n­y­o­n­e n­e­e­d­s­ a­n e­x­t­r­a i­n­c­o­m­e. G­e­t s­t­a­r­t­e­d. Y­o­u o­n­l­y n­e­e­d­ a bgh computer a­n­d a reliable c­o­m­p­u­t­e­r c­o­n­n­e­c­t­i­o­n­ s­o d­o­n’t g­e­t l­a­t­e t­r­y…….

      • never had a moments problem with my Anderson stuff. Mostly uppers and lowers for builds, but do have a couple of their complete rifles and 1 and 2 MOA from them are completely suitable.

        • Lol. The bad thing is that “with good handloads” some shit from the 1870s will hold MOA….

          That’s not a qualifier anymore. Barrel tech and ammunition manufacturing has gotten so good that even garbage rods will group well. When it comes to Anderson you get what you pay for their build quality.

        • well, Anderson makes lowers under contract for other companies that people rave about are the best and will buy them for up to $400.00 and swear by them. The only difference is the other companies branding is on them and they put an ambi-safety on it but its a standard Anderson lower. So build quality is ok there but not if and Anderson branding is on it?

      • The last AR I shot was in 1998. I’ve never had much interest in them, I wouldn’t know one from the other.
        Good lord them Mini14’s are way overpriced. I guess Ruger doesn’t want to sale many. $500 and they couldn’t make them fast enough.

  2. It is a nice bread and butter rifle for a decent price, probably couldn’t piece it together for much less. Because of cost concerns at the time I used their stripped lower receivers and AP M4EI stripped uppers with no complaints.

  3. A new rendition of an old Bushmaster…

    “There’s some controversy about who invented what, but they can first be seen in Vietnam-era photos. Where does the name come from? The closest clue we have comes from Bushmaster. Colt called it the Model 605, but Bushmaster called it the Dissipator. Why? Well, their variants utilized heavy profile barrels and heat-reinforced handguards—this dissipated heat. Thus, the name dissipator was born!”

  4. They missed an opportunity by not having a detachable carry handle on it. It looks like an interesting rifle. I’ve had good luck with Poverty Pony for beater guns, hopefully this works well.

  5. I remember those AR pattern rifles from back in the day. I guess they made as much sense as any other.

  6. The only thing I ever cared for when it comes to the A2 is the stock itself. But even that only in certain configurations. Birdcage flash hiders are cool too though. The grip and foregrip are things I could live without. To be honest, If I never own an M16 I wont lose any sleep. The A frame type front sight seems a bit much for today’s standards and I’m not sure I’d want a sight attached to the barrel anyway. But that’s just me.

    Building an AR15 is the better way to go unless your looking for nostalgia.

  7. Why do gun manufacturers bullshit so much with their marketing. This is nothing like the 16’s we carried in Nam. There’s no tapered forearm, no carry handle, flash hider is wrong, and it’s an H-Bar. We had lighter pencil barrels and they were 20 inches as I seem to remember. And they can’t claim to have a platform originating in Nam as if they’re the only producers of such rifles because technically ALL modernized ARs originated from the ones we carried in Nam.
    As for the price point, for six hundred bucks you could piece together a slightly better 16 inch carbine with at least a lighter stock and more useful handguard rails. Competition must be getting heavy out there these days.

  8. Since nobody is addressing the pachyderm in the living quarters, I’ll take a swing.

    There’s a good reason for faux dissipators to exist, and it’s because a true dissipator is plagued by dwell time issues. Will this thing run? Did they open up the gas port or something?

  9. Some people did not read the article very well and understand what they are saying.

    No where does Anderson claim this is exactly or just “like the 16’s” of ‘nam.

    They say this:

    “a modernized take on an iconic, Vietnam-era rifle.” – a take on that, in other words based loosely in their interpretation of a modernized version.

    Then they say this:

    “The A4 Dissipator gives a classic rifle a slight refresh”

    Then the rest….but in all of it, they are saying this is Anderson’s version of what THEY envisioned it might have developed into had it developed into THEIR modernized version A4 vision.

  10. 1. The “rifle length gas system” is never correct on a 16″ barrel AR (although they are a very common mistake.)

    2. There were no 16″ barrels in Vietnam. The only shortened barrels were on the ‘carbines’ Colt made for the special operations guys – which were quite a bit shorter than 16″

    3. There was absolutely no need for anything that “gave troops the clearance they needed to go door to door and fight CQB (close quarter battles)” because there was virtually no such fighting in Vietnam (at least not during the US presence in country).

    The Anderson “dissipator” may be a fine rifle, but it has no roots to Vietnam with its 16″ barrel (which the military never used) and its round handguards. The round hardguards started with the M16A2 that wasn’t adopted until 1983.

  11. Round handguards on Colts are show in pictures in the 1960s – look it up. The Army contract for the triangular delayed them until they were considered superior for the A2. Point being, they weren’t “handed: and could be assembled either way. Can’t do that with triangles, it’s a L and a R and two different molds along with the additional costs.

    Anderson calling it an A4 is an effort to put it in the right spot in the calendar timeline. I’m building an A3 dissipator, with midlength gas on 16” barrel. An A3 used a flat top with a pic rail front gas block – which in my situation simply holds the front handguard cap on. While quite a few factory dissapators ran rifle gas, the port needs to be opened up for reliable function. It’s cheaper to source midlength barrels, get reliable operation, and finesse a FSB for the look. You still get the long iron sight radius.

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