The discharge quality and optimum pump parameters of a long-pulse high-pressure gas discharge excited KrCl laser are investigated. A three-electrode prepulse–mainpulse excitation circuit is employed as pump source. The discharge volume contains a gas mixture of HCl/Kr/Ne operated at a total pressure of up to 5 bar. For a plane–plane resonator, the divergence of both output laser beams is measured. A low beam divergence of less than 1 mrad is measured as a result of the very high discharge homogeneity. A maximum laser pulse duration of 150 ns (FWHM) is achieved for a pump duration of 270 ns (FWHM) and a power density of 340 kW cm-3. Pumping the discharge under optimum conditions employing a stable resonator results in a maximum specific energy of 0.45 J/l with a laser pulse duration of 117 ns and an efficiency of 0.63% based on the deposited energy.