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How to Use a P-38 Can Opener

Looking for an easy way to open cans? Look no further than the classic p-38 can opener! This handy little tool is a must-have in any kitchen. In this blog post, we’ll show you how to use it and explain why it’s so great. So grab your can opener and let’s get started!

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What is a P-38 Can Opener?

What is a P-38 Can Opener?

The P-38 Can Opener is a must-have tool for outdoor enthusiasts and military personnel alike.

Measuring 38 mm (1.508 inches) in length and featuring a notch on the handle, this can opener is perfect for carrying with you on the go.

The P-38 comes in a combo pack that includes one P-38 and one P-51 military style can openers, allowing you to tackle dozens of jobs with ease.

The P-38 uses a rocking motion to cut forward with a downward shearing action while the P-51 offers added leverage due to its extra 2″ length.

Invented by Major Thomas Dennehy in 1942, the lightweight, foldable P-38 has been an essential tool for decades.

Its compact design allows it to easily fit onto your key ring or ball chain, making it easy to transport wherever your travels take you.

To use the opener, simply attach it to the top of the can’s lip with the cutting blade facing down against the lid and twist down to puncture the inside. With just a few simple steps, you can easily open any can with ease!

Where to Find One

The P-38 and P-51 Military Style Can Openers are a must-have for any kitchen.

Click here to Purchase from Amazon!

How to Use a P-38 Can Opener

These ingenious devices have been around since World War II, when they were included in K-rations to open up tin cans.

They make opening cans super easy – just line them up on top of the can, twist and they work.

Left-handed users should hold the opener in their left hand, with the cutting point aimed towards themselves, while holding the can to stabilize it.

To use it, place the opener at the lip of the can vertically and twist down to puncture a hole in the lid. The grooved blade is designed for extra strength and folds flat for easy storage or pops open when you need it.

It also features a notch just under the hinge point that keeps it hooked around the rim of the can as you “walk” around to cut out the lid.

This combo pack includes one P-38 and one P-51 Military Style Can Opener – perfect for dozens of jobs!

How to Use a P-38 Can Opener

The P-38 Can Opener is a small folding blade used to open canned rations of the United States Armed Forces during World War II.

Where to Find One

It was issued in the canned field rations and is also known as the “Army’s Greatest Invention”.

The P-38 works on any standard can size and can be used by left-handed users by holding it with their left hand, with the cutting point aimed towards themselves, while holding the can.

To open a can, place the opener at the lip of the can vertically, ensuring that the blade is pointing down at the can.

Twist down to puncture a hole in the lid and then use a rocking motion to make a cut forward, towards you with a downward shearing action.

The origin of its name is still debated but some say it derives from 38 punctures needed to open a can while others think that P-38 stands for an ultra-fast aircraft used in WWII. Our P38 Can Opener is new, not surplus.

Benefits of Using a P-38 Can Opener

Benefits of Using a P-38 Can Opener

The P-38 can opener is a handy, pocket-sized device designed for military issue “C” rations during WWII.

It measures 1.5 inches long and consists of a short metal blade handle with a C-shaped notch at the end for hooking onto cans.

The shark fin-shaped blade swings out and when hooked onto the rim of the can, it can be “walked” around to cut the lid off.

The flat edge also serves as a screwdriver. Not only is the P-38 easier to manufacture and lighter than other standard can openers, but it also has many other uses such as screwdrivers, rifle cleaners, mini-prybars and knives for cutting fabric.

It is an essential tool for hanging from your dog tag chain, making it an ideal tool for soldiers in the field!

Cleaning and Maintaining Your P-38 Can Opener

Maintaining a P-38 can opener is key to ensuring its long-term effectiveness.

To properly clean a P-38 can opener, use a damp cloth to wipe away any food particles or dirt from the surface of the opener.

Be sure to pay special attention to the blade, which should be washed with a mild soap and hot water.

Dry the entire opener with a towel or air-dry.

For optimal maintenance, apply a light layer of vegetable oil or WD-40 to the moving parts of the opener.

This will help keep them lubricated and working properly.

Additionally, it is recommended to replace the blade every few months, or when it becomes dull or rusty.

Taking these simple steps will help extend the life of your P-38 can opener and ensure it is always performing at its best.

Preparing the Can for Opening with a P-38 Can Opener

Preparing the Can for Opening with a P-38 Can Opener

The P-38 Military Can Opener, also known as “the Army’s Greatest Invention,” is a small and convenient tool for opening cans.

Preparing a can for opening with a P-38 can opener is a simple process.

First, ensure that the can is clean.

This can be done by wiping down the outside of the can with a clean cloth.

Next, place the P-38 can opener on top of the can, with the curved blade facing away from you.

Push the blade down and into the can lid, turning the wheel clockwise as you go.

Once the wheel has been completely turned, you will feel a notch.

Lift the wheel up and away from the can and the lid should open.

Finally, check the edges of the can lid to ensure that it has been cut through completely.

If not, repeat the steps above until the lid is cut through.

With these simple steps, you can open cans safely and quickly with a P-38 can opener.

The Best Way to Open Cans with a P-38 Can Opener

To use the P38 Can Opener, one first needs to rotate the cutting point from its folded position to its slightly over 90 degree position (90-95 degrees on most).

Then, the notch on the body hooks into the rim of a can and the blade is “walked” around it to open it up. Traditionally, it would take 38 cuts to open a can with this device; hence its name.

