The Walther PPK and James Bond
The Walther PPK and James Bond are synonymous. It’s his tried and testy sidekick, and has killed more villains in cinema history than any other weapon.
It wasn’t always meant to be, however, as Bond novelist Ian Fleming had to be convinced by firearms expert and Bond fan, Geoffrey Boothroyd, that his early Bonds’ use of the Beretta .25 was ‘really a lady’s gun, and not a really nice lady at that.’
Fleming listened to Boothroyd, learned from the firearms expert, they became friends. And a new character Major Boothroyd, who later became known as Q, became the firearms expert in Bond novels and from the first movie Dr. No.
The discussion with Bond, M and Major Boothroyd in Dr. No reflects the discussion Fleming had with the gun expert Geoffrey Boothroyd:
M: Take off your jacket. Give me your gun. Yes, I thought so. This damn Beretta again. I’ve told you about this before. You tell him—for the last time.
Major Boothroyd: Nice and light—in a lady’s handbag. No stopping power.
M: Any comments, 007?
Bond: I disagree, sir. I’ve used a Beretta for 10 years. I’ve never missed with it yet.
M: Maybe not, but it jammed on your last job and you spent 6 months in hospital. A double-0 number means you’re licensed to kill, not get killed. And another thing. Since I’ve been head of MI6, there’s been a 40-percent drop in double-0 casualties. I want it to stay that way. You’ll carry the Walther. Unless you’d prefer to go back to standard intelligence duties?
Bond: No, sir. I would not.
M: Then from now on you carry a different gun. Show him, armourer.
Major Boothroyd: Walther PPK. 7.65 mm with a delivery like a brick through a plate-glass window. Takes a Brausch silencer with little reduction in muzzle velocity. The American CIA swear by them.
M: Thank you, Major Boothroyd.Dr. No (1962)
When Has Bond Used The Walther PPK?
After Ian Fleming was won over and he decided not to use the .25 Beretta anymore, the choice of Walther PPK as 007’s weapon became a signature Bond feature, appearing in 8 out of 15 novels from 1958’s Dr. No to 1965’s The Man with the Golden Gun.
In fact, it is the only gun used by all 6 Bonds, and in the movies, other than Octopussy, it made an appearance in every movie as James Bond proudly displayed his trademark PPK side-arm.
Pierce Brosnan‘s Bond made the daring switch from his classic Walther PPK to a bigger model, the P99, for his second film Tomorrow Never Dies. It wasn’t until Quantum of Solace that he returned back to using the PPK as his go-to firearm.
In Skyfall, Q Branch gave the Walther PPK an upgrade by adding a biometric palm reader, and in Spectre Daniel Craig chose to wear it in the novel’s preferred hideaway, in the shoulder holster. In No Time to Die, Bond uses a Smith & Wesson produced Walther PPK for help when needed.
Some Interesting Facts About The Walther PPK
The Walther PPK and James Bond are best buddies, thanks to Major Boothroyd, but the iconic pistol has enjoyed a long and interesting life in reaching its iconic status. Here’s a few interesting facts about the handgun…
The original Walther PP is larger than the PPK
The original Walther PP is bigger than the PPK. The PP is a semi-automatic double-action pistol with an internal hammer and a single-action trigger, as well as an exposed hammer. It can be loaded with the 7.65mm or 9mm caliber and its magazine capacity accommodates either 8 or 7 rounds of ammo.
The Walther PPK is a compact version of the PP, boasting a shorter grip and barrel length, as well as lowered magazine capacity of seven rounds. Not to mention its special double-action trigger with an internal hammer for added dependability.
The Walther PP stands at 6.7 inches long, with a barrel length of 3.9 inches and measuring 4.3 inches tall and 1.2 wide. The Walther PPK measures 6.1inch in length, and features a 3.3 inch-long barrel, standing 4 .4 inches tall and also 1 .2-inches wide. Both models boasting an equal width measurement of 1 .2 inch thick!
Both pistols are trusted for their accuracy and have become staples in the firearms industry over time. Hence the reason Major Boothroyd demanded James Bond change to the Walther PPK.
