When Ian Fleming wrote the first of the James Bond novels, Casino Royale, he had no idea the direction in which the stories would go, let alone how many he would eventually write. So when he introduced, Bond as using a Beretta 418 in a flat chamois leather holster he probably didn't think too much about it. He had used such a gun during the Second World War when he was in Naval Intelligence and felt it was an appropriate sidearm for a secret agent on an undercover mission.
Shortly before the publication of From Russia with Love in 1956, Fleming received a fan letter from a Major Geoffrey Boothroyd. Boothroyd was a retired Army Major and gun collector. Boothroyd told Fleming that he really admired the Bond novels apart from the hero's choice of weapon. He felt that the Beretta 418 was "a lady's gun" with no real stopping power. He also objected to the choice of holster. Boothroyd proposed that Bond should use a revolver like the Smith & Wesson Centennial Airweight. It had no external hammer, so it would not catch on Bond's clothes. The Smith & Wesson could be kept in a Berns-Martin triple draw holster held in place with a spring clip which would decrease Bond's draw time. Boothroyd also had bad words about the silencer Bond occasionally used, saying that they were rarely silent and reduced the power of a gun.
Fleming replied, thanked the Major for his letter, and made a few points. He felt that Bond ought to have an automatic pistol; perhaps Boothroyd could recommend one? He agreed that the Beretta 418 lacked power, but pointed out that Bond had used more powerful weapons when the need required, such as the Colt Army Special he uses in Moonraker. Fleming also said that he had seen a silenced Sten gun during the war and the weapon had hardly made a whisper.
Boothroyd recommended the Walther PPK 7.65mm as being the best choice for an automatic of that size, with its ammunition available everywhere. He suggested, however, that 007 ought to have a revolver for long-range work. Fleming asked Boothroyd if he could lend his illustrator Richard Chopping one of his guns to be painted for the cover of From Russia with Love. Boothroyd lent Chopping a .357 Magnum revolver that had the trigger guard removed for faster firing.
Fleming had Bond's Beretta caught in his holster at the end of From Russia with Love, an event that almost costs the secret agent his life. In the next novel, Dr. No, a certain Major Boothroyd recommends that Bond switch guns. Bond is issued a Walther PPK but is told to carry it in a Berns-Martin triple draw holster, which is designed only to carry revolvers. This is an odd mistake given that Fleming had bought such a holster and had it sent to Jamaica. (It has been argued that Q-branch could have modified an excellent holster to accommodate automatics.
On March 20, 1974 an attempt was made to kidnap HRH Princess Anne. The Walther PPK of the police officer protecting her jammed and was subsequently withdrawn from service. When John Gardner was asked to write a new series of James Bond continuation novels, one of the first things he decided was to update Bond's trusty Walther PPK. Gardner devoted two pages in his first James Bond novel Licence Renewed to the debate over whether to use a revolver or an automatic, and what make and model, before finally settling on an older FN M1903 in 9mm Browning Long (9x20mmSR). Even Bond himself admits that it is an old gun. The original hardback cover illustration by Richard Chopping shows the FN pistol.
After criticism from fans for choosing an old gun, Gardner replaced the gun three more times, eventually sticking to the ASP 9mm for the rest of the series. As he intended to downplay the gadgets in his books, Gardner compensated by bringing to the series a colorful arsenal of weapons from around the world.
When James Bond expert Raymond Benson was asked to take over writing the series, he briefly gave Bond back his Walther PPK. Benson also brought the series in line with the films and concurrently replaced Bond's PPK with the Walther P99 in the film novelisation Tomorrow Never Dies. In later novels Bond carried the PPK for undercover work and the P99 for overt work.
The scene from the novel Dr. No is replayed more-or-less verbatim in the 1962 film, insuring the Walther PPK a place in cultural history. Bond shows a great deal more fidelity to his sidearm in the films than in the novels, even going so far as to take on an international arms dealer and hi-tech arms enthusiastic like Brad Whitaker armed only with an eight-shot, 7.65mm semi-automatic.
As there is more gunplay in the recent film, Bond has changed to a more modern handgun, though it is still a Walther. There is also a greater use of assault rifles and submachineguns during the battle sequences.
Beretta Model 1934 or Beretta Model 1935. Bond, reluctantly, has to hand this gun over to M.
Walther PPK Bond is forced to use the Walther PPK as his main gun. (Although identified as a PPK in the film and presumably intended as such, Sean Connery actually uses a slightly larger, but visually similar, Walther PP in the film.)
"Triggerless" rifle, made by the Portuguese gunsmith Lazar for an assassin with only three fingers.
Francisco Scaramanga's Golden Gun, a custom made, gold-plated single-shot handgun chambered in 4.2mm caliber. The gun can be disassembled to avoid detection into a gold cigarette lighter, a gold cigarette case, a gold cuff link, and a gold pen.
Taurus 9mm pistol (a Brazillian copy of the Beretta Model 92FS 9mm pistol, as per the film's armorer in “The Making of Licence to Kill” by Sally Hibin), given to Bond by Felix Leiter during the opening sequence when Bond does not have a gun on him.
M-16 seen briefly being used by DEA soldiers chasing Sanchez in the pre-title sequence.
"Signature gun", .220 (probably .220 Swift, possibly .220 Russian) sniper's rifle that is disguised aspieces of a cine camera, and only responds to his palm print. Bond uses this gun in an attempt to kill Franz Sanchez, but is thwarted by a ninja. When a ninja tries to use the gun himself, it won't fire.
Sterling AR180 heavily modified to be folded into a "pocket sized" infiltrator rifle. Bond uses this during the opening sequence. The main modifications were: handguards and flash hider removed, a shortened barrel, a top-folding stock instead of the standard side folding, customised iron sights to allow the use of the aforementioned stock, a pistol grip that could be foldable over the magwell, a shortened STANAG magazine (probably a civilian 10-rounds one) in order to allow the pistol grip to fold over it (that later is replaced with a standard 30rds STANAG)
Walther PPK/S, Bond's main gun. Bond uses three in this movie, one in Istanbul, but tosses it away when it runs dry, one which Q gives him and has a custom grip to identify Bond is holding the gun, loses it in Macau and one which he receives when he returns to MI6 after Silva's arrest. He gives it to M to defend herself at Skyfall Lodge.
Glock 17, Bond grabs the gun from a henchman and uses it to kills the others and holds Silva at gunpoint with it until MI6 backup arrived.
Hunting rifle, Bond is handed his father's hunting rifle during the defense of Skyfall lodge. He tosses it away when he runs out of ammo. Kincade uses a sawed-off version of this weapon, much like a shotgun.
Heckler & Koch HK416, used by Silva's men. Bond picks up one and uses it to deal with the rest of the first wave. He picks up another one and uses it to bash the lock off the gas cans, then tosses it away.
CZ Model 25. Bond uses this submachinegun in the opening sequence.
Walther P5, Bond's main gun. Coincidently, Roger Moore used the same make of gun in Octopussy, also released in 1983. Connery's gun can be seen in Planet Hollywood in London, where it is inaccurately labelled as a Walther PPK.