James Bond the super spy created by Ian Fleming is a character that we all know from the popular novels and movies.  This page focuses on the handguns that James Bond carried with him on his adventures.

 

BERETTA MODELO 418

 

Up until the movie Dr NO,  the only pistol that James Bond actually carried was the little Italian .25 Beretta Modelo 418, as seen above.

Bond was very fond of this compact little gun and was reluctant to give it up, even though it jammed on him in the novel, and nearly cost him his life...he spent six months in hospital recovering from the serious injuries sustained in that  mission and HQ was not impressed.

In the movie, Bond actually had a Beretta Modelo 1934, presumably because the studio could not get the proper and correct Modelo 418. The Beretta M34 is seen below.

 

 

 

Vesper Lynd played by Ursula Andress also liked the Beretta M34 and actually used a nickel plated one to point at Bond in the movie Casino Royale.  An image of this moment is shown below.

 

 

The ultra light and small Beretta Modelo 418 that Ian Fleming initially armed his super spy character with is pictured below. Indeed Movie fans, this was actually Bonds' favorite pistol of all time, not the Walther PPK.

 

 

 

This close concealment Beretta is also known as a pocket pistol in that it is very compact and can be carried quite easily and unobtrusively in the trouser pocket.

Bond used a small shoulder holster that is more befitting a special agent.  Below is pictured the standard holster for the Modelo 418, Bonds holster was actually made of soft thin chamois leather.

 

 

The Beretta Modelo 418 had a small pin that protruded from the back of the slide to indicate that the pistol was cocked and ready to fire. The pin is just visible in the image below.

In the novel, Bond actually filed this to a sharp point, presumably so that he could feel it easier and know without looking that the gun was ready to fire.

 

 

 

There is a grip safety feature on this gun too, a little lever on the back of the butt has to be depressed in the hand before the gun will fire.  In the novel, Bond actually took the grips off and strapped tape around the handle so that the safety was permanently depressed.

The guns hammer is secreted within the slide so as not to snag on any clothing when its drawn out for use, often misleadingly referred to as a 'hammerless' pistol.

Bond's Beretta was of course adapted for a silencer too, there was a thread reamed on the inside of the bore into which the silencer screwed into.

 

 

The pistol fires a small bullet .25 caliber bullet which is just 6.35mm in diameter as shown below, at almost actual size.

 

 

This bullet could not penetrate any sort of body armor and would be totally useless against today's standards of military flack jackets etc that are readily available to any budding insurgent, spy etc.

 

 

It is only really effective and indeed accurate over about fifteen yards.  As an upfront and personal weapon though it is quite adequate, Bond would generally fire more than one shot into an assailant.

 

The PPK

 

In the first Bond movie Dr No,  the armorer from Q branch, Major Boothroyd, is seen issuing 007 with his now legendary Walther PPK which replaces his much loved Beretta.  The 7.65mm Walther PPK is shown below.

 

 

This immediate change to Bond's gun was originally inspired by a letter that Ian Fleming received in the 1950's from a Mr. Geoffrey Boothroyd, who was a firearms expert based in Glasgow, UK. Boothroyd wrote to Fleming thus...

" I like everything about your James Bond character except his deplorable taste in weapons, a .25 caliber Beretta is utterly useless as well as being a lady's gun...and not a very nice lady at that."

Ian Fleming 1908 - 1964

After Fleming's correspondence with Boothroyd it was decided that 007's best weapon for concealment and reasonable power would be the Walther PPK.

Ian Fleming actually met up with Geoffrey Boothroyd some time in the late 1950's where they happily conversed for many hours on all the ins and outs of guns that James Bond should carry.

 

 

Ian Fleming and Geoffrey Boothroyd,  photo taken sometime in the late 1950's

The next novels that Fleming wrote had James Bond now suitably armed with the Walther PPK and gone for good was the .25 Beretta.   In the movie Dr No,  it was decided that the armorer from Q branch should be named after Geoffrey Boothroyd, in honor for his help and his friendship with Fleming.

This is a transcript of what was said to James Bond when he was called into 'M's office in the movie Dr NO...

M: (speaks to Bond) Take off your jacket !...Give me your gun.
Yes, I thought so...this damn Beretta again.  I have told you about this before.
(M looks at Boothroyd) You tell him...for the last time! 

MAJOR BOOTHROYD: (inspects James Beretta) Nice and light...in a ladies handbag...no stopping power. 

M: Any comments OO7 ? 

BOND: I disagree sir, I've used a Beretta for ten years...I've never missed with it yet!

M:  Maybe not, but it jammed on your last job and you spent six months in hospital in consequence. If you carry a double O number it means you are licensed to kill not get killed...and another thing, since I've been head of MI7 there has been a 40% drop in double O operative casualties, and I want it to stay that way, you will carry the Walther...unless of course you prefer to go back to standard intelligence duties.

