The mechanism of a new method of obtaining high-power single-frequency pulses from a TEA-CO2laser is discussed. Measurements of the shape and monochromaticity of pulses from the hybrid laser which has both a TEA and a low-pressure gain section inside one resonator are presented. The mechanism of single-frequency operation of the hybrid laser is discussed with reference to numerical solutions of simplified rate equations. The low-pressure section provides gain only over a narrow range of frequencies so that a mode lying in that bandwidth builds up faster than neighboring modes to give a single-frequency pulse resembling in overall shape the normal TEA laser pulse. If the system is already lasing when the TEA discharge begins, the single-mode radiation already present rapidly grows to give a single-frequency pulse lacking a gain-switched peak.