The Men with The Golden Guns
April 30, 1945 marked the conclusion of one of history’s most calamitous regimes with Adolf Hitler’s death. It’s believed that he took his own life using a gold Walther PPK pistol which he had been given to him by Carl Walther, the famous German gunsmith.
The weapon was heavily engraved and embellished, and had AH inscribed on the white ivory handle. Walther guns were the Nazi party’s guns of choice and Hitler had kitted all their men out with them. It’s believed that when Hitler shot himself, he used his golden PP.
Nazi general Hermann Göring’s gold-plated Walther PPK recently went up for auction and was sold for over $400,000. The pistol was manufactured in 1939 and still clearly shows the exquisite engraving on all surfaces.
Like Hitler’s PP, the golden Walther PPK has Hermann Göring’s initials engraved on the handle, and boats a traditional deep chiseled Germanic oak leaf and acorn type engraving with a fine stippled background.
Boasting a long-lasting service life and compact size suitable for concealment, the Walther PPK has acquired an illustrious reputation. Not only was the Wlather PPK used by James Bond, but the German military personnel and police during WWII. And ironically, Adolf Hitler turned it on himself to end his murderous reign.
The Walther PPK helped usher in Democracy to South Korea
In 1979, the Walther PPK was used to assassinate South Korean Dictator Park Chung-Hee. The cold blooded murder was perpetrated by Kim Jae-Gyu, director of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency and a confidant to the Dictator.
At a dinner in Seoul, the killer pulled out his Wlather PPK and fired it at Chung-hee as payback for the leader’s oppressive rule and disregard of human rights of the South Korean people.
The assassination served as a major impetus for the democratic transformation of South Korea and remains an important memory in Korean history. “Rumour” has it that the CIA were behind the assassination in an attempt to weaken the spread of Communism as the Cold War was at the height of tensions.
The Walther PPK almost never made it onto the US market
The Walther PPK was one of the most iconic pistols of the 20th century, but it couldn’t be sold in the US for many years. In 1968, the US Gun Control Act laid out stringent criteria for imported handguns with regards to size and sportiness. Unfortunately, this meant that the Walther PPK was unable to meet requirements.
After listening to customers, Walther designed and created the perfect gun for Americans – The Walther PPKS. This modified version of the original PPK incorporated a longer grip frame from the earlier model with a short barrel and slide assembly for importation purposes.
As such, it passed regulations that enabled its entry into America. This gave rise to what is known as ‘The S’ which stands for ‘States’ in this now iconic firearm.
Walther PPK production in the US started in 1983
With strict regulations on the importation of guns German manufacturer Waltham decided to open up shop in the US, moving production there in 1983.
Locally produced guns are exempt from the 1968 Gun Control Act, so from 1983 Walther started producing its iconic PPK handgun in America instead of the PPKS.
Locally manufactured firearms are exempt from importation restrictions., Walther could continue manufacturing its iconic PPK handgun while also aligning with national regulations.
Since then, Walther’s PPK has grown in popularity, not just for James Bond but gun enthusiasts of all kinds. Offering an array of calibers and finishes that can be tailored to any user’s individual preferences, this timeless classic from Walther is continuously improved and refined to guarantee a reliable experience every time.
The Walther PPK and James Bond
The Walther PPK and James Bond are a complete pair. It’s the only weapon all six Bonds have used over the decades, and it’s killed more henchmen than any other weapon in cinema history.
First produced in 1939 by German gunsmith, Carl Walther, the PP, PPK and PPKS have grown to become one of the most loved weapons on the market.
Thanks to George Boothroyd, they’re used by James Bond, but the Walther PPK has been used by in many other interesting situations. Unfortunately it was the gun of choice for the Nazi party, but being German and the best weapon out there, it was always going to be.
And as awful as a cold blooded murder is, South Korean Dictator Park Chung-Hee was gunned down by a hitman brandishing a Walther PPK. He looked and acted like a Bond villain, so some might say he had it coming.