When Daniel Craig took over as James Bond, the series took on a more grounded, darker tone. Some of this was due to the success of films such as The Bourne Identity, which proved audiences didn’t need to see fantastical gadgets.
Rather than try to have Bond compete with Mission Impossible, the new Bond was less action hero and more calculating secret agent and cunning killer. The result? A Bond that rivals the likes of Connery’s long-standing No. 1 role.
The new direction is also reflected in the weapons used in the rebooted series. This new Bond may not have started out with the Walther PPK, but fortunately for fans it made its return. Bond 25, rumored to be Craig’s final stint as 007, is due out in 2020. Be sure to check out the other three parts in our series:
- James Bond Guns, Part I: The Sean Connery, George Lazenby Era
- Part II: The Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton Era
- Part III: The Pierce Brosnan Era
Casino Royale (2006)
There was a-four year hiatus in the series before it was essentially “rebooted” in 2006 with Casino Royale, a film based on the very first novel by British author Ian Fleming. Interestingly, it was first made as a TV adaptation in 1954 just a year after the novel was published. In that case Barry Nelson played “Jimmy Bond,” an American agent who worked with Clarence Leiter of MI-6. David Niven also stepped into the role of James Bond in the 1967 spoof film also titled Casino Royale, but neither production are considered part of the official series.
However, Eon Productions finally acquired the rights to the book and opted to take a much more serious and darker tone. This was the first of the Bond films starring Daniel Craig.
While it rebooted the series and re-introduced the character as a freshly minted Double-O agent, Bond still carried the Walther P99. Bond was also seen using a captured Browning Hi-Power Mark III. Meanwhile, at the climax of the film, Bond wielded a suppressed Heckler & Koch UMP-9.
Quantum of Solace (2008)
This is the first time in the series history that a film was a direct sequel to its predecessor; although Diamonds Are Forever does imply Bond was hunting the killer of his wife from the previous film. In Quantum of Solace, Bond uncovered the existence of a global criminal organization. Yet, what should be a globe-trotting adventure ended up being about water in Bolivia. It may have been grounded in reality, but it was a downer for a Bond film, especially after the first film starring Daniel Craig.
On the plus side, Quantum saw the return of the Walther PPK as Bond’s main sidearm. Bond also retrieved a SIG Sauer P226 from another agent and later acquired a SIG P210. Interestingly, Bond still had the H&K UMP-9 from the previous film at the beginning of Quantum. The only problem? It isn’t the suppressed version. So did Bond have two different models?
As with the other Daniel Craig-era Bond films, Skyfall starts strong yet drags out the story. It even ended with what could only be described as a Bond version of Home Alone. The movie also marked the end of Judi Dench as M and saw MI-6’s headquarters blown up. It did, however, give Miss Moneypenny a first name — so there’s that. Skyfall also set a record for the most guns Bond used on screen in a single film.
Bond carried the PPK throughout the film, but also used a henchman’s Glock 17. In a sequence with the film’s main villain — Raoul Siva (Javier Bardem) — Bond was seen with a Percussion Cap Ardesa 1871 Dueling Pistol. During the climatic defense of his childhood home, Bond used his deceased father’s Anderson Wheeler Double Rifle. He also later acquired an H&K HK416.
After not being able to use Ernst Stavo Blofeld or SPECTRE due to legal reasons since Diamonds Are Forever, the arch villain and the international criminal syndicate were central in this film. What should have been a return to the “golden age” of such films as From Russia With Love, Thunderball or On Her Majesty’s Secret Service instead played out as a confusing mess with a plot that seemed to make less sense than the Austin Powers satires. Daniel Craig still played an awesome Bond.
Fortunately, at least, Spectre offered a diverse arsenal of firearms. Bond carried his standard PPK and later captured an H&K VP9. Early in the film he was equipped with a Glock 17 in a FAB Defense KPOS Carbine Conversion kit, which actually seems like the sort of thing a spy might use. At one point Bond also picked up a Czech CSA Sa vz. 58 Compact. If only the story were as compelling as the guns.