A new device functioning as an efficient nonlinear energy sink (NES) is explored here. The device consists of a mass coupled to a two-story linear test structure through a single-sided vibro-impact (VI) nonlinearity in one direction and a weak linear spring in both directions. This design is found to be more efficient for passive targeted energy transfer (TET) than existing NESs. It absorbs and rapidly dissipates a significant amount of the impulsive energy induced in the linear structure. In addition, some of this initial energy is pumped to higher modes of the structure and efficiently dissipated there. The numerical results have verified that the proposed single-sided VI NES maintains high level of performance over a broad range of high input energies. It performs near to its optimum even for severe induced shocks. Moreover, the numerical results have been experimentally verified; good agreement between numerical predictions and experimental findings was observed.