The Bond Walthers
The subject of Bonds personal firearms has in the past become a heated debate, much akin to the ongoing Omega/Rolex debacle. Everyone has their favourites, be it iconic, practical, real or looks alone. In this brief article, I will compare the different Walthers (apart from the P5) that Bond has used extensively, and examine the merits of them as concealed pistols in the real world. I will also point you in the best direction of getting yourself a highly detailed copy, or a deactivated version (this is Britain) of the real thing.
The pictures below show the various Walthers that I'll be looking at. The first is a high end gas operated 6mm BB firing replica made by Maruzen with a Q-Branch suppressor fitted.
The second is a live P99 circa 2004 showing the laser etched logo on the slide which replaced the stamping and was briefly seen in the DBS scene of Casino Royale, it is photographed on top of an inside the waistband Vega holster a seen worn by Bond in Madagascar and the Bahamas.
The third needs no introduction, this is a deactivated Walther PPK with a prop suppressor. It will return in Quantum of Solace.
The fourth is the blank firing or PAK version of the live Walther, this is the pistol used in many of the scenes where you see Bond actually firing the gun. The P99 is actually quite hard to convert to blank firing, so Walther provided PAK's for this.
The last pistol is the Walther PPS, which I thought we would compare, as many of us here think that this would be a more viable option for Bond to carry in the more realstic films we are seeing now.
Many people mourn the passing of the Walther PPK 7.65mm. I do, it was an iconic part of the Bond franchise, and it was Flemings choice of arm for Bond in the novels. The PPK also looks very good, especially with suppressor, and is slim and very easy to conceal. Unfortunately, it is dating a bit these days, the calibre is not as common or as effective as it should be in a weapon were you are encountering more hostile and better armed adversaries. And the magazine capacity is quite low (7 rounds). It still is a good, accurate and reliable little semi, but it belongs in the Fifties and Sixties, where it was more often carried than used. File it away with Connery, the Cold War, Ronsons, Morlands and the DB5.
And so we move on to the Walther P99 in 9mm. A high capacity (16 rounds), light weight, accurate and reliable firearm in service with many Armed Forces, Police Departments and Government sources Worldwide. It is a pistol for the new Millennia, and incorporates modern materials (polymer frame) and ergonomic designing. The problem I have had with Bond being issued the P99 is mainly size. Brosnan could not pull it off at all with that horizontal shoulder rig of his (just look at the Casino scene in TWINE when he reholsters it, the bulge is MASSIVE under his finely cut Brioni). As you can see in these comparison pics of the P99 and PPK side by side, it is an enormous difference in both width, length and height. From left to right: PPK, PPS, P99 compact, P99.
Casino Royale went a long way in addressing this, and Craig with his larger build pulls of concealement admirably, especially when teamed up with the IWB holster behind his right hip. This actually works very well and has alleviated many of my concerns with Bond using the P99. However, I doubt even the use of the IWB and Craigs buff body could conceal it well with a well tailored suit. And for this we have another Walther option - The PPS. The pictures below show the difference in size compared to the P99, PPK, P99c and PPS...
And the PPS compared to the PPK...
The most notable difference between the P99's and the PPK & PPS is in the size of the butt and the width. And this is where the compact PPK and PPS really excel as these are the dimensions of a pistol that are the most important in everyday concealed carry. The PPK & PPS could be worn well in an IWB or in a vertical muzzle up shoulder rig, and not print as much as the full size version, if at all when wearing a suit. The down side compared to the full size P99 16 round mag is the capacity which is reduced to 7 in the PPS and PPK. The PPK suffering even more as the 9mm round is reduced to a considerably less powerful 7.65 cartridge. But to be honest, with the full size P99 I cannot believe that they squeeze such a large amount of ammo(16) in such a small place. You'd think Time Lord science was in use. The only down side with the PPS of course is in looks, it ain't a pretty thing at all, very high tech and futuristic - but it does grow on you, and is actually quite Bondian as the video below shows.
A better choice for Bond in the real world? Most definately. But this is cinema afterall, so I doubt we will ever see it in use. That's OK though, I think the new Bond is very well armed with the P99, it is a superb looking pistol and a iconic piece in it's own right. Pity that Walther had to tinker with it and make it ugly in 2005, the new cosmetic changes are awful. (UPDATE. BOND WILL AGAIN WIELD THE PPK IN QOS).
