Q&A 47: Collector Tips, Bond’s Next Pistol, and the Sights I Hate

Awesome whiskey bullets! We also have a bunch of merchandise on sale until December 31st:

01:09 – Will Headstamp publish English translations of foreign-language books?
05:34 – What are some things to look for in WWI/WWII gun collecting?
14:18 – Essential burger toppings
14:57 – Good vs poor quality gun books
19:07 – Support weapons in .280 British
23:09 – What would I like the next Project Lightening to be?
24:29 – H&K drum sights
27:02 – Best needlefire rifle
29:34 – Santa’s guns for the naughty and the nice
31:09 – What was the point of the Stoner 63 system?
34:22 – A modern pistol for James Bond to replace his Taurus Curve
37:53 – Best and worst folding stocks
40:20 – Status of NFA items during the 1994 ban
42:36 – Thoughts on the 7.5 FK cartridge
46:51 – Why a .45 Liberator and not .32?
48:18 – Did John Garand make any other guns besides the M1 rifle?
50:12 – Solutions for shooting around corners
51:47 – Using lottery winning to buy something not a gun, but gun related
53:37 – Does the size of my audience influence what I say in public?
56:15 – FN-D vs ZB-30
59:31 – Why should someone get a WWSD2020 instead of any other AR?


  1. Ian, try a Balkan condiment on your burgers – ajvar — essentially grilled red peppers and egg plant. Good stuff!

  2. In Britain the only Springbank I could find this month was £159! And the shop told me they never get the ‘normal’ 8 year old! It’s obviously being sent to the USA.

  3. “(…)Did John Garand make any other guns besides the M1 rifle?(…)”
    One of his first design was Model 1919 supposed to fill role of automatic rifle
    it was quite untypical as it harnessed primer-actuated principle. It came too late to scene to compete which BAR 1918 which production was already running.
    John Garand with managing to one widely successful weapon relative early in carrier is similar to I. Ya. Stechkin most famous for APS (1951) and less for later design up to OTs-38 (entered service 2002)

  4. I think in “Dr No” it was the .32 Walther which was said to “hit like a brick through a plate glass window”, not the .25 Beretta.

    To be fair, if you fired a .32 through a plate glass window, it might well have a similar effect to a brick, but that does not really reflect the stopping power or lack thereof of a .32 fired into one of Dr No’s minions.

    All things considered, I think Q was bigging up the .32 Walther PPK there. I imagine Beretta were unhappy with the negative product placement too. But those were simpler times, I doubt there were any lawsuits.

    • “I think in “Dr No” it was the .32 Walther which was said to “hit like a brick through a plate glass window”, not the .25 Beretta.”
      To things clear, in book it was Beretta 418 (6,35 mm Browning) which was replaced by PPK, whilst prop used in movie was Beretta Modello 1934
      which was chambered for 9×17 mm Kurz cartridge.

    • I believe Fleming had originally picked the Beretta because he had carried one as an MI6 desk jockey during WWII, and that the PPK substitution was actually instigated by a fan letter about the time the Dr. No screenplay was being written.

      • The letter was from Geoffrey Boothroyd, author of The handgun and the real-life pattern for “the Armorer” in Dr. No.

        The .32 ACP was chosen because the ammunition for it was available pretty much worldwide at the time. For instance, in several Western European countries, 7.65mm Browning was considered a civilian personal defense caliber, while 9mm Browning (Short or Long) was defined as a po0licve and military caliber, so of course 7.65 x 17 would be easier to acquire.

        In terms of actual killing power, there isn’t enough difference to worry about. Although most pistols chambered in 7.65mm, like the PPK, hold one more round in the magazine in 7.65 than they do in 9mm Short. Sometimes that one extra round might make a large difference.

        Not having bothered watching 007 movies for many years, I was unaware that he used a Taurus Curve. Believe it or not, a better “modern” choice might be a compact DA revolver like the Ruger LCR, especially one with interchangeable cylinders in 9 x 19mm and .357 Magnum/.38 Special. Ammunition for one like that could be acquired almost anywhere on Earth, and there are probably two or three hundred factory loads available that would work in it.

        Also, a revolver leaves no empty cartridge cases left lying around for inquisitive investigators to examine. With the LCR’s structure, Q Section could even modify it with interchangeable barrel liners. So even the rifling wouldn’t match. And yes, it can be equipped with a sound suppressor.

        And let’s not forget, the Armorer gave 007 the PPK as a secondary sidearm. The primary was a Smith & Wesson “Bodyguard” 5-shot .38 Special snub. Which of course S&W still makes, except now it’s a stainless-steel .357.

        An LCR would be a logical update.



