A Q-switched fiber laser is developed for eyesafe ranging applications. Using a highly doped erbium fiber pumped with a 30-mW laser diode at 980 nm, pulses of 290-W peak power and 20-ns duration are obtained. The laser consists of all-fiber elements, with the exception of a high-efficiency bulk acousto-optic Bragg cell aligned to the laser on the diffracted beam to provide Q-switching with high hold-off. Three emission bands of erbium are made to lase in continuous wave (cw) and Q-switched operation. It is established that optimal cw lasing is achieved at 1560 nm, and maximum intensity Q-switch pulses are produced at 1530 nm. The laser was packaged and tested in the field, demonstrating the readiness of this technology for ranging applications.