P-38-5-6879 – Bulk packed boxes

We get a lot of questions about boxes of P-38 can openers marked with stenciling that says:


People contact us wanting to know are these military issue?  Well the short anwser is yes and NO.

The military nomenclature for the P-38 can opener is: OPENER, CAN, HAND, FOLDING, TYPE I
National Stock Number – NSN 7330-00-242-3506
The military nomenclature for the P-51 can opener is: OPENER, CAN, HAND, FOLDING, TYPE II
National Stock Number – NSN 7330-01-289-8827

The can openers themselves generally meet the military specification but they cannot legally bear the official nomenclature or NSN number because they are not packaged correctly and labeled to military specifications as outlined in the actual mil-spec.

It is illegal to place a National Stock Number on items that are not 100% to military specifications. 

This does not mean the can openers are not up to military specifications, the abscense of proper packaging and/or documentation about the manufacturing processes including things such as certifications for the materials or the plating process prevent anyone from legally selling these as NSN bearing official military can openers.

So where did the OPENER, CANNED RATION… come from?  Well, they had to mark the boxes with something and as with much in the Army Navy Surplus business they wanted to give the impression of being genuine military so they create a fake nomenclature and put a number on the box that to the uneducated appears to look like military techno lingo.

What does the number P-38-5-6879 mean?  Well it might means something to someone but we have no idea.  The number is NOT a military number and has never been used in conjunction with the P-38 can openers as it relates to the United States Military.

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Vet Acknowledged P-51 – Fielded in Vietnam

This week I was visting with a vendor – Canada Plating of Dallas, Texas.  Roscoe and his two son’s Randy and Larry have been provides anodizing services for my company for years.    Being in the metals finishing business and an expert on color anodizing I decided to visit with Randy about aluminum military dog tags.  While we were discussing some of the chemical processes used to make military dog tags from WWI and WWII, Randy’s brother Larry came into the plant and sat down and joined in on the conversation.

During the conversation we were discussing the venerable P-38 can opener when Larry chimed in that he remembered those little can openers but what he liked was the large P-51 can openers.  He said that the P-51 was like gold over in Vietnam, while every C-Rat box shipped with the P-38, the P-51 was much harder to get.

Larry said that he used to get the P-51’s and he would hoard them up and pass them out the the guys he served with.  The P-51 was prized by those that were able to lay their hands on one as they were larger and allowed one to open cans easier than with the P-38. 

I asked Larry how come him to have such intamate knowledge of the P-51 and he said it was simple, he was a cook and much of his time was spent serving the men in the field.  He used to prepare “T-Rats” or T Rations and the P-51 was packed with the “T-Rats”.  Larry also said that the P-51 was great for opening the large 1 gallon metal cans that much of the food was packed in. 

We want to say to Larry as to all our veterans, thank you for your service to our country without your service and sacrafice we would not be the greatest nation on earth.

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Androck P-38

Well while strolling through the Market Hall Dallas Arms Collectors gun show today I f0und a new P-38 for my collection.

It is a ANDROCK P-38.  It is marked US ANDROCK.

Check back soon we will be posting a photo of this elusive can opener.

P-38 Staff

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Photo Gallery on the way

We are very excited to announce that we are pressing forward with this web site.

We have let this site be pushed to the back burner and now we are moving to start updating and chaning this site.

The first new enhancement will be a PHOTO Gallery we have installed and are currently configuring.  Once this photo gallery is up and running we will be publishing our archives for everyone to review.

We are currently seeking photos of P-38 and P-51 can openers and related to add to the photo gallery from anyone who wishes to contribute.  All photos submitted with credentials will have those credentials published with the photos.  Please email us your photos now.


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P-38’s clean fingernails !!!

As I enter into the world of blogging with my new P-38.net blog I look down at my fingers and I notice I need to clean my fingernails.  Whola – I have my trusty P-38 can opener on my key chain. 

I wonder from time to time just how many people have used a P-38 can opener to clean their fingernails just as I do?

I would love to hear from anyone who has a story about a P-38 can opener.

Please send me your stories.

Take care

P-38.net Staff

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