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DSS-1 once again another 1st Place finish

by Shawn Claussen on 03/23/13


 I competed at the West Liberty March Steel Match. I shot my duty rifle with a .22lr conversion kit installed and took 1st Place in my division and 2nd Overall.  How would you as a competitor, interpret these results? How do you analyze your performance and put it into perspective in regards to what it means for you?

I'll offer an analysis based solely on my performance so hopefully you can see the value of competition and what it offers you, the shooter.

I shot my duty rifle. As soon as I got home I cleaned it, replaced the bolt carrier group and put it back into service that night when I went to work. Shooting duty gear in competition shows you what works and what doesn't when running it on someone else's clock and at speed with the stress of everyone watching. In the middle of a deadly force engagement is not the time to find out that your super wazoo, zombie death killer laser sight system failed to live up to the demands of the real real world. I experienced several malfunctions with the .22lr conversion kit. This forced me to complete my malfunction clearance drills at speed and against the clock. I figured that the malfunctions added about 19 to 20 seconds to my overall time and the margin between 1st and 2nd Overall was 15 seconds. Even though my malfunctioning equipment cost me the Overall title, I never gave up and  continued fighting through the mechanical problems and won two of the stages outright.

The temp was about 20 degrees with a stiff wind blowing making the felt temp a little colder. Anybody can be a fair weather shooter. To come out and step-up your game when the conditions suck says alot about an individual's mindset.

Everyone has an excuse as to why they can't make it to a match. You know what they say about excuses. I strongly recommend that if you take your training seriously, then make it to a match and see what actually sticks to the wall when thrown against it.

Anything other than that is just "shooting guns." Any fool can do that.

Welcome to 2013

by Shawn Claussen on 02/09/13

Greetings!! I hope everyone had a great holiday season. Now it is time to get back to the task at hand: training.

I am sure that you are aware that due to recent events, it is next to impossible to find firearms, magazines, accesories and most importantly ammo. I have not seen .22lr for sale since December.

Because of this, DSS has instituted some changes for 2013.

All DSS Skills courses are now 4 hours and require only 200 rds of ammo, minimum. We have also started offering these courses on the weekends. Apparently the rest of the world does not suffer the fate of mid-week days off! We have not watered down the courses in any way. We have streamlined the curriculum to make it more efficient and removed some of the repetition. You are still getting full value out of any DSS Skills Class just with a round count and time allotment that is a lot easier for everyone to swallow, all at a great price. All DSS Skills courses are now $ 75. That is quite the bargain considering what you are taught.

We have not changed the format of the DSS Intro Pistol course. There is too much liability involved to reduce the content of this class. If you want to understand the legal and civil ramifications of your use of deadly force, than the DSS Intro Pistol Course is what you will need. Coupled with practical range application you can be rest assured that you will be prepared, at a basic level, to face a deadly force threat with an expectation of having the necessary skills to win not only the engagement itself, but the inevitable legal aftermath that will follow. No one else has the training and experience to offer what DSS offers. No one. Are you willing to entrust your life or the life of your loved ones to someone who only offers the cheapest training and cuts corners to do it? I know my life is worth much more.

The above photo shows some very chilly members of the DSS shooting team as they gathered to shoot an USPSA Match in West Liberty, IA. The air temp was 17 degrees with a slight breeze that made it much colder. Have you been training in the cold with gloves and a heavy coat on? If not, why not because I am sure you have been carrying in that fashion. If you do not train in your everyday carry gear, no matter the season, you are woefully unprepared to step up and perform to the best of your ability when the fight comes to your doorstep. My experience has shown this to be true. What are you waiting for? Get out, train in the cold, shoot a match in the cold, just get out and train!

Contact us to see how we can make you better for 2013.

Hope to see you at a DSS Course.

The "Threat Scan" relevant in 1993 as it is today...

by Shawn Claussen on 09/05/12








Yes that individual in the video with his sleeves rolled up with the " high reg " haircut and rockin skinny jeans is yours truely. The video was shot during a monthly firearms training session while I was a member of MSGDET Bangui - Central African Republic circa 1993. As you can see I perform a textbook "Threat Scan" after the firing sequence. This just proves that what is taught in a DSS Course wasn't just thought up yesterday. There is a very good reason for everything that you are shown to do in every DSS Course.

