Movie Guns of Sylvester Stallone 1975-1985

Sylvester Stallone has had one of the most varied and explosive careers in cinemas history, during which he's fired a bunch of guns on screen. Like, a whole bunch.

Sylvester Stallone has had one of the most varied and explosive careers in cinemas history, from his rise as an award-winning writer / actor to an action movie icon who helped define the pop culture of a couple decades, at least. During that career, he's fired a lot of guns on screen. Like, a lot. This is a collection of the guns he shot on screen from 1975 to 1985.

Death Race 2000 (1975)

"Machine Gun" Joe Viterbo

M1928 Thompson Submachine Gun

llone fires a M1928 Thompson submachine gun at a crowd as “Machine Gun” Joe Viterbo in Death Race 2000. photo from imfdb.org](
llone fires a M1928 Thompson submachine gun at a crowd as “Machine Gun” Joe Viterbo in Death Race 2000.photo from imfdb.org

Stallone’s earliest credited roles were mostly tough guy roles determined by his demeanor and physique. The first time he got his hands on a gun in front of the camera was for the 1975 low-budget science fiction film, Death Race 2000

It was one of those odd 70s movies that depicted the future as everything that was trendy at the moment, just turned up to 11, including everyone and everything being splashed with bright colors and huge lapels.

The story is set in a dystopian future where the main form of entertainment for the masses is a violent, bloody, transcontinental race across the U.S. The only way a driver wins is if he’s the only one to survive to cross the finish line, and racers gain points by running down innocent people they come across along the way. Nice, huh?

Stallone plays “Machine Gun Joe” Viterbo, once of the drivers, with a kind of futuristic 1940s throwback aesthetic. When showing off for the crowds at the beginning of the race, Joe lives up to his nickname and sprays a crowd with an M1928 Thompson submachine gun. We don’t see the carnage, but it can be assumed he racked up a few points.

Other than that, the only guns Sly fires in the movie are mounted to his race car. The film also starred David Carradine and was updated in 2008 by Paul W.S. Anderson starring Jason Statham for less than stellar results.

The M1928 Thompson was an updated version from the original with provisions for box magazines and drum magazines. It also had a Cutts compensator, cooling fins on the barrel, and employed a delayed blowback action. The charging handle was also moved to the top of the receiver. This was the version most commonly depicted being used by gangsters and cops alike during prohibition and gained the nickname of “Chicago Typewriter.”

It could be fitted with a straight forend, like those found on the M1 versions made during WWII, or a front pistol grip like the M1921 Thompson. Over 1.5 million military Thompson submachine guns were made during World War II.

Capone (1975)

Frank Nitti

Star Model B

Though it's hard to see, that's Stallone as Frank Nitti in the background firing a Star Model B pistol.
Though it's hard to see, that's Stallone as Frank Nitti in the background firing a Star Model B pistol.photo from imfdb.org

Stallone had a small role that same year in Capone, a biopic about the legendary Chicago gangster and Prohibition kingpin Al Capone, playing one of the gangster's triggermen, Frank Nitti. He didn't have many lines and spent most of the movie leering and looking dangerous.

He does get to fire a few guns though. He shoots a Colt Detective Special when he and two other hitmen kill Capone’s rival Dion O'Banion.

The movie also has a number of Star Model B pistols standing in for 1911s. In the 1970s, the Star 9mm was often substituted for the 1911 because it was much easier for armorers to make 9mm blanks that would reliably cycle than .45 ACP rounds. Nitti keeps one as his sidearm and uses it a number of times in the film's latter half.

Farewell, My Lovely (1975)

Jonnie

Smith & Wesson Model M&P

Stallone firing a Smith & Wesson Model M&P in Farewell My Lovely.
Stallone firing a Smith & Wesson Model M&P in Farewell My Lovely.photo from imfdb.org

1975 was a busy year for Stallone, though none of the films he was part of were necessarily successful.

Another one for the list is Farewell, My Lovely an adaptation of a Raymond Chandler novel with the setting moved to the present day. Robert Mitchum played Phillip Marlowe, the private detective role made famous by Humphrey Bogart in the 1940s.

Stallone played another tough guy, this time a hired goon working for a brothel’s sadistic madam, played by Kate Murtaugh.

