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Authentic USA GI Metal Can Opener - NORTH RIVER OUTDOORS
Authentic USA GI Metal Can Opener - NORTH RIVER OUTDOORS
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NORTH RIVER OUTDOORS

Authentic USA GI Metal Can Opener

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The P-38, developed in 1942, is a small can opener that was issued in the canned field rations of the United States Armed Forces from World War II to the 1980s. Originally designed for and distributed in the K-ration, it is a great survivalist tool that could be used as an can opener and makeshift flat-blade screwdriver,. The P-38 can opener is pocket-sized, approximately 1.5 inches (38 mm) long, and consists of a short metal blade that serves as a handle, with a small, hinged metal tooth that folds out to pierce the can lid. A notch just under the hinge point keeps the opener hooked around the rim of the can as the device is "walked" around to cut the lid out.

 

The P-51 is the larger version of the P-38 and was often used by mess hall cooks to open the big trays and large cans of chow. The P-51 is a full 2" long. The added length affords more leverage and doesn't require as much thumb pressure to use. Some prefer them over the P-38s because a P-51 will open cans much easier and faster and will last much longer than the P-38. We recommend having one of each in every gear bag, on every key-ring and included in every emergency survival kit. Both the P-38 & P-51 can be easily attached to a keychain, backpack or dog tag chain using the small punched hole.

 

Made in USA

 

How to use the P-38 & P-51 Can Opener? The P-38 or P-51 is easy to use.

First, the cutting point is pivoted to its 95-degree position, from its stowed, folded position. Then, for a right-handed user, the P-38 or P-51 is held in the right hand by the flat long section, with the cutting point pointing downward and away from the user, while also hooking the edge of the can through the circular notch located on the flat long section next to the cutting edge. The can is held in the left hand, and the right hand is rotated slightly clockwise, causing the can lid to be punctured. The can is then rotated counter clockwise in the left hand, while the right hand rotates alternatively slightly counterclockwise and slightly clockwise, until the can has been rotated nearly 360 degrees and the lid is nearly free. The lid of the now opened can is lifted, most often with the P-38 or P-51 cutting edge, and the P-38 or P-51 is wiped clean, and the cutting point is rotated back to its stowed, folded position; then, the P-38 or P-51 is returned to its stored location, whether that is dangling on a dog tag chain around one's neck, or in one's pocket if the P-38 or P-51 is attached to a key ring. Left-handed users simply hold the P-38 or P-51 in their left hand, with the cutting point aimed towards themselves, while holding the can to be opened in their right hand, while also reversing the sense of the cutting hand movements just described. By tradition, 38 cuts as just described were supposedly required to open a can of C-Rations. 

 

Uses:

  • Can opener
  • Seam ripper
  • Screwdriver
  • Clean fingernails
  • Cut fishing line
  • Open paint cans
  • Window scraper
  • Scrape around floor corners
  • Digging
  • Clean out groove on tupperware lids
  • Reach in and clean out small cracks
  • Scrape around edge of boots
  • Bottle opener
  • Gut fish (in the field)
  • Scale fish (in the field)
  • Test for 'doneness' when baking on a camp fire
  • Prying items
  • Strip wire
  • Scrape pans in the field
  • Lift key on flip top cans
  • Chisel
  • Barter
  • Marking tool
  • Deflating tires
  • Clean sole of boot/shoe
  • Pick teeth
  • Measurement
  • Striking flint
  • Stirring coffee
  • Puncturing plastic coating
  • Knocking on doors
  • Morse code
  • Box cutter
  • Opening letters
  • Write emergency messages
  • Scratch an itch
  • Save as a souvenir
  • Rip off rank for on-the-spot promotions
  • Bee sting removal tool (scrape off w/ blade)

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