The energy scaling for a diode-side-pumped passively Q-switched Nd:YAG laser in an ultra-low-magnification unstable convex–concave resonator is investigated. Theoretical analysis and experimental results indicate the fact that the energy scaling is restricted by the increasing of side-pumping sources inside the resonator because of the significant pump-to-mode size mismatching. It is verified that employing the master oscillation power amplifier can effectively enlarge the output pulse energy and improve the beam quality. Up to 60-mJ pulse energy with 17-MW peak power is obtained at a pump energy of 520 mJ. A 1573-nm eye-safe laser emission with pulse energy up to 25 mJ is further attended via the extracavity optical parametric oscillator.