Guns of the Silver Screen: V21N8

By Kyle Shea

My Name is PPK ... Walther PPK: James Bond’s Favorite Gun

From “Dr. No” to “You Only Live Twice,” the first man to portray James Bond in films was Sean Connery. He was so popular as the character that he returned twice to play him after the last group of movies; first in “Diamonds Are Forever” then again in “Never Say Never Again.” In total, Sean Connery starred in seven Bond movies, the same number that Roger Moore starred in as Bond. Roger Moore played Bond after “Diamonds Are Forever,” and returned to play Bond from “Live and Let Die” to “A View to a Kill.” Both actors have their fans who say they are the best Bond, and many of their movies are fan favorites.

In almost all the Sean Connery and Roger Moore Bond movies, the same type of gun was used. The Walther PPK is as iconic to Bond as a “Martini, shaken, not stirred.” Developed by Walther in 1931, the PPK was one of a few variants of the Walther PP pistol. It was designed for concealment, making it ideal for spies and assassins. In fact, this gun has a very interesting history. Adolf Hitler used the same model to kill himself in a bunker just as the Soviets were closing in. Elvis Presley had a PPK that was silver-finished, with the inscription “TCB” (Taking Care of Business) engraved in the handle. Park Chung-hee, president and military general who seized control of South Korea by a coup, was killed by an assassin using the PPK. It saw service in World War II, being used by the German army and the police.

The PPK actually stands for “Polizei Pistole Kurz” (Police Pistol Short). It is a very popular gun with police forces around the world and is popular with civilians as well (along with Bond fans). It uses a 9-round magazine that usually holds 7.65x17mm (.32 acp) ammunition, though there are some variants that use 9x17mm Short (.380 acp) and .22LR. It is a small gun, with the length being about 6.1 inches and the weight being about 1.5 pounds. This pistol also inspired other gun designs, including the Soviet Makarov.

There were two PPK Pistols used in the Connery and Moore films. The first was accompanied by a fake suppressor and was supposedly in all the Sean Connery films. The second PPK was used in later Connery films and in most Moore films; however, in “Never Say Never Again,” there was a problem with the PPK, so a Walther P5 was used. The P5 is a far more modern pistol and has been adopted by a few American police forces. It uses an 8-round magazine and can be obtained in several calibers; 9x19mm to 7.65x22mm (.30 Luger) rounds. The P5 is not as iconic as the PPK and does not have as interesting a history, but is still a good firearm.

There are too many scenes that show 007 with the Walther PPK to mention. My personal favorites of the Bond movies so far are “Goldfinger” and “The Man with the Golden Gun.” The first is about 007 being sent to spy on the wealthy billionaire Auric Goldfinger. The film is famous for the lines, “Do you expect me to talk?” “No, Mister Bond, I expect you to die,” as well as the character Oddjob, Goldfinger’s henchman. The second movie has the famous assassin Francisco Scaramanga, played by the outstanding Christopher Lee, and his assistant Nick Nack. “Goldfinger” is the classic that almost everyone considers to be the best Bond film, while “The Man with the Golden Gun” has a mixed reputation, with some claims that there is too much comedy. I personally love both movies and recommend both.

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V21N8 (October 2017)
and was posted online on August 18, 2017


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