WHEN PIERCE BROSNAN GAVE UP the role of James Bond after four films (the last two even he has a hard time telling apart) the series had become quite formulaic and the last one nearly descended into the ultra-quippy camp of the later Roger Moore movies, laden with increasingly ridiculous spy gadgets (the invisible car may have been the tipping point) and scenarios. However, Die Another Day had its moments and depicted Bond in situations that would be mimicked in the Craig era.
After a four-year hiatus, Bond returned to the big screen with a very different feel, tone, and a very different man holding that license to kill.
Daniel Craig faced a lot of derision when it was announced he’d be the next Bond, mostly, of all reasons, because he was blonde. While the previous Bonds had dark hair, Roger Moore was pretty fair-haired in a few of his Bond flicks, so I never really understood this. But it was a pervasive thing in entertainment media during the run up to Casino Royale‘s release.
Concerns were ultimately unfounded and Craig filled out Bond’s tux just fine while being a better fit for modern action sequences than any of his predecessors. He brought the character, which his portrayals endeavored to make more complex and nuanced, into a new era, one that has continued into the 2020s.
Craig’s portrayal was another stab at what Dalton’s Bond was intended to be, a more hard-boiled and realistic version of the secret agent, something closer to what was found in Fleming’s better works. The new, more grim, more haunted Bond also reflected the popularity of the Jason Bourne movies since Bond’s last appearance, which some hailed as the new, modern Bond.
Even though Judi Dench reprises her role as M, the 21st Bond film represents a reboot for the series and follows the character, who has recently been promoted to “00” status, on his first assignment to participate in a high stakes poker game involving a banker who launders money for criminal organizations. (In the novel of the same name, which is also the first Bond novel, the game in question is Baccarat, but Texas Hold ‘Em poker tournaments were extremely popular in 2006. The book had not yet been made into a canon film, but was the basis for a spoof film during the Connery era)
As an interesting bit of trivia, the film was directed by Martin Campbell, who also directed Pierce Brosnan’s first Bond movie, Goldeneye.
With the fresh start, the new Bond also carries updated gear, no longer always opting for the discreet shoulder holster.
Casino Royale (2006)
Craig continues carrying the pistol used by Brosnan’s Bond, opening the film in a black-and-white flashback sequence that shows him using a Walther P99 fitted with a suppressor.
Though it’s tough to tell, he also uses a PPK in the opening sequence, paying tribute to both of Bond’s signature handguns right off the bat. He picks it up and fires the shot at the camera at the end of the fight in the bathroom, which then becomes the new gun barrel shot leading into the film’s opening credit sequence.
In the film’s opener, Bond is tracking down a bomb maker in the hot climate of Nambutu, and is only wearing a short-sleeve buttondown shirt and pants, so no shoulder holster.
Bond’s partner screws up and gives them away to their mark, forcing Bond to draw his pistol and chase the bomb-maker through the town. Unfortunately, the bomb-maker, Malika, is also adept at parkour and leads Bond on a serious foot chase.
For this assignment, Bond carries his P99 in a Vega IB339 inside-the-waistband holster on pants that don’t appear to include a belt, showing that this new Bond is definitely using up-to-date gear based on real world products.
When Bond breaks into the Nambutu ambassador’s offices during the chase, he finds a Browning Hi-Power Mark III pistol from a drawer. When Bond is confronted in the yard, he engages the pistol’s manual safety before dropping it to the ground. Little did the bad guys know, Bond still had his P99 in its holster, which he uses to kill the bomb-maker, blow up a propane tank, and escape.
Heckler & Koch UMP-9
In what became the Craig version of Bond’s signature long gun, he uses an H&K UMP-9 with a suppressor for the first time during the film’s coda. Craig would go on to be shown in the poster for his second Bond film with the same gun, for once not being shown with his signature pistol, whether that be a PPK or a P99.
Gun Barrel Shot – Walther PPK
As I mentioned earlier, Bond uses a Walther PPK in the flashback bathroom fight scene in the film’s opening sequence, which is a nice nod to Bonds of the past, all of whom besides Brosnan carried the PPK through the majority of their movies. Craig is holding a PPK in his first “gun barrel” shot beginning the title sequence. He picks the pistol up in the bathroom and uses it to complete his first kill during the prologue.
