The main distinguishing sign of the mil-spec paracord is that one of the inner strands will be color coded. This is required by the military for quality control purposes and specifically for each manufacturer.
Military level paracords will also be made of high-quality nylon, 100 percent. Nylon paracord tack is weatherproof and will not rot in moist conditions like other materials.
Commercial paracord will have two or three inner strands, which may or may not be wired. The cord makes the cable stronger, but there is no way to verify this without dissecting the paracord.
Although it is possible for unscrupulous foreign manufacturers to add a string of dummy color codes to make their products look, military class, this is more expensive to produce and most cheap imitators will not do anything like that.
The material used may be nylon, but often polyester. Be skeptical of all cables not produced in the United States. Lower quality paracords will have obvious deviations along the cable. Lumps, bumps, and vertices where the inner strands are joined together are an indication of the inferior cord.
Until now, very few retailers were selling paracords similar to those used by the American military. Before you buy, check paracord for quality control issues. If buying online, contact the retailer to make sure you get what they are advertising.
Remember, just because a paracord is produced by a certified government contractor does not mean it is genuine. The military-specific Paracord 550 is stronger, more durable, and far safer than the commercial class, making it a true asset in emergency survival scenarios.
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