Rambo Wiki

Rambo's knife from First Blood Part 2

The Rambo II survival knife was used by John Rambo to help retrieve American POWs in Vietnam. It was designed by Jimmy Lile and was the second in "The Mission" knife series.

The Rambo II knives continue to be made today with the trademarked LILE name by Jimmy Lile Knives.


The blade is equipped with a hollow, watertight stainless steel handle that houses a survival kit. The handle features an aluminum, non-magnetic screw-on pommel which serves as the lid to the handle. On the inside of the pommel is a precision compass, and on the outside is a pointed metal glass breaker. The handle is wrapped in black nylon cordage and the blade guard's edges also feature lashing holes and standard as well as Phillip's head screwdrivers. The stainless steel blade has saw teeth on the top and a Bowie clip point. Most of the blade is painted black. The knife is 15 3/8 inches long overall with a 10 inch, 1/4 inch thick 420 J2 stainless steel blade.

The original knife is made in 440C steel, while the official licensed replicas are made of cheaper (and softer) 420J2.

First Blood and Rambo: First Blood Part II official licensed replica knives both feature a screwed-in tang construction, which means that the handle is hollow and the blade's tang is held to the handle by a screw, meaning that the knife could very easily break in half. Only original (and really expensive) Jimmy Lile knives are really sturdy because the tang is made using a very different construction. Rambo carried the knife in a top-grain hand-stitched black leather sheath. The sharpening stone is kept on a small pouch on the outside of the sheath.

Rambo: First Blood Part II[]

Rambo knife

Like in First Blood, John Rambo used his survival knife to a great extent in First Blood Part II, although it wasn't integral to his survival, like in the first film.

Rambo is first seen sharpening his knife before boarding the plane into Vietnam by pushing the blades edge on a rectangular whetstone. Rambo later pulls the knife on Co Bao after mistaking her for a Viet Cong soldier. Rambo kills several people with the knife over the course of the film and at the end, slowly draws the knife on Marshall Murdock to threaten him after he betrayed him. He forces Murdock down onto the table then stabs the knife into the table right beside his face then tells him to find the remaining POW's. Contrary to popular belief Rambo does not leave the knife behind that he stabbed into Murdock's desk, instead it is seen back in his sheath as he exits the building and delivers the final lines of the film to Trautman.

Rambo IV[]

Rambo destroys his knife.

In the director's cut of Rambo IV, John Rambo is seen using the knife to punch holes into gasoline containers, which he uses to douse the pirate boat. This conflicts with the idea that he left the knife behind as a reminder to Murdock. Rambo later drives away from the boat after lighting it on fire with his Zippo Lighter to destroy the evidence of his murders, but not before throwing his knife into the fires, symbolizing an end to killing.

The knife used in this film is obviously a papier mache replica, and not an actual knife. Presumably because this was a working take, they did not want to throw an actual knife into the fires, so they used a dummy blade. This is noticeable by the crooked paint and dull finish on the blade. The scene wound up working its way into the extended cut of the film, however, and it was not seen in the theatrical version.

Current State[]

Vintage UC-RB2 knife.

Official licensed Replicas:

Rambo II knives can be bought both in official replica or 'real' version, made by the Jimmy Lile knives company.

The official replica knife was originally produced by United Cutlery, under the name UC-RB2. However, after UC lost the license, it was sold to Master Cutlery, who produces the knife today. These knives are made for collectors and can also be used outdoors, although if put under too much use, the knife's tang will break or unscrew from the handle. The replica knives usually cost around a hundred dollars and can be found all over the internet.

Note that the replica knives are made of lower quality steel than the official Lile knives (420J2 against D2 or 440C) and use a screw tang construction (against the push tang construction of Lile knives, see).

screw tang construction

push tang construction

Jimmy Lile original knives

The 'real' knife used in the movie is called 'The mission' model.

It is handmade by the Jimmy Lile knives company, and costs around 1500 dollars, but it's one of the finest survival knives on the market, and can stand very hard usage.

Since Jimmy Lile died some years ago, he doesn't make himself these knives anymore, which is why 'The mission' knives with low serial numbers can reach unbelievable values.

Chinese replica knives:

There are also abundant unofficial Chinese replica knives that are almost virtually indistinguishable from the official replicas, but they are, at least in a vast majority of cases, of far lesser quality and will break much easier.

Much like what happened around the release of the original First Blood, many knife companies offered crude, inexpensive replicas to children, featuring a real survival kit and blade, although they broke very easily. This stirred some controversy, as real knives were being sold to children.


In other media[]

  • In the video game Payday 2, an identical knife can be equipped by players, it is known in game the "Trautman Knife"
    • This is not the only reference to the Rambo series in game. The player can acquire a mask called "The Troubled War Veteran" which is clearly inspired by Rambo.
  • In the video game CrossFire, an identical knife is being equipped as the default knife.

See Also[]