There are a lot of instructors out there who lack the experience to teach the justified use of deadly force so they default to reguritating what they saw in a video or what they may have been taught in a training class or worse, what they heard saw or read on the "errornet." 

Be diligent in researching any instructor that you choose to train with. Ask about their training and experience and ask relevent questions in regards to the curriculum that they teach. By following these simple guidelines, you should be able to seperate the wheat from the chaff rather quickly.

Oh and if they are still trying to fit into their skinny jeans from 20 years prior, that may be a clue to look elsewhere.

June 2012 Super Wazzoo Galactic Champion

by Shawn Claussen on 06/17/12


The goateeded individual shown above was the first place winner in the DSS Alumni Structure Clearing class held at Range 153 ( 61 Drive-In ) in Maquoketa, IA on 06/07/2012. DSS 1.5 took care of the trophy presentation. Matt Fischer was not only bestowed with the beautiful trophy seen above and all of the accolades that go along with it, but walked away with the grand prize of a whopping $25. It was a hot and heavy battle and 1st and 2nd place were seperated by a single point. Scott Preston took 2nd place honors and Scott Henson finished 3rd. Congrats dudes!!

The topic for the DSS Alumni Class was structure clearing. This was not some super ninjafied Seal Team Six room clearing class. Clearing structures is one of the most dangerous things that an individual gun owner can do. The specific techniques required of individual structure clears are much different than team room clearing tactics. They include identifying basic structure layout and potential choke points, manipulating angles, addressing all danger areas within a space and utilizing proper positioning to exploit cover to your advantage without over-exposing yourself to unknown threat areas. Add weapon manipulation skills, threat/non-threat identification and dynamic movement and you start to get the picture of the dangers involved.

This is where the real world experience, or not, of your instructor plays a crucial role in the relavent content that is delivered during the class. This is a two part equation. The other part is for the instructor to identify the specific needs vs. wants of the students and possessing the ability to impart this real world experience to them. Good instructors cannot only "do" but must also "teach." Now you have to ask yourself, do you really want to go to "that guy" whose only credentials are a 3 Day "Instuctor" course and their only practical experience revolves around playing COD for hours on end ? I believe student's lives are worth much more than that.

This is what seperates Dynamic Shooting Systems from everyone else. Give us a call to see how you can get signed-up for the most relevant and practical training available anywhere.

Forever a Student....

by Shawn Claussen on 05/20/12

On May 18 - 19, 2012 I was extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to train with Pat McNamara in Marysville, IL just outside of St.Louis. Pat was the former Marksmanship NCO for the Special Forces Operational Detachment - Delta. To say that Pat has practical real world experience in the tactical employment of firearms under extreme and demanding conditions, would be a gross understatement. Pat's teaching style is different than most instructors. He is not a nuts and bolts type of instructor. You should already know how to safely run your pistol or carbine before showing up at one of his courses. He teaches the "gray" area portion of combat pistolcraft, the portion either instructors do not have the experience to teach or because it is not as satisfying as "getting your blaze" on. Recent attendees at the last DSS Alumni course found out what this concept was all about. This is where you truly find out about where your skills are at and how they function under a little bit of stress due to the fact that there are no clearly defined parameters. Some people are turned off by that because they need to be told what to do. These types of people have no business carrying a firearm, be it professionally or non-professionally. This is why you come to a course like this. At least that's why I continue to seek out training from qualified individuals.

The photo above is from one of two shoot-offs during the class that I was lucky enough to win. Pat presents the winner a "Certificate of Victory" and all the fanfare that goes along with it. I'm pretty proud of that piece of paper as it was pretty difficult to put the stress of shooting in front of your peers on a course where there was no defined direction but having to accomplish correctly several established tasks. More than half of the class failed to do this and received the thumbs down "NO-GO" from Pat. Fellow DSS student, Matt Fisher finished 2nd in this shoot-off making it a 1-2 finish for DSS.

