This paper investigates the behaviour of hollow and concrete filled steel (CFST) mild and stainless steel columns subjected to transverse static and impact loading with a pre-compressive axial load. Transverse load was applied at the mid or quarter point of the columns. A total of three test series were carried out recently at the University of Western Sydney and the University of Wollongong to obtain the performance of mild and stainless steel hollow and CFST columns subjected to lateral static as well as impact loading with or without pre-compressive load. The test results reported in this paper are from the third test series, where both axial and lateral loads were applied to the columns. This paper also investigates the finite element (FE) modelling of hollow and CFST mild and stainless steel columns due to static and impact loads. Three-dimensional nonlinear FE models were developed using ABAQUS, where nonlinear material behaviour, enhanced strength corner properties of steel, pre-compressive loads were all included to simulate the static and impact experiments. The main objective of this paper is to compare the performance of experimental results with numerical results for mild and stainless steel hollow and CFST columns. Moreover, the behaviour of in-filled tubes under impact loading is also compared with that of hollow sections. Close agreement is achieved between the experimental and finite element results in terms of load–deflection response and ultimate strength. This paper also compares the results of hollow and CFST stainless steel columns with those of mild steel columns due to both static and impact loading. Generally, the stainless steel specimens showed higher strength and improved energy-dissipating characteristics compared with the mild steel columns.