Quantum of Solace (2008)
Oddly enough, after debuting as Bond using the Walther P99, which Brosnan established as the character’s new preferred sidearm, Craig switched back to the rather antiquated Walther PPK for his second go as 007, which hadn’t been used in the series since Goldeneye.
All in all, this movie seemed to try for a less realistic approach and had a stronger focus on aesthetics.
He carries the PPK and loses it while free-falling from a crashing plane, as Bond is wont to do. He is later seen using another PPK at the end of the film. The switch back to the PPK from the P99 is never explained.
While escaping from his arrest int he hotel elevator in Bolivia, Bond takes a SIG-Sauer P226 from another agent and uses it to raid the Perla de las Dunas. He eventually loses the pistol when Dominic Greene attacks him during the hotel fire.
Limited Edition SIG P210
Bond also uses another SIG pistol, this time a rather special one.
He picks up a SIG P210 with gold inlayed engraving from General Medrano’s room while attempting to rescue Camille.
He uses the pistol to blow up a hydrogen fuel cell to create an escape route from a burning room. The pistol is one commemorating the 50th anniversary of the P49’s use in the Swiss Army (1949-1999). Only 500 were made.
Heckler & Koch UMP-9
The first gun Bond uses in the movie, in a continuation of the ending in Casino Royale, is a Heckler & Koch UMP-9 in 9mm.
He uses the submachine gun, this time unsuppressed, during the pre-title car chase, when he dispatches the last of Mr. White’s gunmen.
Though he doesn’t use it in this film, Bond is shown in promotional materials holding the suppressed version of the UMP-9.
A number of correlations can be drawn between Brosnan’s Die Another Day and Skyfall. Die begins with Bond actually getting captured by the North Koreans after he is betrayed by an unknown entity (this is a first, and also the first time we see James Bond with long hair and a beard). He is held for some time, several months at least, and tortured in various ways and kept weak by being regularly stung by scorpions. He is exchanged for a UK-held North Korean prisoner after a false report reaches M saying Bond has cracked and is giving over sensitive information.
Bond is therefore persona non grata at MI-6 and must lash out on his own to find out who betrayed him and get back his reputation. He has to use some unconventional weapons and even goes to a secret alternate underground MI-6 headquarters where he’s evaluated at a futuristic firing range. (This entry really isn’t so bad until the final act, when everything just gets too absurd to enjoy. We even get what starts as a fencing duel, but explodes into a genuine old school swashbuckling battle between Bond and the villain Gustav Graves.)
Unfortunately, that’s where Q gives him his invisible Aston Martin, after taking a nostalgic tour through some of the older Bond gadgets.
In Skyfall, Bond returns from his injuries after being shot and falling off a bridge in the prologue. Add in a lengthy bit of alcohol-laden recuperation and Bond is a bit off his game and not on the best terms with MI-6. He has to prove he’s still able to perform as a 00, being evaluated at a firing range. He also visits an alternate, subterranean MI-6 headquarters after the main building is destroyed by a bomb. However, it doesn’t suffer from the same problems as Die and has one of the more awesome endings of any Bond movie.
In his third potrayal of James Bond, Craig again carries the Walther PPK, showing that the change of sidearm wasn’t a temporary one, and the character had indeed regressed to a pistol original made in 1935.
However, one of the PPKs he uses is a bit different.
The first PPK, which Bond uses during the opening train sequence, appears to be the same as he used in the previous movie.
Walther PPK with Smart Grip
Later, when Bond returns to what’s left of MI-6, he’s issued a new pistol by Q, now played by Ben Whishaw, who refers to it as a “Walther PPK/S, nine-millemeter short.”
The PPK/S was developed as a “sporting” version of the handgun that would comply with rules established by the Gun Control act of 1968, which banned the importation of pistols and revolvers not meeting certain dimensions and not exhibiting certain “sporting” features.
Walther combined the older PP’s frame with the PPK’s barrel and slide to create a gun that weighed slightly more than the PPK to garner enough points for importation.
Manufacture of the PPK/S began under license in the U.S. in 1983 and was distributed by Interarms.
The version currently manufactured by Walther Arms in Fort Smith, Arkansas has been modified (by Smith & Wesson) by incorporating a longer grip tang (S&W calls it “extended beaver tail”). The PPK/S is made of stainless steel. The PPK/S’s magazine also holds an additional round, for a capacity of eight, and is available in .32 ACP or .380 ACP. Another version is also offered in .22LR with a 10-round capacity.
