Norske, about the only difference is he may not have a gun suitable for am/civ. If he only has the 35, that tosses him out of am/civ. That is not the handicap it used to be for prizes but still, it keeps him out of some divisions he may want to shoot.
Of course there are two solutions. Buy more guns or make friends with someone that has a 17 & use his. Win/win deal!
Competition is not a category defined by skill, but is a category defined by pistol. Factory stock "C" models and factory stock longslides are grouped together in "Competition" category because they are deemed to provide the shooter an advantage over the standard model Glocks, an advantage due to the porting or longer slides. The same reasoning defines subcompact category, where you cannot use a G17 or G19. Makes sense to me.
I bought a 35 last year just to start shooting GSSF. THEN I read the rules really well. So I traded the 35 for a 22, of course I took a hit on that. I shot my first match at Indy last year, then decided I could practice more with a 9mm. So I sold my 22 to a friend and got a 17 and have been happy ever since. Good luck with whatever you shoot.
Also, as i understand it... If you have a Compensated Glock, you can still shoot Am/Civ by replacing the barrel with a stock non-comp barrel. A barrel is cheaper than a new gun.
Unfortunately, there is no way around the G35 though.... BUT, I went another direction and bought a G17c, a non-comp barrel, and then a G34 Slide that, of course, fits on the G17c frame. So for about $800, i essentially have three stock Glocks.
competition has less shooters, that might improve your odds of winning. as has been pointed out with the prize structure the way it is it really makes no difference which you shoot. now if you were wanting to shoot booth you might have a problem.
Noponer, I think what Fudd was referring to was the fact that junior shooters can use a long-slide in AmCiv, but not adult shooters.
Overall, I think the divisions are fair, although there is a slight bias towards 9mm (with the exception of MajSub) , but if you shop around you can find soft shooting loads for the other calibers (Cor-Bon has a nice .45 ACP match load and Atlanta Arms has a Minor .40 S&W load).