Gear Review Can openers...

Discussion in 'Functional Gear & Equipment' started by Witch Doctor 01, Sep 20, 2018.

  1. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    We have all seen the videos of opening a can using a brick or spoon or the movies where the hero uses his sheath knife (shudder sorry for bringing this up to the blade aficionados in the group...) so it's time we did a gear review on can openers

    Following Florence I had plenty of opportunities to try many different types of can openers... so here it goes...

    Can opener #1 P-38/P51 (Cost lets face it if you are a vet you probably have several of these other wise you can purchase the for around a buck apiece at most military surplus or gun show)

    Made in the USA P38 and P51 Can Opener. No Copy here. These are stamped "US Shelby" and won't bend or break like cheaper variants made overseas. The P38 Can Opener is sometimes referred to as a John Wayne and "the Army's Greatest Invention." The p-51 differs in that it has a larger handle and was packed in "Tray Rations" basically with #10 cans and larger...

    • Made in the USA
    • P38 - Size Small 7330-01-467-0688
    • P51 - Size Large 7330-01-289-8827
    • These are stamped "US Shelby" - No imitation here.
    • Genuine GI Can Openers.
    • 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 Army's greatest invention.
    • Small and light to carry around.
    • Faster than a normal can opener if the user has sufficient experience.
    • Metal silver color.

    they both work well
    small and easily portable
    can be carried in your wallet and great for bug outs...
    opener blade can double as a small knife blade if necessary

    Will wear our especially if it rusts,
    Requires more effort to use...
    leaves a ragged edge on the can lid

    I rate it as [USMC]

    these are rough, tough and get the job done but are not for everyone, may require more effort to use.

    Ecko can opener 881 "Miracle roll" (found in most salvation army outlets for around $1.00)

    The Ecko Miracle Roll can opener is a cheap "throw-away" can opener designed for basic use and no frills. The design is simplistic but when you look at it, it can be confusing to figure out how it works. However, once you use the can opener for the first time, you will be a pro at using it. You can put the can opener in your glove box, coat pocket or simply carry it with you for those times when you need to open a can.

    Step 1
    Place the can opener on top of the can with the butterfly handle facing upward.

    Step 2
    Slide the cutter blade (located on the side of the can opener) against the outside edge of the can. The cutter blade is identifiable by its a triangle shape.

    Step 3
    Rotate the butterfly handle in a clockwise motion to spin the can opener around the lip of the can. As you turn the butterfly handle the cutter blade cuts into the edge of the can.

    Step 4
    Lift the can opener off the lid. Remove the lid from the can.

    Pros :
    opens cans easily when you get the hang of it
    light and portable
    while marketed as a cheap throw away I still have 2 that work after 30 years

    Odd shape makes it difficult to pack
    May be too complicated for Marine use...
    leaves a ragged edge on the can lid

    I rate it as [US_Army]

    Swing away can opener (Cost $14-$15.00 on amazon don't forget to access through the monkey)
    • DURABLE ALL-STEEL CONSTRUCTION: This can opener is one you can rely on to get through tough can tops effortlessly. The body is constructed out of extremely durable steel.
    • EASY TO USE WITH COMFORTABLE HANDLE: The Swing-A-Way Can Opener features an extra-long crank handle for a better grip; helping take the strain and pain from your hands when in use. The crank folds down, making storage easy.
    • CUSHION GRIP INCLUDED: There are extra-long soft cushion grips for comfortable handling, the ergonomic handles fit any size hands.
    • SMOOTH AND EASY USAGE: The cutting wheel is made of high-carbon and glides easily across the tops of cans. The cutting is smooth and skip-proof making usage easy. A built-in bottle opener is included.
    • EASY TO CLEAN: It is recommended to hand wash with warm water and a mild detergent; rinse then dry immediately
    Damn I like this can opener one of the best non electric can openers... best for bug in situations
    easily portable
    folds for easier packing
    it should be called "John Wayne" it's rough, tough, and won't take any shit from any can...

    weight... it is heavies than any of the previous reviewed can openers.

    Rated [usn]

    I mean they have those honking big aircraft carries that can carrie all sorts of stuff...

    Finally the best can opener I discovered during the storm...

    built in... fewer things to carry

    Con's ...
    not all cans come with them... enough said...



    the Pampered chef... ( Cost it's like a gun... don't ask don't tell...)