In one scene, a surprised Jonnie fires a Smith & Wesson Model M&P pistol in .38 Special and a 5-inch barrel.

In an interesting bit of trivia, Joe Spinell had a role as Nicky, a hired thug for France Amthor in the movie. Spinell played Stallone’s loan shark boss, Gazzo in his breakout movie, Rocky (1976) a few years later.

Nighthawks (1981)

Det. Sgt. Deke DeSilva

M1911A1

Deke DeSilva (Stallone) aims his M1911A1 in the subway at a fleeing terrorist.
Deke DeSilva (Stallone) aims his M1911A1 in the subway at a fleeing terrorist.photo from imfdb.org

Stallone had a few more tough guy roles and TV spots after Farewell, My Lovely, but nothing significant until 1976, when he starred in a low-budget film he wrote about a washed up Philadelphia boxer given a shot at the world championship. The film, Rocky, changed his life and launched his career as a bonafide movie star.

The next few years saw him star in the underrated F.I.S.T. (1978) in which he played a Jimmy Hoffa-esque character and the passion project Paradise Alley (1978), though his next big success would be with a followup to his most successful film with Rocky II in (1979).

He followed that up with something completely different, tapping into the popularity of taut, hard-boiled crime dramas of the decade like The French Connection with what could be considered his first action movie.

Nighthawks (1981) was an ambitious film about a Vietnam veteran who joined the NYPD working dangerous undercover stings in a New York City at the height of its crime epidemic. Det. Sgt. Deke DeSilva (Stallone) has to face a new enemy, however, when an international terrorist, Wulfgar (Rutger Hauer), targets his city, and he and his partner Sgt. Matthew Fox (Billy Dee Williams) join the task force hunting him down.

DeSilva carries an M1911A1 as his regular sidearm, as does his partner, Fox. In the 70s, the NYPD didn’t officially authorize any semi-automatic pistols for duty use, and detectives usually carried Colt Detective Specials or S&W Chief’s Specials in .38 Special ands some carried the heavier S&W Model 10 with a 2” barrel.

However, Detectives in special units were given quite a bit of leeway and often carried semi-autos like the 1911. In the book “Serpico,” the author describes carrying a Browning Hi Power in 9mm as his sidearm, though it was never officially an authorized handgun.

In today’s NYPD, officers buy their own sidearms and can choose from three options: a Glock G19, an S&W 5946, and the Sig Sauer P226 DAO—but no matter what they choose, the gun must be loaded with Speer’s 124-grain Gold Dot hollow-point +P loads.

Cut-Down Remington 870 with Folding Stock

DeSilva uses a cut-down Remington 870 to serve a high-riesk warrant.
DeSilva uses a cut-down Remington 870 to serve a high-riesk warrant.photo from imfdb.org

When Fox and DeSilva gear up to make a high-risk arrest in an apartment building, he grabs a Remington 870 Police Magnum shotgun with a barrel that has been cut down to match the length of the gun’s magazine tube.

The 12-gauge shotgun also features a top-folding stock and a pistol grip, making it a good tactical choice for close quarters. During the same raid, Fox uses a Winchester Model 1897 12-gauge shotgun.

Smith & Wesson Model 60 Revolver

DeSilva practices with the Smith at the range.
DeSilva practices with the Smith at the range.photo from imfdb.org

During a scene at the police shooting range near the middle of the movie, DeSilva fires what looks to be a Smith & Wesson Model 629 with a 4" barrel, which is a shorter barreled, stainless steel version of the Model 29 .44 Magnum made famous by Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry just a few years earlier.

We don't see the gun again until the memorable final scene. SPOILERS AHEAD Wulfgar (Rutger Hauer) sneaks into the home of DeSilva's girlfriend, hoping to exact a last measure of revenge after his plot was foiled. He approaches what he believes to be a woman washing dishes at the sink.

DeSilva turns from the sink, surprising Wulfgar in the films conclusion.
DeSilva turns from the sink, surprising Wulfgar in the film's conclusion.photo from imfdb.org

The figure turns at the last second and it’s revealed to be DeSilva in a wig and robe. He pulls his Model 629, wrapped in a plastic bag, from the sink water and takes Wulfgar out. This scene may seem like it’s edited strangely, with the shots and the hits not matching up. This is because the original version of the scene attempted to depict the actual damage six .44 Magnums at close range would do.

