An interesting curio from the 1960s explaining the derivation of James Bond’s weapon of choice.
In the first Bond novel, Casino Royale, Ian Fleming armed 007 with a .25 calibre Beretta Jetfire, which he kept in a chamois shoulder holster, so as not ruin the line of his jacket. However, in 1956, a Glasgow-based firearms expert, Geoffrey Boothroyd, wrote to Fleming suggesting a Beretta wasn’t necessarily the best gun for a spy:
“I have, by now, got rather fond of Mr. James Bond. I like most of the things about him, with the exception of his rather deplorable taste in firearms. In particular, I dislike a man who comes into contact with all sorts of formidable people using a .25 Beretta. This sort of gun is really a lady’s gun, and not a really nice lady at that. If Mr. Bond has to use a light gun he would be better off with a .22 rim fire; the lead bullet would cause more shocking effect than the jacketed type of the .25.
“May I suggest that Mr. Bond be armed with a revolver?”
Fleming opted for the Walther PPK, and graciously thanked Boothroyd for his advice by creating the fictional character Major Boothroyd, a service armourer, who first appeared in Dr. No and subsequent Bond novels. Later, Major Boothroyd was identified simply as ‘Q’ in the Bond films, and was played first by Peter Burton, then from the second film onwards, by Desmond Llewelyn, until his death in 1999, when John Cleese took over the role.
In the following clip from 1964, Sean Connery introduces Boothroyd, where he explains the differences between a Beretta, a Walter PPK and a .44 Magnum - better known as Dirty Harry’s favored tool of the trade. A longer version can be viewed here.
Via Letters of Note