Financial media took a generally downbeat view of General Dynamics' (NYSE: GD) Q1 report yesterday, castigating the company for missing Wall Street's estimate for quarterly revenue.

True, the company failed to match the superb performance of shipbuilding rival Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC) this time around. The General's revenues declined about 6% -- no thanks to the Combat Systems business, where sales dropped 17%. But General Dynamics still managed to boost operating margins in Aerospace and Combat Systems, and held the line in Marine Systems and the IT division. It turned what could have been a rout of a quarter into an orderly retreat, with no casualties to earnings, which held steady at $1.54 per share.

More importantly, General D gave investors a cause to hope that last quarter's weakness will give way to better times ahead. Funded backlog rose 3% year over year in Q1, nearing $47.4 billion. And at the rate this company eats revenue, total backlog alone would keep General Dynamics in business for another two years at least, even if it didn't sign a single new contract.

And by one measure at least, business actually improved. Free cash flow for the quarter, while seasonally weak, still topped $150 million. That's more than twice the $73 million the company generated in last year's Q1. The General has now amassed a trailing 12-month total of more than $2.5 billion in free cash flow, 5% beyond what its GAAP-calculated "earnings" suggest. In other words, General Dynamics did just fine last quarter. It wasn't a blowout success like the one warbot-maker iRobot (Nasdaq: IRBT) reported, but it wasn't any kind of abject failure, either.

What ranks above "general"?
Unfortunately, after gaining 44% over the past 12 months, and trouncing the S&P's performance, I think the General is due for some R&R. At today's price, the stock commands a 12.6-times earnings multiple, and 12 times free cash flow. That's not a horrible valuation by any means. But it looks only middling-good based on consensus estimates of 7.8% long-term growth, and its healthy 2.2% dividend.

"Just fine" performance isn't no longer good enough to justify reupping on General Dynamics today. Not when you've got Raytheon (NYSE: RTN) selling for a lower P/E while paying a higher dividend, or Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) selling for a lower P/E, paying a higher dividend, and offering faster growth estimates. My advice: Give this General a three-month pass. Let it rest up, and we'll check in again next quarter. Meantime, seek your bargains elsewhere.

But can you really find better values in today's market? You can. We have. They're here.

General Dynamics is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. iRobot is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Fool contributor Rich Smith owns shares of iRobot. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.