Shooting the Bond handguns in Switzerland

17 September, 2014

On my way to the Goldfinger Reloaded event in Andermatt, I first make a two day stop in Zürich for an underground mission. Upon arrival in this largest city of Switzerland I meet with a friend who is best described as the Swiss 'Tiger Tanaka', since he is the head of the local ninja organisation of the Bujinkan Zürich Dojo (www.ninja.ch). The Dojo works hard in the traditional japanese martial arts, a Combat Judo similar to the Bond-era Judo and they live the Bond Lifestyle.

Welcome mr Bond

A stylish reception in the hotel room, with compliments of the Swiss 'Tiger Tanaka'

After being received in Bond style at a local hotel, I meet Tanaka and we make our way to an underground shooting range in the center of the town Winterthur (www.naturaktiv.ch).

Tanaka explains that he wants to introduce me to the Bond firearms according to the famous video by Major Boothroyd, so the next time I watch it, I can really feel it to what Major Boothroyd tries to explain to the Bond fans.

After putting on 3M Peltor earmuffs and earplugs, and a brief introduction to gun handling and safety, I am handed a large frame Smith & Wesson Target Revolver in .357 Magnum, but with lighter .38 rounds.

Revolver Shooting Range

S&W Target Revolver in .357 Magnum, long distance shots

He explained that Bond originally in the books carried a large revolver in his car for precise long range shots, as he also carried a small pistol for self defense on him, and that he carried it in a shammy leather holster so it would not wrinkle his suit. The exact model revolver he would have carried we would see later, but for now we would shoot a modern revolver.

Why the James Bond of that era would carry a large revolver was made quite clear to me. The first shots I shot in my life, I fired through a large frame target revolver at 20 meters distance onto a FBI target and hit the target center mass with a grouping of 6 bulletholes in the area of about a hand. That was impressive and probably also due to the fine weapon! Probably exactly the tool for a british professional with a license to kill back in the 1950’s.

Walther P99 PPK Beretta

A nice selection of Bond firearms, including the Beretta and Walther PPK and P99

The swiss Tiger Tanaka then handed me a Beretta .25 and made me fire two magazines downrange at the target 20 meters away. To my surprise only two bullets had hit the target. As we approached the target at a 5 meters distance and engaged it again, I managed to hit it quite well, but the holes were significantly smaller than with the revolver.

Beretta

Close distance Beretta shots

Yes it was easier to conceal the Beretta, however the Beretta .25 would only serve well at a very close distance.

Then the swiss Tiger Tanaka handed me the Walther PPK in 7.65 mm and made me shoot many single shots and double taps from 5 meters, 10 meters and while walking, constantly working on my skills. This truly was the Bond experience and I improved on my shooting scores. He told me about the difference in hitting the target, shooting in combat and making it look good on film. For James Bond movies are maybe the best action movies ever made, but not training guides for actual firearms combat.

Walther PPK

Shooting the Walther PPK (wearing a navy PTI jacket)

He finally introduced me to the Walther P99 in 9mm and we entered the modern age of pistol shooting. A strong caliber for various distances in a elegant pistol package that was easy to use and fits well in a shoulder holster. Shooting this pistol was so much fun!

Walther P99

We spent one hour at the shooting range and used up hundreds of rounds of ammunition. So far it was a good start getting to know the Bond handguns. If I ever wanted to learn about really using one of the guns, then of course the approach and teaching would be a little different.

In the showroom of naturaktiv.ch we had a look at an original Colt New Service revolver that the book Bond kept in his car. This model was chambered for the British .445 Eley Ammunition. It would have been the service weapon of choice for a Commander in the british Navy and Military Intelligence of that era.

Colt New Service Revolver British 445 Eley Ammunition

Colt New Service British .445 Eley Ammunition

Many thanks to the Swiss Tiger Tanaka for this exciting afternoon in the shooting range. It is now quite clear for me, why the original Bond would carry a large revolver in his car and a small pistol under his jacket.


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Comments

.455 Webley not 445 Eley. Eley is a manufacturer of ammunition.
Glad to see you enjoy shooting the P99. It is a fantastic handgun.

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