Not only that, but this new pistol is also equipped with smart gun technology that reads the shooter’s palm print and only allows Bond to fire it—something we also saw on the Camera gun from the Dalton era.
Bond loses this gun in Macau and carries a standard PPK afterward, which is later used by M in the big finale at the Skyfall Lodge where Bond was raised when Sylvia’s men attack. When M fires the PPK, she remembers what a bad shot she is.
Percussion Cap Ardesa 1871 Dueling Pistol
When Bond finally confronts former MI-6 agent Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem) on an island, Silva forces him to use a reproduction Percussion Cap Ardesa 1871 Dueling Pistol to shoot a shot glass off a woman’s head, knowing that Bond’s nerves aren’t as steady as they once were since his return.
Though Bond doesn’t shoot her, it doesn’t turn out well for the woman.
A number of characters in Skyfall use Glock 17 pistols, but this movie represents the first time Bond himself ever uses one of the Austrian semi-autos on screen.
Silva and his henchmen use them during the inquiry board shootout while disguised as police officers and it’s the standard sidearm of the SCO19 Firearms Officers and armed police during the attack.
Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes) and Eve (Naomie Harris) also use G17s during the same attack, picked up from fallen officers.
Bond uses one of the bad guys’ G17s on Silvia’s island after the set up with the dueling pistols.
Anderson Wheeler 500 NE Double Rifle
When Sliva’s men assault Skyfall Lodge, Bond is forced to raid what remains in the home’s gun cabinets for defensive firearms. He uses his late father’s Anderson Wheeler Double Rifle chambered in .500 Nitro Express at the outset of the attack.
Anderson Wheeler is a well known British gunmaker that produces luxury rifles and shotguns, many in dangerous game calibers.
In an amusing bit of Hollywoodness, Bond depicts the powerful rifle as having about the same recoil as his PPK. He casually discards the one-of-a-kind rifle when he runs out of shells, as Bond is wont to do.
Heckler & Koch HK416 D10RS
During the assault on Skyfall Lodge, Silva’s men use Heckler & Koch HK416 assault rifles. And, because this is a Bond movie, that means 007 will invariably take out a bad guy and use his gun.
During the assault, as the house burns, Bond uses two different HK416 rifles after disarming multiple bad guys in the same scene.
For the 24th entry and Daniel Craig’s fourth turn as 007, he again carries a Walther PPK as his sidearm of choice, apparently never to update his EDC to a modern handgun again.
The gun is also used by Mr. White (Jesper Christensen) and Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux).
Heckler & Koch VP9
Marking the popular pistol’s first appearance on the big screen, the SPECTRE bad guys use Heckler & Koch VP9 9mm striker-fired pistols as their primary firearm. This, of course, means Bond eventually uses one that he picks up off a downed bad guy.
He most notably uses it to engage SPECTRE operatives outside the Hofner Clinic while in his black arctic getup. Images from this sequence were widely publicized before the movie’s release, leading some to speculate Bond had ditched his PPK for a VP9, but it was not the case, though he does carry it through a decent portion of the film. He also uses the gun inside the old MI-6 building.
Though he doesn’t really use it, Bond handles a SIG-Sauer P226R when he hands it to Madeleine, who then displays her familiarity with firearms by quickly unloading the pistol. Bond correctly identifies the pistol as a “SIG 226” in the dialogue, but the pistol is not seen again in the movie.
Glock 17 (FAB Defense KPOS Glock to Carbine Conversion)
During the film’s opening sequence set in Mexico City, Bond uses a Glock 17 pistol fitted with a FAB Defense KPOS Carbine Conversion kit. The kit, as depicted in the movie, includes a folding stock, a vertical foregrip, folding iron sights, and a laser / illuminator similar to an ATPIAL, in addition to a suppressor attached to the muzzle.
The laser device is also depicted as have laser microphone capabilities. This marks the second time Bond has used a Glock on screen. He used a G17 during a scene in Skyfall.
Czech Small Arms Sa vz. 58 Compact
During the sequence set at SPECTRE’s desert compound, Bond picks up a bad guy’s CSA Sa vz. 58 Compact, an AK-platform carbine chambered in 5.56 NATO.
He fires it on the run with the stock folded, and then opens the stock, shoulders the gun, and grips it by the magazine with his support hand to hit a target at range.
Steyr AUG A3
Though he doesn’t use it, Bond picks up a Steyr AUG A3 bullpup rifle fitted with an electronic scope of some kind and examines it while in Q’s underground laboratory.
