Aside from equipment, I believe Master shooters can compete in Comp, but not Civ. So, a beginner will face stiffer competition in Comp.
If you have the time and ammo, one strategy is to sign up for both Civ and Comp using your G17 or G22. At each stage, shoot Comp first to warm up and get the jitters out, then shoot Civ immediately afterwards. You are allowed to shoot 2 classes back to back. I've done this a couple times and ended up with my best scores in Civ every time.