Can Openers - U.S. Issue
P-38 ( Small ) & P-51 ( Large ) Sizes
Don't let it's small size and low price fool you. These handy P-38 can openers were issued by the U.S. military for decades. Growing up, these were always popular with Boy Scouts and travelers. These are brand new, nice and shiny. We have opened giant #10 industrial cans with them. It's not the fastest can opener you have ever used but we feel confident saying, it's probably the smallest.
A Trivia Note: The P-38 Can opener got its name because it took 38 movements to open a standard military C-Rations can. Having canned food for an emergency does you no good if you can't get in to it.
Pick your size...
The original WW2 USGI ration openers were tall of he small size.
I had always assumed the P38 moniker was after the fighter plane of the era, but 38 strokes around to open a B2 unit also makes sense. While many troops carried these on their dog tag chains we were discouraged from doing so, because any additional loose gear caused noise. The sharpened tip could cause a cut if worn against a bare chest and ANY broken skin, no matter how minor, is a portal of entry for the Great Bacterial Vampire Legion.
Ours were always stowed on a dummy cord, secured by a bandolier pin inside the canteen case, and the opener placed inside of the cup, under the canteen. IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP scrub with toothbrush and boil with your mess gear after use, to prevent contamination of your rations and removing that potential for foodborne illness..
Today's larger P51 opener is easier to use than the 1963 Shelby' I keep as a reminder of a mis-spent youth.