TASER to the Front Line?

In the Motley Fool Rule Breakers portfolio, there's no stock more controversial than TASER (Nasdaq: TASR  ) . And for good reason; the stun gun maker's penchant for PR bravado can be woefully inappropriate, as it was here.

Nevertheless, management's aggressive streak has produced results. Lawsuits are less of a threat than they were a year ago, and sales have turned around. Now, TASER is pushing its edge to try and establish a foothold with the military.

A new Senior Executive Advisory Board -- comprised mostly of former Army and Marine Corps officers -- is now in place. In a statement, company President Tom Smith said the eight-member committee "will focus the company on the expanding federal and military market."

Makes sense to me. Just don't expect results any time soon. According to a story from Bloomberg, TASER has sold 5,000 stun guns to the military since going public five years ago. That's roughly 1.5% of the 326,500 devices sold in that time.

CEO Rick Smith aims to change that. He told me in a brief interview that the advisory board would help by persuading former peers to consider the TASER gun in the context of U.S. military policy. A key example, says Smith, is the war in Iraq.

"What's driving the insurgency is a resentment of American use of force," argues Smith. Most troubling for locals, he says, is when civilians who hadn't joined the insurgency are killed. Such incidents can lead to further uprisings, making the war even more difficult for the troops on the ground.

I'll admit that's as self-serving a comment as you'll get from a CEO. And yet it makes sense, especially since some units possess TASER devices for engaging threats that don't necessarily rise to the level of lethal force.

Still, Smith is going to Congress for help. Congress. Frankly, that's a little like drinking coffee to cure insomnia, and is likely to work just about as well. Good luck, guys. You're going to need it.

A stunning array of related Foolishness is at your disposal:

TASER is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection. Get more insight on the company with David Gardner's no-holds-barred interview with company president Tom Smith. All that's required is a 30-day tryout of the Rule Breakers service. There's no obligation to buy and it's easy to get started. Justclick here now.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers isn't easily shocked, but he's pretty sure a TASER shot would do the trick. Tim didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. Get the skinny on everything Tim is invested in by checking his Fool profile. The Motley Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.


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