Mike with stuffed animal reminders of tactical mistakes made in competition

My nephew and I participate in competitive shooting with the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA). We frequently end up shooting with a particularly fun group of gentlemen who have decided to encourage one another through mild (and hilarious) shaming.

The furry friends on my shoulders are the infliction of shame that I earned over the course of two stages in the August match. Each of them represents some mistake the shooter has committed:

  • Monkey: You shot a non-threat (a.k.a. No-shoot or hostage) during your course of fire.
  • Parrot: You made some other procedural error, like shooting targets out of order, or failing to engage all required targets.

I Earned them!

The monkey was a frequent companion.

It is really fun shooting with people who know how to laugh at themselves and not take things too seriously. They are very encouraging, and heckle each other with laughter, not malice. This is a great encouragement to practice more and think through every step!

I can’t think of a safer, more entertaining way to develop your home defense skills than shooting against a clock. With cardboard targets in front of you, and encouraging comrades behind you … adrenaline surging, and your competitive nerves firing all at once … you learn to overcome excitement and nerves to shoot quickly and accurately. If you don’t, you might adopt a stuffed friend for a while.

Lucky for me, you get to pass these cute companions on to the next person who makes the same mistake you did! On this particular day, most of our group enjoyed the company of one pet or another at least once.