*How To Use a P38 Can Opener*
By: john1lt
28 March 2013

I have had different versions of the P38 can opener over the years, never wore one out but gave them away when someone would admire it. I like them because of the compact size and I find them easy to use. These handy compact can openers came from the military so most service men who remember c-rations remember the P38 can opener. My dad said a lot of G.I.'s carried one with their dog tags. Legend has it that it got its name because it takes 38 punches with this can opener to open a C-ration can. I've never had to open a c-ration and I've never actually counted, so I can't say if it is a fact or not (if I'm opening a can I'm not thinking about counting). But, I can say they work for me. I've heard that they make a larger version for larger cans but I've never seen or even looked for one of the larger ones.

What I like most about this can opener is the compact size. The current one I carry measures approximately 1 1/2 inches by 5/8 and is about 2x's as thick as a credit card when folded in the closed position so it easily fits into my wallet. I keep mine in one of the shallow credit card slots. I got my first one when I was 19. I never leave the house without my wallet, so I never leave home without my P38 can opener.

To use one, simply unfold the can opener. There is a notch on the handle under the blade portion. Slip this notch under the lip on the outside of the top of the can, and the blade on the inside of the lid of the can. Then twist.

Move the point of the can opener so the point is at the edge of the first hole and twist again. Now be sure that the notch on the side of the handle is hooked firmly on the lip, otherwise the blade will pull the handle forward instead of cutting the lid.

Repeat, repeat, repeat

Repeat until you have just a little bit of metal holding the lid to the can.

At this point you can either finish cutting and let the lid drop in the can, or pop the lid up and twist it loose from the can.

So, that's how I use the P38. And remember - don't leave home without it. After all what's in your wallet? More than plastic I hope.


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