oddball gear you may not have heard of


Vietnam war-era P-38
Image via Wikipedia

I harken us back to the day of the C-Ration. The days when hungry GI Joes had to open their canned pork-n-beans with what was arguably one of the Army’s greatest inventions. The P38 Can Opener.

It’s official designation is ‘US ARMY POCKET CAN OPENER’ or ‘OPENER, CAN, HAND, FOLDING, TYPE I‘, but is almost always called a “P-38” which it supposedly acquired from the “38 Punctures” required to open a C-Ration can.

I have carried one of these little gems on my key-ring for years and have an extra stashed away. It’s well worth the buck or so to pick one up.

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4 thoughts on “oddball gear you may not have heard of”

  1. There are several FREDs (mentioned in the Wikipedia article) in my cutlery drawer. Some 14 years since leaving the Army, I still use them for opening cans in lieu of a proper can opener.

  2. I just retired mine after carrying for so long I don’t remember NOT having it. It was a can opener, leather punch, regular head screw driver… Amazing what a flat little hunk of metal with a flip out ‘fang’ could be used for.

  3. I had to laugh at the title, cause that when you know you’ve been involved in the survival game for a while…you just assume somethings are…known. I can only imagine the fascination someone having never seen one before might have, “you can open a can with it? No!…really”.

    Recently I got into a discussion with a twenty-something year old guy who had recently gotten into handguns and bought a 1911. I was talking about Jeff Cooper for a few minutes when he says “I’m sorry is he like a local pistol instructor or something?”

    So yeah….oddball gear you may not have heard of indeed.

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