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P-51 U.S. Military Can Opener

rated 4.0 of 5 stars
photo:   P-51 U.S. Military Can Opener kitchen accessory

This is one of the best things that ever came out of the military. The P-38 is too small for large hands though.


  • Light
  • Strong
  • Convenient


  • Small (P-38)

For my hands the P-38 is too small. I actually use the P-51. It was designed for large #10 size cans in a field kitchen. That said, it weighs a few ounces more than the P-38, but is much easier to handle. It’s just as sharp, still fits the key chain. 

For those who don’t want it to open in their pocket you can use a center punch and hammer and peen the hoop that holds the blade. It keeps it from opening in your pocket as well as keeps it open while in use. I have these things in my hunting, hiking, mtn biking packs, go bags, and glove boxes in my vehicles. 

They both have so many more uses than just a can opener. Like, I heat treated the blade on one with a torch, sharpened and used a stick for a handle. Now I can strip and cut vines for lashing, I can also use it to gut fish, great for shaving a piece of wood to help start a fire.

Its uses are only limited by the imagination. I have one laced into a paracord bracelet.  

Met a guy on a mtn bike trip. He's seen me use my P-51. Just before Christmas I received a paracord bracelet in the mail. It was from Outdoor Edge with an emergency blade hidden in the plastic latch. Thought it was cool! A note said thanks for the inspiration.

Source: Issued the P-38 bought the P-51 at the Navy Exchange years ago

I used it in the Marines and it works great and seems to get sharper with use. I have opened hundreds of C rations with it. Nowadays just camping.


  • Cost


  • You have to learn how to use it.

 A great can opener and lightweight.

Source: Marine Corp

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