The Handguns of Ian Fleming’s James Bond

Ian Fleming posing with a S&W Centennial

Ian Fleming posing with a S&W Centennial © Dan Wynn

In the world of 1950’s fiction, Ian Fleming’s use of firearms in his novels was unusual. Fleming’s contemporaries identified guns by generic terms like “.38″ or “.45″ and on occasion offered more detailed descriptions such as “small automatic” or “large revolver”. Hoping to add realism to his writing, Fleming took the innovative step of actually naming the models of guns used by his characters.

Fleming initially drew upon his own considerable experience and observations, acquired during World War Two as a high level member of British Naval Intelligence. However, like many people with little more than a passing interest in firearms, Fleming’s knowledge of model numbers, caliber and cartridges was not detailed. Always the good journalist, Fleming did check the details in his work with outside sources. For his first novel Casino Royale Fleming consulted London Gunsmith Robert Churchill who corrected the spelling of “Beretta”.

Eventually, Fleming’s attention to detail drew the interest of firearms enthusiast Geoffrey Boothroyd. In a 1956 letter to Fleming, Boothroyd was critical of Bond’s favorite pistol, the .25 Beretta. Impressed by the expertise imparted in Boothroyd’s fan letter, Fleming decided to re-arm his secret agent using Boothroyd’s recommendations as guidelines. Soon after, as the Bond books gained in readership all the detail Fleming provided caused him additional criticism from armchair firearms “experts” who would often jealously characterize him as a bungler.

The following will accurately describe 007’s guns, and clarify some common misconceptions regarding the handguns used by the literary James Bond.

1. “ALL CATS ARE GREY”

James Bond begins his literary adventures on June 15, 1951 (*1), when after a long day of gambling, he leaves the Casino Royale and strolls through its gardens to the Hotel Splendide. Picking up the key to Room 45, Bond quietly walks up to the threshold of his room, unlocks the door and in one fluid motion draws a “gun” and turns on the room light. The empty room “sneers” at him. Later, when Bond slides between the harsh French sheets on his ornate bed he places his right hand on a “Colt Police Positive .38 with a sawn barrel.” He immediately falls to sleep. While Bond’s Police Positive makes its first and only appearance at the end of this first chapter in Casino Royale, this revolver sets the stage for the iconic Bond guns which follow.

What does it mean that the barrel of Bond’s Colt is “sawn”? In this case it appears that Bond wanted to make the revolver shorter and more concealable. The standard barrel on the Police Positive was either four or six inches long. Once shortened, the Police Positive is less likely to snag on a holster, pocket or other clothing during the draw. The barrel on Bond’s Colt would likely have been carefully cut just forward of the ejector rod located underneath and parallel with the barrel. The end result would give Bond’s gun a final barrel length of from two and a quarter to two and one half inches.

Having “sawn” the barrel, Bond would have also removed the front sight. Bond could consider installing a new sight. However, this would require elaborate gunsmithing, and Fleming makes no mention of any such work. Since James Bond frequently employs the point shooting technique as taught to British Commandos during World War Two (*2), the lack of a front sight would not seriously affect Bond’s work with his Colt. The point or “instinctive” shooting technique as used by the Commandos teaches that for close shooting the entire pistol is indexed on the target in the shooter’s peripheral vision, the sights were not used.

Since Fleming could have provided Bond with a factory “snub-nose” it would appear his choice to arm 007 with the “sawn” barreled Colt was intended to establish his Secret Agent as a deadly gunman, serious enough about his weapons to take the time and trouble to customize them.

2. “A WHISPER OF LOVE, A WHISPER OF HATE”

An Unaltered .25 Beretta

An Unaltered .25 Beretta

Of all Bond’s guns it is the infamous .25 Beretta which generates the most controversy and confusion. Much is made over Major Boothroyd’s description of the .25 Beretta as an underpowered “fancy looking” ladies gun. This criticism must have interested Fleming who personally carried a very similar FN/Browning .25 automatic during his service in World War Two*3. The .25 is the smallest of all common center fire pistol cartridges. Typically fired from small short barreled automatics, its low velocity and light weight bullet make it a ballistic “wimp”.

