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Monday Morning Gomez – the Wyatt Protocol

Today we continue the Monday Morning Gomez series with Paul talking about the history and development of the “Wyatt Protocol”, also known as the “FAST Protocol.”

The “Wyatt Protocol”, or “Actions Upon Contact”

Paul Gomez

Fight, Assess, Scan, Top Off, Take Cover, Talk to Who Needs Talking to, Top Down Check and Treat Injuries.

Today what we’re going to talk about is the Wyatt or FAST Protocol; also (more generically) actions upon contact; what do you do once the guns make noise.

Most classes really start with getting the gun out of the holster and then deal with what happens once the gun gets loud. However, that's only one part of it. As I see it, it's actually a very small part of the problem. So, the idea of what do we do beyond that, is, I think, important to address. One of the best ways that I’ve seen to address it is the “Wyatt protocol,” which is named for Lyle Wyatt. Those who have been around long enough to remember the grand ol' days of the Soldier of Fortune 3 gun matches will remember that 2 of the big guys heavily involved were Lyle Wyatt and Michael Horne.

Lyle Wyatt was a friend of Andy Stanford, whose first training company was MMI (the Martial Marksmanship Institute). It was focused on providing close up rifle training to the military, particularly marines in southern California. Lyle was working with Andy, they were training some young Marines, and some Marine asked Lyle,

“I understand shooting. I'm an expert marksman, I understand shooting, but what is this gunfighting thing all about? How is that different than shooting?”

In response to this question, Lyle said,

“Well, first we fight…and then we make sure that our rounds were effective. Do we need to fight anymore? Then we look around – do we need to fight anyone else? Then we load the gun and get ready to fight again.”

That conversation was the basis for what Stanford codified as the Wyatt Protocol.

Paul Gomez the Wyatt Protocol

As time went on, that became know as FAST: Fight, Assess, Scan, Tac-Load or Top off the gun. The Wyatt Protocol has since been adopted and utilized by a number of people over the years, particularly instructors who were working with Andy or teaching for Andy at the time. Among them were James Yeager operating as Ops Southeast and Steve Moses operating as Ops Southwest. Both of those guys continued to utilize the Wyatt Protocol after they left the program to continue teaching in their own programs because it's a very good, very useful thing.

Meanwhile Stanford and I continued to expand on the Ts in the FAST drill because we realized that reloading the gun was just one part of everything that needed to happen. Thus the Ts in the acronym became Top Off, Take Cover, Talk to Who Needs Talking To. Then somewhere around 2005 or so we added a medical component, which ‘Top Down' for ‘Top Down Check.' Eventually that became ‘Treat Injuries.' This added a medical self assessment to the list.

Fast forward a couple of years and other schools that were using the FAST protocol began recognizing the idea that more was required in a fight than topping off the gun and so the idea began to grow.

The totality of needs represented by FASTTT – Fight, Assess, Scan, Top off the gun, Take cover, Talk to whomever needs talking to and a Top down check to Treat for injuries is a very useful flow. One of the things about the Ts I think is important to recognize is those can occur in any order. It’s not a step by step checklist. You can be talking while you’re taking cover; you can be reloading the gun while you’re moving.

This flow for the fight ties in well with that self medical assessment when you have a flow for that as well. They work well together. I use the 5 Bs, which were developed by Dr. Keith Brown. The 5 Bs are; Bad Guys, Bleeding, Breathing, Brains and Body. It's a simple checlist to tie the medical component into the tactical environment. Using the Wyatt Protocol, or FASTTTT, with the 5 Bs will give you a checklist that is easy to inculcate in your students, relatively easy to fall back on yourself. The late Paul Gomez 2


Photo credits unknown – used here with respect.

Any inaccuracies in translating the raw video to “article-like” format are mine alone. DR

Though the GTI YouTube channel has not been updated in years it is well worth reviewing (there's a reason it's called Gun Training for Thinkers). You can do that here. To continue in the tradition of thinking and learning the late Paul Gomez espoused (and to help support his children) you should consider checking out Paul-E-Palooza. 2015's event will the 3rd iteration of the memorial training benefit; it will be held near Garrettsville, OH August 15th and 16th. You can rest assured any money spent to get there and participate will be well worth the expense – instructors and attendees alike will be a wish list of industry professionals. You can read an AAR of last year's Paul-E-Palooza right here.

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