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.
Take a tour through Stallone’s career through the firearms he has used on screen, from 2010 to the present.
The Expendables (2010)
Kimber Gold Combat II
In 2010, Stallone capitalized on the resurgence of his career and created the ambitious action ensemble movie, The Expendables.
He stars as Barney Ross, the leader of a group of aging mercenaries who are a little past their prime, but still the best in the business, and they have the gear to go with all that experience.
Ross carries two handguns in double thigh-rigs (made custom by Galco Gunleather), identical Kimber Gold Combat II 1911s that are elegant in their simplicity, with smooth black grip panels, however, these were no off-the-shelf guns.
According to this story from tactical-life.com, Kimber’s Product Manager of Pistols, Winslow Potter, says, “The pistol for The Expendables movie was based off of our current Gold Combat II pistol, but highly customized.
“Instead of being Kimpro finished stainless, the frame and slide were carbon steel, then mirror polished and hot blued. They wore mirror polished stainless small part accents.”
“We made a total of 10 identical pistols (other than serial numbers) for the movie and had a total of three weeks to make them, start to delivery, in order to get them to the ISS to do their appropriate modifications. My understanding is some were to made blank firing, while others were to remain live-fire pistols.”
Ross uses the guns in several sequences, often shooting them rapid fire, and reloading them almost as fast.
Custom Colt Single Action Army revolver
Ross also carries another pistol on his belt when he’s in full combat gear, and it’s a little unconventional.
It’s a customized Single Action Army revolver in .45 Long Colt with a shortened barrel featuring compensator cuts, no front sight and semi-gloss black grips, and what looks like a case hardened finish.
He keeps it in a upside down black leather holster, with a retention strap, in the 3 o’clock position.
Ross uses the gun as sort of a hideout / last resort gun that he surprises enemies with by quick-drawing and fanning the bobbed hammer, shooting six rounds with lightning speed.
If we count carefully, there are usually six shots when Ross fires the gun, which is a little off, since the SAA is meant to be carried with the hammer down on an empty chamber, to prevent the hammer from accidentally being triggered and firing a round. However, Ross’ gun could be a more modern version of the SAA, which could include a safety feature allowing it to be loaded with six shells.
When Ross and Christmas (Jason Statham) first visit Vallena, they travel light. Ross is armed only with a Beretta 92FS that he keeps concealed until cornered. Christmas seems to only be armed with his throwing knives.
FN 2000 Tactical
During the opening scene on that tanker with the pirates, Ross is armed with the distinct looking FN 2000 bullpup rifle (though the scenes are pretty dark) fitted with an EOTech sight, a weapon light, and a laser sight. Ying Yang (Jet Li) is also armed with an FN 2000.
Noveske Rifleworks Diplomat
Ross’ signature long gun, which he uses for the last quarter of the film and the raid on Garza’s compound is the same as used by most of the other Expendables: a Noveske Rifleworks Diplomat carbine, which is equipped with a Vltor VIS-1 monolithic upper receiver.
The guns use KX-3 flash hiders and Mod stocks from Vltor and were converted to full auto for the movie.
Ross’ Diplomat is fitted with a C-More red dot sight (some of the others have EOTech sights), a Surefire M900 weapon light, vertical foregrip, and a laser sight.
The Expendables 2 (2012)
Custom Kimber Gold Combat II
Stallone returned as Ross in The Expendables 2 two years later with a cast that was even bigger than the first film, and some extremely questionable facial hair. While the movie became a bit of a parody of itself, and the cast was too overblown for any kind of chemistry or backstory to develop, this big-budget sequel is still a fun ride with plenty of cool gun moments.
Ross again carries his custom Kimber Gold Combat II pistols in a double holster rig, but this time, the grips feature small “Expendables” emblems, which is also on Ross and Gunner Jensen bowie knives.
He also has his awesome cut-down backup SAA on his belt again, which he uses to great effect.
SIG-Sauer P229 E2
Instead of a Beretta, Ross carries a Sig-Sauer P229 E2 pistols when he’s in “civilian” mode this time around. He uses it primarily when the group is in Albania and are confronted by Jean Vilain (Jean-Claude Van Damme) and his henchmen at the crash site.
