Rambo IV Machete Review

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In 2008, the fourth Rambo movie came out. The knives that were used in the Rambo movies have became iconic, just like the character Rambo.  Jimmy Lile of Arkansas made the first 2 Rambo knives and for Rambo III and Rambo IV, Gil Hibben was asked to make the knives.

In the newest movie, Rambo (obviously played by Sylvester Stallone) is pushed back into service to rescue a group of missionaries that are being held captive by a bunch of Burmese soldiers.  Since he no longer had his Rambo III knife, he was forced to forge a crude jungle knife in a foundry which is why this knife is so different to previous versions.  He moved away from bowie style knives (examples of some bowie knives are the Timber Rattler Bowie knife or the Natchez bowie).  And he’s definitely moved away from survival knives that have survival kits in the handle.  An example of a knife like that is the Maxam – survival knife.  He does have still have his trusty bow though.

 

Rambo 4 knife vs Gil Hibben replica

MachetePictureBlade materialWeightOverall lengthHandle materialPrice
Rambo 4 - Official

Check Today's Price
rambo iv machete official version
Stainless Steel 3.8 pounds 16-1/2-InchSoft goatskin leather handle wrap$$$
Gil Hibben IV Forged Machete (Hibben designed the Rambo 4 machete)

Check Today's Price
Hibben machete1090 Carbon Steel3 pounds16-1/2-InchBlack fabric wrapped grip$$

 

 

 

The idea for the machete

Stallone gave Hibben the basic idea of what he wanted.  He told Hibben that the machete was to be brutal, and he sure got it.

 

Rambo iv
Rambo iv

 

Hibben then made several prototype designs for Stallone and then he finally agreed on the heavy chopping blade that was seen in the movie.  This unique machete is the genius work of Sylvester Stallone and Gil Hibben. The design of this small machete is unlike any other, given how it was created to look crude as well as basic. This is the first time Rambo changed from his knife to a machete.  To see how the machete compares to the other Rambo knives, check out our home page.

 

Rambo with machete

 

The knife that was used in the movie was a huge 18 inches and was made from ¼ inch thick D2 high carbon steel.  The blade was even flat ground to ensure that the knife was made quickly and forged crudely and it was even marked with hammer depressions.  The handle was then wrapped with military grade paracord over leather pads and then covered with black grip tape.  According to the movie script, Rambo still had this old sheath from his Rambo III knife and without time to make a new sheath he just cuts the end off of the sheath to make it fit the wider, larger blade.

To get an idea of what goes into forging a machete and how it performs, check out this video.

 

The bladesmith

Hibben managed to make well over a dozen of handmade copies for the movie. He also made limited edition handmade copies to be sold to collectors.  Hibben then licensed the design to United Cutlery to make factory made replicas.  Master Cutlery and Hollywood Collectable Group are now selling replica copies of the knife.

The handmade copies are marked with a JR2 and will come with a black sheath and the choice of a cammo or black handle wrap. The handmade copies are exact copies except for a few things. They are made in Hibben’s Kentucky shop.  All of them are made to the exact dimensions of the movie knives.  Since they are handmade they do have variations like coloring of the blade and hammer marks.

The knife is flat ground from ¼ inch thick D2 Carbon Steel and then it is heat treated and semi polished.  The handle is made from 2 leather pads that are wrapped in nylon military grade parachute cord and then covered in cloth grip tape. The leather sheath is handmade and custom fitted to the blade. The sheath is also open ended just like in the movie and it retains the strap that has been removed as it serves as no function with this particular knife design.

It should be noted that the movie prop department made an aluminum copy to be used for safety reasons in close combat scenes.  They then sent the aluminum prop to Hibben to be evaluated.  He suggested a few cosmetic changes but then approved the knife.

The review – How does it perform?

There’s a few different options when purchasing this machete which I’ve listed at the bottom of this page.  The version that I’m reviewing is this version.

 

Hibben machete

Compare it to the official version which costs twice as much:

rambo iv machete official version
Official version

It’s the version that United Cutlery make of the knife.  It’s known as the Hibben IV because it was created by Gil Hibben who of course made the original Rambo IV machete.  It’s basically a copy of the version used in the movie but it doesn’t have the “Rambo” name on it anywhere due to licensing issues.  It’s a lot cheaper than the official versions but it suited my budget better and I love the fact it’s hand forged.

Even though most of these knives are purchased as a collectable, they are properly heat treated, hardened, tempered, ground, and sharpened as a fully functional knife.  Some more specs:

 

  • Overall length: 16-1/2-Inch
  • Blade length: 11-1/4-Inch
  • 1090 Carbon Steel construction
  • Black fabric wrapped grip
  • Includes a custom black blade sheath and a certificate of authenticity
  • Weighs 3 pounds

 

The Rambo IV machete will work well for those who are just wanting to chop down some heavy brush, or do the tactical movements such as hack, dig, scoop, chop, wedge, cut, and pry.  The fixed blade of the Rambo IV is a low profile blade that can help in various situations.

The balance point

The Rambo IV machete is about 18 inches long and contains a balance point at 9 inches from the pommel, which gives it at 40/60 weight distribution.  Basically, this machete is a bit heavy as well as nose-heavy.  When you receive the machete, it comes sharp but not as sharp as I’d like.  Most companies do this for safety purposes and it’s easy enough to sharpen it up yourself if you want.

The heaviness takes a bit to get used to, but it’s the heaviness that allows it to chop, hack, and hammer better than any other blade that is available.  The reason it’s so heavy is because Sly could handle it.  This product is a replica of what Sly used, so to be authentic it has to be heavy.  I’m not as strong as he is (unfortunately not even close) but you do get used to the heaviness.

There isn’t a fancy appearance to this machete at all, there are no saw teeth, finger groves, or serrations. There isn’t anything like a compass that is located in the pommel like the Rambo 1 and 2 knives.  It is plain and there are hammer marks that give it a crude look, which makes anyone think that it was forged within the deepest part of the jungles located in Thailand.  What’s even better is that the blade is virtually unbreakable.  You can’t bend, break, chip, break the tip, it is very similar to an axe.

There isn’t any issues with hit vibration. The pommel is decently comfortable and tends to remove most of the vibration.

The Rambo IV Machete does come with a heavy duty sheath, it is basic as well. It has a heavy duty leg, a belt loop strap, and that works for basically anything that you would need it for.  It has decent balance when it comes to swinging the machete to clear brush and works great in tight spaces.  One thing that would certainly make this a must have purchase is the price. On to the Pro’s and Con’s.

 

Pro’s:

  • HAND FORGED
  • Authentic looking blade
  • Leather pommel
  • Cuts basically anything
  • Comes with tactical sheath
  • The price
  • No bells and whistles, simply made.

Con’s:

  • Heavier than anticipated – I’m not afraid to admit I’m not as strong as Sly
  • Not as sharp as I would have liked

When it comes to the Gil Hibben Rambo IV Machete, it is safe to say that it certainly isn’t pretty, but it is very functional.  If I ever had to go out into the deep woods by myself, I would certainly take this machete with me.  This product is one bad ass machete and it come at a great price.

Where to buy

The officially licensed version without a signature can be found here.

The officially licensed version with a signature can be found here.

If you’re looking for a cheaper (it’s about $50 cheaper), replica version try this.

Try bladehq.com.  Before you do buy check out if you can use a bladehq coupon.

 

Rambo 4 machete
4.4 / 5 stars