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IoSafe's Rugged Portable drive vs. a shotgun

IoSafe stages an extreme demonstration of its new Rugged Portable external hard drive to prove just how tough the device is.

The IoSafe Rugged Portable is riddled with bullet holes after one round from a shotgun.
The IoSafe Rugged Portable is riddled with bullet holes after one round from a shotgun. Dong Ngo/CNET
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LAS VEGAS--How often does a journalist fire a real gun in the line of duty? Let me tell you, not often. But that's just what I did today. And no, I wasn't taking an anger management class.

Now playing: Watch this: ioSafe Rugged Portable Demo

It was just another demo by IoSafe, maker of disaster-proof storage solutions like the IoSafe SoloPro. These are extreme types of devices and, it seems, their maker believes they deserve some over-the-top demonstrations.

For that reason, it's now somewhat of a tradition that IoSafe stages grandiose product demos during CES. The company did a crazy fire and water demo during CES 2009 for the IoSafe Solo and an even crazier one during CES 2010, which included a 35,000-pound excavator, for the Solo SSD.

This year, the demo of the IoSafe Rugged Portable, while smaller in scale, was much louder, literally. It involved firing live rounds to prove just how rugged the Rugged Portable is.

According to Robb Moore, CEO of IoSafe, the Rugged Portable isn't designed to be bulletproof but just to withstand a significant amount of impact. "There are types of bullets that can go through any electronic devices we make," he says. "I believe, however, the Rugged Portable can survive multiple rounds of shotgun. Still, I keep my fingers crossed."

The demo took place at American Shooting firing range in Las Vegas, during which all reporters in attendance were offered a chance to shoot at the aluminum HDD version of the Rugged Portable. This drive is based on a 2.5-inch SATA hard drive, which is the least rugged and disaster-proof of all versions of the Rugged Portables, including those that have a titanium chassis and are based on solid-state drives.

Prior to the shooting, Moore took a few photos of the attendees and then copied them onto the demo drive. This was to see if the data would survive as the drive went through the extreme tests.

The drive then got submerged in water, hung up on the firing range and took about 10 rounds from a shotgun. The gun used for the demo was a Remington 12-gauge shotgun and the ammo was Winchester Expert Game Load Steel, the kind used for hunting big animals. After the shooting, the drive was reeled back and Moore slammed it on the floor really hard a couple of times and invited everybody to crush it with a vise.

After all the dramatic abuse was done, the drive was connected back to the computer using a USB 3.0 cable, and guess what? It was still working, with all the data stored on it prior to the ordeal intact.

Unlike previous demos of IoSafe, where the chassis of the external drive involved was destroyed (to save the internal hard drive and its data), the Rugged Portable, apart from being riddled with bullet holes, was still fully functional. Note that the Rugged Portable didn't go through any fire tests. This is because, according to Moore, the drive is not fireproof. "It's designed to be used on the go, which means the chance of it getting caught in fire is much lower than those used indoors," he said.

Check out the slideshow above for more information on the demo. By the way, the shotgun's kickback was much stronger than I expected.