Grey Group Training was the host for Pat. They provided all of the logistical arrangements for Pat to come in and just teach. GGT offers several instructors teaching a wide variety of subjects. They also have quite a few products that no one else offers. 

This is the second time that I have trained with Pat and I learned just as much the 2nd time as I did the first time. If you have the opportunity you should definately check him out.


The Big "VZ" Rules All!!!

by Shawn Claussen on 05/09/12

On Tuesday Night May 8th, DSS conducted it's monthly Alumni Class for those that have taken a DSS Course. The topic for the evening was threat/non threat identification. This is a very important component in justifying your use of deadly force and having a process in place assists you in preventing unavoidable deaths and tragedy. The round count was low but learning value was high. This is one of those esoteric topics that most instructors don't cover due to the fact that they lack the practical real world experience to know what works and what doesn't. It is a lot easier to teach the basics of trigger manipulation on the range with lots of reps then to delve deep into those concepts that require students to think in reduced time constraints and provide feedback that actually helps them problem solve while working under sympathetic nervous system activation. It looks like every student took away quite a bit of information and their feedback to me was very positive. 

In the competition at the end of the class was a scenario that required the students to enter a confined space and use the techniques they were shown in the class to successfully determine which of the 7 targets were threat targets and engage them with vital zone hits to stop them.

The Super Wazoo Galactic Champion for May was Dennis "The Big VZ" VanZandt. I have known Dennis for about 6 years and he is a giant of a man with an even bigger heart. He is extremely soft spoken who takes his training very seriously. He is a very generous and benevolent man and along with his wife Sandy, have volunteered thousands of hours of their time in assisting the police department without taking one red cent in return. Dennis has helped me out with personal projects and is always one of those guys that will always lend a helping hand. I consider it an honor an privelege to know this man and am deeply touched that he looks to DSS for his firearms training. Congrats Dennis!

Now which one of you are going to come to the next DSS Alumni Class and knock Dennis off of his perch????  Contact me to get signed up. 

The AK Part 2

by Shawn Claussen on 04/25/12


I purchased this AKM at a pawn shop in Marshalltown, IA in 2005 for $300. It is a Romanian WASR-10 in 7.62x39mm. The WASR-10 is the red-headed stepchild of the AK world. Typically they are very crudely finished with lots of sharp edges and the front sight, rear sight and gas block are usually misaligned. On mine the gas block was misaligned. This rifle has a 16" barrel and the chamber and bore are chrome lined which is a good thing due to the corrosiveness of some surplus ammo. The magwell was a little tight which made it difficult to reload. I had to use a dremmel and opened up the dimensions so factory mags could engage the front mag lug. Worked like a charm and I have never had an issue since.  The rifle is beyond reliable and has fired everything that I have fed it to date and has never malfunctioned.

I made some modifications ( I know big shocker ) to the rifle. Initially it had a plain muzzle. Tony Barnes ( phenomenal gunsmith! ) of Brownell's threaded and put on a muzzle break. I replaced the gas block with an integrated gas block/front sight from Venom Tactical. I wanted to lighten the front end for quicker transitions from target to target so eliminating the seperate front sight helped to do that. I added a rubber butt plate from a Remington 870 shotgun. I wanted to lengthen the pull of the stock as I was right up on top of the receiver cover when I fired and it was hitting my glasses. I added the best combat sling ever, the Vickers Combat Aplications 2 point adjustable Sling from Blue Force Gear.

Now probably the most controversial addition, the red dot optical sight. I initially purchased a Beryl Rail to mount a Primary Arms micro dot clone but it was permanently affixed to the rifle and had to be removed to take off the receicer cover. I didn't like that so I looked to the MI micro mount. I was skeptical at first but since I have mounted it, it has passed the first test of holding zero. It replaces the rear sight and it allows for removal of the receiver cover. Even though it seems to be working alright, I feel that the better option is the Texas Weapon Systems railed receiver cover. If I totally buy into the concept then I would go the TWS route with an Aimpoint Micro mounted on the rifle.

I need to get an Ultimak rail on the forend and a Component Weapon Systems light mount for a Surefire G2 and I will be set.