The P229 E2 is an in between sized handgun that can serve as a duty gun as well as a concealed carry pistol. It has a short-recoil operated double/single action firing system with a stainless steel slide on an alloy frame. The external hammer can be decocked with a decocking lever on the left side of the frame.
Noveske Rifleworks Diplomat
For a long gun, Ross and most of the other Expendables again use Noveske Rifleworks Diplomat carbines converted to full auto with various accessories. They are likely the same guns used for the first film. Christmas (Jason Statham) is armed with an M4A1 with a M26 MASS shotgun attached under the barrel for the Nepal mission.
Bullet to the Head (2013)
FN Browning Hi-Power
In 2013, Stallone’s action resurgence hit a little bit of snag with Bullet to the Head, a film intended to be a gruff underworld tale of hitmen, organized crime, and revenge—but it ended up being a fairly weak movie with an even weaker plot, that was almost worth watching just for the fireman axe fight between Stallone and Jason Momoa.
Stallone plays Jimmy Bobo, an aging ex-con and hitman whose partner is killed under mysterious circumstances after they complete a job.
Jimmy’s favored pistol is a nickel-plated Browning Hi-Power fitted with a 3-lug adapter, allowing the use of a quick-detach suppressor. This is the gun he takes to perform the hit in the bath house, but finds that the firing pin has been removed.
During the opening hit scene, we see Jimmy briefly using a Colt Woodsman .22LR pistol, with a suppressor, as his quiet assassination gun in the hotel room, before he and his partner discover the girl hiding in the bathroom.
Smith & Wesson Model 340PD
Jimmy also carries a backup gun in an ankle holster: the appropriate Smith & Wesson Model 340PD revolver in .357 Magnum, which he pulls during the fight scene in the club bathroom.
When Jimmy discovers the firing pin in his Browning has been removed, he has to engage in a fist fight with his target, in a scene that’s kind of like Eastern Promises Lite. Jimmy prevails and eventually gets ahold of his target’s Beretta 92FS and puts him down.
Winchester 1894 lever-action rifle
Jimmy uses a Winchester 1984 lever action rifle with a cord-wrapped lever and trigger guard during a memorable scene with Christian Slater, that ends rather abruptly. However, what was almost a badass scene was a little ruined by a really awful CGI muzzle blast.
Escape Plan (2013)
Later that year, Stallone started a new movie franchise, co-starring with Arnold Schwarzenegger, with Escape Plan (a sequel is currently in production), the story of a prison expert who is covertly inserted into maximum security facilities to test their security, until something goes wrong in a super secret government prison.
While there aren’t a lot of firefights and nobody is armed but the guards, Stallone’s Ray Breslin does get his hands on a Glock 21 pistol which he uses during his escape.
During the nail-biting helicopter scene toward the end of the film, Breslin uses an M1911A1 to take out the Warden Hobbes (Jim Caviezel) in a particularly explosive fashion—a death the character richly deserved.
The Expendables 3 (2014)
Heckler & Koch G36K
In 2014, Stallone came back for a third time as Barney Ross in the less-than-stellar Expandables 3 which saw the cast expanded even more with the addition of a whole new team of younger mercenaries, and Mel Gibson as Stonebanks, a former Expandable who turned into an illegal arms dealer.
Ross switches up his long gun for this installment, opting for a Heckler & Koch G36K in 5.56mm fitted with a G36V-style 1.5x scope. Jensen and Stonebanks’ men also carry the rifle.
Stonebanks himself uses the similar Heckler & Koch G36C with a scope when shoots from the helicopter. Christmas carries the same gun, but fitted with a EOTech sight.
Custom Colt Single Action Army
Ross is back with his backup SAA revolver he used in the past two films, this time using it to save his own butt during the big final fight with Stonebanks and his S&W Model 500.
Custom Kimber Gold Combat II
His double pistol rig with twin Kimber Gold Combat II pistols again returns as Barney’s go to sidearms, though it looks like the pistol belt is different, maybe it’s the buckle.
But just because Ross uses an H&K rifle doesn’t mean he’s given up his old favorite. In the beginning desert sequence, we see Ross using a Noveske carbine, but it’s not the same as in the previous two movies.