Bond’s favorite weapon is first mentioned in Chapter 8 of Casino Royale. Opening a dresser drawer Bond removes “a very flat .25 Beretta automatic with a skeleton grip” from under his shirts. Once in hand he performs a quick check-out, removing the clip, then the cartridge in the chamber. After the Beretta is unloaded Bond “whips” the action a few times. In later books Bond will pump the cartridges in the loaded gun out onto his bed cover. This drill is Bond’s way of making sure his sidearm is in perfect working order.

It is established in Dr. No that Bond began using the Beretta in 1941*4. Since his last “new” Beretta was acquired no later than 1953, Bond’s .25 would have been of the type which in 1937 was designated the Model 418. In Diamonds Are Forever Fleming provides a detailed description of the modifications Bond has made to his Beretta. Up to this point we know only that Bond has removed the grip panels from the frame of the Beretta. This provides the famous “skeleton” grip, so called because the frame underlying the grip panels of the Beretta has been machined out.

In Chapter 4 of Diamonds Are Forever we learn that Bond has wrapped the “skeleton grip” with tape. This it makes the grip less slippery, and holds down the grip safety on the back of the handle. The grip safety prevents the pistol from being fired unless it is firmly gripped. Disconnecting this type of safety is a modification often advocated by serious users of the similarly equipped Colt Model 1911. It is argued that in a gunfight, wounds, blood or other combat conditions could make the pistol’s handle impossible to grasp firmly enough to unlock the safety. Taping down the safety allows the weapon to be fired with less than a perfect grip.*5

.25 Beretta as modified by 007

.25 Beretta as modified by 007

We also learn in Diamonds Are Forever that 007 has “personally sawn the blunt foresight” from the blued barrel of the Beretta. Recalling the “sawn” barrel of the Colt Police Positive .38, we can confidently deduce that the front sights on both the Colt and the Beretta were removed to enhance the handling of a gun intended for close quarters work. Here Fleming makes a slight error, for the front sight of the Model 418 is located not at the end of the barrel, but on the top front of the slide. Depending on the vintage of Bond’s pistol the barrel extends beyond the front of the slide up to about 3/8″. While it is likely Fleming envisioned Bond sawing the Beretta’s barrel as he had done to the Colt, it is possible that the “sawn barrel” is a reference to the barrel being cut back slightly and fitted for a silencer. In any event we can be sure that the barrel on Bond’s Beretta was cut off immediately past the end of the slide.

The next modification described in Diamonds Are Forever is at best confused. Bond retracts the slide of the Beretta, inspecting the breech for any dust around the firing pin “which he spent so many hours filing to a sharp point”. A sharply pointed firing pin would not impart the solid hit required to fire the primer of a cartridge. A sharpened firing pin could instead easily pierce the cartridge primer, impaling the cartridge. On the 418 Beretta the firing pin also acts as the ejector – kicking the empty shell out of the breech. If Bond’s sharpened firing pin fired and pierced a primer – gas and flame could leak backwards into the pistol, and the firing pin would fail to eject the spent casing. The end result would at least be a jammed gun.

Perhaps Fleming accidentally “reversed” this Bond modification. On the Model 418 when the pistol is cocked, the back end of the firing pin assembly protrudes out of the rear of the slide. This was engineered to signal the shooter that the pistol is cocked and ready for action. Filing this end of the firing pin would have no adverse effect on the pistol. After a few dry martinis, a “sharp point” on the cocking indicator could make determining the status of the pistol easier. Since we are dealing with the opposite ends of the same part, Bond may have accidentally been described by Fleming as filing on the wrong end of the “firing pin”.

