How To Open A Can Without a Can Opener

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One of the scenes or opportunities to learn something from American Blackout was the scene where the Yuppie guy was trying to open a can of peaches that he apparently had stolen. I guess the Yuppies didn’t have a can opener in their fancy apartment so the guy had to use his own smarts to open the can himself. This is the same can he bashed over the head of a guy who was trying to steal it from him to feed his family. Funny how this man was so desperate for food that he beat someone to death, but the can of peaches kicked his butt.

When he couldn’t get the can open, he started jabbing a knife down onto the lid (bad idea) and ended up cutting his hand pretty badly. Not what you want to do in the middle of a crisis. In this scenario there was no way he could make it to a hospital and there were obviously more people with much more serious injuries so he and his can inspired fit throwing would be at the back of the line. Not to mention both he and his girlfriend would have to leave the relative safety of his poorly equipped apartment to seek medical attention. They might end up in worse shape as evidenced by the bad guys who finally got to them at the end of the episode.

If the crisis had lasted longer than 10 days, there might never have been any medical treatment and he could have died from a relatively simple infection.

Most of us do have a can opener around the house and I recommend you have a manual can opener as a back up. There are ways to open a can without a can opener though and I found this quick video explaining the concept. Its dirt simple and doesn’t require you to kill anyone first. These two guys are funny and my favorite line is:

“Guess what? Cat gonna Survive too”. – Thanks to Sarah for correcting me. I don’t understand Russian too well ๐Ÿ™‚



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  • cole

    I seen the samething from Cody Lunden but really doesnt everyone have a P38 I have 2 and sometimes I use them just to show people how easy they are and leave one on youre keychain

    • prepperjournal


      Thanks for commenting!

      I know, this shouldn’t be an issue for most of us. I don’t have a real p38 although whenever I am at a Military Surplus store I feel like grabbing a hundred because they are so cheap. I have an opener on my Leatherman as well as the manual can openers. You never know… you could be trapped somewhere with a million cans of food and no can opener.

      Sounds like a Twilight Zone episode but I guess its possible.

      • Bobby Bob

        Yeah, and when you break your eyeglasses, how do you find the cans???? (we miss you, Burgess!)

    • kalohe2001

      The P38 is a supper tool, I am going to go and buy at least a dozen. When I was in the army I had a bunch and used them all the time. The cement idea is great if you are in the city, but the P38 works everywhere.

      • Michael Swaine

        Well, it could be a lunch tool, too.

    • denise

      i have 1 of the p38 can openers on my keychain too,,i only hope i can find my keys in a crisis,,lol

    • mariah100

      Sorry, I found myself laughing so hard until I realized what you were talking about! We have a p38 and I was picturing you guys shooting a hole in the can with a 9mm, lol! We have a 1941 model and we love it, but opening cans….probably not, lol.

      • Frognot

        And my idea of a P-38 had him either blasting away with 4 .50-calibers and a 20 mm cannon, or using the propeller tips of running engines. Neither of which sound like there’d be much usable food afterwards (unless you lost your arm in the propeller).

    • drkennethnoisewater

      I like this (and my thumbs): http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/kuhn-rikon-can-opener/

      (plus, it has a loop on one end, for tying or using a clip to attach to a rucksack or carpenter pant loop)

    • tedlv

      It would be a lot more informative if you actually described what a P38 is. Oh, I had to do a SWPPP today and an EA has been started. Got to make sure, too, that the COA is happy with what I am doing.

  • cooler50

    every time im at a surplus store I pick up a p38 I also have half a dozen p54 which is the larger can opener plus my leatherman plus in my bugout bag I have a hand operated can opener anyone who thinks about storing can food should have several different methods for opening cans . most of us carry at least a knife which can be used to open cans

    • mariah100

      I grew up in the cold war era. Friend had a bomb shelter in their house, very well stocked. HOWEVER, most can foods today have an expiration date, and its important. When you see the top of the can puffing up it’s not good, lol. I’m sure if we had had to use that bomb shelter we would have all died of food poisoning!

  • sarah

    He actually says, “Guess what? Cat going to SURIVIVE too”. But hey, why get things right?

    • Ouch! You got me Sarah. I’ll fix it.