This time, he uses a rifle made from a Noveske 16-inch Infantry upper receiver and a Colt lower receiver. In previous films, a Noveske upper and lower were used and then converted to full-auto for the movie.
The gun is topped with a C-more sight, a Surefire M900, and Magpul BUS, as well as, sometimes, a suppressor.
Rambo: Last Blood (2019)
John J. Rambo
This is the first Rambo movie not set in an actual warzone since First Blood. This most recent sequel finds Rambo where we left him about a decade earlier at the end of Rambo (2008), having returned home to his family’s horse ranch in Arizona. If you watch the full version with the 12 minutes that were cut from the U.S. release for some reason (the extended cut is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video), you find out that he lives with a woman who used to work for his family at the ranch and her granddaughter. Her daughter passed away in the years since John returned home.
John has become a much different person. Living somewhere stable with people to care about has helped him with the rage we see in the previous movie. He is taking medication for his PTSD, but he still deals with a few issues. We see this exacerbated by a rescue effort he helps local law enforcement with at the beginning of the film during a flash flood in which some campers are killed, though Rambo saves one.
We find out that he has built a refuge for himself in the form of a network of tunnels dug beneath the ranch that clearly are inspired by the tunnel networks used by the Viet Cong during the war. In here he has his blacksmith shop where he makes knives and other tools. We see in the last film that this is a skill he’s learned over the years and he now uses it as a form of meditation.
It’s also in these tunnels where we see his gun rack built into the wall behind his bed, which holds three lever action rifles, an M1 Garand, and an M16A1. These will all be used later in the movie. There is also what appears to be an M16A2 or an early M4 on the far left of the gun rack, which we never see used.
Surrounding this area are also his bow and arrows hung on a shelf holding three military helmetts, the right one looking to be a Vietnam era helmet with a woodland camo cover. A Vietnam service ribbon flag is also hanging below the bow. On the wall we see a small shadowbox holding five medals before the camera pans over and shows us a new knife hanging by the machete style knife from the last movie, which is mounted below a shelf on pegs. This isn’t just a workshop—it’s strongly implied Rambo lives in the tunnels rather than the house.
Benelli M1 Super 90
In the first act, we see that Rambo keeps an M1911A1 pistol in the glove compartment of his truck. He takes this and one of the knives he made to Mexico in search of Gabriella after she disappears while looking for her father.
The 1911 is taken away from him by the cartel members soon after he heads into their compound.
The cartel beats Rambo and leaves him to bleed. A witness gets him a doctor and a place to recover, but Gabriella is in the hands of ruthless human traffickers, who torture her and intentionally give her a fatal dose of heroin.
John brings her back to the farm and buries her, leading her grandmother to believe he was going to return to his drifting lifestyle of old. In reality, he turns his ranch and the tunnels into a death trap for the cartel gang members.
Part of these defenses are two trap doors, from which he springs at the appropriate times, firing a Benelli M1 Super 90 shotgun to ignite a feed spreader filled with gasoline at the entrance to the barn.
Winchester Saddle Ring Carbine
He springs from another hidden hatch with a Winchester saddle ring carbine lever action rifle, which we see him testing while preparing his defenses.
This is the first bite he takes out of the fairly large group of attackers.
Once the cartel bad guys enter his tunnels, he has a host of booby traps ready for them, which are detailed below. When a trap doesn’t kill the man or men who tripped it, Rambo is on hand to dispatch them by hand.
When two men fall into a deadfall and are impaled by metal spikes on the bottom, Rambo appears above and fires a magazine in full auto from his M16A1. to make sure they’re dead.
Sawed-Off Side-by-Side Shotgun
The gun Rambo uses most during the tunnel scene is a simple, sawed-off, side-by-side shotgun, which would obviously be devastating in the close confines of the tunnels.
During his preparation, we see him handloading a batch of special magnesium shotgun shells, to create homemade Dragon’s Breath rounds. While such ammunition doesn’t really have any documented tactical use, the magnesium shards fired are burning at about 3,000 degrees, so you wouldn’t want to be shot with it. In the movie, they are depicted as killing two bad guys standing next to each other in a burst of white hot flame. Rambo could certainly have also loaded some shot in with the magnesium as well.
