Military Gear & Army Surplus Gear Blog

Military Can Openers P-38 & P-51

Military Can Openers P-38 & P-51



hi well the latest county comm video today we're going to be talking about the p38 can openers and the p-51 can openers they're officially known as the US Army pocket can opener or opener , can folding type one it's often called the small is called a p38 because it takes once it's deployed which is just opening up the little cutter it takes 38 openings to open a world war two sea rations can and that's these these openers the design has been around since World War two basically they're the same which will accept what is much larger larger one was designed more recently for food that's served in trays for soldiers instead of individual cans I like it because it fits my hand better you know bad news is talk a little more space in your your pack but I'd rather you know I'd rather open with that than the small p38 so off all up I'll pay the price of having a little extra size you know these are also commonly used it for screwdrivers in the field has got nice strong flat surface and the metal isn't going to bend you know just a neat design been around like I said since World War two in an article for the pentagram which is the Army Public Affairs newspaper or magazine was a it was actually more of a magazine it was referred to as the Army's greatest invention ever but let's enough enough talking let's see how this works like I said I like the p51 because it opens real quick and easy lots of leverage you know easy to use but for demonstration let's use the p38 you know I haven't used one of these for a while so it bear with me uh well you open it up as I said get a nice little 90-degree little little tooth there grabs under the rim and don't let it slip from your finger that's why I like the big one but what's okay well you know who is easyweed you know we got to do it the hard way so all you do is just apply pressure just a twist and there's my puncture and I pull out just to the edge and do it again and I just keep repeating I rotate the can some people because I don't want to re grip the opener each time and I just keep rotating around um you know I want to still keep it in the whole time not punching really a new hole percent just making that hole go bigger and bigger around we're cities were designed to be throw aways but it was discovered that the soldiers were keeping them and and using them for such a long time that the military folks just considered it a reusable device so let's see almost almost there and there are guys that can just do this quick and easy you know Here I am I can't chew it up and walk at the same time Here I am doing a video and and doing the same time so this is actually very good for me to be doing this and there we are you know I'm sure if I weren't talking I could do it much faster a little bit of practice I could do it much faster but I haven't opened a can for quite a while now this is is could just be ripped off this bar is kept clean or the military put the hole here they didn't put it for your keyring although that's what most people do with it they put that on so you could attach it to a little piece of wire and dip it down into boiling water and that was one way to keep it clean your choice you know let's go back go back to p-51 which is I prefer it's just much bigger and easier to use but you know there's there's the size difference there's the the can of tuna so we'll be having tuna for lunch later I hope you got something out of this and p38 p38 small p-51 large you know they're available on our website and hope you do hope to see you on our next video not quite sure what that will be but we hope to get it up soon thanks for for watching and I hope your lunch is as good as ours


Reader Comments

  1. My can opener broke today, I'm so glad I had a P-38 kicking around my house. Because all I have to eat is canned food at the moment haha.

  2. When I was in the Army in the UK these were placed in the ration packs so you could open your cans of food. So simple in design that it made opening cans at home more fun.

    In the field I used to use the end of the opener as a spoon then boil clean it after. One of the best and simplist inventions made.

  3. my recipe for tuna
    -one can tuna with fluids drained
    -2 spoon fulls of mayo
    -2 fork fulls of sweet relish
    -lemon juice to taste
    -onion salt

    mix together in a bowl and make a pumpernickel sandwich. enjoy!

  4. holy shit ….. iv got one of those things , well something similar…. and now i know what its for 🙂 good vid !!

  5. @Swazooli was called the john wayne because many soldiers noted seeing him opening a c-rat with one in one of his movies 😉

  6. I always use my SAK or P-38, and I've gotten pretty fast with them. Sadly, I can open a can faster with a manual can opener than with most elecric openers.

  7. Was drafted into the US Army in 1966. We were issued C-rations & a P-38 came with every one. Opened many a can with one. STILL have it to this day. When I go fishing or hiking or camping the P-38 always goes. LOVE the P-38. Next to the M-14 rifle the P-38 IS the best invention the Army had. Good vid. 101st Airborne

  8. That's exactly right! I just measured mine. He's wrong by saying that it is called P38 because it takes 38 twists to open a can.

  9. Merci beaucoup! I'm in a French chalet stuck with one of these and a hungry 5 year old. You've saved us from hungry tummies!

  10. These ones are modern.. I have one of the original WWII P-38's … I love it .. a little over 60 years old and still works great .. doesnt look like its going to stop working anytime soon…. the best disposable product ever ..

  11. P-38 is 38mm in length. P-51 is 51mm in length. Measure them and see.
    The P-51 should open it in 38 stokes to open the same can, but it doesn't, so the numbers represent the size, length of the tool.

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