Taser International (NASDAQ:TASR) is soaring today after the announcement of its new X26C Citizen Defense System for "private citizens seeking responsible, nonlethal self-defense protection." For a mere $999, the company will sell you six cartridges, a 40-minute training video, and a certificate for "one free in-home professional training session."

This weapon is sold exclusively by Taser, which eliminates any middlemen eating into the company's high 44% operating margin. To understand the significance of that, consider the margins of a few companies with lighter business models: 30% at Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), 34% at Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), and 40% at Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation Marvel Enterprises (NYSE:MVL).

Those margins are one reason Taser was able to jump 42-fold in a 52-week period that extended into early 2004. The other is that orders continue to pour in for the company's existing products. With revenue growing 150% a quarter and profits growing even faster, the market notices -- and international orders have yet to pour in.

The company is innovating, too. New weapons systems are under development with General Dynamics (NYSE:GD), and, in two years, management plans to introduce an "extended-range electronic projectile" that is wireless and effective at up to 100 meters.

There is negative press. Dow Jones' (NYSE:DJ) Barron's has questioned the stock's valuation. Viacom's (NYSE:VIA) CBS has questioned whether the weapon is 100% nonlethal. But every time a story surfaces like the Sept. 11, 2004, killing of two New York detectives by a suspect able to steal one of the detectives' weapons, the company has more sales literature to show why its weapons are a superior alternative.

Taser has many of the traits that characterize Motley Fool Hidden Gems. The company has high insider ownership, is generating free cash flow, has a well-established market niche, and is growing revenue and profits. But hidden it is not! The company has a $1.1 billion market capitalization for only $46 million in trailing sales.

Taser now has a weapon for the general population. It may just be right for you. But if you are looking for a stock -- a hidden gem -- ready to explode when it is discovered, Taser is not for you.

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Fool contributor W.D. Crotty owns stock in Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation Marvel and has a subscription to the Motley Fool Hidden Gems newsletter. W.D. does not own stock in any of the other companies mentioned.