        • I believe that the reason the PPK was chosen has more to do with looks, rather than any practical considerations. Hollywood never lets ammo availability get in the way of a good gunfight, and as the outcome of the gunfight is pre-scripted it doesn’t matter if the hero is using a .22 short or a 44 magnum (unless of course your hero is Dirty Harry). My personal preference for Commander Bond would have been a Sauer 38h. The size is the same as the Walther PP but in my humble option it looks much cooler than even the PPK, and again in my opinion, has better ergonomics.

          • One reason the PPK was picked was that it was easily available in Europe at the time. So many PPs and PPKs had been issued by the Wehrmacht and etc. from 1934 to 1945 that they were as common as .38 S&W Model 10s were in the U.S. and of course they were back in production by Manhurin at Mulhouse by 1959.

            Also, the actual British Secret Intelligence Service as well as the Special Branch issued the PPK in 7.65mm from 1960 to 1974, when during a kidnap attempt on Princess Anne, her bodyguard’s PPK jammed.

            PPs in 7.65mm were issued to British troops in Northern Ireland as self-defense arms when on furlough. Killing British soldiers making the rounds of the pubs was considered good sport by the IRA and INLA back then.



          • Nuke Road Warrior:

            For my two cents, I would say that the Mauser HSc is the cooler 7.65mm auto, but is not as well known as the Walther PPK. However, if Bond had been armed with it, maybe it would have been.

        • In that era the SA/DA system that Walther had was the “high tech” action of the day, and Bond was supposed to deal in cutting edge equipment.

          Also, 007 was supposed to have a license to kill. In other words, potentially an assassin. Assassins may prefer to get close to the target and take multiple head shots with a quieter round. As a real life example, the Israeli “Wrath of God” assassins (in retaliation for the 1972 Munich Massacre) used Beretta .22LR’s, and that was a decade after the fictional Bond went to the .32ACP. So, maybe .32 is indeed serious stuff compared to .22’s in that world, or at least what it was at the time.

          And, as Nuke Road Warrior said, a PPK just looks good. Can one imagine Bond on film with a cut-down Webley Self-Loading Pistol Mark I?

        • Thanks for the crucial detail. I do believe the character “Q” was indeed named “Major Boothroyd” in the author’s honor, though I think that only ever made its way into a film when Bond’s Soviet counterpart in The Spy Who Loved Me referred to him by that name in passing.

          • During the 1970s and 1980s the NSA used a Dan Wesson .357 with a suppressor. The reason was that the DW revolver, with its interchangeable barrels, could have its barrel/cylinder gap adjusted to very tight tolerances. And it could be done by hand, in the field.

            In fact, every DW revolver came with a mechanic’s type gap “feeler” gauge (just as you’d use to gap the sparkplugs on a car) for the purpose of adjusting the gap.

            Th suppressed DW .357 normally had the gap adjusted to no more than .0025 inch; the thickness of one layer of a piece of facial tissue. With the gap that small, there was little or no signature from the gap.

            A Ruger LCR modified with a DW type barrel change (in its case, more like a screw-in shotgun choke) could easily be set up the same way.

            BTW, for the 00 Section’s use, the shrouded-hammer .357 LCR would be better than the original hammerless trigger-cocking-only 9mm model. In the same way that the Armorer chose the S&W “Bodyguard” .38 Special with its shrouded but still accessible hammer for 007, instead of the truly hammerless “Centennial” version.

            Sometimes being able to thumb-cock the revolver for a precisely-placed shot would be useful. And please note, quality “snub” revolvers are more accurate than most people think.



          • I’ll take your word for it. As I said, I lost interest in those movies a long time ago.

            The best 007 was Timothy Dalton.



    • Bond was more of an assassin than a spy. Go in, confirm the bad guy needs to be whacked and then do the deed. In Dr. No I believe he even referred to himself as a sort of policeman (of the secret kind).

      • To see how the real British intelligence “wet work” operators were organized,look up the BBC TV series “The Sandbaggers”.

        No tuxedos in evidence.

        Fleming mainly based his books on his own (brief) field experience prewar in Lisbon (also the basis of The Rhinemann Exchange by Robert Ludlum). The card game in the novel Casino Royale apparently did in fact take place, in 1938. Reportedly, the British network there was blown and Fleming barely escaped with his life,spending the war years at a desk in London.

        The other “real-life” inspiration for 007 was WW1 British spy, Sidney Reilly.


        Who was the subject of a BBC series, Reilly, Ace of Spies in which he was played by Sam Neill.

        It’s worth noting that Reilly (not his real name, BTW) was caught and executed by the Russians in 1920.

        So 007 was created by one failed British agent, and based on another failed British agent.

        Not what you’d call a terrific resume’.



