Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Little P-51 and P-38 Love

This post is about the P-38 and P-51 can opener, a US military issue piece of gear that has taken on a sort of legendary status. Bottom line: they are cheap, very durable, and most importantly, have many, many uses.

The Humble P-38

One of my readers sent me a link to this article: You’re a SEAL Stranded in Hostile Territory: What’s in Your Survival Kit?. Of course, being a fan of all things in kit form, I was definitely curious what the big boys carry. And yes, I smiled when I saw this requirement:

P-38 can opener
   a. Packaged so as to not rattle while in case.

I guess some gear never goes out of style.

The other aspect of the list I found interesting was just how standard the kit was. If you started with a AMK survival kit and went on a shopping spree over at, you could probably build exactly what they describe in the article. Naturally, you'd want to pick up the handcuff key from (a surprising source for escape and evasion gear, no?).

I suppose the ordinariness of the kit just speaks to the fact that wilderness survival is a pretty well thought out animal. Whether you're a Boy Scout, hunter or special forces operator, you've got more or less the same needs.

The P-38's Big Brother, The P-51

I keep a P-51 on my key chain, and usually keep it from flapping open using a Ranger Band (read: slice of an old bicycle inner tube). However, the band I was using just worn through, and I thought I'd look to alternate options.

Turns out, a jumbo paper clip seems to hold the P-51 together fairly well:

As a bonus, I now have an extra McGyver Survival Kit Multitool on me, should I need it.

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