Who is cooler than James Bond? No one is—there is your answer plain and simple. So what could be cooler than having the gun of the coolest dude around? The gun in question is the Walther PPK, Polizei Pistole Kurz / Kriminal.
“Walther PPK 7.65 mm, with a delivery like a brick through a plate glass window, it takes a Brausch silencer with very little reduction in muzzle velocity. The American CIA swear by them.”
—Major Boothroyd to 007 in Dr. No
The first of its kind, the PPK is a quality double-action pistol. The operative word is quality. Other manufacturers attempted it, but with poor success. Pistols before that time were single action only, requiring manual cocking for the first shot. Furthermore, a single-action pistol might discharge with a strong blow to the back of the hammer. The purpose of the double-action design was to increase safety for the user.
The first entry was the Walther PP, Polizei Pistole. Designed specifically for police officers in the 7.65mm (.32 ACP) cartridge, it was an instant success in both Europe and the United States. For those naysayers who think the .32 ACP is a popgun, the First World War started with two shots from a .32 ACP—two shots and two kills.
In 1931, a smaller version of the PP came on the market in Europe and in the U.S. this model would be the most famous, the Walther PPK. The K has two interpretations. The first is that it stood for Kurz, which translates to Short. The second is Kiminal or Criminal. This was partially due to the gun being popular with a certain criminal element in the last half of the 20th century. Nevertheless, it was Ian Fleming’s character James Bond who made the Walther famous. This included later actors like Sean Connery and Roger Moore who rolled the Bond name off their tongue.
With the new PP and PPK, a newer and even more potent caliber became available, the .380 ACP. The 380 ACP, or 9mm short caliber, far out-preformed the .32 ACP. One of the many names of the .380 is the 9mm Kurz, much like the gun.
However, leave it to twitchy control laws to affect even James Bond’s gun. In the American Gun Control act of 1968, the Walther PPK in its original form was too short for the law, which required it to be at least four inches tall. Thus, we have the new PPK/S, which met the height requirement. The S stood for Special. I guess tall guns are less dangerous, sorry Bond, not my rule. Nevertheless, this is still a fine gun with all joking aside.
Is the Walther the biggest, loudest, most intimidating gun we’ve looked at? No. However, it is one of the sexiest. You have to be cool to sport one of these pocket rockets. Inevitably, someone will say, “Is that the James Bond gun?” and you had better be ready to bring it!