It is shown that a longitudinal CO2 laser with two discharge tubes electrically coupled in parallel can be operated in pulsed mode without ballast impedance. This scheme not only yields much higher efficiency (up to 13% at the maximum output energy) and eliminates component failure at high pulse repetition frequency (prf) but also facilitates short pulse availability. In the absence of ballast, current and laser pulse width decrease on increasing the voltage applied to the discharge tubes but these quantities remain unaffected on varying the value of the energy storage capacitor. This enables an independent control of the laser pulse duration and energy. Threshold energy for the onset of nonuniformities in the glow discharge reduces almost exponentially on increasing the discharge current pulse duration but rises on decreasing the operating value of E/N, the electric field to neutral gas density ratio. The maximum output laser energy of about 1 J/pulse, adjustable pulse duration from 30 μs to about 2 ms, and prf up to 50 Hz have been obtained.