Are the mo-mo days back for Taser International (Nasdaq: TASR)? It sure looks like it.

After enduring a brutal, month-and-a-half-long sell-off this year, Taser shares finally turned around Monday and began a three-day, 6-percentage-point run. The fact that its bounce-back stalled this morning, though, begs the question: What sparked the rally in the first place, and is today's selling a momentary pause for profit-taking, or the resumption of Taser's long swan dive into a puddle of irrelevancy?

The bull case
Taser bulls will no doubt argue the former and point to the reason that sparked the rally: We're just days away from Taser's fourth-quarter earnings announcement, and already things are looking up. On Wednesday, management confirmed it's received a pair of "significant" orders from existing customers. In total, Taser sold 530 Taser X26 stun guns, 530 Taser Cam units, 2,080 Taser M26s, and ... 37,960 Taser cartridges! (Seems somebody is getting ready to do some serious Tazing, bro.)

And while the orders came in too late to help out Taser's fourth-quarter results, the company expects to ship 'em very soon -- promising a welcome boost to first-quarter guidance when Taser reports next Wednesday.

The bear case
"So what?" growl the bears. When you add up the price tags on Taser's two orders, it all comes to just $4 million in extra revenues. That's barely half of the supposedly monster order that Taser announced in December. It seems a bit of a stretch to believe that this tiny order justifies investors adding $15 million to Taser's market cap this week.

Foolish takeaway
Like I said, the $15 million bump in market cap in response to $4 million more sales is bad enough. But as I pointed out in December, Taser is still way behind traditional firearms manufacturers Smith & Wesson (Nasdaq: SWHC) and Sturm, Ruger (NYSE: RGR) in terms of the profits it earns on these sales. Taser also lags ammunition makers Olin Corp (NYSE: OLN) and Alliant TechSystems (NYSE: ATK) almost as badly.

At its current 0.18% profit margin, Taser can expect to net all of $7,000 profit on the extra sales it just reported. Being more generous and applying the best margins Taser has historically seen to the sale, the bottom-line impact would still be well less than a half-million dollars. So before joining the mo-mo crowd on Taser, I suggest you do the math: $7,000 more profits, $15 million more market cap -- raise your hand if you think this adds up.

Think I'm wrong? Want to prove it? Click over to Motley Fool CAPS and go on record in favor of Taser -- then add the stock to your Foolish watchlist to make sure when the good news arrives, you're first in line to hear it.

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of, nor is he short, any company named above. Check out his latest stock recommendations on Motley Fool CAPS. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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