Bushnell Tour V5 Shift vs Nikon Coolshot 50i Rangefinder: Read Our Head-To-Head Verdict

Looking for a new rangefinder? Joel Tadman compares two of the best available from Bushnell and Nikon.

Bushnell Tour V5 Shift vs Nikon Coolshot 50i Rangefinder
(Image credit: Golf Monthly)

Bushnell Tour V5 Shift vs Nikon Coolshot 50i Rangefinder: Read Our Head-To-Head Verdict

Currently there are an array of distance measuring devices available on the market, with GPS', rangefinders and watches all designed to improve your game and give you confidence when you are out on the golf course.

In this piece though, we are focusing on the rangefinder category, with two of the best golf rangefinders that money can buy. Arguably, Bushnell have been the kings of this market for a number of years, with their models some of the most recognized in the golfing environment. The one we are focusing on though is the Tour V5 Shift, a model that in one word is superb.

Despite Bushnell arguably holding the title of the most recognized brand in this category, there are still a number of premium options that can rival them. The Nikon Coolshot 50i is certainly one of them, with the rangefinder providing a lightweight feel and accuracy to match.

The brands may be known for making some of the best golf GPS and best golf watches, but in this piece we are focusing on their premium lasers which can save you a lot of shots. Importantly though, which one is best for your game? Here, we take a look.

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We begin with the Bushnell which, at 227 grams, is around 50g heavier than the Nikon. Although it may not sound a lot, you do notice the extra weight, but it still doesn’t feel bulky or cumbersome to use. What's more, it’s much longer from front to back and the ribbed sections at the top and bottom help you keep a firm hold, crucial if you are picking up yardages to hazards or the pin. 

Weighing 175 grams, the Nikon is shorter but wider than the Bushnell. This makes it more box-like in shape but it still fitted our hand well. Along with the shape, the rubber grip sections all around ensured it doesn’t slip out and, overall, it has a premium, classy look to it. 


Simply put, the Bushnell's display is hard to fault - once the focus is adjusted, the view through the display is excellent. The Tour V5 Shift is ranked as one of the best Bushnell Golf rangefinders in the range and, thanks to the black graphics in the display, it manages to stand out enough without being distracting. 

Once again, the Nikon holds it own and rivals the Bushnell in this category as, with the right brightness, it is crystal clear and actually seemed to be marginally more zoomed in as standard than the Bushnell. As a result, it made picking out points far away, like the flag on long approach shots, a little easier. 

If you are interested in the range of these two rangefinders, then the Bushnell edges the Nikon by 100 yards. Both though will give you a range of over 1000 yards, with the Bushnell 1300 (400+ for flag) and the Nikon 1200.

Ease of use

Both then are well matched when it comes to the display and design, but it's the ease of use where the Bushnell excels. Everyone wants a rangefinder that is simple to use and the Tour V5 Shift is as intuitive as it gets from a premium laser. 

Featuring in our best golf rangefinders with slope guide, all you have to do is simply press the Slope Shift button on the side to toggle on the slope functionality and the yards/metres button to alter the unit of measurement. It's that easy!

Although the Nikon is also relatively simple to use, we found that the focus toggle was a little stiffer to turn and it is slightly more complicated to switch from yards to metres - requiring the holding down and pressing of various buttons. However, you’ll likely only need to do this once if at all. 


Beginning with the Nikon this time, which has a number of features to make your round of golf as stress-free as possible. The main feature, that is the most useful, on the Coolshot 50i, is the flashing green light that lets others know the laser is legal for tournament play

Along with the light, it also has a magnetic mount and provides a visual cue and gentle vibration when accurately locked on. You also get a scan mode, which is useful when you need to pick out hazards and carry distances off the tee.

The Nikon is matched by the Tour V5 Shift in this department as it too displays distances almost immediately. What's more, the red ring that coincides with the unit vibrates when the flag is found, which we thought was very reassuring. 

Bushnell have also provided the Tour V5 Shift with a magnetic mount for when you play in a buggy, as well as access to the Bushnell Golf GPS app for hole maps and flyovers amongst other features.

Overall Appeal

Overall, both these models are fantastic performers that will no doubt help your game out on the golf course. As mentioned before, Bushnell have dominated the rangefinder market and, for golfers that want simple point-and-shoot functionality as well as access to slope-adjusted distances, this laser rangefinder is hard to fault. 

We found that the user experience is seamless, letting you get the right distance and focus on hitting the shot. The company continues to lead the way through innovation in the laser rangefinder category and, thanks to its slimmed down physique, it is now easier to use than ever, especially with how compact it is in your hand.

The Nikon is certainly a worthy rival to Bushnell’s dominance as an alternative that compares well in every area of performance a golfer looks for. Put simply, it is fast, accurate, easy to use and there is definitely value to be had in investing in the Coolshot 50i. It may not be one of the best budget golf rangefinders, but it offers incredible value for the performance you get.

Which one should you choose?

Choose the Bushnell Tour V5 Shift if… 
- You want a weighty, more substantial feel when trying to pick out the flag
- You want a model from a market-leading brand
- You want an easy to use rangefinder that has simplicity in abundance 

Choose the Nikon Coolshot 50i if... 
- You prefer a lightweight feel to your rangefinder
- You want a rangefinder that has a more zoomed-in display
- You are after a rangefinder that provides great value for money

Joel Tadman
Technical Editor

Joel has worked in the golf industry for over 12 years covering both instruction and more recently equipment. He now oversees all product content here at Golf Monthly, managing a team of talented and passionate writers and presenters in delivering the most thorough and accurate reviews, buying advice, comparisons and deals to help the reader find exactly what they are looking for. So whether it's the latest driver, irons, putter or laser rangefinder, Joel has his finger on the pulse keeping up to date with the latest releases in golf. He is also responsible for all content on irons and golf tech, including distance measuring devices and launch monitors.

One of his career highlights came when covering the 2012 Masters he got to play the sacred Augusta National course on the Monday after the tournament concluded, shooting a respectable 86 with just one par and four birdies. To date, his best ever round of golf is a 5-under 67 back in 2011. He currently plays his golf at Burghley Park Golf Club in Stamford, Lincs, with a handicap index of 3.2.

Joel's current What's In The Bag? 

Driver: Titleist TSR3, 9° 

Fairway wood: Titleist TSR3, 15° 

Hybrid: Titleist TSi2, 18° 

Irons: Ping i230 4-UW

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM8, 54°. Titleist Vokey SM9 60° lob wedge, K Grind

Putter: Evnroll ER2V 

Ball: 2023 Titleist Pro V1x

With contributions from