And that brings us up to date for Mr. Bond and Mr. Craig. Though many thought Spectre would be his last go-round based on interviews after the movie’s release, he is indeed starring in a 26th as-yet-to-be-titled James Bond film set for release in 2019, likely returning with his trusty PPK concealed in a shoulder holster beneath an immaculately tailored tuxedo.
No Time to Die (2020)
UPDATE 3/4/20: It looks like we have to wait a bit longer than we thought for the latest James Bond installment. This story from deadline.com says the April release date has been pushed to Nov. 25 so that the film’s box office performance isn’t impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak.
Craig brings Bond into yet another new decade with the upcoming No Time To Die, and as Craig is getting older, Bond is too. This installment finds Bond having left active service and trying to chill a bit, when Felix Leiter from the CIA shows up asking for Bond’s help with a mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist. Of course, everything turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, and Bond ends up on the trail of a mysterious new villain armed with a dangerous new technology.
The fresh new trailer is above. Some Bond trivia: this release will make Daniel Craig the longest tenured James Bond, and the only actor to portray the character across three decades.
And as far as the name goes, we’re starting to see a sort of theme in Bond titles though—and maybe it tells a story?
There’s no time to die, because you can always die another day, and tomorrow never dies—besides, you only live twice in the living daylights—and as they say, live and let die.
Hmmmm. Maybe not.
Walther PPK and H&K MP7
From the first trailer to be released, we’ve seen a few guns, and we know that Bond uses a few different firearms so this should be a pretty action heavy installment. However, I didn’t see a single handgun in the entire trailer.
But we got a glimpse of some of them in the character posters that have been released.
Bond is back with his all black Walther PPK pistol, as per usual, along with a thigh holster that looks way too big for the little semi-auto. We also see that Ana de Armas is carrying the same pistol as Paloma only with a black frame and a stainless slide. In her other hand, she’s holding a Heckler & Koch MP7 submachine gun.
In another shot, we see Bond firing a compact AR fitted with a suppressor and an EOTech sight as he navigates a hallway. We also see him with the AR in another shot where we can clearly see a short, quad-rail handguard with a sling swivel hanging un-used.
In another quick shot, we see Bond firing a 40mm underbarrel launcher mounted on what looks like another compact AR, this one with folding iron sights and an A2 style flash hider.
Aston Martin Miniguns
It also appears that the ol’ Aston Martin hasn’t lost a step either. We see Bond taking a cover off of it in a garage and then, near the end of the trailer, he deploys a couple of miniguns from behind the headlights as the bulletproof car is being shot to hell by a circle of bad guys, and then proceeds to do a donut while firing the machine guns, annihilating the group.
It’s kind of tough to see in the trailer, but I do believe newcomer to the Double-0 ranks, Nomi (Lashana Lynch), is rocking a Heckler & Koch MP7 submachine gun with the stock extended and a red dot on top, possibly the same MP7 Ana de Armas is holding in the poster.
The MP7 is officially classified as a PDW (Personal Defense Weapon) and is chambered for the proprietary HK 4.6x30mm cartridge, the latter of which has been in production since 1989. The MP7 was first produced in 2001 and meant to compete with the FN P80. SInce its introduction, the sub gun has been updated as the MP7A1 and the MP7A2.
A 20-, 30-, or 40-round magazine can be accepted in the pistol grip magwell. A 20-round mag is comparable in size to a 15-round 9mm mag. It has a cyclic rate of 950 rounds per minute and is quite lightweight thanks to a liberal use of polymer parts.
Short Barreled vz. 58
There looks to be a new Bond Villain who goes by the name of Safin (Remi Malek) and is seen wearing a Phantom of the Opera type mask over a strangely scarred face along with an all black, cut down vz. 58 in 7.62x39mm with a side-folding stock.
The rifle was designed and manufactured in Czechoslovakia in the 1950s. While it may look like an AK variant (and had me fooled at first), it has a completely different design based on a short-stroke gas piston and shares no parts with any AK-47 firearms, and that includes magazines.
Three main versions of the rifle were made, including the vz. 58 V (airborne model), which had a side-folding stock. It’s likely this was the base firearm for what Safin is using in the movie.
The rifle entered service in 1958 and over the next quarter century, over 920,000 were produced and fielded by Czechoslovakia, Cuba, and several Asian and African nations.