The MPAA freaked out over the entire movie, and many parts were deeply cut for violence by both the agency and Universal Pictures. This included Wulfgar’s original death scene, which showed him being shot five times in slow motion and then a final time in the head.

The footage has since been lost and the deep forced cuts have been blamed for the film feeling choppy overall.

First Blood (1982)

John J. Rambo

M60 Machine Gun

Rambo's M60
This marks the first time John J. Rambo uses what would become his signature firearm, the M60 machine gun.photo from imfdb.org

If Nighthawks was Stallone's first foray into the new genre of action movies, he jumped in with both feet in 1982's First Blood when he introduced his second-most memorable character, action icon John J. Rambo.

Rambo is a former Green Beret who was a POW during the Vietnam War. The story catches up with him after he has returned to the United States and bounced around from odd job to odd job after the war's end, eventually becoming a drifter. He hitchhikes and walks his way to Washington state to find the last remaining member of his team from 'Nam, only to find that he has died of cancer, which his mother blamed on exposure to Agent Orange during the war.

He begins to wander, maybe headed toward Portland, when he’s stopped by small-town Sheriff Will Teasle (Brian Denehey) on the side of the road for looking like a hippie with long hair and a beat-up army jacket, about to walk into his town. Instead of taking him somewhere to get something to eat, the Sheriff drives Rambo through Hope, Washington and leaves him on the highway headed out of town, basically telling him he’s not welcome.

First he uses the machine gun to take out power around the town.
First he uses the machine gun to take out power around the town.photo from imfdb.org

Rambo defies the Sheriff and immediately walks back toward town. This leads to his arrest for vagrancy and subsequent abuse by a sadistic deputy that knocks Rambo back to the torture he endured as a prisoner. He assaults a number of officers, escapes from the police station, steals a motorcycle, and leads Teasle on a chase that ends with Rambo scrambling into the mountains in jeans and a tank top with nothing more than his survival knife, which he swiped from the station during his escape.

The sadistic Deputy Sgt. Art Galt (Jack Starrett) attempts to shoot Rambo from a helicopter when he’s clinging to a cliff with a Winchester Model 88 lever action rifle.

When Rambo hits the helicopter’s windshield with a rock, the pilot jerks and Galt falls from the chopper and is killed on the rocks below. Rambo retrieves the Model 88 and later uses it off-screen to shoot two dobermans that are pursuing him through the forest. He then runs out of ammunition and has to kill the final dog with his knife.

Other than that, Rambo only gets his hands on two guns in the film. The big daddy of them all is the M60 machine gun. Symbolic of the Vietnam War during which it was introduced and earned the nickname "The Pig," it's a crew served weapon that was actually designed to be used the way Rambo does, if necessary, served by one person and fired from the hip.

Then he moves on to a gun shop and assaulting the police station itself.
Then he moves on to a gun shop and assaulting the police station itself.photo from imfdb.org

Normally, when the M60 is a crew served weapon, multiple troops carry belted 7.62 NATO ammunition and replacement barrels. When firing, one soldier was usually responsible for loading and feeding ammunition into the gun to prevent jams or misfeeds.

In the final act of the film, after it’s believed he was killed by a rocket fired into a mine where we was hiding, Rambo hijacks an Army truck and uses it to blow up a gas station, but not before he takes the M60 and a few boxes of ammo from the back of the truck.

He strings spare ammo belts across his chest and waist as many soldiers did in Vietnam and uses his left hand to feed ammo into the gun when firing. The gun is equipped with a sling, making it easier for Rambo to operate and carry solo.

He uses the gun to take out the town’s electricity by blasting transformers, and he destroys a number of buildings, including shooting out the police station. He also uses it to wound Teasle, who is waiting in ambush on the roof.

The poster of Stallone holding the M60 became the iconic representation of the Rambo character on everything from lunch boxes to pajamas, and it was emulated by the sequel, but we’ll get to that soon.