  5. Could the HK drum be improved w/ a machined (or printed) polygon that had vertical flats, but maintained the original operation?

    • I had a notion of using truncated cone(so the bottom is still 30 or 40 degrees sloped, but because the side of the cone is at the same angle to the bottom of it it all works out to the vertical plane of the aperture itself). It solves the problem of non-vertical facing and should be no harder to manufacture than a cylinder. A truncated pyramid is even better, but definitely more costlier to manufacture (though given the complexity of internals penny-pinching on sights is unlikely to improve cost all that much)

      But in the end a lot of guns of that era are focusing on being reliable, or on being light, ergonomics were not considered that high of a priority. And now I suppose there would be no reason to introduce it – some buyers want maximum interchangeability both mechanically and in training, and some just slap a red dot on it, those who want a better sight but cannot afford a red dot are likely to be very low

    • You can simply mill flats like on the Stgw90 (SIG 550)


      That one also have the 100m notch with night sigths. It’s useless, we never used it in the army. The dots are too bright by night and like on the HK version the notch is to close to the eye, even if it’s a square notch.

      On position 4 (400m) there is a removable piece that give you a much bigger aperture you can use for close range

      Illustration with the said piece in place

      Also used to put fancy adjustable aperture and coloured filters for competition shooting

      • Nice. I have overestimated how hard it would be to manufacture perfectly drum sight with perfectly perpendicular facings (it did not occur to me that only eye-facing side of the aperture really needs to be perpendicular and flat, not both of them). Though as I have said earlier it was a different time, there is almost a quarter of a century between them, so what was accepted as normal in the 60’s was not so in the 90s.

  6. Re the FP-45 Liberator;

    The decision on caliber was motivated mostly by available materials. .32 ACP would have required a custom-made run of barrel material, because no tubing available in the U.S. at the time was both strong enough and the right size (.300″-.310″ ID).

    By comparison, the barrel for the .45 caliber version was nothing more that a 4-inch-long piece of nominal 1/2″ ID Schedule 80, heavy-duty, galvanized steel seamless tubing. The kind often used as electrical conduit in commercial building construction in the U.S. at the time.

    So there was no shortage of available barrel “blanks”, even in 1942.

    One million “Liberators”, 4″ of barrel each, equals roughly 333,334 feet of “barrels” total. Or about sixty-three miles, or (if you prefer) about 102 kilometers.

    Rather than have the tubing made, Guide Lamp Co. (which built electrical equipment to begin with) probably had that much 1/2″ ID S80 in the warehouse, or knew where they could get it in a hurry.



  7. Have you considered translating only the text of Russian book and marrying to original Russian book for photos. You would then sell your translation and a copy of original Russian book. No hassles with copyright.

    • I do not think that anyone short of a maybe dozen or two serious researchers would buy that package. It’s incredibly inconvenient. Ian himself has voiced dislike of end notes or even chapter notes instead of footnotes and juggling two books is more inconvenient than flipping one book back-and-forward.

  8. in the real world, in which Bond travels all over; everywhere he would find Glocks. the baby Glock in 9mm with a threaded barrel would be practical. a 33 rd. mag will fit ; a 20 rd. mag will a 10 rd. etc. logistics ie. 9mm , variable mag capacity, mini red dot capability all lead to this suggestion.

  9. For a Bond gun: Walther CCP M2 with a suppressor.
    1: Walther throws money at the Bond franchise since Bond is a massive marketing vehicle for them. That alone is sufficient to dictate a Walther product.
    2: It’s concealable
    3: From what I understand, the suppressor can be made fairly small, quiet and reliable due to not needing a booster thanks to the CCP being gas delayed instead of a Browning tilting barrel.
    4: It’s commercially available and thus easily sanitized.

  10. On the topic of Bond, if the PC brigade get their wish and 007 gets played by a non-typecast actor/actress then I’ll accept that bastardisation of Flemings creation on the condition that the Woke Bond carries and Webley MkVI revolver.

  11. RE Will Headstamp publish English translations of foreign-language books?

    not an original idea but….
    To avoid all the copyright issues, you could negotiate with the original author(s) to translate the text into English and publish it as a book and sell it with the original publication on your website.
    Or sell the translation book separately and just point people at where to buy the original publication.
    Or sell it as a download PDF which they can print at home, which would save publishing and distribution costs.

    You could also do this with any updates or corrections to your own Chassepot to FAMAS book before any reprinting.

  12. BAD LEGAL ADVICE WARNING!!! Lawyer here- Whether import marks may be removed is dependent on Stat law if you’re in he U. S. Many States prohibit, in my State as a felony, the removal of any marks on an item. Check the law where you are.

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