Historians disagree as to which of three theories explains the moniker. We all have an electric can opener as well as a manual can opener or two. The P-38/P-51 option is a light weight solution to your problem. P38.org. Free shipping. [unreliable source? Electric is useless when the power goes down, manual can openers tend to stay in the drawer where they can be easily forgotten if you have to hit the bricks in a hurry. The 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. However, it also worked perfectly for hanging the P-38 on a dog tag chain. The P-38 can opener has been called on of the greatest military inventions of all time. Below is listed select technical excerpts from the military specification that addresses the P38 can openers. My P-38 has been a dedicated servant for over 53 years. P38 Can Opener 5 Piec Military Issue US Shelby Company Hunting Fishing Camping. The P-38 was originally included in every individual ration accessory pack. It's made of cast iron and from its weight and appearance, you can see its resemblance to a church door key. Some people say it’s because a P-38 is just about 38 mm long, but there’s no way American troops were using the metric system in WWII. It's only the lightest must have item every prepper should have in their kit. US p38 can opener, stamped on side "US SPEAKER" I occasionally travel and lately have taken to giving away p38 can openers. However, that name may have referred to the P-51, a larger version of the same design, used for larger cans. The instructions printed on the miniature greaseproof paper bag they were supplied in read: TO OPEN CAN: It can still be found in shops as well as the butterfly-type openers. The Field Ration Eating Device is known by the acronym "FRED". Perhaps that is why many soldiers, past and present, regard the P-38 C-ration can opener as the Army's best invention. Pulling the trigger cocks the hammer before firing the first shot with double-action operation. The can is then rotated counter-clockwise in the left hand, while the right hand rotates alternatively slightly counter-clockwise and slightly clockwise, until the can has been rotated nearly 360 degrees and the lid is nearly free. The P-38 is known as a "John Wayne" by the United States Marine Corps, because of its toughness and dependability. Our P-38 Military Style Can Openers are new, not surplus. (38) 38 product ratings - New 10pc Original Military Army Issue Survival Kit P38 P-38 Can Opener US Shelby. There have been can openers as long as there have been products sealed in cans. Although soldiers kept the P-38 to open their rations, they also retained it because it was an invaluable field tool. 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. P38.org . Note the P-38 can opener in the bottom left-hand corner. US Army P-38 can opener is the smallest and lightest can opener in the market. They were also known as a " John Wayne " because the actor was shown in a training film opening a can of K-rations. Even to open my bag of MRE’s with it. This is great stuff! Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1 . It is also known widely in its derogative term, the "Fucking Ridiculous Eating Device".. It will be really useful when you are out of power. One is that soldiers called it the P-38 because it could open a can faster than the P-38 Lightning fighter plane could fly. It takes approximately 38 twists to fully open a C-ration can. Also, it remember that TSA will confiscate it as it's considered a deadly weapon. The P-51 can opener is fully 2 inches long, and the increased length provides greater leverage when opening cans. The P-38 is easily used. The metal opener, nicknamed a P-38 in part because of the 38 punctures needed for it to open a can of C-rations, had been clipped to his key chain since he came home from the war. US p38 can opener, stamped on side "US SHELBY CO" 11. However, you may have to add a paragraph to your article as it seems that the folding can opener it was a common item used by households in 1924, thus preceding the date of ‘invention’ by the Army. In order to navigate out of this carousel please use your heading shortcut key to navigate to the next or previous heading. See this link for the picture discussed above; 1 - p38 can opener, 1 1/2" long 1 - p51 can opener, 2" long Fits on key chain Customers who viewed this item also viewed . R. Lee Ermey of the History Channel Mail Call program, Marines in Vietnam called it a "John Wayne" because it was so sturdy and dependable. The Army also developed the P-51 can opener (again, with an airplane namesake, the P-51 Mustang fighter). I got mine during basic training in Feb 1973,,,,and i still carry it to this day. The Swedish army also employed a similar variant of this opener. So is its mild-mannered owner, who suggests he couldn't intimidate anybody even if he had been toting an M-16 rifle. 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. The P-38 was designed to be disposable. Some soldiers and Marines rate the P-38 as one of the handiest inventions ever issued to troops. Offering better evidence is an article from Popular Mechanics which depicts a P-38 styled can opener shown in a picture. The P-38 was such a trusty tool for the G.I. One is that soldiers called it the P-38 because it could open a can faster than the P-38 Lightning fighter plane could fly. I’ve used it for various things over the years. The lever can stay on "safe", or if returned to "fire", the weapon remains safely "ready" with a long, double-action trigger pull for the first shot. Our P38 Can Opener is the same P38 that fought in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Also the Major may have seen a military need to provide the can opener with rations and coordinated to get them produced in quantity. Thanks for your comments and for sending this. It was hinged and was just 1 and 1/2 inches long with a hole in one end. P-38 Can Opener. A more likely explanation is that the “38” comes from the length of the can … It should be noted that an identical tool was featured in a 1924 Popular Mechanics issue in tools for women. The larger P-51s are included with United States military "Tray Rations" (canned bulk meals). A p51 or p38 opener work well on any size of can rim. I used to have a P-38 on my key ring, too, but lost it to airport security back in 2001. It became the standard issue item with the G-ration in June 1944. Many a soldier hung his P-38 with his dog tags around his neck. Hold between thumb and forefinger and twist forward to puncture. Its official designation is M7481-021000 Konservbrytare Mini which was distributed with the notorious "Golden Cans" (Swedish field rations were packaged in metallic tins with a golden hue). Finally, the opener was issued in all Army field rations. Did you know the P38 Can Opener “The little can opener is often called "the Army's best invention".Agree or Disagree? Repeat motion until can is open. About the size of a postage stamp, the P-38 is less threatening than an ink pen. P-51 Can opener is an update of the World War II P-38 can opener for C-rations. ] The 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. The P-38 can opener that many regard as an icon and symbol of an era of military life. Although “Opener, Can, Hand, Folding” is its official Army nomenclature, it soon acquired the popular name P-38. Free shipping. I doubt that as there were huge amounts of fake knowledge people memorized for promotion boards (like how many holes in a MRA cracker … $6.49. - January 8, 2012, Identification tags and P-38 can opener. 