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Jun 18, 2000
Yesterday my wife asked me to open some cans of food for her while she prepared the meal so I took the opportunity to compare some can-openers.
They were on: the Gerber Pro-scout, the Victorinox Supertinker, the Wenger Handyman, and a US military P38 (GI or Army can-opener).
Let me first say that all of them did work.
From the best to worse, they are:
1) The P38! It was the fastest and
2) The Wenger. It was only slightly less efficient than the P38.
3) The Victorinox: I have used it plenty of times, but compared to the P38 and the Wenger it was slow and more difficult to use.
4) The Gerber had the worse manual can-opener that I have ever used.
The Victorinox and the Gerber share the same basic design and they cut the can away from you, going counter-clockwise around the can. This did'nt work as well, for me, as the P38 and the Wenger which cut toward you, going clockwise around the can.

It's not a big issue (any decent blade can cut open a can), but why dull your blade when you can buy a military can-opener for about 40 cents.

Next comparison might be the scissors...

[This message has been edited by allenC (edited 02-22-2001).]

Was the Army one the larger model with the spoon thing on the handle, or the tiny folding one that fits between two fingers ?
I can open cans awfully fast with the Victorinox opener. For me the key was to use shorter strokes than the parrot's beak style openers. The thinnes and sharpness of the opener on the SAK makes it pretty efficient and reduces the burrs left on the can lip.

Of course the story was different when I first switched from using an old boy scout knife. I orininally started trying to cut backwards and forced the entire blade (including the little screwdriver tip) through the can lid. Then I figured out not to run the screwdriver tip through the can. And finally I got the can rotating the right direction. It's still not the best in tight corners on rectangular cans or to cut large pouring notches in liquid-filled cans.
If you think the P-38 is fast try using it left handed!

Victorinox is my first choice.

i agree the P-38 is the smoothest (for righties)i just hate it when it stabs me in the leg !!!!!!!

[This message has been edited by valimas (edited 02-22-2001).]
For myself, I've never tried a P-38 but have used the can openers on Victorinox SAKs, Wenger SAKs, and Leatherman tools. Personally, I find the Victorinox opener is the fastest, cuts the smoothest, and I am able to finish cutting completely around the lid. With the Wenger and Leatherman-style openers, I always end up with a slightly more ragged edge, and usually have to twist the lid off the last 1/8" or so.
Used P-38 and Victorinox, for me the Victorinox is the clear winner. As Jeff Clark says use short and not too deep strokes meantime turning the can with the other hand.
I`ve never tried a P38 either. I used to like the Victorinox opener better than the ones on Wenger and Leatherman. Now I don`t think it makes much of a difference. One big plus, for the Wenger and Leatherman type, is that it also opens bottles well (the old type).

I use the P-38 and the Victorinox, with the P-38 being used more often simply because I always have it on me. For me they are about equal in ease of use.

Die Entropie der Welt strebt einem Maximum zu - R.J.E. Clausius
I tried this test just a few weeks ago myself! I was already a p38 fan and it is still the easiest for me to use. The leatherman wave one was next, and the victorinox was the worse. I don't think I was using it right. A friend of mine likes the leatherman one over the p-38.
I understand how the Victorinox and Gerber works, but you still have to make an effort not to cut too deep and use short cuts. With the P38 and the Wenger style (and Camillus too) it's not even an issue. You also get a longer cut which equals fewer cuts and less time. At least it worked that way for me.

[This message has been edited by allenC (edited 02-24-2001).]
Brothers & Sisters of Steel,
AllenC, Santi & NILS,

Having been a long time user of the P-38 it's a #1 rated tool. Anyone in the house knows how to use this and any other form of opener.
Careful though to tape it or carry it in a change purse when not in use...Your pants pockets will appreciate it!
Santi and NILS. If you'll e-mail me I'll send each of you a P-38.
AllenC. Regarding the scissors review, might I suggest that you also do a review of EMT shears and alternatives.
For some of us, a day without Steel is a day without sunshine.
Lance Gothic
Lance -

Where do you get your P-38's? I have been looking for more but have only been able to find the larger size, I think they are put out by Coghlan's. I like the real P-38 better because it is much more compact.


Die Entropie der Welt strebt einem Maximum zu - R.J.E. Clausius
Dear Lambertiana,
I'll check with some sources for you. Usually you can pick them up at a good Army-Navy Surplus store by the handful for next to nothing. (I used to buy them in quantities of 500 and give them away! Scout troops and such.)
I'll e-mail the results.
Lance Gothic
Sorry, Y'al.
One click too many!
Lance Gothic

[This message has been edited by Lance Gothic (edited 02-25-2001).]
Received tons of the P38, from Lance Gothic
this morning.

Thank you for your generosity, Gerald.
REAL men -- like us gyrenes in 'Nam -- wore the P-38 around our necks on our dogtag chain. Of course, considerable diligent searching for one that would stay closed when you wanted it to was done first. But, s**t happens. Believe I recall a couple times being awakened by a P-38 that suddenly became loose.

Smart Marines got ahold of a piece of a tire innertube, and stretched it around their hemlets. Kept P-38s, hot sause and assorted paraphernalia there. Bet that would still work, tho it might be perceived as odd.

I still think they're one of the most effective tools for their designed application I've ever found.

Anybody stocking some "ham & mothahs"?