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Sunday, June 26, 2022

James Bond and the WaltherPPK

Bond, James Bond. The iconic character is synonymous with women, Aston Martin’s, vodka martinis, and the Walther PPK. 

Even though Bond has been known to wield a lot of weapons over the years, and some of the more popular stills of Daniel Craig’s Bond see him holding a Heckler & Koch UMP-9, the famous Walther PPK is still a Bond favorite. 

The Walther PPK is straight out of Ian Fleming’s novels and is used in most Bond films, though Pierce Brosnan’s and Daniel Craig’s Bonds have been known to carry a Walther P99 on occasion too. Though not in every film, the gun has been used by every actor to play James Bond on the big screen including Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig. 

In Fleming’s novels, Bond is the first issued with a Walther PPK in Dr. No, after he is injured due to getting his Beretta 418 caught in its holster during From Russia With Love. 

Fleming himself had used a Baretta as part of his WWII naval intelligence career and was familiar with firearms. However, after receiving a letter from an experienced firearms expert who was also a fan of the novels, Fleming changed Bond’s weapon of choice to the Walther PPK firing 32 caliber bullets. 

It is described in Dr. No as having ‘a delivery like a brick through a plate-glass  window…the American CIA swear by them.’

On the big screen, which is where most people know Bond from, the Walther PPK appears in every Bond film (excluding Octopussy and Never Say Never Again). 

The PPK dropped out of Bond movies when Peirce Brosnan used a Walther P99 during his second outing. Daniel Craig picked it back up again for the brutal pre-title credits scene in Casino Royale but didn’t use one during the rest of the movie. 

Craig’s Bond then kept the PPK for his second film, Quantum of Solace, and was supplied with a biometrically encoded version for Skyfall. It was also used by Craig in Spectre. Initial promotional materials for COVID delayed No Time To Die, also see him with his trusty PPK. 

The History of the Walther PPK

First produced in 1931, the Walther PPK is a German firearm that was popular with police agencies and armies across Europe. 

This popularity was due to its power, reliability, and size, which was easy enough to conceal. They were issued to German military police and high-ranking officers during WWII. 

The PPK is part of the PP range. Its name comes from the German police pistol criminal or Polizeipistole Kriminal. It was originally developed by Carl Walther GmbH Sportwaffen in Germany. It is often said that the K stands for Kurz, which is the German for small. That does make sense as the PPK is a smaller version of the standard PP but it is not true. Walther themselves used the term Kriminal in their early advertising campaigns and it was said to be a nod to the face that the weapon was popular with plainclothes and undercover law enforcement officers. 

The Walther PPK has a standard double-action trigger with an exposed hammer. The magazine is a single column. It is the most popular and well-known of the Walther PP range. Other famous owners include Elvis Presley, who owned a bespoke silver-plated PPK with the initials TCB inscribed on it. TCB stood for ‘Taking Care of Business.’ In a strange twist of fate, Presley was such a fan of the guns, he gifted a gold-plated one to his friend, actor Jack Lord. Lord then went on to star alongside Sean Connery in Dr. No as American CIA agent, Felix Leiter. Small world. 

It was also the gun with which Adolf Hitler committed suicide. 

The PPK differs from other Walther’s by being smaller and having a shorter grip. The frame of the gun and the barrel are also smaller and the magazine capacity is reduced. 

Technical Details

The Walther PPK used by James Bond has the following specs. 

Length – 15cm

Type – double action

Barel length – 84mm

Weight – 20.03oz

Capacity – 7 rounds

Caliber: 32

Final thoughts

The Walther PPK is an iconic weapon, thanks in large part to its appearance in James Bond. Its association with the character is unshakable and it’s difficult to see producers moving away from it, even when the new James Bond is announced in the near future after Craig departs after No Time To Die. It’s as much Bond as the Aston Martin and the vodka martinis. 

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