Doppler wind lidars (DWLs) have increasingly been used over the last decade to derive the mean wind in the atmospheric boundary layer. DWLs allow the determination of wind vector profiles with high vertical resolution and provide an alternative to classic meteorological tower observations. They also receive signals from altitudes higher than a tower and can be set up flexibly in any power-supplied location. In this work, we address the question of whether and how wind gusts can be derived from DWL observations. The characterization of wind gusts is one central goal of the Field Experiment on Sub-Mesoscale Spatio-Temporal Variability in Lindenberg (FESSTVaL). Obtaining wind gusts from a DWL is not trivial because a monostatic DWL provides only a radial velocity per line of sight, i.e., only one component of a three-dimensional vector, and measurements in at least three linearly independent directions are required to derive the wind vector. Performing them sequentially limits the achievable time resolution, while wind gusts are short-lived phenomena. This study compares different DWL configurations in terms of their potential to derive wind gusts. For this purpose, we develop a new wind retrieval method that is applicable to different scanning configurations and various time resolutions. We test eight configurations with StreamLine DWL systems from HALO Photonics and evaluate gust peaks and mean wind over 10 min at 90 m a.g.l. against a sonic anemometer at the meteorological tower in Falkenberg, Germany. The best-performing configuration for retrieving wind gusts proves to be a fast continuous scanning mode (CSM) that completes a full observation cycle within 3.4 s. During this time interval, about 11 radial Doppler velocities are measured, which are then used to retrieve single gusts. The fast CSM configuration was successfully operated over a 3-month period in summer 2020. The CSM paired with our new retrieval technique provides gust peaks that compare well to classic sonic anemometer measurements from the meteorological tower.