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 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, just slower than a bullet.
The arrows used in the films were guided by wire so they would hit their targets and not harm anybody.
Design and AssemblyEditThe 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 aluminum and fiberglass. The limbs can be snapped onto the base and then a crank must be turned to wind and tighten the bow. There are two strings, unlike the one as seen in more traditional bows, although only one is used for firing. The other string is wrapped around two pulleys twice to reduce effort that the archer has to place when drawing the bow's string back. The sights are relatively simple to assemble, but must be put together manually. On the side of the bow is a place to put the arrows, although Rambo usually carries them in a holster 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 the Compound Bow is designed to transfer energy, 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.
NovelsEditThe 1981 novel First Blood gives no mention to Rambo's Compound Bow or Survival Knife. Interestingly enough, the idea for Rambo to carry a survival knife was thought of on the set of First Blood by Sylvester Stallone himself, as he was a fan of knives. In the 1981 novel, Rambo only carries guns or explosives, which he uses to kill people. The film versions are much more tame, and Rambo uses his bows and knives to fashion elaborate traps. Rambo first uses the Compound Bow in David Morrell's Rambo: First Blood Part II novelization. He is given the compound bow by Marshall Murdock, and Rambo becomes excited, as he believes that the mind is the best weapon, and you can use a bow to your advantage more than a gun. As Rambo assembles the bow so he can assault the NVA convoy, he recalls how he learned to become an expert archer. As a child with a heavy amount of Navajo American Indian ancestry, he was taught by wise elders how to shoot a bow at a very young age, and soon became proficient. The Navajo were experts at using bows, battle axes, and other weapons against their enemy, and it became tradition to teach the young children how to use the traditional tools. Although Rambo's mother was a German who preferred rifles for hunting, the Navajo used bows, and Rambo was taught by the town's elder that, although strength was important, skill and endurance were more important, and that concentration was the most important of all. Although a young Rambo convinced himself that he would never become an archer, Rambo soon learned on a longbow (a bow made out of a single piece of curved wood), and later trained on a recurve bow (a bow that originated in Ancient Greece and bent the opposite way when pulled), but when Murdock introduced Rambo to the military-grade Compound Bow, a three-part bow made out of metal and fiberglass, Rambo jokingly dubbed it the "Ram Bow" and used it throughout the rest of the novel.
In the Rambo: Year One unofficial fanfiction, the author takes a different background for Rambo using his bow, in favour of a more historical accurate approach. During the Vietnam war, some very rare special forces units were really trained in bow usage, because in jungle warfare the line of sights can be so short and soldiers had to hit (undetected) so near the enemy, that a silenced weapon can be too loud. So, in Rambo: Year One, Rambo and Berr Delmore are trained to bow usage by Trautman himself in Fort Bragg. Than the Baker team uses bow and arrow every time 'avoiding contact' was absolutely necessary to accomplish the mission.
Rambo uses a custom built Hoyt Spectra compound bow with carbonized fiberglass 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 drops 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 Hoyt Gamemaster recurve 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.