Bond's Beretta in a chamois leather holster

Bond’s Beretta in a chamois leather holster

Bond always holsters his Beretta in a light “chamois” pouch and shoulder harness which places the little automatic exactly three inches under his left armpit. Given the small overall size of the Beretta, the holster and harness seem unnecessary. Bond’s pistol could be unobtrusively carried in a coat, vest or pants pocket. No doubt, Bond’s argument for the holster would be that he did not want to reach into a pocket and accidentally grab his oxidized Ronson lighter or his gunmetal cigarette case instead of the Beretta.

The Beretta/chamois holster combination would be very flat, a very light and unobtrusive setup. So equipped Bond could endure scrutiny by the most expert eyes, and there would be no hint that he was armed. An exception to this occurs in Moonraker, when shortly after meeting 007, heroine Gala Brand “brushes” up against Bond to verify he is wearing a gun. At the time 007’s Beretta is tucked high under his left armpit under a coat. It would appear Gala’s brushing must have been more like a massage.

3. “THE DEADLY TUBE”

Beretta with Silencer

Beretta with Silencer

The most controversial accessory for the Beretta makes its debut in Diamonds Are Forever. Hidden at the back of Bond’s attaché case is a silencer. Being little more than hollow metal tubes containing a series of baffles, silencers are designed to dissipate and severely muffle the report of the pistol. In response to questions from Fleming regarding silencers, Geoffrey Boothroyd decried their effectiveness and doubted it was possible to attach a silencer to Bond’s Beretta without making a “custom barrel” for it. The only time Bond actually fires his Beretta with a silencer is on the Queen Elisabeth, to terminate villains Wint and Kidd.

In fact, it is a simple task to thread a factory Beretta 418 barrel for a silencer. Fleming writes that Bond’s silencer is attached by screwing it into the muzzle of the Beretta. As the barrel of the 418 Beretta is easily removed from the gun for routine cleaning, the barrel can be set up in a lathe, the bore reamed slightly larger, then threaded. Care must be taken to leave sufficient metal so that when the end of the silencer is screwed into the muzzle the connection will have a .25 hole running through it and sufficient threads to hold firmly when the gun is fired.

Silencer with a thick tube of Palmolive Shaving Cream

Silencer with a thick tube of Palmolive Shaving Cream

Fleming described Bond’s silencer as “sausage” shaped. This could mean that its ends were rounded off, and/or that there were protrusions on both ends of the silencer like the ties on a sausage link. The latter seems mostly likely the case here, since almost all silencers are constructed as plain cylinders. Fleming provided a clue to the overall size of Bond’s silencer in From Russia With Love, when Q branch conceals it in a “thick tube of Palmolive shaving crème”.

The .25 Beretta, as modified and holstered by Bond would not be any informed gunfighters first choice to carry in harms way. In Dr. No, these poor choices catch up with oo7. After a formal inquiry, Bond is formally chastised for letting the Beretta and silencer get fouled in his waistband – allowing From Russia With Love adversary Rosa Klebb to poison and nearly murder him.

Threaded muzzle of a Beretta

Threaded muzzle of a Beretta

M subsequently confiscates the Beretta and re-arms Bond. Even though Bond rationally acknowledges his new weapons are superior to the Beretta, his resentment is deep. At the conclusion of Dr. No 007 cables M requesting sick leave, childishly advising that his new Smith & Wesson was “ineffective against flame-thrower”.

4. “WILD SURMISES”

The most frequent mistake with regard to Bond’s Beretta is to misidentify it as one of the many other models of Beretta, some not even made in the .25 caliber. The actual model of Bond’s Beretta, the 418 was introduced shortly after World War One, and except for a few inconsequential cosmetic and model number changes, was manufactured through the end of the 1950’s.

Most frequently Bond is cited as carrying a Beretta Model 950. The 950 is a post World War Two .25 automatic with distinctive features. The most prominent being a “tip up” barrel. Often mistaken for a safety, a latch on the left side of the 950’s frame releases the breech end of the barrel which wings up over the top of the slide. With the chamber so exposed, the pistol can be loaded by dropping a round directly into the barrel, then pressing it back into place. This eliminates the need to pull back the slide to chamber the first round from the magazine. Since operating the slide of a small automatic takes some strength, the “tip up” barrel allows weaker hands ( i.e. ladies), to easily load the pistol.

