My name is Simon Coté, I have been shooting competitively for 2 years, and representing Blackwater Precision for a year now.
As a new competitive shooter, I had to choose my equipment recently, let me share with you my process. Before spending several hundred dollars on gear, you need to figure out which sport you like to shoot. You may wish to shoot multiple. My primary sport is IDPA, and I shoot some USPSA. Each sport has its gear rules. IDPA SSP and USPSA Production were close enough in requirements that the investment was not too expensive to start with.
There is always an equipment setup that is affordable and works well for any beginner. There is no need for someone starting in the sport to have the latest "gamer" gear until you understand the sport and have a feel for the game. Keep your dollars to buy ammo and practice your shooting technique.
Once you are hooked on the sport, you may elect to change your gun (I did). Now is the time to check out what the others are using, ask questions, perhaps you can borrow some equipment to find out what works for you. Asking questions of more experienced shooters is what I found was the best way to learn. Most of them will be happy to help and share their experiences. That way you get a review, and typically it will save you the trial and error period, therefore saving that money (more ammo)!
A small tip when first starting with new equipment: place your holster and mag pouches on your belt at various locations. Yes, it must pass equipment check (legal) sometimes a little adjustment makes a significant difference in the way it feels for you. Best time to do this is obviously during practice.
Once you are comfortable with the equipment and your draw, you are ready to enjoy the sport that fits you best!