The Walther PPK is a German pistol issued to James Bond in the Ian Fleming novel, Dr. No. With the transition to the big screen, the PPK became Bond's primary weapon and was featured from 1962 (Dr. No) to 1997 (Tomorrow Never Dies). In the film Tomorrow Never Dies, the transition was made to the Walther P99, which would be used for the rest of Pierce Brosnan's tenure as Bond.
Although the promotional material for Casino Royale featured the PPK, it was only used during the pre-title fight sequence with Dryden's contact, Fisher. For the rest of the film, Bond would continue to rely on the P99. For 2008's Quantum of Solace, however, the Walther PPK made a welcome return as 007's main sidearm throughout the film. This trend continued in Skyfall (2012), where the spy was provided with a modified Walther PPK/S.
The PPK makes it literary debut in Dr. No, the sixth book in the series. The reason for this change is found in the previous book, From Russia with Love where Bond's Beretta 418 gets caught in his holster. Taking several months to recover from injuries sustained at the end of the earlier book, Bond has his new weapon forced upon him. Although he is initially reluctant to use the weapon, he soon comes to rely on it.
The introduction of the PPK as Bond's favoured weapon came about after firearms expert Geoffrey Boothroyd, a fan of the novels, fired off several helpful letters to author Ian Fleming making helpful suggestions to improve the accuracy of firearms in the novels. Fleming himself had used a Beretta chambered in .25 ACP while serving in Naval Intelligence during World War II, and initially had Bond carry the same weapon. Boothroyd felt the small cartridge was too weak, and suggested Bond carry a larger caliber.
In one extensive letter to Fleming regarding the accuracy of Russian firearms Boothroyd suggested in passing that Bond should carry the German made Walther PPK (Polizei Pistolen Krimminal = Criminal Police Pistol, designed for undercover detectives) as his chosen sidearm. Though not as accurate as some other pistols of the same era the PPK had the great advantage of using the 7.65mm (.32 ACP) cartridge which was readily available all over the world, fitting in with Bond's jet set lifestyle. Thus the PPK entered into Bond folklore and into popular culture as the preferred weapon of the espionage operative.
Fleming was so grateful for Geoffrey Boothroyd's advice on firearms that he named the "Armourer" in Bond novels "Major Boothroyd" - now known as "Q". In the novel Dr No "M" introduces "Major Boothroyd" to 007 as the "greatest small arms expert in the world".
By the time John Gardner took over as Bond novelist, he had retired the PPK. However Raymond Benson reinstated the PPK in his first novel Zero Minus Ten, although it would be replaced in his novelisation of Tomorrow Never Dies by the P99. In the following novels Bond uses both guns: the PPK for undercover work as it is smaller and easier to conceal while he used the P99 for jobs that did not require concealment.
The first film in the EON Bond series is an adaptation of Dr. No, and translates the scene from the novel where Major Boothroyd supplies Bond with his PPK in full (although, while identified on-screen as a PPK and presumably intended as such, the weapon used on screen is the larger Walther PP, the pistol that was the basis for the PPK). With this, the PPK became established as the spy's sidearm of choice, and appeared in almost every Bond film thereafter. The exceptions include Moonraker, where Bond is never seen to use a sidearm (although he is pictured with his usual PPK in artwork for the film, including various DVD covers) and Octopussy, where he uses a Walther P5 because of a request by Walther to promote the then-new pistol. In Tomorrow Never Dies, Bond adopts the then-new Walther P99 as his new sidearm.
Despite the posters and promotional material for Casino Royale featuring the PPK, it was only used during the pre-title fight sequence with Dryden's contact, Fisher. For the rest of the film, Bond would continue to rely on the P99. For 2008's Quantum of Solace, however, the Walther PPK made a welcome return as 007's main sidearm throughout the film. This trend continued in Skyfall (2012), where the spy is provided with a Walther PPK/S, a variant with a longer grip, allowing a larger capacity.
Video game appearances
The Walther PPK appears in the beta version of the 1997 video game GoldenEye 007, but in the release version, the name was changed to the "Wolfram PP7" for trademark reasons, as with all guns in the game. Subsequent video games kept the tradition.
Likely modeled on the Walther PPK, the "pistol" in the 1998 Nintendo Game Boy game James Bond 007 is represented by a blocky handgun sprite. Interestingly, the game's instruction manual describes the weapon as the "Service Revolver", despite clearly depicting it as a PPK-esque semi-automatic handgun. The game's most basic weapon, Bond is first equipped with the pistol in London (and can find it in almost any level afterward). He can carry a maximum of 99 rounds of pistol ammunition, which can be replenished by collecting loot boxes from fallen enemies.
In 007 Legends, the Walther PPK can be unlocked through cheat codes or as a pre-order bonus.
- Throughout the entire film series, the PPK has appeared with its suppressor attached in only six films: From Russia with Love, Thunderball, The Living Daylights, Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies and Spectre. Bond does attach a suppressor to his PPK in Dr. No, however, the gun seen on-screen is a FN Model 1910. A possible reason for this is that the props department couldn’t find a suppressor fitting the PPK.