One of the most commonly used types of Mil-Spec paracord gets categorized as 550. 550 Paracord, often known as parachute cord, gets utilized frequently in various everyday carry circumstances. The number 550 comes from the intended max weight of the rope, which is 550 pounds. Tough-Grid is a leading provider of Mil-Sec paracord.
Paracord is a thin nylon rope having 7-9 nylon strands running through it. The inner strands are made up of 2-3 threads and can get unwound for various purposes.
Parachutists first used this versatile material for suspension lines. Because of its adaptability in a range of scenarios, it has gotten issued to various military branches.
Furthermore, it is important to note that the Mil-Spec paracord was originally only used by the military, but it became available to civilians as a military surplus after WWII.
What You Need to Know About Paracords
The name "paracord" comes from its initial purpose, to suspend lines in parachutes. Paracord, made of nylon and has a renowned strength-to-weight ratio and incredible mobility, was quickly adopted by other military groups and civilians.
When Should You Use a Mil-Spec Paracord?
Even if it gets promoted as paracord, a conventional nylon or polyester rope that doesn't have a braided sheath with a varied number of interwoven strands within it is not considered paracord. You must learn to distinguish between the two, especially if you use them for emergency purposes. You can maximize the strength that Mil-Spec paracord boasts about if what you have is genuine. Paracord provides more versatility than standard nylon or polyester rope, which is crucial for your life on the line.
During Emergency Situations
People carry paracord for various reasons, the most common of which is to utilize it in emergencies. You can use a Mil-Spec paracord to build a simple shelter by simply combining sturdy tree branches. If you need something to eat, all you need to do is to cut the cord, pull out its inner threads to have a hook attached to it. This option serves as a makeshift fishing line that can get you any fish that you are craving.
For your Everyday Carry Gear (EDC)
Even if you aren't in an emergency, paracord can be useful. Since its material has a little elasticity, you can wrap it around EDC items making it more secure and easy to carry around. A skeleton frame handle gets used on several small fixed blade knives. Covering a length of paracord around it provides a grip and keeps a continuous length of the material close at reach.
On top of that, you can enhance and personalize your EDC using paracord, which comes in a wide selection of colors and patterns. It can get used to accent a color scheme or to carry your DIY creations. Thus, Mil-Spec paracord still has the functionality of paracord at its core.
Retrieving Important Items
A lanyard hole is on most knives, and paracord is the ideal material for it. If you prefer to carry your pocket knife without a clip, a paracord lanyard is perfect. You may make lanyards of various forms and patterns with knot-tying skills to carry more cordage or fine-tune extra material for grip on your tool. While still maintaining a low profile carry, pulling on this extra length can produce stuff from your pocket more conveniently than searching around for it.
Tips in Purchasing a Mil-Spec Paracord
Looking at what makes true military paracord so unique compared to commercial paracord that is sometimes labeled "mil-spec" is the best way to gauge the varying consistency of these paracords. The outer shell of a mil-spec paracord is 100 percent nylon, as is each inner strand, which has three 100 percent nylon yarns. The nylon in the cheaper commercial paracord often gets replaced with polyester, and the strands are frequently two instead of three. While this is still good, a mil-spec paracord is superior in terms of quality.
Moreover, completing these two tasks is the only consistent way to determine how similar the paracord purchased is to military specifications:
First, look at the number of yarns the inner core strands contain, whether they have two or three. If it has three strings, the paracord gets deemed closer to mil-spec.
Second, try joining the inner yarns with some nylon by burning the tips and fusing them to decide if the inner strands in a paracord get made of nylon or polyester. Nylon yarn will bond well with other nylon yarn. Polyester, on the other hand, will not bond with nylon but will connect with itself. If the paracord has polyester inner strands but a nylon outer layer, creating a super line from all the strands could be difficult, as the inner yarn would not bind with the nylon outer layer no matter how hard one tries.
Furthermore, field test the paracord to determine its quality. Simply try it for whatever one might need to use it for in the wilderness. Make shelters with it, for example. Create traps with it. To see how much it can withstand, subject it to unreasonably high levels of stress. Take it apart and use the outer shell to secure a knife to a stick so you can practice using it as a spear.