MIL-C-5040H Spec.MIL-Spec is a term thrown around alot when it comes to paracute cord (paracord). If you are like us, it can really complicate things. Here we try to set the record straight as best we can so you'll have a better understanding of what MIL-Spec mean and how it applies to paracord.
MIL-Spec stands for (MIL)itary (Spec)ifcation. IT is a term used to denote when something is made to a certain standard as set by the military. The first big question is, who's military. The US Military has a MIL-Spec for paracord but it expired many years ago though US manufacturers still make cord to that specification. The specification is MIL-C-5040H. You can download a pdf copy of the specification. This specifies standards for sizing, construction and strengths that MIL-Spec cordage must adhere too. In general, Type III paracord should be 5/32" to 1/4" in diameter, with 8 inner strands, each made up of 3 strands and a outer kernmantle of 32 woven strands. It also must have a minimum breaking strength of 550 lbs. If you read the spec, there is alot more info in there about the cordage.
Most of the cord we buy today is is not "MIL-Spec" but a commercial version of Type III cord. It is usually made up of 7 inner strands of 2 strands each, a kernmantle of 32 woven strands and usually a minimum breaking strength of 550lbs. The kicker is that there is no agency that governs this. Commercial cord is NOT MIL-Spec cord. It might meet some of the specifications, but it's not true MIL-Spec MIL-C-5040H cord. But wait, you say you've seen the word MIL-Spec Commercial cord. This merely mean it's like mil-spec cord, but it doesn't mean it meets the MIL-C-5040H specification. Manufacturers can make the cord any way they like. This is why there really isn't a way to have a "Real Paracord vs. Fake Paracord" argument. Only a "True MIL-Spec vs. Non MIL-Spec" cord debate. And that debate doesn't last long.
Now given all this information, you ask, which cord should I buy? The cord we sell here is some of the highest quality commercial Type III paracord you can buy. It's some of the most consistent quality cord you can buy. How do we know this? Well we've looked over so much cord from so many different manufacturers in search of the best cord and this is it. It's certainly not the cheapest cord out there, but it is the best. Our braiders use the same techniques that were used to make the original MIL-Spec cord to make our cord. It's all 100% high quality, high strength nylon. Yes, there are different strength nylon yarns available to make the cord. This is how some manufacturers save money when making the cord.
True MIL-C-5040H cord:
Commercial Type III Paracord:
I hope this answers some questions about the cord you are looking to buy. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.