Is The Daiwa Ballistic MQ The Best Inshore Reel In Its Class?


A whole shipment of Daiwa Ballistic MQ spinning reels just came into the shop!!

The Daiwa Ballistic MQ LT 2500D-XH has been a highly anticipated spinning reel for inshore anglers.

Which got us thinking: Is the Daiwa Ballistic MQ the best inshore reel in its class?

Find out right here!

The Daiwa Ballistic MQ [VIDEO]

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#1 – Material

Daiwa uses their ZaionV material to assemble this reel, which is essentially a higher-density carbon composite.

That is just a fancy way of saying this reel is lightweight and made from a thicker material that is more durable in the long term.

In comparison to the Daiwa Fuego series of reels, there may be some give and flex in parts on the reel because of its materials.

There is more sturdiness and rigidity in reels crafted with ZaionV material.

Moreover, the details on the box indicate the Ballistic MQ reels come in at 6.9 oz.

So, I had to get the scale out to confirm and the one we had in the shop came in at 6.8 oz.

From an artificial lure angler’s perspective, going with a reel crafted from ZaionV material is the way to go.

#2 – Sealing

The Daiwa Ballistic MQ has a 1-2 punch of sorts by including Daiwa’s MQ body design and Magseal Technology.

MQ stands for monocoque which simply means the reel is a one-piece body and is not formed by multiple side plates.

The threaded side plate around the handle protects the main gear inside of the body of the reel.

In addition to that, there are EIGHT other seals located at vital points throughout the inside of the reel as well as on the exterior.

And don’t forget Daiwa’s Magseal!

Above the anti-reverse clutch and beneath the rotor, there is a proprietary ferrofluid that creates an airtight and watertight seal above the bearing of the anti-reverse clutch.

As saltwater anglers, we do not need to back-play a fish and we definitely don’t want the handle to go backward, so Daiwa has implemented exterior seals as well as Magseal to protect these bearings.

In turn, Daiwa has eliminated the anti-reverse switch that is traditionally placed on the front of reels.

This is just another potential entry point for possible saltwater exposure and contamination.

Furthermore, take note of the large bearing on the main shaft of the Daiwa Ballistic, unlike the Saltist MQ and BG MQ.

Additional Bearings

There are bearings included on the main shaft of other MQ reels, however,  the bearing on the Ballistic MQ rests inside ridges on the spool.

This does two important things.

First, this provides additional support to that spool when under a big load.

The spool is not resting on a smaller bearing or the main shaft, but rather on a larger bearing that provides support to the reel itself.

When under pressure, the drag will operate much more smoothly.

The “stickiness” you feel in the drag when fighting a fish will no longer be a factor in the Ballistic MQ.

Additionally, Daiwa includes their ATD which stands for Automatic Tournament Drag.

ATD is a proprietary grease that is included in the drag stack of Daiwa reels.

#3 – Fluidity & Ease Of Use

Daiwa has also implemented both its air rotor and air bail design in the Ballistic MQ reel series.

The air rotor is etched-out carbon fiber crafted out of ZaionV material.

And the bail is a hollow one-piece air bail as opposed to a traditional wire bail.

As a result, when you go to push the handle of this reel, there is very little force needed to move the handle.

The fluidity of the reel is unmatched and truly stands out as one of the smoothest reels in the Daiwa lineup.

➡Get the Daiwa Ballistic MQ


#1 – Situational

This reel is not as applicable as other reels are in certain situations.

You want other aluminum-bodied reels for fishing around heavy, intrusive structure.

This includes docks, oyster bars, rock jetties, and more.

You want reels with the strength and power to pull fish out of and away from these structures.

This lightweight reel might be a bit unmatched in those scenarios and is better suited for fishing in more open water.

If you mainly fish around mangroves or other structures, you want to shift towards aluminum-bodied reels.

#2 – Price

Daiwa Ballistic MQ spinning reels are about $230 retail.

This is a bit of a pretty penny but it should be looked at as an investment.

While an $80 spinning reel will catch plenty of fish, you are paying for particular features that are going to help you have a smoother reel in application and extend the life of the reel.

➡Get the Daiwa Ballistic MQ


Ballistic MQ

We were lucky enough to get a bunch of these in our online tackle shop and they will fly off the shelves FAST!!!

Although above the $200 price point, the Daiwa Ballistic MQ stands out as an elite choice for inshore saltwater anglers looking to get a lot out of an inshore reel that has all the perks of a high-end, luxury reel.

Be sure to head over to the shop and order yours before they’re gone!

➡Get the Daiwa Ballistic MQ

Do you have any questions about the Daiwa Ballistic MQ Spinning Reel?

Or questions about any of the other Daiwa reels mentioned in this video?

Just let me know down below in the comments section!!

If you know someone who wants to learn more about the Daiwa Ballistic MQ Spinning Reel, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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Daniel Dickey
9 months ago

I wanted to ask a question about the MQ reels that do not offer a reverse switch. What do you do if you reel the line in too far? In the heat of fighting a fish at the boat, or when using a popping cork rig, you can reel in too far for proper casting or handling a fish at boat side. What are you to do in a case when you cannot back the reel up?

