The Humble P-38 and You


By Bev

I have had a very frustrating last couple of weeks with can openers. My “good” $10 hand held, comfortable to operate, can opener from Wally World lasted less than 2 years – whatever happened to quality? Right in the middle of opening a can the gears stripped. Fine, I’m a prepper, I have another little metal hand held can opener. Well, that lasted about 3 days and the gears stripped on that. So I went down to the pantry and brought up my third backup metal can opener from the dollar store and that didn’t even get through one can!

I had bought Bob a P-38 for his key chain a while back and ended up using that to open the can. The next day I went to the grocery store and bought a “better” can opener for $4 – lasted a week before the gears stripped on that one. Now imagine being in a crisis situation where those cans of food are absolutely critical and you don’t have the option of just going out and buying another can opener – not good.

So, this last week I bought 10 P-38s at our local Army Surplus/prepper store – Minnesota Joes. Less than 60 cents apiece, these are standard GI issue.

The ex-military guy at the store explained that the name came from the number of turns it took to open a standard C-ration (or was it K?). Anyway, it comes with a handy little hole on the edge to put on a keychain and folds flat. Stick it on the can as shown above, catching the lip of the can in the cut out, and rock it back and forth and the can will open. The blade can be re-sharpened and is handy in the kitchen to cut bags open with. My only complaint is the size, with my old arthritic hands. BUT it opens the cans with no gears stripping!

Now, if your preps include manual can openers (especially from the dollar store), and you are using an electric can opener because it is easier on the hands, I suggest you actually use your manual can openers and see how they hold up for you. If you become frustrated like I did, the humble P-38 may be an option for you as well.  There is very little worse than having a whole pantry of canned goods and not being able to open any of it except with a metal chisel, hammer and a strong likelihood of injuring yourself.

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