Selective laser melting is an additive manufacturing method based on local melting of a metal powder bed by a high power laser beam. Fast laser scans are responsible for severe thermal gradients and high cooling rates which produce complex hydrodynamic fluid flow. These phenomena affect crystal growth and orientation and are believed to be the cause of material spattering and microstructural defects, e.g. pores and incompletely melted particles. In this work, the microstructure and texture of 316L bars built along two different orientations and the effect of different distribution of defects on their mechanical response and failure mechanisms were investigated. Partially molten powder particles are believed to be responsible for the scattering in elongation to failure, reduced strength, and premature failure of vertical samples.