Beretta 950

Beretta 950

Unlike Bond’s Beretta, the 950 has no safety – only a half cock notch on the hammer. The 950 also lacks a mechanical cartridge extractor and does not allow unfired cartridges to be cycled through the action – i.e. pumping the “bullets” on to the bed in a lonely hotel room. If this is attempted the cartridge in the chamber will stay in place and the next round in the magazine will have nowhere to go but jam against the cartridge already in the chamber.

Having a “skeleton” butt on the Model 950 also presents a problem. While the grip panels of the 950 can be removed, directly underneath them, attached to studs on the frame, are the wire springs which power the slide. Fired without the grip panels, the 950 would severely pinch the user’s hand causing enough interference with the springs to jam the pistol. Altogether these features clearly eliminate the Model 950 as Bond’s gun.

Perhaps the most notorious instance of misidentification is in the film “Dr. No”, when Bond’s Beretta is portrayed by a much larger 1934 Model and his Walther PPK by a Walther PP.

5. “OVER THE BARREL”

In Chapter 15 of Casino Royale, the last of the original Bond guns makes its debut. Kept in a holster under the dashboard of Bond’s Bentley is a “long barreled Colt Army Special .45″. Bond intends to use this pistol as a long range weapon in his chase after LeChiffre. His plan is to use the Colt on the tires of the villains’ car – at any range up to 100 yards. Unfortunately, before oo7 can use the Colt against Le Chiffre he runs over a blanket of steel spikes tossed from the villain’s Citroen and crashes the Bentley.

The Colt .45 makes another appearance in the climatic car chase in Moonraker. As in Casino Royale, before Bond can do more than unholster the Colt from under the dashboard, rolls of newsprint cut loose by the villains from a passing lorry cause Bond to again wreck his Bentley and the Colt is lost. In Goldfinger, the Colt .45 is still present, now concealed in a “hidden compartment” in Bond’s Aston Martin DB III. This time it is never used.

Long Barrelled .45 Colt

Long Barrelled .45 Colt

Other than having a “long barrel”, there are no detailed descriptions of this Colt. It could be assumed that it is a long barreled .45 revolver of which Colt made several types. Officially the designation “Army Special” was never a Colt model in .45 caliber. The Army Special was the model name of a medium frame .38 revolver. There were Colt handguns made in .45 caliber with “long barrels”. These were the “New Service” double action revolver and the famous “Cowboy” Colt Single Action Army .45. In addition, while it did not normally feature a “long barrel”, there is the 1911 Automatic. All of these Colt’s were used at various times by the U.S. Army. *6

The mystery is solved in the short story From a View to a Kill in which Bond finally is allowed to fire the long-barrel Colt at an enemy. Bond carries the Colt while disguised as a military motorcycle courier, and after being shot at twice by a similarly disguised Russian agent with a Luger, Bond returns fire and fells his opponent. Shortly afterwards, while trying to arrest two more Soviet agents, Bond is nearly killed because he “kept the safety catch up” on the Colt. Unable to quickly bring the gun to bear on his enemy, Bond is tackled and nearly killed.

From a View to a Kill, finally reveals the “long-barreled Colt” to be a 1911 automatic. We can rest easy in this deduction since in all the Bond novels Fleming never makes the frequent literary mistake of having a character employ a manual safety while using a revolver.*7

Bond was not the only person who found the Long Barrel Colt .45 useful. In Thunderball, Count Lippe employs this type of Colt to seek revenge against Bond.

