The value of competition is that it encourages training, that is, the organization and measurement of incremental skill development. You don’t have to compete for this to occur, but this rarely does outside of competition.

Most people that don’t participate in formal competition claiming to only be interested in personal development almost never develop beyond a novice level. Police, military, CCW, hunters, and tactical school students rarely develop beyond a novice-level introduction. There are rare exceptions of course. Those exceptions end up training in a similar manner as competitors because that is how every skilled human ultimately develops higher level skill.

The mindset necessary to obtain higher level skill development is the exact same mindset needed to excel in a competitive environment, and vice versa. A person that avoids such formal exposure is almost certain to avoid doing the things necessary to develop higher skill. A person purchasing a barbell and actually using it regularly will get stronger, but they probably will never get as strong as a person competing in formal Powerlifting events. A person can develop improvements in aerobic endurance by running/jogging regularly, but they probably will never run as fast as a person competing in formal 5K races. A person can develop improvements in shooting ability by taking a class and shooting on their own, but they probably will never shoot as well as a person competing in formal shooting competition.

Competition can be done just by striving for a personal best. This is better than mere participation, including participation in formal tactical instruction classes. Most tactical “training” is really just instruction (an introduction of ideas and concepts with some hands-on learning.) While this is useful, especially for a novice and/or person in need of a refresher, it ceases to be training beyond a novice-level exposure of a few days introduction. Unless actual training occurs (purposely programmed skill development and measurement) skills can never improve beyond this novice level.