We report the fabrication of GaN nanopillars and their laser action characteristics under optical pumping measurement. The nanopillars were fabricated from a GaN epitaxial wafer by self-assembled Ni nanomasked etching, followed by epitaxial regrowth to form crystalline facets on the etched nanopillars. The regrowth process is intended to reduce surface defects created during ICP-RIE etching. The density of etched GaN nanopillars is about 8.5×108/cm2 and the diameter and height of GaN nanopillars are about 250 nm and 650 nm, respectively. The as grown GaN nanopillars exhibit a random distribution with hexagonal pillar geometry. The sample is optically excited by frequency tripled Nd:YAG pulsed laser. The Gaussian waist of pumping spot is 1.8 um. At low pumping intensity, the emission has a broad spontaneous emission spectrum with maximum at 363 nm. As pump intensity increases, a narrow peak at 363 nm emerges quickly from the broad spontaneous emission back ground. The lasing action occurs at threshold pump power density of 122 MW/cm2. The emission linewidth decreases with pumping power across threshold and reaches a lowest value of about 0.38 nm above threshold. The excitation-power-dependent spectra show that the lasing wavelength has a slight blue shift as pump power increases. We remark that this is due the band filling of the increasing excited carrier density.