    • jdglmg

      Why such a harsh, sarcastic comment over a mistake?

      • Some people get their kicks out of pointing out mistakes of others. They are rather low in character. One should concentrate on the overall message. Low characters are unable to do that.

    • Kristi

      How ironic that you slammed her translation & didn’t even spell SURVIVE correctly.

    • anna pajama

      Guess what? It’s survive. But why get things right?

    • chooch

      Why not just eat cat, Kommrad?

      • Bobby Bob

        And do it quickly while it still has meat on its bones.

      • mariah100

        I gonna’ shoot you myself, comrade! No eat furbabies!

      • drkennethnoisewater

        My cat brings small bunnies and mice back, which could make a nice snack. Plus, she makes a better warmer alive.

  • Photohak

    right on, show us fire from ice.

  • KateJ

    ok, that was adorable! very cute guys! also, good info. i was totally interested and learned something new and helpful. Thanks guys!

  • KateJ

    no i like knowing how to do this and NO tools available, which is always possible. i would have no idea you could do this.

    • MichaelZWilliamson

      Well, no tools except a flat piece of concrete, which implies a city, which has lots of tools.

      • norm

        lol – good point. I would point out that the situation in opening paragraph would not have been helped by this method. Not too many people have concrete slabs in their apartments….

        • Tony Ramsey

          I would bet concrete is somewhere on the building or slab or basement of whatever domicile you reside… if not… brick or even pavement would also work.

          • norm

            Please go back and reread the first paragraph. The characters in the story were afraid to leave their apartment for fear of looters during an extended blackout.

            • Tony Ramsey

              once again most buildings at least my old apartment building not only had brick on the side just outside my glass patio door there was also concrete porch slabs at not only the outside porch stoop but under the entry way carpet or tile and also the entrance slab.

            • fedup

              open the window most building are made of some sort of stone ? wonder if it would work on my granite counter ?

              • Probably not. Not rough enough. That’s why concrete works. Rough surface.

              • Bobby Bob

                Not sure where you live, but I think most buildings are wood and stucco.

              • mariah100

                Apartments generally are some sort of permanent structure like concrete, concrete blocks or bricks. We are in a rural area and unless it is an antique home or older home it at least has brick or rock on the outside. I call our town Rock City because all the older homes are made of rock – looks like artwork. Those would work well, too.

              • simeonberesford

                not in my country

              • Glen Mast

                think foundation Bobby

              • mariah100

                Uh, you better be starving or your significant other will make you the next meal, lol. But no, I doubt it…it’s needs to be a harsh abrassive form.

            • There you go.

            • Thomas Kemmett

              If you were prepared you would not have to leave. Plus, those knuckleheads looting the apts.? I have an answer for that, a 12 gauge works great.

          • Hell, I have a DRIVEWAY! But I think this was aimed at refugees found in a bombed city who had cans of food which they needed to open.

        • mariah100

          Well, if its post apolocalyptic (ok, I butchered that word)….you just might since the city will probably be in ruins. Not probably, WILL be.

      • daledewar

        you got it – implies a city. we live a long long way in the country with no concrete – on the other hand, maybe granite would work. But I could imagine living where there was neither.

        • Daniel Tabor

          Good Lord! Extrapolate the concept!

          Use a rock or anything. Too small to rub the entire top of the can flat? Rub the rock around the edge over and over with some force until you achieve the same thing… breaking the seal. Any rock big enough to hold in your hand so you can get force on it and last longer than the can edge will do!

          Having said that… the odds of finding a tin can of food somewhere there is not SOME semblance of human construction is slim to none. You’re not going to find a can of pears in the middle of the Sahara.

          • Tink Seagraves

            *slow clap* That was… poetic!

          • daledewar

            Actually, it is in such places that cans are found. I was in a place called Hall Beach N of the Arctic Circle – cans keep so there were cans – no can opener. It was winter so hard to dig up rocks but it could be done. Of course, I’m just trying to think of places where the easy might be hard.

      • Mark Kawate

        I disagree. There is concrete outside my house. In the middle of the country.

      • Derpanese

        You can open a can with a spoon. Google it!

      • Derpanese

        Also, I assume that a rock would work too.

