How Bond Got the PPK

James Bond is forever intertwined with Walther. To this day, Walther firearms occupy the Bond films. The most popular is the Walther PPK. However, that hasn’t stopped the P5 and P99 from occupying Bond’s hands. How did a British secret agent end up with a German handgun? Maybe it’s because the British arms industry sucks? Or perhaps it was because Bond’s creator, Ian Fleming, was willing to take some advice. 

Bond’s First Gun – A Spaghetti Blaster 

Bond’s first gun can be traced back to Ian Fleming’s service in the Naval Intelligence Division. Fleming’s own service was fairly interesting, and it’s easy to see why he was capable of creating such a memorable character. Ian Fleming carried a Beretta 418 during his service and described Bond’s first gun as very flat .25 Beretta. It’s described as having the grip panels removed, and the barrel is threaded for a suppressor. 

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Ian Fleming didn’t have a ton of firearm experience, so it makes sense that he just inserted the gun he knew into his novels. James Bond was a covert agent, and the Beretta would be small and concealable. It served as his gun of choice for the first five novels. It was in Dr. No that Bond was issued the Walther PPK. 

How the PPK Came To Be 

A fan of the Bond books named George Boothroyd wrote Ian Fleming a number of letters and criticized the use of the Beretta. He called it a lady’s gun. The .25 ACP is a bit anemic and is notoriously a poor penetrator. Boothroyd initially advised Fleming that Bond should carry a revolver, but Fleming insisted on a semi-auto. 

The two men settled on a Walther PPK in 7.65 Browning, aka the .32 ACP. It bears mentioning that in the Dr. No novel, Bond gets both a Walther and S&W Centennial. In the film, Dr. No Bond is only issued the PPK, which gets name-dropped in the film. 

The Walther PPK fits well with James Bond. The PPK is sleek and slim, and it has a stylish look to it that certainly lends itself well to the James Bond style and motif. It became a prominent part of the Bond character and has remained cemented in Bond’s legacy. 

Introducing Geoffrey Boothroyd 

Geoffrey Boothroyd is often referred to as a fan or maybe a firearm enthusiast. His knowledge is often undersold, and in reality, Geoffrey Boothroyd was a true firearms expert. He wrote several firearms reference manuals. His first book was published in 1961, and his final book was published in 2004. 

The man knew his stuff. Beyond the Walther PPK, Boothroyd often advised Fleming on weapons in general. From bad guy’s guys to how suppressors work. Ian Fleming created a character named Major Boothroyd, who is described as a firearms expert. Major Boothroyd is the proper name for Bond’s armorer, who goes by the code name Q. 

Forever Intertwined 

Bond and the PPK have become forever intertwined. The PPK is as much a part of Bond’s lore as a shaken martini. It’s interesting to think it was because some gun nut was mildly annoyed enough to write a letter to Ian Fleming to complain. These days, we just do that on the internet, which is probably why Extraction 2 features 0 Condor plate carriers. At least Boothroyd eventually got to become Q, and I’m just some guy still ranting on the internet. 

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.