6. “CHOICE OF WEAPONS”

Smith & Wesson Centennial Airweight

Smith & Wesson Centennial Airweight

In March 1956, gun enthusiast and collector Geoffrey Boothroyd puts pen to paper and writes to Ian Fleming. In addition to being a Bond fan, Boothroyd has been studying the art of gun fighting and fast draw. Boothroyd is appalled at Bond’s personal sidearm. It is very understandable that Bond’s use of the .25 Beretta would disappoint a well informed gun handler. Boothroyd’s letter prompts Fleming, who cares deeply about the authenticity of his novels, to almost immediately agree to Boothroyd’s suggestion to rearm Bond with a Smith & Wesson Centennial Airweight – a streamlined, concealed hammer .38 special revolver. *8

Bond is no stranger to the short-barreled .38. He used the Colt Detective Special in Live and Let Die to shoot two of Mr. Big’s henchmen. At the beginning of Moonraker Bond trains with the Detective Special in the basement shooting range at headquarters. Unlike the well traveled .25 Beretta, the Colt Detective and the Centennial in .38 Special are effective man-stoppers.

The Smith & Wesson Centennial Model recommended by Boothroyd debuted in 1953, and was so named because that year was Smith & Wesson’s 100th Anniversary. The design of this revolver is based on turn of the century pocket revolvers which had concealed hammers, allowing them to be cleanly drawn and even fired from inside coat pockets. The older guns had weak “top break” frames and were chambered in shorter, less powerful .38 and .32 Smith & Wesson cartridges. At the urging of firearms authority Rex Applegate, Smith & Wesson updated the design to a stronger modern frame and cartridge. The resulting revolver remains very state of the art even today, with the only significant changes being due to improvements in metallurgy.

A Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum

A Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum

For a long range pistol, Boothroyd suggests arming Bond with another Smith & Wesson – the .357 Magnum. When first introduced to the world in 1935 the powerful .357 was used effectively to kill virtually everything from gangsters to polar bear *9. The pre World War Two Smith & Wesson .357 was the ultimate in handguns. Originally manufactured on a “custom order” basis, each revolver was registered to its owner. The .357 was available with the widest possible range of barrel lengths from 3 1/2″ to 8 3/4″. By March 1956 when Boothroyd wrote to Fleming, the .357 Magnum was still the most powerful and deluxe revolver in Smith & Wesson’s handgun inventory, although the .44 magnum was posed to take over the “most powerful” title.

A Walther PPK

A Walther PPK

By the time Dr. No. is published the big and powerful .357 Magnum has been discarded and replaced with the Walther PPK. Bond is issued the Centennial as his man stopper instead of the magnum. Bond puts the Centennial to use in Doctor No, but after shooting one of Dr. No’s henchmen point blank and later firing ten shots at the headlights and solid rubber tyres of a flame throwing marsh buggy, oo7 is forced to surrender and drop his new revolver on a sandspit. It would seem the Smith & Wesson was abandoned after one appearance, leaving the Walther PPK as Bond’s main sidearm.

There is however evidence that Bond occasionally continued to use the Centennial. In The Spy Who Loved Me, Co-Author Vivienne Michel refers to the revolver Bond gives her to defend herself from “Horror” and “Sluggsy” as a “Smith & Wesson Police Positive ” – a gun which never existed. However, her description of it as “a short stumpy revolver” is almost identical to the “brutal stumpy revolver” description Fleming provided for the Centennial. It is generally conceded that in this narrative, Miss Michel gets a few observations wrong. For example, she places the three inch scar on oo7’s cheek on the wrong side of his face. Surely, the exact model of Bond’s revolver was not a concern to her, but by its description we can infer it was the S&W Centennial.

Ian Fleming poses with the S&W Centennial

Ian Fleming poses with the S&W Centennial © Dan Wynn

Interestingly, The Smith & Wesson Centennial Airweight which Bond tosses into the mud of Crab Key is the only “Bond gun” Fleming is ever photographed holding. Fleming posed with other firearms, his Colt Official Police from World War Two, and Geoffrey Boothroyd’s Ruger .44 Magnum. But In 1964, publicity photos appear in which Fleming is posed sniffing the barrel of a Centennial Airweight. In the 1956 dated letters to Boothroyd, Fleming stated he planned to purchase a Smith & Wesson in New York on his next visit. According to Andrew Lycett writing in the biography, Ian Fleming, the Man behind James Bond, Fleming was unable to get an export permit for a Smith & Wesson. However, it is not impossible that one of Fleming’s east coast friends could have obtained a Centennial Model for him. It is also possible the revolver in the photos could also have been supplied by Dan Wynn, the photographer.

