How Did James Bond Carry His Concealed Firearm, Anyway?

I’m interested in the classic aesthetics of the James Bond series, especially as it has to do with concealed carry. In the classic books by Ian Fleming, bond carries everything from a tiny .25acp Beretta 418 to the single action Colt Service Revolver kept under the dash in his Bentley. In stark contrast to the variety of arms Bond uses in the literary series, the movies keep him true to his .380 acp Walther PPK, until the 1999, when Bond upgrades to the Walther P99.

The PPK ads a suave simplicity to the character, especially as played by Sean Connery. His masculinity doesn’t need an overpowered set of tools for him to succeed. His wits and agility more than make up for the lack of tactical PALS/MOLLE webbing on his suit jacket and high capacity firepower.

At the same time, there are moments in the series where bond’s pistol seems to emerge from nowhere – there is no added weight in his pocket, there are no straps, no holsters – none of the American spy series’ tendency to have a bulge under a coat and a stern knitting of the brow to portend action to come – Bond just gives everyone, good and bad alike his bemused smirk and, when needed, rounds from his little gun. In some movies we see bond in either a Galco Executive shoulder holster. Today Bond carries the Walther P99 in a Vega inside the waistband holster for concealment and easy access.

This contrasts directly with today’s over-geared movie heroes. The question of realism is there – today immediacy of action with overwhelming force results in the least loss of life in the good guys,  but at the same time, deep cover requires something different and more risky. Use of force means that the agent failed in their mission.

Today’s bond, Daniel Craig, carries a 9mm Walther P99 pistol, and hopefully in the next film the PPQ, in an inside the waistband holster – realistic for today’s deep cover needs. The classic Walther PPK becomes the backup gun or sometimes the extreme-deep cover firearm. I still have a fondness for this gun, and believe that it is the right gun for some concealed firearms permit holders without the ability to manage a larger firearm.

Watch Naomi Harris train live fire with the Walter PPK and short barreled M4 variant for the new James Bond film, Skyfall

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