      • anon

        I’m thinking this wold work on a flat rock, too. So in the country or beach it could work.

      • no, actually a BOMBED city which has pieces of buildings crushed and you have no can opener. Guess you never been there.

      • Daniel Stolte

        I assume a rock out in the woods would not work at all…. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        • MichaelZWilliamson

          Why are you in the woods without a Swiss Army Knife, a multitool, another knife, a couple of guns, a P38, a car, a hatchet and a can opener? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • anon

      I’m thinking this wold work on a flat rock, too.

  • KateJ

    i can’t figure out how to subscribe! dannng!

  • MichaelZWilliamson

    In what imaginary world will you never have a knife, chisel or pliers, a can opener, and a punch?

    • marlio

      Perhaps you would have a knife, or can opener, but what about men and women with no common sense???

  • norm

    I’ve opened lots of cans with a knife – steak knife, pocket knife, whatever. Any knife with a sharp point will do.

    • Derpanese

      The point is that it’s very dangerous. Not a risk you want to take if you are in a situation where you have no access to better tools.

  • marysaunders

    Very cool. Thanks.

  • Mari


  • haz

    i like how the tall guy sounds.. he sounds like Gru of Despicable Me animation. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • metz

    this is great and thanks for showing. subscribed to your youtube page and will definitely be checking out all your videos

  • Hopeful Hooves

    Excellent video! Very helpful! I hope you will post many more like this! I will share each one you make on my FB page. I have nearly 5000 friends! Everybody needs basic 101 skills! So many think they are prepared but there are less then 10 million in America that have done anything at all to get ready. Americans need to be responsible to become self reliant instead of depending on FEMA or Red Cross to mop up after disasters. I learned the hard way after our farm burned to the ground in 2000 and had to live homeless for two years while I rebuilt it from scratch. Very steep learning curve! Had to embarrass my insurance company on national TV to get a settlement!

  • Cocoa

    educational and entertaining ๐Ÿ™‚ cool

  • Jack Mabry

    If you’re out in the boonies, you can usually find some flat rocks. This is pretty cool!

  • AnonymousCedar

    Excellent common sense solution to a potentially serious problem.

  • Loren

    That was awesome! Can’t believe how simple that was!

  • Jim Crouch


  • Survivor Philippines

    Thank for the awesome info. Your video is being circulated here in the philippines right now so volunteers can show survivors in the recent Yolanda typhoon how to open can goods without can openers. Again Thank you

  • James Earnhart

    CrazyRussianHackers rule ! Awesome man !!!

  • Laura Becker Sherman

    Wow, what an amazing trick! I would have never guessed this in a million years. Thank you!

  • CC

    GREAT NEWS! Thank you!

  • Bluwater

    If you’re going to go through that much work, wouldn’t it be easier to just go buy a can opener?

    ๐Ÿ™‚ JK – no post is complete without someone making an idiotic comment. Just my way of helping you guys out. Thanks for the video.

  • Tink Seagraves

    You do realize neither of these guys understand Russian very well either?

  • Derpanese

    Holy shit… this is great!

    It’s possible to open a can using a spoon, too. Google it.

  • mihia

    You know where i got this link from? What to do when you get sent relief goods after the Typhoon Haiyan but there’s no can opener in sight because people didn’t pack them in bags and all our tools are washed away by the storm surge. Thanks for the very helpful tip.

    To the trolls who just want to be “mema” about not finding any piece of slab of concrete, when you’re desperate you are going to make anything work.

    • Hopefully it was helpful Mihia and that was our intent with sharing this information. I know there are a lot of people who might view this as simple, but there are more I think who might look at a can and give up. Simple knowledge like this can make peoples lives easier or at least that was the goal. If it doesn’t do that, it may help some people to look at the problem from a different way.

      Either way, this simple re-post of a video has generated more discussion on this topic than I could have imagined. If it helps one person in the world I am so happy.


  • jill

    sounds great!!! but I do only have a manual can opener!!

  • Jan Bradley

    This would also probably work on a flat rock in the woods. Don’t have to be in a city to do it, I would bet. And yes, the cat WILL survive!

