Recent analysis/simulation studies have quantified the multipath outage statistics of digital radio systems using ideal adaptive equalization. In this paper, we consider the use of finite-tap delay line equalizers, with the aim of determining how many taps are needed to approximate ideal performance. To this end, we assume anM-level QAM system using cosine rolloff spectral shaping and an adaptive equalizer with either fractionally spaced or synchronously spaced taps. We invoke a widely used statistical model for the fading channel and computer-simulate thousands of responses from its ensemble. For each trial, we compute a detection signal-to-distortion measure, suitably maximized with respect to the tap gains. We can thereby obtain probability distributions of this measure for specified combinations of system parameters. These distributions, in turn, can be interpreted as outage probabilities (or outage seconds) versus the number of modulation levels. A major finding of this study is that, for the assumed multipath fading model, very few taps (the order of five) are needed to approximate the performance of an ideal infinite-tap equalizer. We also find that a simple, suboptimal form of timing recovery is generally quite adequate, and that fractionally spaced equalizers are more advantageous than synchronously spaced equalizers with the same number of taps. This advantage is minor for rolloff factors of 0.5 and larger but increases dramatically as the rolloff factor approaches zero.