The Walther PPK needs little description, thanks to the fame which Fleming bestowed upon it. Designed in the late 1920’s the Walther, despite being almost eighty years old, is as modern today as it was when it was introduced. Able to be safely carried with the chamber loaded, the PPK’s double action design and slide mounted safety allow for a fast first shot. As a man stopper, it cannot live up to the “brick through plate glass” legend, but it is a big improvement over that “ugly bit of metal” – the Beretta.

Geoffrey Boothroyd, in the BBC TV program, “The Guns of James Bond” *10 states that arming Bond with a Walther PPK was Fleming’s choice. No discourse exists to explain what prompted Fleming to choose the PPK for Bond. It was a pistol initially suggested by Boothroyd for enemy agents. One could reason that since Bond had a strong preference for the thin, flat .25 Beretta, the Walther’s selection was because its size and overall design were more in line with Bond’s original preferences. Others have suggested Fleming chose the PPK because of its rhythmic name.

Fleming kept things simple with the Walther and the Smith & Wesson. After the Beretta is gone, Bond never again attacks his pistols with a saw or file and a roll of tape. Fleming no longer spends words in long descriptions of firearms. The closest he gets is in Dr. No when it is stated that the extension spur on the magazine of the Walther PPK “gives a grip that should suit oo7.” The Walther is also described as having a light trigger pull”.

With respect to the caliber of Bond’s new guns, both the Walther in 7.65 m/m (.32 ACP) and the Smith & Wesson in .38 Special were as close to universal cartridges as one could get in the 1950’s and 60’s. The .38 Special was the predominant police pistol cartridge for most of the 20th century in the U.S.A. and during the same period the .32 ACP filled the same position in continental Europe. While not powerful magnums, these cartridges were not regarded with the nearly universal disdain in which the .25 is held.

7. “WE DON’T LIKE MISTAKES”

Rearmed with the Smith & Wesson and the Walther, Bond is provided a Berns Martin Triple draw holster. The Berns Martin holster is a “split front” design. A wire spring sewn into both sides of the gun pouch keeps the holster closed and the pistol in place. A fast smooth draw is accomplished by firmly grabbing the gun handle and pushing forward and down. The “triple draw” feature allows the holster to be attached to a shoulder harness or by using a belt loop on the back of the pouch the pistol can be worn on either the right or left side of the trouser belt. From its introduction in the 1930’s to the 1970’s the Berns Martin holster was considered by experts to be the fastest “quick draw” holster available.

Much has been made of Fleming’s “error” by holstering the PPK in a Berns Martin “Triple Draw”. It is often stated that this style of holster is suitable only for revolvers. That is actually not the case! Berns Martin holsters are well illustrated in Ed McGivern’s Book of Fast and Fancy Revolver Shooting *11. On page
386 there is a picture of a Berns Martin Holster for the 1911 Colt Automatic. I have no doubt that this famous firm if asked in 1956 could have produced a Triple Draw holster to accommodate the PPK.

The real difficulty of using the Berns Martin design would stem from Bond wearing the holster “fitted inside” the waist band of his pants. With the Berns Martin split front design – drawing the pistol from inside Bond’s trousers would result in a pistol wrapped in shirt tail, an even worse scenario than the Beretta with its silencer. Fleming eventually solves this problem in later novels when Bond adopts an unnamed “stitched pigskin” holster for the Walther.

8. “THOUGHTS IN A DOUBLE BOURBON”

In concluding my observations on the handguns employed by James Bond, I would now like to offer some opinion.

Fleming makes good use of firearms in his novels. He describes accurately guns that figured largely in the real life history of espionage and world conflict. He employs them properly, and considering he is writing works of fiction, makes very few mistakes of any real significance. Occasionally, Bond’s accuracy, especially with the Beretta, is rather extraordinary. But Fleming’s choice of the Beretta .25 for Bond is plausible and was grounded in his personal use of a Browning .25 while serving in the Royal Navy in World War Two.

