The concept of the AR-15 Dissipator rifle dates back to the Vietnam War and lives on today from a few manufacturers, including Palmetto State Armory. The PSA Dissipator rifle has been one of those rifles I’ve wanted to try for a while since its features are ideal for a general-purpose rifle, as well as for teaching the kids on iron sights, all while remaining affordable. Let’s take a look.
Palmetto State Armory @ TFB:
PSA DISSIPATOR RIFLE SPECS
For those new to the term, it’s actually a term that’s been coined well after the Dissipator’s inception. Dissipator rifles were initially M16 rifles that had their barrels cut from 20 to 16 inches, while retaining their rifle length gas tube and full-length sight radius. Since then, there have been various Dissipator builds that utilize shorter gas tubes for added reliability, while still using a standard front sight post at rifle length. Using a shorter gas system also allows for a shorter buffer tube system, which allows for an even shorter overall length for the rifle, and adds to its utility. PSA’s Dissipator rifle is one such build that uses a mid-length gas system, which also allows for a shorter buffer tube with an adjustable buttstock. This particular build includes Magpul’s MOE furniture, which I’ve found quite comfortable, both aesthetically and practically.
PSA dissipator UPPER
- SKU: 5165449716
- Brand: Palmetto State Armory
- Model Number: 5165449716
- UPC: 5165449716
- Gas System: Mid-length
- Barrel Length: 16″
- Barrel Diameter: .750″ at Gas Block
- Barrel Steel: 4150V Chrome Moly Steel Barrel; Nitride
- Chamber: 5.56mm NATO
- Twist: 1 in 7″
- Barrel Extension: M4 Feed ramps
- Muzzle Device: A2 Flash Hider
- Upper: 7075 Forged Upper Receiver
- Furniture: Magpul M-Lok Rifle Length Handguards, Black
PSA AR15 COMPLETE MOE EPT STEALTH LOWER
- SKU: 51655106834
- Brand: Palmetto State Armory
- Model Number: 7780991
- UPC: 51655106834
- Lower: Machined from Aluminum Forgings 7075-T6
- Finish: Hardcoat Anodizing: MIL-A-8625F, Type III, Class 2
- Buffer Tube: Milspec diameter Receiver Extension
- Stock: Magpul MOE, Black
- Grip: Magpul MOE, Black
- Buffer: Standard Carbine Buffer
- Trigger: Enhanced Polished Trigger (EPT)
- Un-notched Hammer compatible with 9mm use
- Caliber: Multi
PSA dissipator rifle – INITIAL IMPRESSIONS – FIT & FINISH
As with any new AR-15, I checked out the construction fore to aft. The A2 flash hider was properly timed and the “F” marked front sight base was at a proper 90-degree angle. The mid-length gas tube and the Magpul rifle-length handguard were nicely squared up to the upper receiver. The upper and lower receivers were mated to each other perfectly with no wobble, and the takedown pins were easily manipulated by hand. The gas key was neatly staked to apply friction to the screw heads should they think about working loose. The lower receiver’s endplate was properly staked into the top recess of the castle nut. Overall, I was impressed by the quality of PSA’s build, and it matched up with what I learned in AR15 Armorer’s School.
The PSA Dissipator rifle didn’t come with a rear sight, so I added a Midwest Industries MI-CBUIS Combat Rifle Rear Fixed Sight to stick with irons for the most part, though any optic would be fine on the upper receiver’s rail. Next, I wanted to add my Blue Force Gear Vicker’s sling, so I swapped my normal QD attachment up front for an HK-style hook to grab onto the standard sling attachment on the front sight base. I could have affixed a QD receptacle on the M-LOK slots on the Magpul M.O.E. handguard, but I wanted that free for a light. I then looped a bit of paracord onto one of the sling holes on the Magpul adjustable buttstock, then used another HK hook on the paracord. As I mentioned, the Dissipator was coming together as a general-purpose rifle, so I used a spare Pelican M6 LED flashlight in a clamped scope ring, fitted to a section of M-LOK rail mounted to the handguard.
The PSA Dissipator was a joy to handle, the Magpul furniture handguard felt perfectly sized to my hand and was easy to grip. The added length of the rifle-sized handguard was a lovely departure from the typical carbine-length handguards on a 16-inch barrel so my support hand didn’t feel cramped and I could stretch out further. The rifle-length handguard also helped extend the weapon light out so that fewer lumens were spent lighting up the barrel and lit up my targets instead, only the very edge of the beam at the 3 o’clock position was obscured by the flash hider. PSA left the bayonet lug on the front sight base, which, in this configuration is incapable of mounting a bayonet, but would still allow for another light mounting spot if using an adapter.
The PSA Dissipator upper came pretty dry, but once I got the bolt carrier rails and the inside of the upper lubed up it smoothed right up when running the bolt by hand. I ran plenty of different loads through the Dissipator and didn’t have any hangups or stoppages; 55-75 grain projectiles, brass and steel cartridges, it ate it all. I found the PSA Dissipator to be completely reliable.
The “Enhanced Polished Trigger” (EPT) from PSA was smooth and consistent. According to my luggage scale repurposed as a trigger scale, the EPT trigger was breaking at 7 pounds. Even though it was comparable to my standard mil-spec trigger, I’ve had a lot of rounds on my own rifle and has smoothed out over time, so the EPT trigger comes smoothed out for you. The EPT fire control group is currently available with complete firearms, complete lowers, and in lower parts kits from Palmetto State Armory.
As far as accuracy was concerned, I was getting about two to three MOA at 100 yards regardless of grain weight from the bench. I was hoping for a little tighter groups in general, but I came close to stacking two of my three rounds on my MK Machining AR-500 Covid-19 target from 100 yards from standing.
My son and I had a blast with the Dissipator Rifle from Palmetto State Armory. As well as being built upon a historically based AR concept, it’s also a great Keep-It-Simple rifle that still allows the user to customize it to his or her needs. Even though my groups with the Dissipator were larger than I’d hoped, the rifle was solid, reliable, and still made groups that would drop bad guys well beyond what we should reasonably take in almost any defensive situation. I kept the Dissipator optic-free during the review so that my son could work on the fundamentals with iron sights. The PSA Dissipator was light and handy, and I’ll recommend it to anyone that wants a basic, wieldy rifle with good ergonomics.
PSA’s Dissipator is available as a complete rifle, or can be bought as a complete upper receiver to mate to whichever lower receiver you want, or already have. The PSA Dissipator upper is listed for $169.99 (without a bolt carrier group). For those that prefer the more traditional A2 furniture, PSA lists full rifles and uppers in that configuration as well. The PSA EPT Complete Lower with Magpul MOE furniture I tested is listed at $209.99.
What do you think about Palmetto State Armory’s Dissipator rifle? What do you think about the Dissipator concept, historically or modern versions like this one?
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