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The guns of James Bond

Like most chaps, we like to immerse ourselves in the adventures of James Bond. The women, the cars and the guns, wow, what an adventure.

Now while I would happily write about Bonds various encounters with the opposite sex, whether it be his main sidekicks like Jayne Seymour (Solitaire), the numerous femme fatales who make an attempt on his life like Alison Doody (A View to a Kill) or the sacrificial lambs who often befall the most bizarre of deaths like Gemma Arterton (Quantum of Solace)… such a shame. The cars, there is only one for me, the Aston Martin DB5 so that’s an end to that. This is a blog about guns and not GQ or Top Gear magazine.

So, onto the guns.

The most Iconic Bond gun being the Walther PPK (Polizei Pistole Kriminal), however the original Bond was given a Beretta .25 calibre pistol by the original author, Ian Fleming. That is until, the late great firearms expert Geoffrey Bothroyd (An employee of Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI)) wrote to Mr Fleming informing him that the Beretta was a girls gun at best, not befitting a secret agent like Bond. See the footage below from the BBC Archives.

 
 

Ironically, the PPK was originally made for the Nazis during the second world war, so it is unlikely that any secret agent would have ever carried a PPK, we’ll never know though will we.

However from Tomorrow Never Dies until Daniel Craigs first outing in Casino Royale, Bond adopted the larger plastic framed Walther P99, which for me always seemed a budget choice and looked wrong although it was the late 90’s and fashion generally became a little odd in my sartorial opinion. I mean in Tomorrow Never Dies, Bond swapped the Astons for a BMW 750 saloon and a bulbus Ericsson JB988 that acted as a taser and also doubled up as a remote control for the Germanic barge.

The lesser known gun that Mr Boothroyd armed Bond with was the Smith & Wesson M&P revolver which featured sparingly in the eighties. The 80’s was the decade where continuity just seemed to go out the window, the film posters and many stills for Russia with Love featured another pistol manufactured by Walther, the Walther LP53 Air Pistol for christ sake! An oversight by the Bond publicity team and the air pistol was loaned by the photographer, David Hum, who shot air pistol for recreation. Mr Boothroyd would be having kittens at this point I am sure. The actual pistol used in those stills made a whopping £277k at auction in 2010, nearly £300k for an air pistol, the world has gone mad!

What guns can we expect to see Bond wielding in the future? The Walther slimline Walther PPS which features in the 007 novel ‘Carte Blanche’, or will Bond be hauled into public sector procurement rules and be issued with any one of the SIG Sauer range that are now issued to the British Military, maybe the P320 Compact or the P365 Marco.

Back in the days when Mr Boothroyd loaned guns to Mr Fleming, brand/product placement wasn’t really a huge thing like it is now and I wonder how much Walther pay to have the Bond franchise? Product placement is big bucks with the latest film (code named Bond 26) is apparently going to reel in a massive $45m in product placement revenue.

Some products still manage to slip the money grabbing net of modern film making. My favourite Bond film, Skyfall features a double rifle built by a London gunmaking firm, Anderson Wheeler who appear to have ceased trading. The story on how the now iconic 500 nitro express rifle got to feature in the film isn’t fully known, however, the story that I’ve had relayed to me is; the buying team on that film met in London, each of the buyers given a list of things to source and to do it quickly as they were behind schedule. The gentleman given the enviable task of sourcing a double hunting rifle googled ‘gunshops near me’ and fortuitously for Anderson Wheeler they came up first in the list sorted by nearest first, he walked in and purchased the gun for £14k. I know before they ceased trading Anderson Wheeler were doing some odd custom revolvers etc, how on earth they didn’t capitalise on that big screen fame is beyond me.

What guns have I missed? There are plenty including cameo roles by Beretta 92SB, Browning Hi-Power, Browning M1910, Colt Mk IV, Glock 17, HK P7, HK VP9, Taurus PT92, Walther P38, and Walther P5 can you name any more of them?

 

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