M16A1

Rambo briefly uses an M16 he takes off one of the Sheriff's deputies.
Rambo briefly uses an M16 he takes off one of the Sheriff's deputies.photo from imfdb.org

Rambo also briefly uses an M16A1 rifle, which he takes from a downed sheriff’s deputy from the forest stalking scene, though he doesn’t pick up any spare ammo, leaving him only with the 20-round magazine in the rifle.

He expends this rather quickly, spraying full-auto suppressive fire at a group of National Guardsmen, who corner him in the mine he’d been using as shelter.

M1911A1

In a deleted scene of an alternate ending to First Blood, Rambo forces Trautman to shoot and kill him with his 1911 pistol.
In a deleted scene of an alternate ending to First Blood, Rambo forces Trautman to shoot and kill him with his 1911 pistol.photo from imfdb.org

The movie famously had a different ending that more closely followed the ending of the novel “First Blood” by David Morrell in which Col. Trautman (Richard Crenna), Rambo’s former commander and mentor, kills the tortured soldier, believing him too far gone mentally. To be fair, in the book Rambo kills a whole bunch of cops and National Guardsman, instead of wounding them like in the movie, so Trautman was a bit more justified.

In the alternate movie ending, when he's finally cornered in the shot-out police station by an army of state police and Guardsmen, Rambo asks Trautman to kill him with his 1911A1 sidearm. After much hesitation, Rambo forces him to do it, firing one shot into his abdomen. Rambo crumbles to the floor of the police station against a filing cabinet, and dies.

Needless to say, the ending tested horribly with audiences, and it was changed to one where Trautman talks Rambo into surrendering, saving his life—though a grainy version of the grim ending was included in DVD and Bluray releases of First Blood.

Bonus: Custom Survival Knife

Stallone commissioned Arkansas knifesmith Jimmy Lile to create Rambo's custom survival knife
Stallone commissioned Arkansas knifesmith Jimmy Lile to create Rambo's custom survival knife.photo from imfdb.org

While the M60 became Rambo’s signature firearm, the character really wouldn’t be the same without the weapon that never left his hip, unless he happened to be captured.

Teasle first finds Rambo’s custom survival knife tucked into the back of his belt and takes it from him before he is arrested. The blade was designed for the movie at Stallone’s request by the late master Arkansas knife maker Jimmy Lile. Lile had been making knives full time since 1970 and had become a respected custom knife maker and remained so until his death in 1991.

Lile’s innovative design incorporated features that he felt would make it a more all around tool for survival than just a knife. It featured a 9-inch blade with 14 split saw teeth along the spine, Phillips and flat-head screwdrivers incorporated into the guard which also include holes so the knife could more easily be lashed to a pole to make a spear. The watertight hollow handle had a compass in the non-magnetic aluminum pommel cap. The original design has a small holding knife in the hollow handle, but the final version included a survival kit with fish hooks, line, needle and thread, and matches. Rambo famously uses the needle and thread to sew up a gash in his own arm after falling through a tree in the film.

For everything you'd ever want to know about Rambo's movie knives, head to cartertown.com.

Rambo: First Blood Part 2 (1985)

John J. Rambo

M60E3 Machine Gun

Rambo returns to his signature weapon for the sequel, this time as the shorter and lighter M60E3.
Rambo returns to his signature weapon for the sequel, this time as the shorter and lighter M60E3.photo from imfdb.org

While the taught thriller First Blood was a surprise success that introduced the character of John Rambo (who was never supposed to survive the ending), it was the bigger than life sequel that cemented the character in pop culture, along with the image of a shirtless Stallone with a red headband, firing his M60.

We find Rambo at the beginning of this film serving hard labor, literally breaking rocks, in prison for the crimes he committed in the first movie.

Rambo is offered the opportunity to score a win for the POWs and MIA soldiers, Marines, and sailors of the Vietnam War who were never recovered, as well as a presidential pardon, by a familiar face who shows up as a visitor: Col. Sam Trautman.

The mission is to head back to and old prison camp in Vietnam, where he himself was held prisoner during the war, as part of a covert CIA operation. His mission objective is to take photos that prove POWs are still being held in captivity in 1985, which would then be used to give congress the evidence it needed to authorize rescue missions to recover the men.