So, where do you get your mits on these babies? For the real version in the UK, there is only one option - a deactivated version. Worthing Guns is the only place to go for these, and he stocks both PPK's and P99's, but they are expensive, with P99 going for around £595 and PPK's starting at £250, depending on condition. Worthings have a great Bond heritage, having also supplied Bapty for Die Another Day with both live P99's and the more often used blank firing PAK versions (these are now illegal without a section 5 licence or unless deactivated). All P99s that Worthings are importing are the newer versions, post 2005, which look completely different to the older screen used P99's. Screen accurate PAK's are available deactivated from around £299. Deactivated guns are still legal to buy within the UK.
For a cheaper option, look no further than our own AJB007.co.uk forum member, Kevin at Q-Branch. The Maruzen made P99 replica is outstanding and virtually indistinguishable in looks, handling and weight from the real thing. It even field strips like the live version and is without doubt a much better option to go for than the deactivated P99, and it's great fun to shoot too, operating like a live P99, with a sweet trigger pull and fully operating slide that reloads the next round. It is operated by gas, which is inexpensive. This is also now illegal to buy though unless you have a skirmishers licence. Shown below is the Maruzen with Q-Branch silencer.
The cost is around 130 from Kevin for the Maruzen version, but that is not all. Kevin also makes a very good replica of the Casino Royale suppressor for £65, and after receiving one myself recently, have to say that it is 100% accurate to the film version. The adapter is 18.95. You can also upgrade the barrel to a steel version (recommended) that will allow you to take the suppressor on and off regularly and result in the BB's feeding perfectly every time (the pastic barrel is really just for display when used with the suppressor as the threads are fragile).
For £300 you can get a large hard case, gas, BB's, adapter, suppressor, shoulder holster and extra back strap. If you want to go the full route, Kevin also supplies a superb deluxe Walther velvet lined hard case for £145 with combo lock. He also sells the PPK and suppressor kit, and is working on the chrome version, along with various suppressors accurate to the previous films.
At those prices with all the kit you get from Q-branch, you could buy the full P99 conversion and PPK kits for less than a deac P99. Bargain!!!
And just so my beloved ASP isn't overlooked in the Bondian scheme of things, you'll be surprised to hear that it is almost the same size in all dimensions as the PPS. And to the P99, it is considerably smaller in every way - quite a considerable difference in length and width, both 9mm's too. See, Gardner got something right.
Remember this is a pistol developed in the 1970's when sub-compact handguns were unheard of. Truly a pistol well ahead of it's time.
For more details of the design and the concept behind the Asp, go here:http://asp2000.webeden.co.uk/
So there you have it, Bond will be going back, it seems to the Walther PPK inQuantum of Solace, so does that mean that the P99 won't be seen onscreen again in Bond's hands? Will he get 'real' and use the PPS? We'll find out in November.
For those of you who collect props from the films, the pistols are a rare item indeed. Christies did sell some from the Bapty archive in 2006, including PPK's PAK P99's and P99 live fire versions that had been deactivated. Many rubber stunts also made it onto the collectors market and some could be found on Ebay for a while. Unfortunately as the new VCR Act grips the UK, we will probably never see anymore gun related props become available again, as most of them now are deemed illegal to buy or sell. Whether within the UK or abroad. As 99% of these props are located in the UK, they will remain the property of the armourers and studio.
Below are pictures of the actual prop P99's used in Casino Royale, and from top to bottom are: stunt rubber P99, stunt P99 in Vega holster, PAK P99 and silencer, and live Walther P99 used for close-ups. Pictures courtesy of Bond Props.
stunt rubber P99 used in Casino Royale - picture courtesy of Bond Props
stunt P99 in Vega holster used in Casino Royale - picture courtesy of Bond Props
PAK P99 and silencer used in Casino Royale - picture courtesy of Bond Props
live Walther P99 used for close-ups in Casino Royale - picture courtesy of Bond Props
© 2008 Jonathan (aka ASP9mm)
All copyrights for products, logos, images etc are held by their respective owners. Bond Lifestyle is not responsible for these articles, please take any queries up with the author.