    Smooth-Edge Can Opener cuts along the side of cans, eliminating sharp edges. The claw removes lids with the push of a button so you can keep your hands clean.

    Works well... easy to use

    Con's none that I can speak of...

    Rating Wife [​IMG]
  2. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

  3. I got a pair of P-38's. One was made by Mauser (BYF-41) and one by Spreewerke (CYQ-43). Both open cans quickly. But they do leave sharp edges.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2018
  4. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Amazon has both. EZ search there. There are also extensive discussions including p38 and p51 in the wayback locker. Here's one - Can Opener's- Do you have a plan?
    Dunerunner and sec_monkey like this.
  5. SB21

    SB21 Monkey+++

    Still have my boot camp issue John Wayne. Carry on my keychain everywhere I go. But I haven't had any rusting issues at all in what ,,,,ohh,,,36 years. Tried and true.
  6. hot diggity

    hot diggity Monkey+++ Site Supporter+++

    I found a few Made in USA stamped Swing-A-Way can openers, but not lately. The quality seems to still be pretty good. :)

    I'm a bit of a can opener aficionado, and I enjoyed your review.

    Older style openers take a good bit of practice, and leave sharp edges on cans and lids. They're fun, but I'll stick with the Swing-A-Way too. KIMG2844.
  7. AndyinEverson

    AndyinEverson Black Powder Monkey

    I still have my P-38 from my Army days ...its no longer on my dog tag chain , but now resides on my key ring.
    I find it both funny and sad at the amount of folks that have no idea what it is....
  8. Dont

    Dont Just another old gray Jarhead Monkey Site Supporter+++

    Have even used my P 38 as a improvised screw driver at times in the way distant past..
  9. SB21

    SB21 Monkey+++

    The John Wayne also makes for a good finger nail cleaning apparatus also,,,,:D
  10. Bandit99

    Bandit99 Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    I lost my old P38 somewhere (or it grew legs and walked away) but I have a couple of packages of the of the P51s (~20 each) which are better for getting the job done. We don't use electric can openers and to think about it, maybe it's time we got a new one...
  11. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    Years ago, I bought something like 100 - P51 can openers, off eBay. Received them and sold them to expats for $1.00 USD each. Made a bit of change and lots of guys happy to have a reliable can opener in Southeast Asia. (Most can openers here, both manual and electric, are j-u-n-k.)
  12. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    I carry a P38 made by Speaker that I got out of a case of c-rations made for the Korean War and opened about 1957. Net said it was made about 1950 or so. Never rusted and with care they can be touched up to cut better every 10 years or so. Was on dog tags, moved to key chain also. Never found a need to replace it or a better one. Not a real fast or handy can opener, but it hasn't failed me in the last 60 or so years so I guess I will keep it along with my survival knife and electricians knife that I have had the same amount of time and my WW2 wool army blankets. New poncho's and liners are a lot better though.
  13. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    Are you referring to the wall mounted ones? My Grandma had one in her pantry. Worked like a champ.
  14. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Dunerunner and sec_monkey like this.
  15. hot diggity

    hot diggity Monkey+++ Site Supporter+++

    Same opener, just hand held. img_3297.
  16. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

  17. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    I hate to admit it but I have used a church key to open cans before... and I don't mean beer or soft drink cans...
    Motomom34, Dunerunner and sec_monkey like this.
  18. Hanzo

    Hanzo Monkey+++

    The P-38 and P-51 can also serve as a firesteel striker. Warning though, if you are going to carry one in your pocket, be careful the business end opening. Perfect for wallet carry as it will stay flat and closed.
  19. Altoidfishfins

    Altoidfishfins Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    Think mine's a Walther (AC-44). P-38s manufactured that late in the war are a bit rough in the finish department.

    Some late war manufacture have firing pins that are too long, and with the safety engaged will fire the round immediately upon closure of the slide!
    Witch Doctor 01 and Motomom34 like this.
  20. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Lots of people have been opening cans with knives for generations.

    And even spoons work, apparently...

    But, this is how I do it and have many, many times using just about any knife...

    And I love the P38 and similar tools. But, if you don't have a can opener, you ought to have a utility knife at least. Rubbing cans on rocks or concrete will work, but it's a little messy sometimes. Best to just have your knife on you.
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