Image source: Ruger.

What: Shares of Sturm, Ruger & Company (NYSE:RGR) surged 19.5% higher in February after the company reported better-than-expected earnings, a turn from fairly disappointing results in 2014 and most of 2015.

So what: Sales jumped 24% in the fourth quarter to $152.4 million and earnings popped from $0.77 a year ago to $0.88 per share. The earnings figure topped estimates by an incredible $0.13. This resulted in slight top-line growth for the full year in 2015 after a down year last year.  

Now what: Earnings and profits still haven't recovered to 2013 levels, but conditions are certainly stronger than a year ago and well ahead of analysts' expectations. The bigger question is whether this is short-term growth or a longer-term trend. The 2014 surge in sales was driven by worries about gun control, but that push has largely died down. I don't see any reason gun sales will boom in 2016, and with shares trading at a lofty 23 times earnings, this is a pop I'm not going to jump into right now.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.