 

 

BOND: No sir, I wouldn't.

M: Then from now on you carry a different gun, show him armorer.

MAJOR BOOTHROYD: (shows James the new pistol) Walther PPK 7.65 millimeter with a delivery like a brick through a plate-glass window, it takes a Brausch silencer with very little reduction in muzzle velocity...the American CIA swear by them.

 

 

M: Thank you Major Boothroyd.

MAJOR BOOTHROYD: Thank you sir. (nods to Bond) Goodnight sir.

M: Any questions 007 ? 

BOND: No sir.

M: Alright then...best of luck.

BOND: Thank you sir. ( Bond picks up the Walther PPK in its box, whilst hiding the Beretta underneath, and optimistically walks towards the office door )

M: (without looking up from his desk, he calls across) 007!

BOND: (stops and turns) Sir ?

M: Just leave the Beretta.

Bond saunters back, reluctantly places the Beretta on M's desk and with a slight sigh, walks out.  Nice try James!

 

 

 

The pistol was first developed in Germany in 1931 by Carl Walther at Waffenfabrik Ulm/De. Germany.  It is a compact 7.65mm (.32ACP) semi-automatic, designed for concealment and undercover operations use, and was hence designated PPK which stands for Polizei Pistole Kurz or Police Pistol Short. This was the shorter version of the original Walther PP (Police Pistol.)

Below is shown  a 7.65mm /32ACP cartridge at almost actual size, its quite small looking isn't it! but it still possesses enough power to drop one of Bonds enemies stone dead at close range.

 


Anywhere up to 25 yards are the realistic distances where a Walther PPK is optimum in accuracy and power, anymore and you would be pushing it. Of course, as with all handguns...the closer the better!

The basic specifications of the Walther PPK are: Length: 155mm - Barrel length 83mm - Weight: 590g. Magazine capacity - 7 rounds.

 

 

 

The Walther PPK has a streamlined appearance and has achieved notoriety for its compactness and reliability.  It is true the 7.65mm round has got reasonable stopping power, but only at short distances as earlier stated, and its accuracy over those distances is questionable.

This did not stop MI5, MI6, Deutsch BND, French SDECE, Israel's Mossad and a host of other secret operative units from adopting it though.

Undercover police and secret service agents do indeed swear by them, even today with a plethora of available alternatives.

Below are pictured Pierce Brosnan and Roger Moore both with Walther PPK's

 

  

 

The pistol is very easy to 'take down' or 'field strip' into its basic components for cleaning, simply pull down on the front of the trigger guard, pull it over to the left slightly and then pull the slide off the top.

This exposes the barrel, return spring and the underside of the slide so it can be oiled and cleaned.

 

 

Putting it back together is the reverse.

To Mr. Bond's delight, the Walther PPK can be adapted to fit a silencer which either screws or friction fits onto the end of the barrel. Normally the barrel of a pistol is slightly extended to accommodate a silencer but was never depicted in the bond movies.

The 7.65mm round that the pistol fires is not that powerful over longer distances and its power, along with its accuracy would be reduced even further with a silencer...

 

 

...but for close quarter work, as in a few yards, it would be more than adequate. I know it might sound a bit sentimental but the PPK with a silencer fitted looks like it was specifically made for Bond...kind of smooth and streamlined like his Tuxedo!

 

 

As stated earlier, the PPK is easy to take down to its basic elements, for cleaning and the Brausch silencer just screws into the muzzle. Overall the PPK is a nice compact, easy to operate and reliable little pistol.

 

 

When a silenced pistol like the PPK is fired, the silencer does not get effected by the guns operation, when the slide goes back the silencer of course remains situated on the end of the barrel.  The image below illustrates this quite well.

 

 

Similar to the Beretta, the PPK has an inbuilt safety feature of a small pin that protrudes about 1mm out of the back of the slide.  This indicates that there is a bullet in the breech, if there is no bullet loaded then the pin will remain flush.

The Walther PPK was also designed to fire a more powerful 9mm Kurz / .380ACP round and an interesting rumor has it that this was the caliber of the PPK that Bond, as played by Pierce Brosnan, used instead of the 7.65mm caliber...the blank rounds as used in movies would have been a bit louder as a result. Below is the .380 Walther PPK and the round it fires.

 

 

This particular pistol is actually made in the U.S.A under license from Walther.  It is identical to the 7.65mm version in every aspect except, of course the barrel is of a larger diameter and the magazine is different integrally to accept the larger cartridges.

  NEXT PAGE ON BONDS GUNS 

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Page created November 10th 2008.   Updated January 15th 2013