This device has become so popular that it is not only used for opening cans of canned field rations but also for any other type of can.

It has been tested and proven that it works better than any other type of hand held can opener on the market and has even earned itself a nickname as “Army’s Greatest Invention”.

So if you need an efficient way to open your canned goods, then make sure you have your trusty P38 Can Opener at hand!

Safety Tips for Operating Your P-38 Can Opener

Common Mistakes People Make When Using a P-38 Can Opener

Operating your P-38 can opener safely is of utmost importance.

Before using the opener, always read the instructions and warnings that come with it.

Make sure the can opener is not damaged before you begin operating it.

To operate the opener, firmly hold the can with one hand and use the other hand to operate the opener.

Keep your hands and fingers away from the rotating blade and be sure to keep the opener away from your face.

After use, clean the blade with a damp cloth and store in a cool, dry place.

Additionally, never allow children to operate the can opener, as it could cause serious injury. Following these safety tips will ensure smooth and safe operation of your P-38 can opener.

Common Mistakes People Make When Using a P-38 Can Opener

Common mistakes people make when using a P-38 can opener are often related to the lack of knowledge about its proper use. An important issue is having the opener in the wrong orientation.

The pointed side should be placed against the lid, while the wider side should be facing the body of the can.

Additionally, it is important to ensure that the opener is held firmly against the lid. If not, it could slip and cause injury.

Another mistake is incorrectly cutting into the lid.

For best results, the opener should be placed near the top of the can and rotated in a clockwise direction.

It is also important to open the can slowly, as the opener can be sharp and the lid may be weakened from the cutting process.

Lastly, it is important to make sure the opener is clean before and after use, as food residue can build up on the opener and cause it to become dull

How Long Does it Take to Open a Can With A P 38?

Opening a can with a P-38 can opener is a simple, yet effective task.

The entire process should take no more than a few minutes, depending on the type of can lid and how familiar you are with the opener.

To begin, place the P-38 opener on the can lid with the hinge facing away from the handle.

Using the curved edge of the opener, follow the seam of the lid, rotating the opener as you go.

When the opener reaches the end, lift the opener off the lid and discard.

The lid should now be opened and ready for use.

For those who are unfamiliar with using a P-38 opener, it may take a few attempts before the lid is successfully opened.

With practice, opening a can with a P-38 will become quick and easy.

Advantages of Using A P 38 Over Other Types Of Openers

The P 38 can opener is a convenient and efficient tool for quickly opening cans.

Its small size and light weight make it easier to carry than other types of openers, and it takes up minimal storage space.

The P38 can also open multiple types of cans, from small to large sizes, making it a more versatile option than other openers.

The P 38 opener has a simple design and is easy to use, eliminating the need for extra effort when opening cans.

Additionally, its low cost makes it an economical choice for households, restaurants, and other food establishments.

The P 38 is also hygienic since it does not come into contact with food, ensuring a safe and clean can opening.

With its many advantages, the P 38 can opener is a reliable and cost-effective choice for quickly and easily opening cans.

This makes the device perfect for those who want a compact yet reliable solution for opening cans without having to deal with frustrating traditional can openers.

What Size Of Cans Will A p 38 Open?

Are There Alternatives To A p 38?

The P-38 can opener is a versatile tool for opening cans of all sizes.

It is capable of efficiently opening larger cans such as those used for soup, vegetables, and fruits, as well as small cans such as those used for tuna, olives, and anchovies.

The P-38 can opener has a sharp blade that easily pierces through metal lids with minimal effort.

Additionally, the P-38 can opener is designed to handle cans up to 2.5 inches in diameter, making it a great choice for opening a variety of canned goods.

With this versatile can opener, you can easily open a variety of cans, no matter the size.

The P-38 and P-51 Can Openers can be used for more than just opening cans – they’ve been known to be useful in cleaning firearms, loosening tight screws and more. Add one of these versatile tools to your survival kits today!

Are There Alternatives To A P 38?

The P-38 is a useful tool for many tasks, but there are alternatives available.

Multi-tools are a viable option, as they provide a wide range of features in a compact size.

Swiss Army knives are an example of this, as they offer blades, screwdrivers, scissors, and a variety of other tools.

Additionally, specialized tools can be purchased that are designed for specific tasks, such as pocket knives for cutting or pliers for gripping.

If a more comprehensive solution is needed, toolboxes are also an option.

These can come stocked with a variety of tools, such as hammers, wrenches, and screwdrivers, allowing the user to tackle a variety of tasks.

Overall, while the P-38 might be suitable for some tasks, there are a multitude of alternatives available to suit varying needs.


In conclusion, the P-38 can opener is a simple, efficient and reliable tool to open cans.

It’s easy to use, lightweight, and gets the job done in a matter of seconds.

The P-38 can opener is definitely a must-have item for any kitchen, camping trip, or emergency kit. With this handy tool, you’ll be able to open cans of food quickly and easily, no matter where you are.

Click here to Purchase from Amazon!

The P-38 Can Opener doesn’t require any batteries and it is completely self-securing, making it incredibly convenient and reliable.

This device has been famously called “the best Army invention ever” and is known for its versatility– it will open any standard tin can whenever, wherever needed.

The P-38 is even available with a hole for a key ring or ball chain, so you can take it with you wherever you go!