The ASP 9mm - A Real Life Novelty of James Bond
More than just a simple novelty in James Bond's arsenal is the ASP, which replaced his famous Walther PPK as his favorite sidearm during the later 1980s novels written by John Gardner and up through the mid 1990s novels GoldenEye and Cold.
The ASP 9mm pistol was a custom made handgun designed and built by legendary gunsmith Paris Theodore, owner of Seventrees, Ltd., a custom gun leather shop in New York from 1975 to 1987. Theodore was also a designer of numerous other gadget like fire arms. The ASP was a customized Smith & Wesson Model 39 pistol that was cut down and heavily modified with over 250 changes. It featured clear Lexan grips and skeletonized magazines, allowing the shooter to quickly see how much ammunition remained during the heat of battle. It had a rounded off hammer, no front sight, a thorough smoothing of all edges and a Dupont Teflon coated finish for snag free draws from concealment which is perfect for the tuxedo wearing spy. The sight system on the ASP is called a "guttersnipe" sight, which resembles a half pipe in its geometry that the shooter looks though, funneling their aim directly down towards the target. Built to very tight custom tolerances, it also was designed to feed any type of 9mm ammo without jamming, so that any 9mm ammo procured in the field could be used.
The company Armament Systems Procedures (ASP) ended up adopting Theodore's design and building the pistols for commercial consumption, though only approximately two thousand examples were ever produced. The ASP was the inspiration for later innovations made in the development of concealable handguns. A notable example was Smith and Wesson's own model 3913.
Recently a group of people received the original patents for the ASP 9mm and are attempting to bring it back in the form of a customized Smith and Wesson model 39-13.
New ASP, based on Smith & Wesson 39-13 - Picture courtesy of www.asp9mm.com
The ASP is virtually an ideal pistol for James Bond since it was specifically tailored for the purpose of conceal carry as well as tactical combat. The ASP's real life history affirms it's portrayal in the Bond novels as well since it was originally created under special request of the FBI for use by their undercover agents during the 1970s. Even today the ASP is still considered by some firearm experts and connoisseurs to be the pinnacle of deep cover hand guns.
Q would be proud. In fact, legend has it that Paris Theodore himself once remarked "I was Q!"
© 2011 E. ODonnell
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