During the tunnel assault, we see Rambo aim the M1 Garand from the gun rack, specifically when the lead cartel brother discovers the speaker Rambo uses to blast music through the tunnels to disorient and confuse the bad guys and mask his own noises.
He holds his fire, wanting to save the brother for the end. He then forces him to exit the tunnel through the entrance in the barn after collapsing a section, taking out the last group of gunmen, and then beginning a chain of explosions that collapse the rest of the network. Rambo takes two bullets during this last effort, one in his shoulder and one through his side, but keeps going.
John Rambo’s Recurve Bow
In the previous two movies, we’ve seen Rambo is proficient with a compound bow, which is a piece of equipment he requested for his mission in the second film. In this film, he’s using a recurve bow. I asked a friend who knows bows way better than I do, and he’s pretty sure it’s a left-handed Limited Edition Bear Traditional Take Down bow with the B-style risers.
We see him practicing with the bow, center-punching playing cards from across the barn with pinpoint accuracy.
After he forces the big bad into the barn alone and the tunnels have been collapsed with explosions, he uses four well-placed arrows to pin him to the wall of the barn from a distance, before he approaches with his knife…
Before the attackers are drawn to follow Rambo into his tunnels, a series of booby traps take out several who attempt to assault the house and the barn. One is a trap involving a compound bow braced on a rack attached to the floor facing the front door.
When the door is opened, a homemade trigger attached to a tripwire of fishing line is released, which slips a hook out of the D-loop on the bowstring, firing an arrow into the chest of the bad guy coming through the door.
There are plenty of other booby traps in the tunnels which Rambo uses to incapacitate his enemies until he can dispatch them, or outright kills them. He has a claymore on the wall that he activated by hand, several Vietnam-style punji pits with spines of sharpened steel, and one large dead fall with a rack of steel spikes on the bottom that takes out two bad guys.
A sharpened pitcfork swings down on a spring, and holes in a false wall allow Rambo to jam sharpened metal fence poles through to the main passage. Most of these booby traps are directly inspired by the kinds of traps U.S. soldiers would encounter in the jungles and in the tunnels used by the NVA and Viet Cong.
Knives of Last Blood
Usually, Rambo only has one knife. In the first, he’s been carrying his knife on his, presumably since the war. In the second, he gets a new knife with his other gear. He has yet another knife in the third movie, which he smithed himself in a deleted scene. In the fourth movie, he smiths a brutal looking machete style knife out of a truck spring—but in a deleted scene, we see he still has the Rambo II knife, which he actually throws away in a fit of anger.
For the fifth film, Stallone didn’t go back to Gil Hibben, who had designed the previous two knives, but instead Dietmar Pohl, a German custom knife designer, designed the two main knives Rambo uses, though there are several more in the film, as it’s Rambo’s zen hobby to make knives.
Pohl designed the MK-8, the smaller knife seen hanging by the machete from the fourth movie. This is the knife Rambo takes with him to Mexico on his first attempt to rescue Gabriella. He uses it to torture a cartel member to extract information before it is taken away from him, along with his M1911 pistol.
Later, during the assault on his ranch, he has the larger and differently shaped MK-9 “Heartstopper” knife on his hip. While the first two knives were based on a mixture of Air Force survival knives and bowie knives, the third was a straight bowie knife with embellishments, and the fourth was a machete—these knives are more elegant and quite differently shaped.
This makes sense, since John has had decades to perfect his knife making, and the time to spend on these particular pieces. The rough hewn blade from the fourth movie was made in one night on a time crunch with no thought toward looks or finish, while these were labors of love and time.
Rambo also stashes his machete knife in the tunnels and uses it to great effect during the assault to take out two bad guys in close quarters.
Additionally, we see a letter opener knife he makes for Gabriella out of Damascus steel. He later uses it to pin a photo of Gabriella to the chest of one of the dead cartel brothers.
In the tunnel scenes, we also see him use a pair of wide-bladed throwing knives. He has shown his skill with throwing knives in Part II and Part III, in which he carries one on each boot.