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The paper deals with the complex kinetics of excitation, quenching, and absorption in an electron‐beam pumped KrF laser. The effect of the pressure dependence of the ionic recombination rates, the role of the metastables, and the formation of ArKr+ are investigated and compared with our experimental results. From the model the maximum power density together with the optimized densities of argon, krypton, and fluorine are calculated as a function of the beam‐current‐to‐outcoupling ratio. Finally, the pressure dependencies of the individual components near the optimized conditions are investigated.