Joe Raiol
1 year ago

I have had this reel for 4 months. I use it two times a week on open beaches in the NE for fluke(summer flounder). Love the reel smooth as butter, light, and responsive! It has never touched salt water or sand. I rinse it after every use. It started to grind a bit when the spool is on the top or bottom. I am going to call Daiwa. Let\’s see how the customer service is. If it is good I will go ahead and purchase the Certate.

AJ Cheung
1 year ago

Excellent job Justin!

I have an earlier model Ballistic LT4000 that I love. I have arthritis in my hands, wrists, and other joints, so light weight gear is important to me. I look forward to learning about the aluminum reels for heavier cover type applications.

stay safe

Kim Edgemon
1 year ago

How to you take care of this reel after use? Spray with clean water only? Do you grease it anywhere?

Neal Hagood
1 year ago

Thanks for another great review!
I love my BG MQ, but those Ballistics being 2 oz lighter is appealing.
My question is regarding rod selection. With this Ballistic MQ L2500D-XH being 2oz lighter than the BG MQ 2500, how will it balance with these 3 rods & which would you think would be the best combo? (Fishing mostly Texas open water flats.)
1) TFO Pro 7′ Med (I have)
2) Bull Bay SS Custom (I have)
3) upcoming Mud Hole SS Custom
I have liked my BG MQ 2500 on the TFO & Bull B.
I have never had concerns about (or experienced) a setup being forward heavy – but I am wondering about it now!
Thank you & Tight Lines Y’All!

Neal Hagood
1 year ago
Reply to  Justin Ritchey

Thank you Sir!
I look forward to my new  Ballistic MQ 2500D-XH (already shipped) & will save it until I can order the Mud Hole SS Custom (and that is my fishin’ budget for the rest of the year! Happy Birthday to ME!)

Rob S
1 year ago

David Nolen and AC Peltzer reviews reflect my view. I own two Ballistic MQ 2500s. They’re good reels but not worth more than two times the cost of the Daiwa Fuego. After only a few months use, one of the Ballistics intermittently makes a noise when reeling it. More of an aggravation as these expensive reels should have better quality built in. I have 8-10 Fuegos, and I’ve never had a problem with one yet after 3-4 years fishing with some of them. If looking to spend more money, I would choose the BG MQ 3000 over the Ballistic MQ as it’s versatile and well built.

Sean Shimmel
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob S

Rob, that’s a wise insight. I invested in a $500 Daiwa’s Certate 4000 (highly discounted through Salt Strong), but it developed a grind at the halfway point of every crank. I’d only owned it for 6 months, yet Daiwa denied my warranty claim. Even Salt Strong stepped in to help. They were to charge me $180 to fix the main shaft… yet the only “big” fish I had caught by that time was a chunky Sail Cat. If that can happen to a Certate, then what about a Ballistic?

While I will no longer use or recommend Daiwa, I greatly enjoy my “less” expensive BG MQ 3000. And to think, I was ready to buy their highest priced reel, the Exist!

Lastly and having said all that, Justin’s reviews are the best in the industry; instead of simply regurgitating specs, he thinks originally and explains in detail.

Here’s a video of a tarpon hookup a couple months after the Sail Cat trashed the main shaft:

Last edited 1 year ago by Sean Shimmel
Sean Shimmel
1 year ago
Reply to  Justin Ritchey

Red slime, every day. But at least I can read your cool reviews. Peerless.

Matthew Michalak
1 year ago

For fishing Florida for reds trout and flounder would this be a better fit or the BG MQ on a extra fast 7-6?

Wyatt Parcel
1 year ago

My favorite reel for inshore fishing! Great breakdown of the pros and cons!

AC Peltzer
1 year ago

My opinion, and I owned two of them, both of which I returned, is that the Ballistic MQ is not all that. The first one I bought, from SaltStrong, had a raspy sound that I attribute to the anti-reverse clutch bearing, and a slight tick every time the handle was turned, which I attribute to the pinion gear or pinion bearing. Thinking maybe a I got a dud I bought another from a different store and the second reel had identical symptoms. Both of them were smooth, a little noisy with a slight but noticeable tick. The start up inertia was also not great, which could be from too much grease in the gears.

I have a bunch of other Daiwa reels and I would say that the Ballistic LT is a more refined reel than than the Ballistic MQ. The best bang for the buck in the Daiwa lineup is the BG series, IMO. I have about nine of them and they are still going strong, some after five years.

I was really excited when I heard about the Ballistic MQ, but sadly they did not meet my expectations. 3000 size, by the way.

Ronald H Mattson
1 year ago

Thank You Justin for the excellent video. Please stay with Daiwa reels. I have Shimano Stella reels on my shelf that I cannot get parts for. After ~ 5 years forget parts.


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