Despite negative observations by “experts” and any deficiencies real or imagined in the .25 cartridge uncounted thousands of secret agents, soldiers and civilians have used .25 Berettas, Colts, and similar pistols to defend themselves and attack enemies. There are also a few legions of dead bodies to testify to the lethality of the .25 cartridge.

The re-arming of Bond in the novel Dr. No, originally undertaken by Fleming with accuracy in mind, made famous the .25 Beretta and the Walther PPK. Fleming’s short evaluation of Bond’s weapons sparked a torrent of imitative novels and later films in which considerable time is spent, elevating the hero’s weapons into outrageously powerful magical devices, modern equivalents of Excalibur.

The controversy Fleming often engenders with his literary observations is part of the magic of his work and what makes him a most amusing master of modern fiction. Collectors and “experts” avidly debate the merits of his various devices, descriptions and scenarios. Unfortunately, Ian Fleming passed on before he was able to witness much of the controversy and interest in James Bond. He would no doubt be very amused, gratified and appalled at the interest in and longevity of his creation.

Footnote
*1 Griswold, John “Ian Fleming’s James Bond Annotations and Chronologies for Ian Fleming’s James
bond Stories. Published by Author House. Griswold has established this date as the beginning of Bond’s literary life.
*2 Commander Ian Fleming attended the famous Commando School held at Camp X, Canada. Teaching
there was Lt. Colonel W.E. Fairbairn who with E.A. Sykes designed the famous British Commando Knife. Fairbairn also wrote a fighting manual “Get Tough!” which described many of the methods taught at Camp X, many of these techniques are later used by James Bond.
*3 Fleming , Ian  “The Guns of James Bond” Sports Illustrated Magazine , March 10, 1962
*4  Griswold, John “Ian Fleming’s James Bond Annotations and Chronologies for Ian Fleming’s James
bond Stories. Published by Author House. Again using Griswold Chronology.
*5   A good article on the 1911 Colt which refers to the grip safety modification is in the Chapter “Me and My .45s” by  Charles A. “Skeeter” Skelton, published in “Good Friends, Good Guns, Good Whiskey, The Selected Works of Skeeter Skelton” 1988 PJS Publications, Inc.
*6  Other than a 1905 prototype, and the shorter non-military  Commander Model introduced in 1949, Colt did not manufacture any other 45 Semi-Automatic Pistol prior to Fleming’s death in 1964.
*7   In recent years due to liability considerations revolvers are frequently equipped with manual safeties, something rarely done in Fleming’s time.
*8   The Centennial was not a popular revolver in its initial production run from 1953 to 1974. The design was resurrected in the early 1990’s and now is regarded as one of the finest concealment revolvers available. Boothroyd  was well ahead of his time in selecting the Centennial Airweight for oo7
*9  Major Doug Wesson of Smith & Wesson  made a well-publicized tour of the world in the 1930’s  killing  all manner of wild game demonstrating the effectiveness of the .357 gun and cartridge. After the war the .357 was reintroduced as a standard model in the S&W catalogue. It was a favorite of J. Edgar Hoover’s F.B.I..
*10  In this 1963 Film Short, Sean Connery identifies a Beretta 1934 as Bond’s favorite, later in the piece Geoffrey Boothroyd uses a .32  caliber Beretta Model 70 in a shooting demonstration. Neither model is Bond’s favorite. Boothroyd, for his part never identifies his Beretta as a .25.  He simply refers to it as “the Beretta”.
The Walther PPK he shoots is the demonstration is likely a .380 (9m/m kurz)
*11  This book inspired Geoffrey Boothroyd’s interest in combat and aerial shooting, and ultimately his letters to Fleming. Reprinted  by Follet Publishing Company, Chicago 1975

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE “SILENCER” PICTURED WITH  JAMES BOND’S  BERETTA  IS A  NON-FUNCTIONAL REPLICA.

Article & Original Photos Copyright Bradley Steele, 2007

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