  • desiderata

    Cool trick…but how is it that you don’t slice your fingers to pieces when you squeeze the can and the lid pops up? You’re squeezing on the can till the lid pops, and as soon as the pressure releases, wouldn’t your hand contract–right into the freshly exposed edges of the lid? Ouch. Having been with someone when they sliced themselves open on a can lid, I assure you it is NOT something you want to do in the apocolypse. I dunno, maybe the lid edges aren’t sharp, but I’d probably still wear gloves.

  • April Born


  • Danielle Moro


  • Angela Quinn Mause

    This is just awesome

  • Gail

    To remove hair from sink drain, if your sink is draining very slowly, use a certain coat hangar. Use the pant hangar from the cleaners with the cardboard tube. Pull off the tube and straighten the curve and use the very tight crimped end, the one that fits into the tube. It makes the tiniest hook to fit down the drain and very strong. Pull it all out and down the toilet or garbage. Sink is now draining beautifully.

  • Randy Smith

    Who’da thunk it! Thanks guys.

  • Leandra Walker

    God I love their accents

  • mrtom

    You are two WILD AND CRAZY GUYS!

  • Thom Turner


  • Joseph Autrey

    FAKE!!! At 2:00 you can see the can was open with a can opener. There is a cut where it was first put into. The first can they cut the video from him scraping it. The second one you never see it from the beginning. Why would you make such a dumb video that isn’t real. I’m the biggest loser and have not one single friend and I wouldn’t even do something so dumb too waste people’s time.

    • L. H.

      What are you, 12?

      • Joseph Autrey

        nope im 11. pretty close tho

  • Jane Doe

    I would worry about eating the metal shavings….

  • marlio

    Great idea!!

  • capt

    good stuff

  • Karen

    Why would you say “Much more interesting videos coming up” THIS was a way cool video! LOVE The Russian Friend!!!!!!!!

  • Cheebs

    Each time they start squeezing the can to pop the top, I foresee one of them slicing their hand down to the bone. That would be my biggest concern I suppose, if in a real life or death situation, what is the likely hood that you don’t severely injure yourself trying to open a can in this fashion?

    Does this method leave a sharp edge like a can opener would, because like most anyone would agree.. the top of a can is razor sharp.

  • Kirk Lawless

    How do you open the ammo can?

  • Philip

    you guys are great ! Good humor too .. Thanks.. ัะฟะฐัะธะฑะพ !

  • Charlie Malone

    Works with Asphalt and plain rocks too. ๐Ÿ™‚ great to know if you are stranded up in the mountains.

  • carmen

    going to try this

  • crroak

    Very cool! Thanks for the can opening demo!

  • John Cross

    Looks like you could cut yourself pretty bad doing that squeezy thing.

  • Ronald Neil Howdeshell


  • Steve Fackerell

    This is awesome. Because just when your confident that you will never have to do this is the day you cant find a can opener to save your ass lol…thanks for the info!!

  • Wendy Snyder

    This is cute! I have done a sort of personal “Apocalypse Challenge”, of living off the grid, using collected water or water from the creek, cooking my food over a fire, collecting my food from the garden or from the wild (lots of cactus pads), and I raise my own rabbits, so I have meat. (It takes quite a bit of time to gather them food every day). I did this for a week. I plan to do this again next year.

    • L. H.

      Do you want a prize?

      • Wendy Snyder

        What sort of prize?

        – Wendy

        Subject: Re: New comment posted on How To Open A Can Without a Can Opener

  • Patty H

    Great video ๐Ÿ™‚ shared on my FB. BTW you have great english skills ๐Ÿ™‚ I am jealous. I can only speak 1 language. Sooooo if you see someone criticize …. well ask them how many languages they speak fluently ๐Ÿ™‚ and then tell them to F off ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Chanah

    I never would have thought of this! Thanks for the lesson!

  • Lanie

    Great idea, thank you for sharing!

  • Allison Woodward


  • Karolyn Francoise Verville

    Thank you! Awesome trick of survival! But “how” does chaffing makes the can now openeable? I love your accent! How many languages do you speak?

  • Michael

    Thanks for the tip….

  • Yaacov Gafni

    Thanks a lot for a great tip, keep it up.

