Consider a .22 pistol as a starter. My local Academy Sports store has a basic Buckmark Camper for $299. For $329 you can get a stainless upper or a nicer blued gun with hi-viz sights. A Ruger Mark III can be had at that price range as well.
With that out-of-the-box gun and a couple of extra magazines you can participate in Steel Challenge matches which is a great way to get started in competitive shooting. You don't even need a holster.
I reload which saves money but I can buy .22 ammo for less than the cost of primers to reload centerfire cartridges. You can afford to shoot a .22; a centerfire can be somewhat expensive to feed.
Although a good quality .22 is a great beginner's gun, you will never outgrow it. They are always fun to shoot.
Moving on to 9mm (now or later) for match use. In my opinion you really handicap yourself with a DA/SA gun like the Sig or Beretta. Double action first shot, then you transition to single action fire. Blech. Most people are shooting striker fired guns that give you a consistent trigger shot-to-shot.
"I hear you" on wanting something different from what "everyone" has. No argument that the Glocks are very popular and have a great reputation for reliability.
Personally, I like the M&P the best of the current polymer framed striker fired guns.