Rambo's Compound Bow is John Rambo's main non-firearm weapon of choice, save for his survival knife. Rambo uses a vintage compound bow in every film after First Blood when he can't use a gun or is too far away from his target to use a knife. He equips his bow with various accessories, including flashlights, glow sticks, and explosive arrow tips to make it easier to kill enemies.
Having been trained on the tool for hunting and practice since childhood, Rambo is highly skilled with the bow, and he is able to take out enemies from well over sixty yards away, usually pulling back so hard on the tightly-wound bow that it is capable of exerting massive amounts of pressure, the arrow being able to travel at speeds of 250 MPH.
The arrows used in the films were guided by wire so they would hit their targets and not harm anybody.
The Compound Bow, unlike other traditional bows like the Longbow or the Recurve, which were both made of one piece of wood, the Compound Bow is a more sleek, advanced version of the traditional instrument. When disassembled, the bow can fit into a single tube, and is very light, only weighing about six pounds. Made of three basic parts, the handle and the two limbs, all composed of lightweight aluminium and fibreglass. The limbs can be snapped onto the base and then a crank must be turned to wind and tighten the bow. There is a single string with two cables wound round the cams at the end of each limb, unlike the one as seen in more traditional bows, although only the string is used for firing. The cables wrapped around two cams (one at the end of each limb) to reduce the draw weight once the string is drawn past a certain point (the let-off point), this means that it requires minimal effort to hold the string once the bow is fully drawn. The sights are relatively simple to assemble, but must be put together manually. On the side of the bow is a mounted quiver to hold the arrows, although Rambo usually carries them in a quiver on his back. The bow can allow for flashlights and other accessories to be placed on the bow to customize it. Rambo also has explosive arrow Torque tips that he screws onto the tips of arrows.
Because a bow is designed to transfer energy to the arrow, it can harm the bow if you dry fire it without an arrow. This is because the energy has nowhere to go and it snaps back into the frame, putting pressure and tension on it and gradually weakening the frame. Rambo says in the Rambo II novelization that this could kill a man instantly or take down an Alaskan Kodiak Bear.
Rambo uses a custom built Hoyt Spectra compound bow with carbonized fibreglass limbs and Omega wheels with explosive torque tips to destroy buildings and cars in a North Vietnamese prison camp, and personally executes Lieutenant Tay with one as revenge for killing Co Bao. He also had personalized four-sided arrows that he used to kill NVA and Spetsnaz soldiers silently, ripping through flesh and bone with ease.
After killing Tay with his bow, Rambo is left with no arrows left. Sgt. Yushin arrives in a helicopter and drops a fuel bomb onto the waterfall he is at. Rambo flees as Yushin drops the bomb and discards his compound bow so he can run faster. This decision leads to his life being saved as the bomb explodes without hitting him. The bow is not seen after this, having presumably been destroyed during the explosion.
Rambo uses a Hoyt Gamemaster long bow for fishing and later a vintage Martin Cougar II to massacre a squad of Burmese soldiers that are murdering civillians. He later threatens Lewis with it when Lewis attempts to turn back from the rescue mission.
When rambo is preparing for the human traffickers to come, he is seen putting the bow into a contraption to hold it in place. He then practices, hitting playing cards from atop the Barn's second floor. He later shoots Hugo Martinez in both legs, and both arms, pinning him to the wall. Rambo discards the bow before ripping the man's heart out.