  • Ms. Jane


  • JD

    you’re grinding down the aluminum sealing the food. once the can is breached, the metal would be mixing in with the food until you’re able to loosen the lid enough to get to the food. Using a knife is a good and efficient idea, just needs practice

  • diana

    I thought this was supper cool thanks for showing it Some day i may need to know this and now I will

  • Lisa Fleming Philpot


  • Susan Ware

    thanks I didn’t know that and it will be very helpful

  • Willie

    I have a couple of p38’s but this is really great to know. You never know when this may come in handy. TY

  • doctorjesse

    I used to wonder this, how I would open these cans if I had no can opener, and here we are, many years later, finding out. I really do appreciate having such a practical lesson like this available. You may never know when such a thing will be needed! lol

  • otter

    Thanks that was pretty cool, now how do you open a wine bottle with a cork in without tools? The cat an I would like wine with dinner! LOL

  • fnamelname

    ะกะฟะฐัะธะฑะพ ะฑะพะปัŒัˆะพะต, ะผะพะน ะดั€ัƒะทัŒั!

  • MomToTheFabFour

    that is awesome!!

  • Pk Mitchell

    where were you guys last WEEK!?

    Good tip!

  • Lynn

    Pretty cool – thanks!

  • December27

    That’s pretty clever. I would add one refinement: Open the can over a bowl to catch the spills.

  • Gatekeeper Galio

    This needs to be renamed to “how to open a can with concrete”

  • Batters Box

    great trick, I will survive! LOL

  • Brad Fulton

    Fuck it… The cat is a couple of meals too

  • Serena Collins

    that was awesome

  • Enjoy your iron shavings… ๐Ÿ™

  • Dan the Man

    Prepping for the end, huh? Why you want to live in an apocalypse? Is your need to be alive so great that you actually live with no electricity or cars or computers or so on?

  • Tricia

    Great tip! You should put a link to your sight.

  • Denniswingo

    ochen horishow!

  • John Maccabi

    I think you will end up dying either way. You will either die because you will not have any canned food or you will die because the noise that the rubbing of a can of food makes on the street will alert all the zombies in your vicinity.

  • Gayle Wendell

    why is everyone talking about a surplus store or whatever you might have on hand. This is “if you don’t have anything” to open a can. I think it’s awesome! Thanks!

  • Mastro63

    The P38 is great – but I wouldn’t carry one on my key chain- real risk of an accidental vasectomy!

    • Well there’s your problem right there Mastro63! You aren’t supposed to put that in your pocket too! ๐Ÿ™‚


  • David Govett

    Thanks. Might come in handy someday. You never know.

  • Duh!!

    I have a can opener thanks

  • Duh!!

    AND a P38

  • Laka

    If you work for HHS, you can order the can to open itself or pay a penalty.
    If you work for the Fed, you can just assume the can is open.
    If you work for TSA, and the can is bigger than three ounces, it will be confiscated.
    If you are the President, if you like your can to be open, your can is open. Period.

  • Suz

    Great tip! Thanks.

  • SL

    I learned this originally from the movie Do The Right Thing, were a little girl takes one end off of a tin can this way so it can be used to funnel water from an opened fire hydrant.

  • Irishtomato

    Very interesting! Thank you for showing this!

  • Tara Grant

    That was a cool and awesome thing

  • Brandon Wilson

    I followed the instructions but my dick got caught in the fan?!!?

  • Robert

    Thank you for helping me survive guys!

  • debs

    Ok enough with the P38. Obviously this works when you don’t have any tools. duh… Good info I think.

  • Izzy812

    Rather have a P38 BUT this is still good info, thanks

  • ElmoS

    I thought everyone has a P38 opener. Got mine in 1959 from C-Rats .

  • Don

    Very cool, gonna teach that to my Boy Scouts

  • fostert

    As an engineer, I applaud you! Given a day of desperation, it would have taken me two or three to figure that out.

  • billy dogman

    great job, did not know you could open a can like that. thanks for sharing. God bless

  • Tom Musto


  • tedlv

    THAT’s how Popeye did it!

  • David

    If the cat and myself were really starving, instead of worrying about how to open a can to feed me and the cat……I would just eat the cat.

  • vince

    great entertaining video. keep it up guys and I learned something too.

  • Christina

    Very cool!





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