Rambo and Rocky movies share one big thing in common: the guy who plays Rambo and Rocky. Otherwise they are very different movies, as demonstrated by their death tolls and the various guns of the Rambo films.

Just how much different are the death counts? Look at this graph:

guns of rambo deaths

What you will notice right away is that a lot more people die in Rambo movies than in Rocky movies. This is because Rocky Balboa is a boxer. It would be difficult to write a good script about a man who pummels hundreds of people to death with his fists… or would it? John Rambo and his enemies, however, have guns. (Please note: We didn’t forget about Mickey in Rocky III.)

It is likely that film censors in the future will ban all depictions of firearms in motion pictures. This will require digital superimposition of photos of cute puppies over all of the hardware that Rambo uses. That is why for posterity’s sake we have created a record of the most prominent firearms from the first three Rambo movies, right here on the internet where it’s safe forever.

The future we chose.

Rambo with a puppy gun

A poorly Photoshopped image of Rambo shooting a puppy gun.


M60 (1957–present)

The M60 is exactly the machine gun you need to punch up the climax of your movie. Sleepless in Seattle was boring because its director forgot that lesson from film school. Rambo performs a little amateur demolition around town with his M60. Of course, he doesn’t need an assistant gunner to do so. Rambo uses the M60 a second time in the second movie, one-handed. That’s one-handed firing of 7.62×51 caliber rounds. You don’t need to aim when you’ve got hair like Rambo!

The M60 is the culmination of a development program that began in the 60s to create a lighter machine gun. Its creators took inspiration from German guns of WWII, but improved on them because they were American. At 24 pounds the M60 was hardly a pocket pistol, earning it the nickname “The Pig” during the Vietnam War. The machine gun proved its worth with its superior handling and simple design. When jungle conditions would permit it could fire up to 650 rounds per minute. ATF approved semi-automatic versions are available depending on jurisdiction, but you may prefer to buy a new Mercedes instead.

Heckler & Koch MP5A3 (1966-present)

Rambo with Heckler and Koch MP5A3 Rifle

This is the weapon the CIA issued to Rambo before his mission began in Rambo II. In actuality the prop gun was an HK94A3 that had had its stock converted, likely because it was more convenient for the film’s property master to get his hands on the civilian model. In any event the gun didn’t do Rambo any good, because he promptly lost it.

Available in 9mm, 10mm, and 40 S&W, the reliable Maschinenpistole 5 is capable of emptying a 30 round magazine in just over two seconds. This has contributed much to its widespread popularity throughout the world. While SWAT teams have largely abandoned the MP5 in favor of the AR-15, it is used or (has been used) by approximately half of the national governments on earth. Even the Swiss Guard used the MP5 to protect the pope when their traditional halberds proved inadequate for the task. John McClane found it especially useful in Die Hard. (But that’s a whole other story.)

AKM (1959–1977)

Rambo carrying an AKM rifle

Both Rambo and the ill-fated Co Bao use commandeered AKMs to make short work of Vietnamese and Soviet adversaries. Maybe they weren’t the Soviet’s A-players, however, because by Rambo II’s release the Russians had already upgraded to the AK-74. The same AKM that Rambo dropped in the mud as his enemies surrounded him is on display at Planet Hollywood, where you can also see the Jason’s mask from Friday the 13th, the mermaid tail from Splash, and Warren Beatty’s jockstrap from Heaven Can Wait.

A variant of the classic AK-47, the ARM (модернизи́рованный Автома́т Кала́шникова) was introduced into service in 1959 and phased out in the late 70s. Its stamped receiver is easier to mass produce than the AK’s milled one, and it is approximately two pounds lighter to boot. The rifles in the movie are actually Maadis, Egyptian copies that were used to guard strategic oasis locations.

M134 Minigun (1962-present)

Rambo M134 minigun

The fake M134 minigun is mounted on the chopper behind them. (Image source: http://www.imfdb.org)

Good luck firing this weapon one-handed, Rambo. Capable of firing several thousand rounds in one minute, the M134 would break even the best coiffed super soldier’s wrists, back, and budget for ammunition.

While the word “Minigun” properly refers to General Electric’s original M134, it has come to mean any large rotary gun. General Electric developed the Minigun when they scaled down the M61 Vulcan to fire 7.62x51mm. The result, a weapon that could fire up to 6,000 rounds per minute without overheating, proved an effective addition to helicopters that needed defense against attackers concealed by thick jungle foliage. The electric powered rotary gun was not a novel contrivance, however — soon after inventing the machine gun in 1861, Richard Gatling affixed a primitive electric motor to one of his prototypes.

Compound Bow (1966-present)

Rambo with a compound bow, which is not a gun at all

 Not a gun; disqualified.

PKM (1961-present)

PKM rifle

This is the machine gun that Rambo uses against the Red Army in the climax of Rambo III. His had a 200 round box magazine. This proved to contain an ample enough amount of 7.62x54R cartridges for dealing with any army, be it red, green, blue, or some other color. The rifle’s name, Пулемёт Калашникова, means “Kalashnikov’s Machine Gun.” Indeed, the famous inventor of the AK-47 headed the team that developed this gas-operated rotary-bolt weapon.

The “M” in PKM stands for Модернизированный, or “Modernized.” Adopted into service eight years after the original, the PKM improves upon it by being lighter as well as easier to produce and operate. The PK is also available with a mount and with night sights for when the light isn’t going to help out with a mission. Rambo wouldn’t have needed night sights because he mixes carrots in with his human growth hormones.

DShK (1938-present)

DShk 12.7mm rifle

Whereas most 80s movies with a DShK depicted a fake made from a Browning M2, Rambo III was filmed in Israel where the authentic Soviet heavy machine gun was available. You can easily tell that Rambo’s is the real deal because its ammo belt doesn’t disintegrate like an M2’s would.

The DShK is nicknamed “Dushka,” which means “beloved person,” in some places where Russian is spoken. It hasn’t got a lot of love for whomever is on the wrong side of its muzzle, however. The gas-operated behemoth can fire 600 12.7x108mm rounds per minute, and you wouldn’t want even one of its 700+ grain bullets to give you a little smooch on the haunch. The DShK is effective against aircraft for this reason, and can include a special sighting mechanism that helps its operator lead his aim on such fast-moving targets.