In reality, the mission was a smokescreen and the CIA spook running the operation intended for it to fail. He also didn't expect Rambo to survive, let alone actually find American POWs, which he does. And then all hell breaks loose.

Now on to the hardware.

Rambo dismounts the M60E3 from a helicopter and uses it to free the POWs int he camp.
Rambo dismounts the M60E3 from a helicopter and uses it to free the POWs int he camp.photo from imfdb.org

The sequel paid tribute to the original by giving Rambo the same machine gun he used to tear up the town in First Blood at the end of the Part 2 to tear up the POW camp, but, as a sequel should be, it's just a bit different this time around.

The M60 E3 is a lightweight improved version of the M60 with a number of updated features. It has a bipod attached to the receiver, an ambidextrous safety, universal sling attachments, a carrying handle on the barrel, and a simplified gas system and a vertical fore grip to help make it more controllable when fired from the hip.

Rambo using the M60E3 to clear out the enemy camp before freeing the POWs.
Rambo using the M60E3 to clear out the enemy camp before freeing the POWs.photo from imfdb.org

In the final act, after Rambo beats the Russian interrogator hand-to-hand in the helicopter and “convinces” the pilot to exit, he takes control and lands the chopper at the POW camp after using its on-board weapons to soften the enemy defenses from the air.

On his way to free the prisoners, he grabs the door gunner M60E3 off its mount and wraps a belt of ammunition around his arm, and uses it as his primary weapon until the end of the film. He covers the POWs as they board the helicopter and takes out the last few enemy soldiers. (He also cements a firm action movie tradition of hitting every bad guy with every burst, while their AK fire miraculously misses him every time.)

He puts the gun back on its mount after the POWs are aboard, and again uses it when he gets them back to the CIA base, in perhaps the movie's most memorable scene, to chew up every piece of equipment in the high-tech control center in a rage until the belt of 7.62 NATO ammo runs dry.

Heckler & Koch HK94A3

Rambo readies his MP5A3 while prepping for his jungle insertion.
Rambo readies his MP5A3 while prepping for his jungle insertion.photo from imfdb.org

At the top of the movie, we get a somewhat extensive "gearing up" montage before Rambo sets off on his mission. Shots of him preparing his gear are intercut with shots of the CIA-hired mercenary crew readying the plane that will take him to his insertion point, where he will parachute into the jungle. Some materials accompanying the film and some associated products describe it as a HALO jump (High Altitude, Low Open), but Rambo is actually executing a low-altitude jump using a static line.

He preps a bunch of gear he never actually gets to use. When he jumps from the plane, the lines get tangled and he gets hung up and dragged by the plane until he is able to cut through the line that got snagged.

Unfortunately, he has to ditch a lot of his gear to get to that line, meaning he hits the jungle with nothing but his knife and his bow bag, containing his broken down compound bow, arrows, and explosive tips.

One of the weapons he loses is a Heckler & Koch HK94A3 standing in for an HK MP5A3 submachine gun. The HK94A3 is the semi-auto civilian version of the MP5A3, which can be distinguished by the lack of a paddle magazine release in favor of a magazine release button. When he's prepping and loading the gun, we see Rambo look through a 3x scope mounted on top, but in the plane, the scope seems to have been removed.

Something that makes this gun stand out: it features the not often seen slimline handguard instead of the much more familiar and bulkier "tropical" handguard.

Remington 870 Shotgun

When the river pirates turn on them, Rambo takes a Remington 870 shotgun from one of them after disabling him with two small hide-away push daggers.
When the river pirates turn on them, Rambo takes a Remington 870 shotgun from one of the pirates after disabling him with two small, concealed push daggers.photo from imfdb.org

After the rescue of the first POW during the recon mission, the river pirates Rambo and Co used to get to the camp turn on them and reveal they are planning to turn the pair in for a payout.

They take Co's rifle and as she argues with the boat captain, Rambo pulls two push daggers he has hidden in his belt (which we see him stow during the mission prep montage) and stabs one of the pirates with both and using his body to shield himself from the captain's pistol fire.

When the pirate's body falls, we see Rambo has his cut-down Remington 870 shotgun in his hands, which he then uses to shoot every one of the pirates on the boat, except for the one who tries to sneak on deck from the hold, who Co cuts down with her AK.

