One of the most iconic pistols is the Walther PPK, the handgun of choice of the world’s most famous fictional spy, James Bond.
In an age of modern, high-capacity handguns, the Walther PPK may seem old-fashioned at first. However, in Walther’s own words, this timeless handgun is one of the most sought-after concealed carrying weapons, with over 90 years of history. Here’s what makes the PPK special and why this iconic pistol is still in production today.
The Walther PPK is part of the PP pistol series (Polizeipistole - Police Pistol in German) designed by Carl Walther GmbH in 1929. All PP pistols and their derivatives are blowback-operated, double action/single action (DA/SA) pistols with a fixed barrel, a slide-mounted manual safety lever, and a single-stack magazine.
Numerous law enforcement agencies adopted the original full-size PP in Germany starting in 1930, using it as their standard service pistol.
The PPK (Polizeipistole Kriminal - Criminal (Agency) Police Pistol) is a backup gun/concealed-carrying version featuring a shorter barrel, slide, grip, and an appropriately smaller magazine.
Most PPK pistols were produced in .32 ACP (known as 7.65mm Browning in Europe). Variants in alternative chamberings were also made, including .380 ACP and the rare and valuable .25 ACP version.
Although the PPK was initially designed for the Kriminalamt, a German criminal investigation agency, it became more popular than its full-size equivalent. It saw worldwide adoption by police and military agencies, including select police departments in the United States, such as the Kentucky State Police.
Specifications (original PPK by Walther)
Chamberings: .32 ACP (most common), .380 ACP, .25 ACP.
Overall length: 6.1”
Height: 3.8” with flush-fit magazine inserted
Barrel length: 3.3”
Weight: 22.4 oz. with empty magazine
Capacity: 7+1 (.32 ACP), 6+1 (.380 ACP), 9+1 (.25 ACP)
Walther PP (original full-size pistol from which the PPK is descended)
Walther PPK/S (PPK barrel and slide mated to full-size PP frame, offers a compromise of concealability and grip size/capacity, developed to comply with the importation requirements of the Gun Control Act of 1968)
Walther PPK/S22 (PPK/S chambered in .22 Long Rifle)
Walther PPK/L (PPK with a lightweight aluminum frame, replacing the original steel frame)
History as James Bond’s Gun
The .32 ACP version of the Walther PPK is the preferred weapon of James Bond (007). In the original novel series, Bond started carrying the iconic pistol in Dr. No, promptly replacing his previous service pistol, a .25 ACP Beretta 418, following a specific incident.
In the novel, the incident involved the suppressed Beretta remaining stuck in Bond’s holster, whereas the 1962 movie stated it jammed. In both cases, M, Bond’s boss and the head of the MI-6, issues him with a more reliable and more powerful pistol than his old .25 Beretta: the .32-caliber (7.65mm) Walther PPK.
The issuance of the PPK in the movie had Major Boothroyd (also known as Q, the codename for MI-6’s quartermaster) describing it with this now iconic movie line: “Walther PPK. 7.65 mil with a delivery like a brick through a plate-glass window.”
Since this iconic moment in Dr. No, all six 007 incarnations have carried the Walther PPK in the official EON Productions movies (25 as of April 2022), with only a few exceptions:
Although the PPK appears in Roger Moore’s hands in the opening, he carries the then-new Walther P5 for the movie’s duration, as Walther was promoting the pistol.
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
After meeting with Wai Lin (portrayed by Michelle Yeoh), Bond (Pierce Brosnan) equips himself with the newer polymer-framed Walther P99, chambered in 9x19mm. (“Ahh, the new Walther. I asked Q to get me one of these.”) The P99 stays as Bond’s primary weapon for the remaining Brosnan movies, in The World is Not Enough (1999) and Die Another Day (2002)
Casino Royale (2006)
Although the P99 is Bond’s primary weapon once again, this is the pistol’s last appearance. However, Daniel Craig briefly uses the PPK in the pre-title fight scene against Agent Fisher.
Following Casino Royale, the PPK returns in 007’s hands in all the subsequent Daniel Craig movies: Quantum of Solace (2008), Skyfall (2012), Spectre (2015), and No Time to Die (2021).
The PPK Today
As of April 2022, you may be surprised to know that Walther continues to produce PPK exclusively for the U.S. civilian market. Current-production PPK and PPK/S pistols are only available in .380 ACP, featuring a capacity of 6 rounds in the magazine (7 rounds for the PPK/S) plus one in the chamber. Both pistols have an MSRP of $849. If you find yourself as a spy or just regularly carrying a Walther PPK be sure to check out our holsters here.
As concealed carrying pistols, neither the PPK nor the PPK/S are the best choices, especially when numerous newer, higher capacity, and more powerful alternatives are available. However, the PPK offers a unique shooting experience that only pistols with such a classic design can offer. Here are a few reasons why the James Bond gun may still be a worthwhile choice:
The PPK is reliable and accurate
Although it possesses small, fixed, non-adjustable sights, a Walther PPK in the hands of a competent shooter is an accurate weapon, capable of printing tight groups at typical self-defense distances (0-15 yards), thanks to its fixed barrel. It is also well-known for its reliability, designed to function well even when fed with dirty ammunition or fired in adverse conditions.
Whether you are shooting high-quality self-defense ammo or military surplus steel-cased ammo, the PPK will fire and shoot to the point of aim at up to 25 yards.
The PPK is well-balanced and low-recoiling
The Walther PPK is a classic DA/SA handgun designed in an era of steel frames and wood grips. In other words, it is rather heavy for a pistol of its class: about 22.4 oz. (1.4 lbs.) with an empty magazine.
However, this relatively high weight comes with an advantage: it helps absorb the already relatively tame recoil of a .380 cartridge, making it easy to shoot and practice at the range.
The PPK is James Bond’s gun
Let’s face it; gun enthusiasts don’t consider the Walther PPK purely for its practicality. The PPK may be an older, heavier, lower-capacity design chambered in a less-powerful cartridge. But it is also a handgun with a timeless design and an enduring association with one of the most recognizable fictional characters ever created. The PPK is simply a cool gun, as cool as James Bond.
The American People Swear By Our Holsters
Whether you want to feel like 007 or simply enjoy the PPK for what it is, you’ll want to carry it in a quality holster. We The People Holsters has a wide selection of IWB and OWB holsters, ideal for everyday concealed carry.
Browse our selection, choose one of our Kydex or leather holsters, and carry your PPK as confidently as Bond.