The control of the atmosphere for AM and especially for Laser Sintering (LS) is critical to ensure the process robustness and required material properties. Flow of the protective inert gas in the LS machine during component build should ensure the cleanliness of the laser scanning system, the laser path and the melt pool, i.e. removing projections. At the same time, atmosphere has to prevent possible oxidation and stabilize the melt pool. This study presents the effect of the argon and nitrogen atmospheres on the microstructure and properties of the 316L stainless steel components produced by LS. Effect of the build direction on the tensile test properties and microstructure of the components in different atmospheres is discussed. Microstructure, fractography, bulk chemical analysis and mechanical properties of the processed components are assessed.