He uses the shotgun to take out almost all the pirates on the boat, save for the one Co shoots with her AK.
He uses the shotgun to take out almost all the pirates on the boat, save for the one Co shoots with her AK.photo from imfdb.org

During the scene, Rambo slam fires the shotgun, which means he holds the trigger down and works the pump action. On older model shotguns, doing this caused a round to be fired as soon as it was chambered. The technique was often employed in WWI to clear trenches.

The addition of the trigger disconnect on modern shotguns, intended as a safety feature, prevents today's pumps from executing a slam fire. On those, if you hold the trigger down and work the action, all you do is chamber a new round. You must release the trigger for the internal hammer to reset.

We can see Rambo clearly slam fires the shotgun, which would have been possible with older model 870s that didn't include a trigger disconnect.
We can see Rambo clearly slam fires the shotgun, which would have been possible with older model 870s that didn't include a trigger disconnect.photo from imfdb.org

RPG-7 (Rocket Propelled Grenade)

Rambo aims the mock-up RPG-7 launcher on the pirate boat.
Rambo aims the mock-up RPG-7 launcher on the pirate boat.photo from imfdb.org

Once Rambo takes out the pirates, he finds the boat in the crosshairs of an enemy patrol boat armed with a twin .50 caliber machine gun. Before it can maneuver into a shooting position, Rambo gets Co and the POW off just in time, and takes cover in the boats hold through the first salvo of machine gun fire.

When the gun needs a new belt of ammo, Rambo makes his way to the weapon locker the captain showed him when he was bragging earlier int he film, and retrieves an RPG-7 rocket-propelled grenade launcher.

In reality, the launcher looks to be the same as the mock-up launchers used in Red Dawn (as do a lot of the "Soviet" firearms) and not a genuine RPG-7.

The warhead can be clearly seen with Soviet markings, but when translated, they mean “Cartridges 7.62mm 1943 year.” Kind of strange to find on a 70mm rocket.

Rambo retrieves the launcher, flips up the iron sights, aims, and fires at the patrol boat, just as it begins firing again. The boat is destroyed, and on fire, but the burning hull crashes into the pirate boat, just as Rambo jumps free with his bow bag.

AKM Assault Rifle

Rambo fires his AKM at enemy soldiers after they fatally shoot his companion, Co Bao.
Rambo fires his AKM at enemy soldiers after they fatally shoot his companion, Co Bao.photo from imfdb.org

Since he doesn't have any of the firearms he prepared for the mission, Rambo has to rely on what he can pick up in the field. He gets his first AKM from an indigenous CIA agent, Co Bao, after they split up following the river boat shootout. He uses it until he is abandoned by his CIA employers and taken captive on the hilltop.

Later, when Rambo escapes from the enemy camp with Co's help, he is able to grab his knife, which was used to torture him, but otherwise has to rely on enemy weapons for the rest of the movie. (Co hangs on to his bow and returns it to him, so he has that as well.)

During the escape, he picks up another enemy AKM assault rifle with a magical never-ending magazine, and some snagged hand grenades, to take out a number of enemy pursuers during a breakneck, nighttime, down-hill sprint through the jungle with soldiers and helicopters giving chase.

Rambo fires his AKM during the prison camp escape.
Rambo fires his AKM during the prison camp escape.photo from imfdb.org

When morning breaks after his escape, Rambo and Co have a peaceful moment that actually turns briefly romantic as they hammer out some rough plans to head to Thailand before trying to get back to the U.S. together. Just as they are preparing to move on, Co is shockingly cut down by a barrage of enemy rifle fire.

Rambo picks up his AKM and fires down at their pursuers accurately enough to take out all but one of the patrol, the one who fired the fatal shots at Co, who flees toward reinforcements.

Co dies in his arms, and Rambo's goals change slightly. (Production Note: the original cut of the movie had Rambo screaming "Nooooo!" after Co dies as the camera pulled away from him into an overhead shot. When test audiences openly laughed, the shot was cut.)

He no longer cares about getting back alive, and instead sets out on a mission of revenge by doing what he knows how to do best, stalking the men who are chasing him in a scene very reminiscent of the forrest stalking scene in First Blood, only this time, he's not trying to wound a bunch of cops, but killing trained Soviet commandos. And he does it mostly with his knife and compound bow, but more on those later.

