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Here is a tip on CAGE numbers. A Cage number is a Contractor and Government Entity number used today. Under the old system the number was called the Federal Supply Code for Manufacturers or FSCM. Both identify the contractor.

An old FSCM number includes only digits. An example is 14578, the identifier for General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems.

The current CAGE system includes old FSCM's and newer numbers assigned after Oct 25, 1974. An example of a new number will be 1XHC9 which is General Masters Inc. I picked two very closely alphabetized samples to show there is no pattern to identify CAGE numbers. The only way is to go to a DLA web site.

When you look at the two different types of numbers you will notice those contractors that did business with the government BEFORE Oct 25, 1974 have an identifier consisting of five digits. Those contractors that have contracted for the the first time AFTER Oct 25, 1974 have an identifier consisting of both numbers and letters. They added letters with all new assignments on Oct 25, 1974. They simply ran out of digits after reaching 99,999 contractors going back to late WWII, when the contractor codes started. Today both types of identifiers are refered to as CAGE numbers.

What does all this mean? Although you may not be able to tell when a part was produced, you may be able to tell for sure WHEN IT WAS NOT PRODUCED!
I recently saw obviously bogus M1 web slings, in bogus packages, dated 1967, but the person who drew up the lable used a CAGE number consiting of letters and digits, a number which was assigned after Oct 25, 1974. Well maybe he had a time machine
 
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