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Some game-state-affecting choices I can have my PC make aren't 'actions' as defined by the rules, but are pretty clearly actions in common parlance. In particular, this question is inspired by Gun Twirling (which allows one to make a feint attempt as a grit-point expenditure). Are there any rules or any other guidance which restricts the use of non-actions out of turn? What happens by default when whether they can only be used during your turn or not is not specified?

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First, let me clarify that using Gun Twirling is a Standard Action for the Feint Maneuver and a Free Action for the Holster action.

The feat allows you to make a Feint Maneuver attempt using a grit point, so if we look up the rules for the Feint Maneuver in the combat chapter of the core rulebook, we will see that it is a Standard Action to perform. But the Improved Feint feat allows you to use feint in combat as a Move Action instead. While the Moonlight Stalker Feint will allow you to make a feint as a Swift Action against an enemy you have concealment.

So, the kind of action necessary here will depend on your other abilities, but if you lack any other ability to improve your Feint Maneuver, it should be a standard action.

Also, whenever the rules does not mention the kind of action that takes to use an ability (and this includes saying it uses the attack action), it should be a standard action.

With that out of the way, to the question:

That will depend on the ability and what it's text says.

On the core rulebook's combat chapter there are only two types of No Action that you can take: Delay and a 5 foot step. And both must be taken during your turn.

Everything else falls under one of the action types that can only be taken during your own turn. With a few exceptions when those exists, such as attacks of opportunity (free actions) out of your turn. And, of course, Immediate Actions, which can also be taken out of your turn.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "Whenever the rules does not mention the kind of action that takes to use an ability, it should be a standard action." So abilities like 'Deadeye' and such which don't specify any action type but require a successful attack to be made can only be used if you somehow get to make an AoO on your own turn and have your standard action reserved? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 6:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer Deadeye says the gunslinger can resolve an attack, therefore requiring the gunslinger to be in the process of making any ol' kind of attack (unlike, for example, Vital Strike that requires an attack action -- sigh... Pathfinder [shakes head]). That's specific overriding general. Pick a different example, please. (And how the heck does one reserve a standard action to make an attack of opportunity?) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 7:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan: I think the absurdity of keeping a standard action to benefit from Deadeye was precisely the argumentation point of the dark wanderer. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 9:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ If it does specify how you obtain the bonus, then it's not a standard action. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 14:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ A successful attack could be the Full-Attack Action, the Attack Action, an Attack of Opportunity, a free action attack caused by cleave, and so on. There is no doubt about what kind of action it is, but will depend on what kind of attack action you are using. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 14:23

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