Application of Training
There are a great deal of classes out there now that deal with very specific parts of self defense. It is no longer a handgun class, but a handgun in an entangled fight, or handgun with your children or family present. These classes can have immense value, but must be selected to full a need YOU have personally. Let's break down how these classes are valuable.
1-Directly applies to my life.
This is the gold standard of training classes. If it applies directly to your life, you can use the information NOW to make valuable decisions about how you approach life and your practice sessions. You take the lessons from class, formulate your personal security plan, and then implement it.
2-Applies with context
With context, a class that might not otherwise apply directly can have information that, when extracted and applied, might still be valuable. Of course, you must already have the basis of your plan in place to see the value. For instance, a competition oriented class can help you learn how to shoot on the move and make your handling skills more efficient. A law enforcement style combatives class could be valuable because the instructor is adept at teaching control tactics to people that carry a gun for a living. Try to see where a certain curriculum might be of value.
3-Does not apply
Now before you simply dismissed these classes, understand that you still may want to take them for your own entertainment. To go sky diving or skiing is a similar investment, and we still enjoy doing those things that are fun. However we do not need to justify it or waste time trying to apply it to our lives. It's just fun.
If you have a limited training budget, please refrain from the third category. Night vision classes and helicopter rooftop insertions are fun, but unless you intend to own either, or work for a department that does, you money may go furher elsewhere.