This pistol was developed in the early 1970's by American Gunsmith genius Paris Thoeodore for use by U.S undercover agents who required a powerful handgun that was easy to conceal. It was a customized version of the normal Smith & Wesson Model 39 double action semi-automatic.
The bullet the ASP fired was the powerful 9mm Parabellum that had good stopping power at distances of up to fifty yards. The ASP, as seen below, has an empty magazine...clearly visible through the transparent grips.
The ASP (Armament System Procedures) was a compact pistol which was specifically designed not to snag on clothes when drawn out for use, this was also helped by it being Teflon coated along with special 'guttersnipe' sights which was like an open tunnel to aim through, this meant the gun did not need a front sight. The front sight on any pistol is always the first thing to catch or snag on clothing, this could cost Bond his life.
The image below shows what its like to aim through this unique sight.
With all the edges smoothed and rounded, along with a spurless hammer this gun was almost 100% snag free and could be drawn, aimed and fired in quite a fast fashion, typically suited for Mr Bond.
The butt and magazine was made from transparent Lexan so that James could see at a glance if the pistol was loaded or not. It was also useful in a shootout for James to see how many rounds he had left and this simple but effective solution provided the answer.
" Unseen in the best places "
The ASP was the weapon of choice for James Bond in no less than ten of John Garner's Bond novels: Role Of Honor - Nobody Lives Forever - No Deals Mr Bond - Scorpius - Brokenclaw - The Man From Barbarossa - Death is Forever - Never Send Flowers - SeaFire and Cold.
Overall a very good choice of pistol for James Bond as the ASP, even though a bit dated now, is still one of the best concealment pistols ever designed.
John Gardner actually discovered the ASP when doing research for the James Bond character in a book titled The Handgun. The book's author was Geoffrey Boothroyd who as stated earlier, was Ian Fleming's old acquaintance, and the man who recommended to Fleming that James Bond should carry a Walther PPK instead of the Beretta.
In the 1997 movie Tomorrow Never Dies we see Bond played by Pierce Brosnan, select the Walther P99 to apparently become his new weapon of choice, the old Walther PPK being signed off as being past its sell by date. The Walther P99 is chambered for the powerful, versatile and world wide commonly available 9mm Parabellum.
As for our intrepid super spy carrying a small, light and easily concealed pistol, the P99 at 180mm (7.1in) long and weighing 700g (25 oz) empty, is not the best choice and it is quite bulky too.
The P99-C DAO ( Double Action Only ) compact would have suited him much better and I have pictured a P99C below. This gun offers the same power, but is designed to be easily concealed, especially underneath Tuxedo jackets!
Anyway, the P99 was manufactured by Carl Walther GmbH Sportwaffen.Ulm.De and was designed to be carried primarily by the German Police, but other law enforcement and military units have also adopted it such as the Polish Police and the Finnish Army's Military Police and even their Special Forces.
The Pistol was made with a lightweight polymer frame with steel slide that was treated with a Tenifer anti-corrosion coating. The pistol's hammer was secreted within the slide and was of more of a striker with its red tip showing from the rear when the gun was cocked ready to fire. Amongst four integral safety features there was also a chamber is loaded indicator on the slides right hand side.
The butt has interchangeable grip parts to suit the individuals hand size for best comfort, with an ambidextrous magazine release button that is built into the trigger guard with the addition of a de-cocking lever for extra safety.
The Walther P99 is chambered for either the 9mm parabellum, .40S&W or 9x21mm cartridges, it is a double action semi-automatic that holds 16 rounds of 9mm, 15 in the magazine plus one already loaded, or 11+1 rounds of the powerful .40 S&W.
The Walther P99 is powerful, accurate and has now become a favorite of 007 James Bond. But if I could have helped out with a suitable replacement to the Walther PPK, then I would not have chosen the Walther P99.
Instead I would have opted for the ultra reliable, very light and more compact Austrian Glock 29 chambered for very powerful 10mm auto or the Glock 27 chambered for .40 S&W caliber, or even the Glock 30 .45GAP Caliber. These guns are all the same dimension as the Glock 29 pictured below.
All of these Glock pistols are compact, easy to conceal and carry around unobtrusively, but more to the point, they are extremely powerful and could have dropped Jaws with one shot ...James, dear boy...are you listening?
Smith & Wesson Model 29 .44 Magnum
In the movie Live and let Die, Bond, played by Roger Moore used a nickel plated Smith & Wesson Model 29 .44 Magnum, with what appears to be the 8 and 3/8th inch barrel. The revolver initially appears to be a Ruger Redhawk .44 magnum in the publicity shots, but the Ruger Redhawk was not available until 1979, some six years after the release of the film.
Below is shown the.44 Remington Magnum cartridge almost actual size.
I managed to source a couple of images of Roger Moore with this gun to illustrate its usage in the movies. Its heart warming for all gun aficionados that Bond appreciates the .44 Magnum as a versatile weapon.
Below are all the featured cartridges lined up for good comparison, along with some more notable calibers. I think it is safe to say that the .25 caliber cartridge is a wee bit small...and does indeed befit a ladies handbag/purse
All cartridges are shown at approximate actual size. ACP stands for Automatic Colt Pistol and is a standardized / universal cartridge for any gun of that caliber. GAP stands for Glock Auto Pistol. Kurz means short.
The original publicity shots of Sean Connery holding a pistol was a bit of a blooper, as the gun he was holding was in reality just a Walther .177 caliber air pistol.
When Sean Connery went to the photo-shoot nobody had thought to bring a Walther PPK. One of the photographers practiced a bit of air pistol shooting and he had the airgun in his car, so he fetched it and that is what they used. It was just a case of " Here you are Sean, now hold this gun and stand there "
No one, of course, told Sean Connery or the rest of United Artists production crew that it was just an air pistol...until much later, too late in fact as Sean Connery, holding this gun was used in ever publicity photo from 1962 until the great Bond movie You Only Live Twice was made in 1967.
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Page created November 10th 2008. UpdatedAugust 25th 2012