This AKM is a great rifle, is in 30 caliber and with the enhancements makes it very easy to shoot. It is something that I plan on passing down to DSS 1.5 when the time comes. 

The AK Part 1

by Shawn Claussen on 04/21/12

The AK47 is the most widely produced assault rifle in the world with an estimated 60 - 100 million units. The designer, Mikhail Klashnikov, took several features from the German Sturmgewehr 44 and American M1 Garand and incorporated them into his unique design what we now know as, the AK47. The AK47 was initialy produced with a stamped metal receiver. After problems welding the bolt rails to the receiver the design was changed to a milled receiver then mass produced starting in 1949. Klashnikov figured out that using rivets was the key to success in making his original stamped metal receiver work, so a 3rd redesign utilizing the stamped receiver was mass produced, replacing the costly milled receiver versions and dubbed the AKM47 and is the most popular variant seen today. There was also a folding stock version produced dubbed the AKS47. Many countries produce the AK47 to this day.

 The AK47 fires a 30 caliber cartridge in 7.62x39mm. The military version was produced in a 123gr projectile that contained a steel penetrator in the core. The case was made of steel and was covered in laquer for long term storage. The case mouth and primer hole were also coated in a laquer to keep out moisture.

In 1974 the AK underwent a caliber change to a 22 caliber cartridge in 5.45x39mm. Dubbed the "poisin bullet" due to the fragmenting characteristics of the light and fast bullet, it was pressed into service as the primary cartridge for the Russian military.

The AK47 and AK74 are the most common variants in the civillian market that we see.

The photo above is from 1994 when I was serving in the Central Africa Republic. I was accompanying the Director of the Peace Corps, Kathy Sabadosa, in a trip "up-country" to inspect several of the Peace Corps projects. At that time, there were several government officials who were also "up-country" preparing for the upcoming, UN-sanctioned, democratic elections. That also meant there were many soldiers "up-country' as well. We came across this soldier who was looking for a ride back to Bangui, the capital city. The CAR Army was underfunded and soldiers were left to their own devices to provide for their own transportation. If you look closely you can see the Russian RGD-5 hand grenade taped to the magazine of his AKM47. Also note the LARGE beer and MRE in his left hand. Nuthin like cruising through the country side with a soldier who is armed with an AKM and RGD-5, chugging on "33" beer and munching on an MRE. Good times! We worked closely with the CAR Presidential Guard unit, the "Panthers" so we had a unique oportunity to become initmately familiar with the AK47.

In Part 2 I will discuss and show my personal AKM47 and why I have made the changes to weapon that I have.

Get signed-up for the DSS AK specific class on Saturday July 14th. If you own an AK and want to get the most out of that specific weapon system then you don't want to miss that class. Contact us to get signed-up today! 


Super Wazzoo Galactic Champion!!!!

by Shawn Claussen on 04/11/12

We held the first DSS Alumni Class on Tuesday Night April 10th, for 2012 directly following the first Intro Pistol Class of the year. The Intro Pistol Class ran very smoothly and kudos to the Hammels and Mike Garner for putting up with the blustery, cold weather. You guys ( and gal! ) performed very well.

The focus for the DSS Alumni Class was Long range Marksmanship. Long Range Marksmanship exposes weaknesses in your technique that shooting up close won't show you. On the practical side of things what would happen if you were forced to take a shot at distances out to 50 yards? Would you really want the first time you do it to be under the perforformance debilitating Sympathetic Nervous System Activation? Everyone in the class were able to get hits on a  9x15 piece of steel, standing offhand from 50 yards.

Congratulations to Scott Preston who took 1st place and the title of "Super Wazzoo Galactic Champion" ( He suggested the Thelma and Louise style pic!), Jerry VanLoon who took 2nd place and Dennis "VZ" VanZandt took 3rd place.

