Various lengths of Yb:Er:YVO4 were end pumped by a quasi-continuous wave 967 nm diode laser. The best slope efficiency with respect to absorbed pump power for gain switched operation was 8 % for a 5 mm long crystal. Co:MgAl2O4 saturable absorbers of 98 % and 93 % initial transmission were used to passively Q-switch the cavity. For the 98 % initial transmission absorber, average pulses energies of 44 ÃÂµJ were measured. The average pulse width and repetition rate were ~256 ns and 36 kHz, respectively. For the 93% initial transmission absorber, a single output pulse of 37 ÃÂµJ energy and 22 ns duration per pump pulse was measured when the crystal was pumped for a pumping duration of 1.7 ms.© (2008) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.