Carl Walther Waffenfabrik introduced the Walther PPK, or Polizei Pistol Kriminale, in 1931. In English this would translate roughly to 'Police Detective's Pistol.' It was a follow-on to the Walther PP, introduced two years before. Although numerous semiautomatic pistols (or autoloaders) predated the PP/PPK series, the series contained several safety innovations as well as the first commercially successful double action on a non-revolver handgun. The double action meant that it was possible to safely carry the Walther PPK with the safety off and a round chambered; the initial action meant that an exceptionally firm trigger squeeze was required to 'cock' the hammer for the first shot, but thereafter all shots would fire on single-action until the magazine emptied.

In addition, the PPK had a locking safety that, when engaged, intervened between the hammer and the firing pin. An automatic safety, in addition, locked the hammer action unless the trigger was depressed. There was also a safety interlock called a disconnector which ensured the weapon could not fire unless the slide was completely forward.

This gun was made famous in the non-shooting world by Ian Fleming, who had his famed not-so-secret agent 007 carry one for several books after his trusty Beretta .25 was confiscated by Major Boothroyd and M in Dr. No.

The PPK was hard to find in the United States as it fell afoul of legislation designed to block imports of the small, light guns called 'Saturday Night Specials' in the U.S. Under the rules adopted, the lightweight, reasonably high-power PPK was on the wrong side of the point scaling system. Not until Walther licensed the PPK to Interarms Co. in the U.S. were versions of the pistol widely available. Some have complained about shoddy quality on some American-made versions.

The gun can be chambered for .22 Long Rifle, .32 ACP and .380.

To add to the previous writeup, Major Boothroyd introduces the PPK to Bond with the following dialogue:

"Walther PPK. 7.65 mil, with a delivery like a brick through a plate glass window. Takes a Brausch silencer with very little reduction in muzzle velocity. The American CIA swear by them."

In the five Bond novels before Dr No, Bond was issued with a Beretta 21, a .25 pistol. Ian Fleming received a letter from a fan - a Major Boothroyd (retired) - arguing that Bond would be more likely to use a Walther PPK, and Fleming agreed. Dr No was chosen as the first Bond film, and thus we do not see him carry another issue gun, although the movie has a couple of mistakes (at one point Bond's PPK is substituted with a silenced Browning 1922). Fleming then borrowed the name Boothroyd for a character better known as Q.

Bond's PPK fires the common 7.65x17mm round, also known as the 7.65 Browning, or .32, although the PPK was available in a variety of other calibres, most commonly .380. The 7.65 round is less powerful than the .380 - which is why Bond tended to shoot his opponents several times - although it is smaller, lighter, and has less recoil, important considerations for a secret agent. For a crack shot such as Bond, these outweight the lack of power. In the John Gardner novels, Bond changed to a 9mm ASP in the early 1980s (during which time he also drove a turbocharged SAAB), whilst in the films Bond switched to a Walther P99 in 'The World is Not Enough'.

The 'American CIA' did in fact swear by the PPK, for a time - and so did the CIA's WW2 equivalent, the OSS, not least because being a German firearm the PPK could be stored and used in Occupied Europe without seeming out of place. In 1968 Walter released the similar-looking, but smaller Walther TPH, which also became a CIA favourite (this time in .22). Many other companies have released PPK-style pistols, such as the Mauser HSc and the Cz50. Russia's widespread Makarov pistol owes a debt to the PPK, as do various Hungarian FEG designs. The PPK remains a design classic, being both functional and attractive.

Brausch appear to have been a real company - pronounced 'Brow-sch' - although the internet appears to be devoid of any further information.

The PPK has a further claim to fame; Adolf Hitler owned two, one in .380 and the other in 7.62mm, the latter of which he used to end his life on April 30, 1945.

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