Got Competition?

by Shawn Claussen on 04/01/12

I had the privelege and honor of shooting a USPSA match with the gentlemen in the photo above. Sean "S2" Goodman, Matt "Alpha" Fisher, and Scott "Bling" Preston stepped into the box and burned it down! Of course they did, they are all DSS Alumni. If you have not shot competition yet, then what are you waiting for??? Competition is one of the few ways to validate your current skill level in weapon manipulation techniques. If you are content with doing quick draws in your skivies in your bathroom mirror in the comfy confines of your home and think you are prepared to defend yourself should the need for the justified use of deadly force arise, it must be nice to live in your world. If you want to throw caution into the wind, have your precious ego get trampled on with the goal becoming a better shooter, then find the nearest match and get to it. If you are looking to learn the skills to dominate those competitions, then you know where to find us.

UPDATE:  In keeping with the Charlie Sheen personal development program it turns out that I took 1st Place in the Production Division for the match. That's 3 local Level 1 matches with 3 1st Place finishes since September, 2011. There are those that like to chip their teeth about how good they are and very few who are capable of              " Performance on Demand." Can your instructor walk their talk?

I challenge you to get out to a match in the next two months. Do you accept the challenge?

Quad City Design Glock Baseplates

by Shawn Claussen on 03/24/12


Scott Preston of Quad City Design has created a product that all Glock owners will want to have. It is simple and ingenious at the same time. They are decals that go on the bottom of the baseplates of your Glock baseplates. They help identify your mags during a class where multiple shooters might be using the same pistol. They also help identify your mags at a competition. I use them to help identify at a glance what mags are my training mags, duty or carry mags, dry fire mags, sims mags and competition mags. It saves my old tired eyes from having to look for the microscopic engraving on each mag to determine which is which. They are well constructed and will not peel if properly applied. They are relatively inexpensive in that they come in packs of 6 for $5.00 or $8.00 if you want them customized.

You can get them here:

Tell him DSS-1 sent you!!!! 

A Great Day...

by Shawn Claussen on 03/20/12


On 03/18/2012 I had the opportunity to shoot a 9 Stage Steel Match at the West Liberty, IA Gun Club. The West Liberty Gun Club is one of the best shooting clubs that I have ever been to. The facilities are decent and very useable and it is on a very beautiful piece of Iowa farmland. They are family oriented. Every single person that I talked with were polite and courteous and very friendly. Seems like you meet the best people at shooting competitions. If you have the opportunity to shoot a match at the West Liberty Gun Club or just to shoot at their facility you should do it. It is a great place with great people and it is only 35 minutes ( I may have exceeded the speed limit a little bit getting there, please don't tell anyone! ) from the Quad Cities.  I have listed the website below and have posted a couple vids on the DSSLLC1 youtube channel.

Friends of DSS

by Shawn Claussen on 03/07/12

I am blessed to get to know some wonderful people through DSS. What you see behind the very handsome young man above are a DSS Bags game that was handmade for me by a gentlemen that I knew, as we have the same employer, but got to know better through a DSS class. His name is Scott Preston. He has a full time job serving the citizens of the premiere city but also owns 2 ( Soon to be 3!) seperate businesses. He asked me for advice on building an AR and I offered my assistance in helping him build his own. I didn't really think that I was doing more than helping a friend out. Well imagine my surprise when he dropped off the above-mentioned items. To say I was floored is an understatement! I was touched that Scott thought enough of me to present me with such an awesome and personal gift. Scott is a hell of a guy and I am proud to call him a friend.

Keep an eye out on the "News" section here as I will be reviewing a product that Scott deesigned that I think you will find very useful!

You are training, right?

by Shawn Claussen on 02/23/12

Aaahh...winter in the midwest! Time to curl up in the basement with your favorite blanky and watch Titanic on your 97 inch HDTV right? While this time of year sends us scurry for the safety of our domicile it is also a great opportunity to go out and get some adverse weather training. I would assume ( You remeber what they say about assumptions ) that if you are a weapons permit holder that you have not stopped carrying just because you have to add a few extra layers and mittens against the cold. If so, have you trained with this added equipment? Can you get to your firearm while wearing additional clothing? are you able to deliver accurate fire, manipulate your mag release, slide release or trigger with gloves on? If you don't train under these conditions then how do you know?

Something to ponder...

New Website!

by Shawn Claussen on 02/16/12

Old website went down. Had to create a new one. Nothing much else to say.