64 sold (4) U.S. Shelby Co. - 2 Each P-51 / P-38 Model Survival Kit Military Can Opener . The name was borrowed for the C-Ration opener. The P-38 disappeared as an issue item in the Army, but some still carry them today, often on a key ring after acquiring it from a family member or friend or purchasing it. Robert F. Dorr and Fred L. Borch Popular Mechanics. Some claim that the P-38 could be used to set the points on a car engine, because the thickness of the steel was just right for the point gap. I also wanted to add that over the years I used my P-38 to open cans on several occasions when more “modern” revolving or even electric can openers couldn’t do the job. A P-38 Military Style Can Opener will work on any size can rim. or "U.S. Shelby Co.". © 2020 Defense Media Network. The can is held in the left hand, and the right hand is rotated slightly clockwise, causing the can lid to be punctured. But no smart soldier ever discarded his P-38. By tradition, 38 cuts as just described were supposedly required to open a can of C-Rations. An opener similar to the P-38, but with a non-folding blade, was popular in Poland for years. It is also said to be named after the Lockheed P-38 Lightning figther plane for its speed in opening cans. The P-38 certainly seems a dead ringer for the can opener illustrated. Originally manufactured for soldiers in … The P-38 pocket can opener of the early World War II era was the solution to opening a can of food and chowing down. Key ring attachment hole, folds flat for carrying. The P-38 can opener is 1 1/2" long and half the weight of P-51. As of 2020, it is still in production and sold on a worldwide market.. As with some other military terms, e.g., "jeep", the origin of the term is not known with certainty; the P-38 opener coincidentally shares a designation with the Lockheed P-38 Lightning fighter plane, which could allude to its fast performance, additionally the P-51 can opener also has an aircraft namesake in the North American P-51 Mustang. Its motto (as mine) is Semper Fidelis! By Still have a P-38 on my key ring to use along with other tools to help others. $2.00. A must have tool for both outdoor and urban survival. Sgt. Add a P-38 and P-51 Can Opener to your Survival Kits! It was perhaps the Army that mass produced them for soldiers to a specification, which has made them popular. Warren Engineering Co. Ltd, Birmingham, England. My Dad was a Vietnam era Marine and he is the one that taught me about the P-38. P-38s are no longer used for individual rations by the United States Armed Forces, as canned C-rations were replaced by MRE rations in the 1980s, packed in plastic pouches. Can opener issued to the United States Armed Forces, "Buy P38 or P51 Can Opener at Army Surplus World | Army Surplus World", "MILITARY SPECIFICATIONS AND DRAWINGS FOR P-38 AND P-51 CAN OPENERS", Video Demonstration of various P-38 Can Openers, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=P-38_can_opener&oldid=992463389, Articles lacking reliable references from January 2019, Articles with unsourced statements from January 2019, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 5 December 2020, at 11:44. These both open to about a 90 degree angle and stop. I was a Civ on loan so my service does not count. It seems that it was a common item used by households in 1924, thus preceding the date of ‘invention’ by the Army. 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 handle portion can also double as a makeshift flat-blade screwdriver, with limited ability because of the rather soft sheet metal used. Originally designed for and distributed in the K-ration, it was later included in the C-ration. The lid of the now opened can is lifted, most often with the P-38 cutting edge, and the P-38 is wiped clean, and the cutting point is rotated back to its stowed, folded position. This explanation also holds for the P-51, which measures approximately 51 mm (2.0 in) in length. Many are part of collections of memorabilia belonging to veterans of past wars. It is made of stainless steel and 1.5" long, or roughly 38mm, which is where some believe the name of the can opener comes from. Our P38 Can Openers are new, not surplus. The Army’s K-ration came with a key opening system, but soldiers disliked it, and their complaints caused the Quartermaster Corps to seek an alternative. Righties' thumbs take only the twist force. P-38 Can Openers History John Wayne Patent Information Manufacturers C Rations P-51 Can Opener Second World War WWII Blue Prints Photos. A P-38 will work on any size can rim. With it’s added length p51 is easier to use. Official military designations for the P-38 include "US ARMY POCKET CAN OPENER" and "OPENER, CAN, HAND, FOLDING, TYPE I". It survives WWII and till today it still sees action. Left-handed users simply hold the P-38 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. Russell Hill used this P-38 can opener during his service with the 787th Anti-Aircraft Automatic Weapons Battalion (Semimobile) in Europe in 1944-1945. A popular topic on several web-sites and articles have profoundly claimed that the P-38 styled can opener was an Army invention. Free shipping. The can opener is 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. that it was often hung on a dog tag chain. Sgt. The most likely theory is that it’s because it takes 38 cuts to open a C-rat can. William Walsh This page includes several home innovations which include a “Can Opener Especially Designed for Campers and Boy Scouts, that Can Be Folded Flat and Carried on a Key Ring”. Another beautiful piece of writing, Mr. Dorr. In this instance it is known as the can opener – key ring (top left of the page) in the following web link. In 1924, a similar device was featured in Popular Mechanics, with no mention of a military provenance.. http://blog.modernmechanix.com/time-and-money-saving-tools-for-womans-workshop-in-home-3/1/#mmGal – Source: Popular Mechanics, Here is my research on the history of the P-38 http://www.bullworks.net/P38DonBull.pdf. 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