M72 LAW launcher (Light Anti-Tank Weapon)

Rambo readies to fire the M72 LAW rocket launcher with his hand on the trigger, located on top of the tube.
Rambo readies to fire the M72 LAW rocket launcher with his hand on the trigger, located on top of the tube.photo from imfdb.org

Rambo uses another rocket launcher near the end of the film in a sequence that includes one of the biggest weapons gaffs in action movie history.

At the end the helicopter chase scene where Rambo's underarmed Huey loaded with POWs flees a Russian Hind with the Soviet commander in the pilot seat, Rambo plays possum in his chopper, which appears to have crashed in a shallow riverbed.

As the Hind moves in for a closer look, Rambo springs to action in the cockpit and fires a M72 LAW anti-tank rocket launcher, reducing the Hind to a pile of, flaming wreckage.

First of all, Rambo fires the rocket through a large hole in the helicopter’s windshield, which doesn’t appear until right before he fires.

Second, the film editors must have thought the audience wouldn’t have realized that Rambo fired the LAW…since the launcher doesn’t really fire, and instead is shown in a quick smash cut with a zoom and the enemy Hind exploding. So, they edited in a couple frames of Rambo’s hand firing the RPG from earlier.

The problem is the RPG has a pistol grip and a conventional trigger, whereas the LAW trigger is a button located on top of the tube, which has no pistol grip.

Once you see it, it’s hard not to notice it every time.

Bonus: Compound Bow

Rambo aims his Hoyt bow and his last explosive arrow at the enemy soldier who shot Co.
Rambo aims his Hoyt bow and his last explosive arrow at the enemy soldier who shot Co.photo from imfdb.org

Rambo spends a good chunk of the film roughing it and combatting enemies without a firearm, instead armed only with his compound bow and knife.

He had a survival knife in First Blood, and the blade became synonymous with the character, but the bow was a new addition for the sequel.

Rambo uses a Hoyt compound bow, based on the company's Spectre model, as his silent, and deadly weapon. The limbs can be removed with an Allen wrench (though how he strings the compound bow in the jungle without a bow press is a mystery) so it can be broken down and stored in a case when not in use.

He also uses arrows that can be unscrewed into two pieces for storage.

During the nighttime recon mission of the old POW camp, Rambo assembles his bow for the first time on the edge of the camp, and it’s fitted with a stabilizer that acts as a tac light, though the flashlight is never activated in the film.

Rambo uses the bow to silently take out a number of sentries before exfiltrating the camp with a freed POW in tow.

Later, after Rambo’s escape and Co’s death, Rambo again assembles his bow (off screen) and fits the arrows with the explosive tips we saw him preparing in the gearing-up montage at the beginning of the film.

They appear to be some kind of high-explosive with a plunger detonator that has a devastating effect on enemy vehicles.

Rambo uses his last explosive arrow to utterly destroy the enemy soldier who shot Co and abused him at the prison camp.

The bow was a Hoyt bow nicknamed “The Torque” that was specifically designed for the film with an all black paintjob and based on the Hoyt Spectra bow, which is very similar.

The bow was actually released as the Hoyt "Rambo," once the movie became a hit, in a very similar configuration to the bow in the movie, though the limbs were not all black.

Bonus: Survival Knife

Rambo with his survival knife, again designed by Jimmy Lile based on the *First Blood* knife.
Rambo with his survival knife, again designed by Jimmy Lile based on the First Blood knife.photo from imfdb.org

Rambo's survival knife was again designed by Arkansas knife smith Jimmy Like and is very similar to the First Blood knife. It has a blade that's about an inch longer and wider than the previous knife, and the center is coated in a matte black instead of the bead-blasted finish of the first knife.

The handle is wrapped in black cordage this time instead of green and the hand guard includes a flat-head and Phillips screwdriver, same as the first one.

While Rambo doesn’t use the needle and thread to sew himself up in Part II, he uses the compass in the knife's pommel to get his bearings after his botched insertion. Later, he uses the matches stored in the knife handle to set fire to a dry cornfield full of enemy troops.