The Definitive Guide to James Bond’s Gadgets, Gear, and Gizmos
Intrigued by 007's cool spy gizmos? Here's a roundup with the skinny on the ingenious weapons, tools, and assorted devices that James Bond uses on his missions.
September 24, 2021
Celebrated super spy James Bond is as well known for his gadgets as he is for his libido, his shaken martinis, and his fancy cars. While the Bond novels mention various widgets, the translation to film gave the special effects crew a lot more to work with. As a result, the clever tools and tricked-out weapons Bond uses on screen are perhaps even more impressive—and outlandish—than those featured in the books. As a shout out to the popularity of the exciting spy gadgets, the television show Get Smart famously spoofed James Bond with a shoe phone.
The top secret brain behind the Bond gadgets is Quartermaster—better known by his initial, Q, or his alias, Major Boothroyd. This innovative inventor didn't appear in the 12 original Bond novels by Ian Fleming. (After Fleming's death in 1964, several different authors have continued his legacy by writing Fleming estate-approved Bond stories.) Q was created for the movies; he has been featured in more than 20 Bond films and related film novelizations.
Special Agent 007 carries a pistol in almost every book and movie, but the other Bond accessories vary from mission to mission. One of the amazing things about the James Bond gadgets is that while some of them seemed wild and way-out, like something from science fiction, when they were first introduced, a surprising number are now very close to actual inventions used today.
So for all you Bond fans, gearheads, and aspiring spies, here's a list of several of the iconic James Bond weapons and gadgets from the books and films over the years. From flammable instruments to explosive clocks, to invisible cars and communicative lint brushes, to lethal objects as deceptively simple as a mousetrap or pen, Bond certainly has had some wonderful toys.
Bond has the classiest cars, and they come with some of the coolest spy car gadgets. His Aston Martin DB5 in Goldfinger had a ton of gadgets, including tire-slashing hubcaps, twin front-mounted machine guns, an ejector seat, bulletproof shields, a carphone (unheard of at the time!), bumper rams, and a mechanism that could dispense an oil slick or smoke. His Lotus Esprit in The Spy Who Loved Me turned into a submarine, for those fast underwater getaways. In The Living Daylights, Bond's Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante had rocket propulsion to kick into high gear. Or he could make himself and his car invisible with an invisibility cloak, first seen (or, should we say, not seen?) in Die Another Day. Bond's cars have also featured lasers, poison darts, and missiles. (Check out this article about James Bond cars to learn more!)
In Never Say Never Again, Bond gets a pen gun. It's a Mont Blanc 149 fountain pen decorated with the Union Jack flag, and it can actually write, but the pen nib can is also a missile that can be launched at enemy targets. Pretty nifty for an office supply.
The first James Bond jetpack scene is in Thunderball, when he escapes into the air after carrying out an assassination. Later in the film, he has an underwater scuba tank jetpack of sorts. He also uses a jetpack in Die Another Day.
A briefcase is such a simple but effective way to hide spy equipment and weapons. The tricked-out Bond device first appeared in From Russia with Love and concealed a collapsible rifle, 20 rounds of ammunition, a silencer, and 50 gold sovereigns, as well as a throwing knife, hidden on the outside of the case, and a tear gas security system, set to go off if the briefcase falls into the prying hands of unauthorized persons.
Cameras are a key tool for collecting evidence, and Bond has had his share of them. But his are cooler than regular cameras, of course. 007 has had some cool hidden cameras—including cameras hidden in wristwatches, a ring, and even a robotic dog—and cameras with incredible hidden properties. For starters, there was the camera with a hidden recording device in From Russia with Love, the infrared camera with a hidden geiger counter in Thunderball, and the camera with a hidden miniature rocket launcher in The Man with the Golden Gun. Shoot, there isn't much that Bond can't do with a camera.
Although Bond has been using technologically advanced communication devices throughout his stories, cell phones are a more recent inclusion in the films. His mobile phones always look more state-of-the-art and snazzy than the latest popular models, because... well, he's James Bond. One digital standout is the Sony Xperia Z5 that Bond uses to call Moneypenny from the car in Spectre.
X-ray glasses are a classic spy gadget, and Bond wears them in style. In A View to a Kill, 007 sports a pair of x-ray glasses that can see through tinted glass, and in The World is Not Enough , he uses a pair of x-ray glasses to search for hidden weapons.
Long before the dawn of real-life smart devices, Bond had wearable tech on his wrist in Octopussy. The size and shape of the average smartwatch of today, Bond's super smart TV watch allowed the home office to view a live feed of events. It also included a homing device, should anyone need to find 007 at a moment's notice.
This wild innovation, also from Octopussy, is not something you’d see in an Apple store. This camouflage device is basically a cloak shaped like a crocodile that fully covers 007 and allows him to float in the water undetected. It's a very James Bond '80s invention.
Lint Brush Communicator
In Live and Let Die, Bond uses a lint brush roller to communicate messages in Morse code. How’s that for multitasking?
Explosive Alarm Clock
This is one way to start the day with a bang. In License to Kill, Q shows Bond the alarm clock bomb, a handy device for making sure that sleeping enemies never get up.
Another one of Q's wild gadgets, this deadly musical instrument shoots long jets of flame. The bagpipe flamethrower makes a memorable appearance in Q's lab in The World Is Not Enough.
First seen in Thunderball, this is an edible location device, a pill that can be swallowed and used to keep track of Bond with a special receiver.
Water Transport Ball
Resembling a giant hamster ball that floats, water balls are now popular pool toys. But Bond may have kicked off the craze. In Diamonds Are Forever, 007 travels across the ocean sealed inside a similar-looking water transport ball after he parachutes into enemy territory.
These spike shoes first made an appearance in From Russia with Love. Adding a little extra kick to his kicks, Bond can trigger a small dagger that shoots out from the front of the shoe. Now, that's one remarkable pointy toe!
While Bond typically has a Walther PPK in his shoulder holster in early Bond stories, he tricks Blofeld's henchmen at the beginning of Diamonds Are Forever. A guy reaches into Bond's holster to disarm him and instead is treated to a mousetrap on his fingers.
Wrist-Mounted Dart Gun
This little device is worn like a watch under Bond's sleeve, but it's not harmless jewelry. As seen in Moonraker, this wrist-mounted gun can shoot poison-tipped darts or darts strong enough to pierce armor.