Hello, I am new to UG, so I hope this is in the correct place.

I have had my acoustic for a little over a year now, but I am actually starting to take it a bit more seriosuly. I am doing decent trying to get chords and what not, but the barre chords keep throwing me off. I've tried to substitute V chords in, but they just don't sound good.

My problem is that

A) It's difficult to get all of the strings pressed down.

B) Once I get them down it's like my index finger locks up. I can't move my other fingers to actually complete the chord.

What tips or help would you guys offer?

this might seem very general, but it all comes down to constant practice, dont push too hard, just put enough pressure so the notes ring out.

the first steps on the guitar are always the hardest. this is normal. i remember my first barre chords. very painful. but youll get used to em, and realise. i cant believe its so easy now.
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the song that helped me with barre chords is Dock at the Bay by Otis Reading
all it involves is holding the same barre chord shape and sliding it up and down the fret board to different frets
this will help to relax your hand when playing them and when you get comfy at this, try songs like ordinary people by neil young (chord pattern Em-C-D-Bm, with the Bm played as a barre chord) and this will just help your index finger become comfortable barring the neck and your other fingers flexibla enough to create the chord
Just joined the forum today so this is my first post. I'm not really good enough to give advice, but here's what helps me. Move your barre finger as close to the fret as possible. When I look down at my finger it almost looks like my barre finger is spilling over into the next fret. In other words, I'm really pressing more against the back of the fret instead of down on the fretboard.

Also, I used to keep my thumb too far up on the back of the neck (almost touching the low E). After I took some lessons, my teacher made me play with my thumb pressed against the middle of the back of the neck. It was very uncomfortable at first but after I got used to it, the barre chords got much easier.

With E shaped chords, I practiced playing an open E chord with my pinky, ring and middle finger and once that got comfortable I added moved it up a fret and added the barre. Now I visualize playing an open E all over the fretboard with the last 3 fingers and laying the barre on last. That may not be ideal since that finger should press the root of the chord, which would be the first note played, but if I put the barre finger down first, I have trouble fingering the remaining notes. Oh, and practice, practice, practice.
when i was learning barre chords, i used to sit in front of the TV with a beginners acoustic, and just hold down the "F" barre chord, occaisonally strumming to make sure my fingers where still holding down all the strings.

also i found that songs like "henrietta" by the fratellis helped because it basically uses the same barre chord formation, just using it on different notes.
So you will be playing technically the same barre chord formation on different notes up and down the fretboard.

in the end, its just like everyone says,

keep practicing, you just gotta make your fingers stronger and gain dexterity. itll come soon enough
First, welcome to the newer members that have posted.

Second, make sure you are using the side of your index finger and not the actual pad to form the bar. That may be why your other fingers seemed to lock up.
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One of the exercises that helped me was, just practice alternating between two chords and one of the chords has to be a barre chord. Now to my point, practice positioning your fingers on their correct respective strings and do not apply pressure. Continue doing this until you can alternate between chords flawlessly and your fingers will be accurate and on the right strings and without having your index finger, slowing you down. For example, alternate between D Major chord (V) and F Major chord (Barre 1st Fret). Once you get this down, start applying pressure.
I'm a newbie too (about 9 months in at this point) and there are 2 things that worked for me.

First, learn your power chords and learn to play some good simple power chord based songs. Learn to move them around and get used to the finger positioning. Use full 3 finger power chords, don't cheap out and use the 2 finger (root & 5th) version. This will help set you up with the right shape and will build up your hand strength that will help with the barres.

Second, find a song you love and really want to learn that has some barre chords in it. Then practice the hell outta that thing. Don't spend too much time worrying about making sure all your strings ring perfectly every time. Practice making it sound smooth and making your changes flow well. For me at least learning a song I like helps me learn a lot faster then just practicing techniques alone.

good luck, one day it'll just click and you'll find yourself nailing your barres.