Spectroscopic properties and lasing of Fe:ZnSe and co-doped Fe:Cr:ZnSe crystals in the mid-infrared spectral range were studied at room and low temperatures. Using a free-running Er:YAG laser as a pump source, the output energy of the thermoelectrically cooled Fe: ZnSe laser was 142 mJ with 30% slope efficiency at T = 220 K. Passive Q-switched oscillation of Er:YAG laser with Fe:ZnSe crystal was demonstrated and used as a pump source for a Fe:ZnSe laser system. Room-temperature (RT) gain-switched lasing of Fe: ZnSe was achieved in microchip and selective cavity configurations using Q-switched Er:YAG and Raman-shifted Nd:YAG lasers as pump sources. The microchip laser threshold of 100 mj/cm2 was demonstrated using a Fe:ZnSe crystal without any reflection coatings. A slope efficiency of 13%, oscillation threshold of 1.3 mJ, and tunable oscillation of Fe:ZnSe laser systems over 3.95-5.05 μm spectral range were realized at RT. © 2006 IEEE.